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You Asked: He Doesn't Have Boundaries

You Asked: He Doesn't Have Boundaries

Dear Sugar,

My boyfriend of three years supervises around 25 women. About eight months ago, we were out of town and he received a text message, which I picked up since he wasn't around. It was a very sexual joke from one of his employees, whom I already have issues with since she's constantly telling my boyfriend how she wants to leave her husband, which I find totally inappropriate.

I didn't say anything, but I checked his phone bills later and found that for the past year, he's been texting her 20 to 30 times a month! I confronted him and he assured me that they were all work related — even though some were in the middle of the night. I knew he was lying so I kept pressing him and went so far as to tell him that I had requested the transcripts from our provider. He went nuts, but admitted they were sexual jokes and comments. I was devastated. She's married; he's her supervisor and he was deleting them from his phone so that I wouldn't see them.

I told him to stop or I was leaving him. He told her that she could only contact him via cell if it were work related — there are office and lab phones and he has voicemail so there's no need to use the cell at all. She stopped contact for eight months, until finally she started up again. My boyfriend won't say anything else to her; she is very manipulative. I'm concerned they're going to fall back into the same pattern. We've talked about getting married, but honestly I don't think I want to continue with this man if he won't put up boundaries that make me feel safe. Am I wrong to feel this way?

— In Need of Boundaries Beth

To see DearSugar's answer,


Dear In Need of Boundaries Beth,

Your boyfriend has been exchanging sexual innuendos with a married employee, so I think it's quite normal to feel uncomfortable by the situation. Although it's easy to mark this other woman as manipulative, keep in mind that your boyfriend is a grown man, and perfectly capable of putting an end to these texts. Needless to say, there are some deep trust issues in your relationship, and until your boyfriend can acknowledge your concerns, I doubt that they can be fixed.

Don't let him make you think that your concerns are irrational; you have every right to feel the way that you do. But likewise, don't allow yourself to continue your paranoid snooping. If you feel yourself wanting to check his phone bills again then, to me, that's a signal that your relationship isn't healthy. Since you know that you can't maintain a relationship without appropriate boundaries, then if this continues, I think you know what you need to do.


