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You Asked: My Boyfriend Has Inappropriate Female Friends

Dear Sugar,

My boyfriend and I have had a two-year relationship that is loving, exciting, and strong in all respects. My only concerns stem from the fact that he maintains contact with several females who he once had romantic relationships with. He sees them on occasion when he and his friends hang out — they're part of his group. They also phone and text him occasionally to say hi, and I'm not naive enough to believe he doesn’t initiate contact once in a while.

I’ve told him multiple times that his unwillingness to cut ties with these women makes me feel extremely insecure. He swears that they are just friends, he has no romantic feelings for them, and he broke up with them all for a reason. He tells me that he is an adult and should be allowed to have platonic friendships with the opposite sex as long as nothing inappropriate is going on. He also insists that I should trust him because he’s done nothing to make me do otherwise. This man is not my husband or fiancé, so I'm nearly ready to say that either these friendships go, or I go.

The fact that he is not changing something that causes me anxiety makes me wonder whether he values me and my feelings. I've felt this man was my soul mate and he’s shown me in many other ways that he loves and adores me, but is this issue enough to leave somebody over? It’s making me feel so insecure. Where do I go from here?

— Not So Friendly Nell

To see DearSugar's answer,


Dear Not So Friendly Nell,

Only you can decide what's worth ending your relationship over. But I can tell you this: if you feel like your insecurity on this matter is going to ruin the good things you have going, then ultimately, the choice is made for you. It sounds like he's intent on keeping these women in his life for now, and I doubt there's much more you can do to convince him otherwise.

I'd try sitting down and talking to him about it one more time. Make sure he understands that it's not him that you're worried about, but rather these other women. See if you can work together in coming up with an arrangement that's suitable to both of you. Otherwise it's time to make a break or let it go. You can't control his actions or choices, so stop trying to. Instead, focus on what you can do for yourself.


