Conventional Wisdom is a different kind of advice column. Your questions will be answered by people from all walks of life rather than by advice experts. A Feminist, who answered a previous Conventional Wisdom column, is back to answer yet another "Am I paranoid or is he cheating on me?" question. You can submit questions here.
I recently found out my boyfriend has been texting my friend behind my back. He says there's nothing going on and that she has a boyfriend. He doesn't live with me as he works away, but he texts and calls her more than he does me. When I confronted him, he just said she was giving him relationship advice but I don't know what to believe. He also lied about being at work one day and apparently stayed with one of his friends instead of being with our daughter and me. I don't know what to do. I'm so paranoid lately.
To find out what a feminist has to say to Worried,
I'm sure you know the saying, "Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you." I say this not to make light of your situation, but to remind you that both your extreme suspicion and your boyfriend's inappropriate behavior could be going on simultaneously.
To begin with — I need more information about your situation. You have a child with this boyfriend. Was this a planned pregnancy? Are you both together for the sake of your child or do you truly want to be together? How old are you? Do you plan to get married? I ask this to get a sense of what your bond with your boyfriend is right now, as well as to see if ambivalence might be fueling his lies and strange lack of boundaries. From the way you describe his behavior and your lack of trust, I almost don't need answers to these other questions.
It goes without saying that without trust in a relationship, there's nothing. If you both have promised to be exclusive with one another, and your boyfriend begins to erode your trust in other areas, it makes sense you would begin to wonder if he's strayed from his fidelity or plans to.
Although I can't speculate on his fidelity to you, I can say your boyfriend, the father of your child, seems to lack a sense of propriety, or a sense of what appropriate behavior is. To text and call your female friend without your knowledge to talk about relationship issues is sketchy in the extreme. Whether he's counseling her or getting advice (what the heck could he be asking her or saying about you?!), seeking emotional intimacy with your friend is just weird. Is he trying to get "close" to her in other ways? I assume your friend told you he was doing this and with what frequency, given that you say he's calling and texting her more than he does you.
This is a problem, Worried. I would confront him. Make sure he understands why this feels like an emotional betrayal, tell him that you want him to talk to you about your relationship, and that he needs to stop texting and confiding in your friend. If you can, maybe you both can see a counselor together. The bottom line is, use common sense in deciding whether or not you can trust him going forward. I really believe we women should trust our guts about infidelity or its potential — we're almost never wrong.