Join The Conversation
weirdy weirdy 9 years
You have every right to feel that way.. you're definitely not being irrational. i wouldnt even remotely put up with that. My advise would be to move on..
geebers geebers 9 years
If I saw this from my now BF -whom I love and trust and have never gone through his phone ever - I would basically tell him what I saw and that we were over and that he was free to have sex with his employee. First of all, this is highly unprofessional - a man that does this is on an ego trip and will be a bad significant other in the long run anyway. And second of all - a sexual conversation with another woman via text is cheating. He would dump me if I did it to him -no question.
Jazz-Z Jazz-Z 9 years
I think G1amourpuss has the best take on this one. And, I would like to think there is a man out there with whom you trust so much that you wouldn't have to check his text messages. I believe if you were to request his transcripts (of which you legally have no right) it would turn the tables on you and make you appear desperate and matter what you find out. Have enough pride to not stoop to such a level. What you have found out is bad enough to justify moving don't need the gory details. I think the poster's boyfriend is one of those guys who'll never be happy with just one woman (no matter how beautiful), so I wouldn't take it personally. His own insecurites and need for constant attention override any honor and respect for his current relationship. Frzkey ~ I think you need to raise the bar...unless you're a player.
Marci Marci 9 years
I'm in the 'leave him' group. Something doesn't add up in the whole equation, and it sounds to me like where there's smoke there's fire. And let's just put it out there, that as her supervisor, he should know better than to get into that dialogue with an employee and she could easily be saving all his suggestive texts. He needs to watch his butt or she could get ticked off and get him fired. But my hunch here is that those two are up to more than texting. Get out of a relationship that brings mistrust and questions into it.
cubadog cubadog 9 years
You need to end this mainly because neither one of you seem to trust the other. It has to be said, I would be so angry if someone I was dating went through my phone to check up on me. This relationship is so doomed!
fantome14 fantome14 9 years
I used to date a guy who flirted constantly with others online. He had a bunch of women he couldn't quite put aside for me, including others from his past, one of whom he eventually left me for. (It last a month, after his years of obsession with her--HA!) Clearly, this guy of yours is similarly not ready to be a one-woman man. Leave NOW. Its just going to come to him leaving you for someone else anyway.
g1amourpuss g1amourpuss 9 years
LOL @ alexask and sarah_bellum nevaeh1978: "I know this will sound 'silly' or 'paranoid' for some, but if you even suspect that he's having a hanky panky with another, do go in for some test at the doc." Not silly or paranoid at all. I don't think enough people get tested and people are getting tested enough. It's just something people are scared of and don't want to talk about. And that's ridiculous. It's like it's okay to get tested for your thyroid or diabetes, and not AIDS or Hepatitis(?).
alexask alexask 9 years
i just started watching sex and the city less than a year ago. the most valuable advice i ever got was from samantha, the short blonde-haired one. she said if you want to know whether to stay in a relationship is: are you always like this :) ? or are you always like this :( ? it sounds like you're often like this :(, and my god, i would be too. this internet and myspace messaging stuff seems to be bringing new problems, but they're really the same old problems people always had but in different forms. he needs to grow up. and you shouldn't have to chase around a grown man's text messages.
jennifer76 jennifer76 9 years
Not only is he a grown man, he's her boss. I think the fact that he's sharing such inappropriate conversation with a subordinate from work on his personal time is a bigger issue than the fact that he's doing it while having a girlfriend. What a lack of judgment and ethics. Honestly, if he needs to be told by his girlfriend that he should maintain a professional relationship with his employees, he doesn't seem to have the common sense one would want in a spouse. :shrug:
K-is-For-Kait K-is-For-Kait 9 years
I smell serious trouble. How do you know your man isn't already having an affair with this woman if there's sexually explicit talk going on between them? You need to set the boundaries with him and let him know it's NOT okay for him to make consistantly dirty jokes with any girl and explain why you genuinely dislike this co-worker of his. Don't let him act oblivious. If he can't deal with your concerns, kick him to the curb and find someone who actually deserves your time.
looseseal looseseal 9 years
Cut your losses and dump him. Thank your lucky stars that you didn't marry him before finding out what kind of person he really is.
kurniakasih kurniakasih 9 years
I don't think you're overreacting. I think it's inappropriate for bosses to share sexual jokes with his employees/subordinates. A married one at that. I smell a sexual harassment suit waiting to happen, she can ruin your bf's career..almost 'just like that,' since he's been entertaining her outside work in a platonic (maybe--they may already have a physical affair at this point) yet sexual and flirtatious manner. I agree that he has something to hide (although it's not in my nature to ask my husband or exes to show me the texts/transcript of text messages), if he's that upset when you tell him that you've read his messages, and he's lied about them at first. People with nothing to hide will be more than happy to prove your suspicion wrong. :) And OP, you CAN'T control his behavior, he's not a child. It's not exactly her fault too, she's not the one who 'owes' you anything, she's not in a relationship with you. HE is the one who's supposed to be loyal, truthful and loving to you. If he doesn't want to respect you, you can't make him, no matter how many times you confront him about texts, late night phone calls, and so on. He has his own wills, if he wants to stop this inappropriate behavior, he will and would have never even started it! It seems some of the ladies are right, he most likely 1) wants to have sex/affair with her if they've not done it yet 2) is already having an affair with her. TSk. Since the trust has so far gone, I'd really suggest you walk away from the relationship. I know this will sound 'silly' or 'paranoid' for some, but if you even suspect that he's having a hanky panky with another, do go in for some test at the doc. You can't be too careful when it comes to STI and such. Good luck.
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 9 years
No, you're not wrong. It's inappropriate (and somewhat revolting) for him to share "sexual jokes and comments" with a female subordinate who's married. I think she's disgusting, too. Also, I feel sorry for her, as she seems like a desperate wife in a troubled marriage. Seriously, this would be a deal breaker for me (yes, another one. I have a long list :)). I prefer a man who's sexually discreet, and would only express his sexual side to a chosen girlfriend or wife. OP, not only is your boyfriend being terribly indiscreet, he chose a pathetic woman to be indiscreet with. They're both losers.
sparklestar sparklestar 9 years
He's her boss, why can't he sort this out professionally? The reason is because he either a) wants a sexual relationship with this woman or b) already has one. I would leave him. He can't accept MY boundaries and so he doesn't respect me or my feelings. His priority should be keeping you happy, not her. She has a husband and she's screwed up her marriage by behaving like this. If you don't get out now it'll only get worse. You made your threats to leave if it started again and it's started again... so leave.
sarah_bellum sarah_bellum 9 years
Leave him. It kills me to see so many women justify staying with an unworthy man because he has a few redeeming qualities or because they run on pure emotion. That's not enough to build a life on! Don't waste one more day with someone who doesn't have any respect for your relationship. In fact, point him in Frzkey's direction since she thinks being in a relationship means putting up with anything and everything your significant other is willing to dish out.
Janine22 Janine22 9 years
Honestly, I don't think this is a matter of boundaries. He is basically cheating on you, even if it has not gone as far as physical contact. He is being disloyal and dishonest. I never, ever, ever trust a man that is dishonest. Obviously he is that way because he has something to hide. And yes, it is his fault. I am not saying she is not in the wrong here, because obviously she should not be behaving this way. But your bf is the one that you are in a relationship with. He is the one you need to worry about. He is equally contributing to this situation and is obviously sexually aroused by this woman, or he would not be continuing with this behaviour. I would advise you to actually order the transcripts, so that you can see what has really been going on here. I would suspect that it is more than just text messages. I think that you need to find out the truth. Also, you say that she is very manipulative, but keep in mind that your bf is equally accountable for his behaviour. Basically I think that you should leave him. But if you are unsure, then seriously consider counselling for yourself as well as couples counselling if you really want to stay. Good luck to you.
sw33tlovin sw33tlovin 9 years
no, you are not wrong to feel this way. she's manipulative, but he's not a child. he knows what he's doing is wrong, which is why he got so angry when you saw the texts. it seems to me that he will probably go back to this pattern .. and nobody should be in a relationship that makes them feel so uneasy that they have to ask for their significant other's phone bill.
g1amourpuss g1amourpuss 9 years
Uh yeah, WOW Frzkey ...for someone who has never received a Love Letter I don't know why you would bother commenting. She should give him the benefit of the doubt, but she already has. Even YOU believe (that is sounds like) her relationship is blown. Even when my husband was my boyfriend he was like Here are all of my passwords, whatever. He puts it all in my hand and lets me make all of the kinky decisions. (I'm completely open with him, I'm like you tell me your fantasy for the most part I WILL fulfill it.) You have to keep them interested to some extent.. and even let their eye wonder a little bit to realize it's you that they appreciate. For example.. I can walk outside and have almost all of my neighbors interested.. (even the gay men) and any neighbors work crew are out there trying to talk to me (I love your hair they've even yelled from across the street - IN Front of him..).. and that ultimately makes my man realize he doesn't want to go anywhere. I can walk outside of my own home and find a new man today, tomorrow, or yesterday. Doesn't make me or Beth wondering about her man so insecure. It means she wants to fk'n keep her man whether she should or shouldn't be him. Chances are he could be too young or hasn't been with enough women to settle down yet. Or it could be in his culture to randomly text coworkers about things of a sexual nature. Unless she is comfortable with things like that, she should waste her time on a man that she doesn't know if she can trust in a marriage.
bigestivediscuit bigestivediscuit 9 years
Um, no I dont' think she's insecure, I think she's totally justified. And I think any one with the "patience" of putting up with his shit has a name: a DOORMAT. Ready to be walked all over. I think justanerd said it best - he doesn't deserve you. And yup, I'd definitely leave my boyfriend of almost four years if he was showing that amount of interest in a colleague - because I know I deserve more than that.
Frzkey Frzkey 9 years
Wow, just, wow. So no one is at all disturbed by how very Little it's takes for this poster to feel insecure with her relationship and distrust her guy? Really? You'd all feel horrifically insecure and consider leaving the possible men you were entertaining marriage thoughts about over raunchy text messages? Personally I think that the relationship is already blown. Not because of the messages but because of how much of a hair trigger it already seems to be on. In Need of Boundaries Beth is already jumping at shadows and attempting to control her guy, the situation is only likely to get worse with time. So yeah, dump him over it but I'm sure there will be another woman out there with a little more patience and understanding who's going to love picking up your trash (and there's a high probability it's not going to be the married one!)
g1amourpuss g1amourpuss 9 years
this question just makes me So sad.. I agree with all of the people that have commented so far.. there are so many things I would LIKE to say.. but like the other people comments.. I just feel I have to tread softly. Right now I have the most wonderful husband.. and even though I keep him in check.. I 99.9% believe he would never cheat on me. And I NEVER thought I'd find that. My father cheated on my mother numerous times so I am constantly on top of it, where as my mother would watch from a distance and she was just so tired of things she was like fk it. I'm just the opposite though.. if it's not going to work: I want to know while I'm young in the relationship.. not in my mid-forties hanging onto it. But yeah, like I said earlier, I was so relieved when I left that crappy boyfriend.. talking on the phone in front of me to other girls and just looking around like he didn't care or whatever. That crap hurt. But now? I wouldn't trade my husband in for the world.. and I've done some reeeeally crazy things with him. I was just waiting for the right guy to trust to be completely open with and to know he would never go ..nowhere. (his parents are still married, unlike mine.. so even when we fight that still has such a a major pull on our relationship.) If you hang on you might end up in complete heartache.. but if you let go.. you just might never know... :)
theblondecynic theblondecynic 9 years
I honestly would leave him in a heartbeat - I can see the whole thing going on over time to the point where they go way beyond those messages and it ends up in a full blown affair. Also, if he hasn't stopped her, I'm wondering if he wants it to continue so you'll leave him and you'll be the one that left him and he's not the one that dumped you. Just a thought.
heidi-girl heidi-girl 9 years
i've read something similiar to this not too long ago, but the second i found out all that, i'd dump his grimey behind, because how would i know something is not going on at work?!
justanerd1975 justanerd1975 9 years
imagine what else he won't stop from happening because someone else was strong willed, or manipulative, yada,yada,yada... he could stop her if he wanted to, he doesn't want to. He is having fun. he doesn't deserve you,IMO.
RockAndRepublic RockAndRepublic 9 years
He's allowing it and that's bad enough. I don't know what i can tell you to do though, because it only takes a little to start an affair.
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