Join The Conversation
bransugar79 bransugar79 8 years
Ok first i was like wow this girl is being a little too insecure for her own good now I think wow this girl is allowing herself to be treated like crap. You say the exes are letign themselves be disresepcted but you are with a guy who casually is having sex with women and is in some way giving them encouragement and won't listen to you when you say this is unacceptable. I'm all for friends of the opposite sex because it is possible to be platonic but come on this guy has no respect for your feelings get rid of him already and find a real decent man
RubberDogTurds RubberDogTurds 8 years
After reading a handful of posts, I think a lot of people are speaking from past experience and projecting their situations onto Nell. I am in this exact situation and in NO WAY do I want to compare mine to hers because every little different detail makes it a different situation. I do think there is one bottom line... it is crossing the line a bit asking him to completely cut off contact with these girls. HOWEVER, asking him to cease certain kinds of behaviors with these girls is not an inappropriate request. For example, limit the number of texts or what they are about. Tell him you consider this and that flirting, even if he doesn't and would appreciate a more platonic relationship with them. Ask him to involve you in those friendships...maybe you'll even like these girls or at least look at them differently once you know them. There is NO RIGHT ANSWER, only helpful suggestions.
lilCROAT03 lilCROAT03 8 years
ok it's not about having or not having the 'right' to tell him who to be friends with. if you're his gf you have a reason to be pissed that he's hanging out with chicks he's banged recently. there's nothing to be 'friendly' about with them unless they're conversing with their genitals. lets be serious people, how many good 'friends' do you really have? are they going out to bars and drinking together? all the usual suspects... basically i think it's time to give him a taste of his own medicine. if time with his 'friends' is so important than hang out more with your friends and do something that you know might make him feel insecure. the point is that you told him you feel insecure and he kinda blew you off... instead of making you feel better about it. i think he doesn't understand how you feel bc he hasn't been in that position. he probably even likes the attention he's getting from these chicks and i'm sure he likes the feeling of knowing that all of them want to be with him. see? that ALONE pisses me off. start being more distant and if he becomes alarmed tell him how much damage your insecurity is doing to your relationship- maybe that will make him 'GET IT'. unless the girls are also being friendly with you, there's no reason for him to be so friendly with chicks he's slept with, you're his GIRLFRIEND.
brown_eyed_grrl brown_eyed_grrl 8 years
So not to be obnoxius and add another post to my series here, but I just saw the rest of the story posted by Nell. Nell--this is SO similar to the situation I mentioned before, and I know it's hard because you're in the situation and we're onlookers, but I think you need some space from this guy. That's what the "me" now would tell the "me" whowas dating that ex I mentioned, but honestly I wouldn't have listened b/c I made excuses for him. THERE IS NO REASON FOR HIM TO KEEP THESE GIRLS AROUND IN LIGHT OF WHAT THEY'VE DONE. They want more from him than friendship, they have already disrespected your relationship, and they don't belong in his life anymore because they've also disrespected you. If they wanted to stay friends with him, they shouldn't have done those things. And he should realize that. Turn the tables on him. Ask him how he'd feel if your ex tried to sleep with you and you insisted on staying in touch with him anyway. I really think you should move on, but that is easier said than done, and you'll only do it when you're truly fed up with it. All I can tell you is that as someone who has been through something similar and come out on the other side, this is not what a healthy relationship looks like. My husband would never have done this to me even when we were just dating. There are good guys out there who will put your feelings first, and would cut ties with women who are panting after them out of respect to you (and their own genuine distinterest).
brown_eyed_grrl brown_eyed_grrl 8 years
Okay, so I hit "post" once, and my message posts three times?
brown_eyed_grrl brown_eyed_grrl 8 years
I was in a similar position, and the underlying problem was that I didn't trust him. I am not the jealous or controlling type, but my ex's past relationships made me uneasy. He eventually told me that he had cheated six times in the past, though not on me, of course! (Yeah, right.) He was an untrustworthy individual, and while before that admission I had no real proof, I knew deep down he was a dishonest person. My husband has female friends that he's known longer than he's known me, and I am not worried about them in the least because I know my husband and I trust him. I also know these female friends. It all comes down to trust, and obviously there's a reason you don't trust him. Maybe the signs are there that he's dishonest, or maybe it's your own issues, but either way, without trust, you might as well hang it up.
RockAndRepublic RockAndRepublic 8 years
The thing is, you chose to continue dating him even with what he was doing with his exes. Don't drink the poison and expect him to die.
ChristinaMUFE ChristinaMUFE 8 years
Maybe it's just me but I feel like life is too short to spend time wondering whether or not someone is or potentially could cheat on me. I absolutely love my boyfriend beyond a shadow of a doubt but I love me more. Basically every girl we know tells me he's hot all the time but I don't worry about it. Obviously he's with me for a reason. He still talks to some of the girls he went out with in high school and I don't mind. I'm actually kinda glad. It shows me that he's not a dirtbag. I know if he had done something shady to them, they wouldn't want to be his friend now. He's been awesome about my past too. We just moved to my hometown in TN together. He shares many common interests with one of my oldest guy friends, so I introduced them and they now hang out practically every weekend. My friend here is someone I thought I was in love with 3 years ago, though nothing ever happened. I was upfront with my boyfriend about it from the beginning though and he's never had a problem with it. I wouldn't have it any other way. We trust each other. What's the point in being in a relationship and spending all that time worrying about sketch things.
vanyvrgs vanyvrgs 8 years
Even with the new information, you do not have a right to tell anyone who they can be friends with. you need to trust him. If you do not trust him enought to let him continue this contact with his exes, there is no relationship. A relationship is trust.
The-Nut The-Nut 8 years
I can only imagine the anxiety and stress this puts on your and inevitably your relationship. In my opinion he's not going to change or he already would have. Cut your losses, remember him for the good times you had together, and finally find someone that will truly respect you and love you with all their heart.
Janine22 Janine22 8 years
The new info you posted definitely changed my opinion of the situation. Although I would still not say for certain whether he is cheating, I think that his honesty about these situations needs some examination. Why is he telling you these stories? Is it just to be honest with you, or is it to intentionally make you jealous? Is he the type of man who gets a big ego boost from having women around him that he knows still want him? Or does he keep them around in case you two break up, so he can have a fuck buddy? I am just wondering why he wants to maintain friendships with women who don't have much respect for themselves or for his relationship? The other thing I have to say is that these women sound like pathetic, insecure and promiscuous girls who are unafraid to pursue a man who is already in a relationship. Why would he even want to continue relationships with individuals like this? OR are his stories about them total exaggerations to make himself look more desirable? Certainly, this guy is no god, just a man. Is he like a GQ model or something? Why are these women so pathetically desperate to be with him? I suspect that either he enjoys women like this, because it boosts his ego, or else he is making up/exaggerating stories about them to make you jealous. But the bottom line is that he is disrespecting you by maintaining friendships with these women. I am sure that he is fully aware of the fact that the stories he has told you would make any woman jealous. Why is he trying to manipulate your emotions to that extent? Even if he is not trying to be manipulative, just honest, I would wonder why he was attracted to women like this in the past. I think it says something about who he is. I don't think I would stay with this man if I were you. Good luck to you.
sarah_bellum sarah_bellum 8 years
So... from the OP's update it sounds like he knows they're interested and in a way he's kind of stringing them along giving them false hope because he finds it flattering. If that's the case, he's probably messing with their heads and hurting them too. Aside from the disregard for his own girlfriend's feelings (and yes, they are a little on the insecure side but still understandable) why would anyone want to be with a man who treats women that way? I realize many people are capable of maintaining platonic relationships with exes, but the minute any of them disrespect the new relationship in such a blatant and pathetic way as was described above, they should be cut out, no questions asked. If I was the OP, I'd never put up with this crap, but if you stick around, you don't have the right to complain or try and nag him into changing. He won't.
boringgrownup boringgrownup 8 years
Think of this: relationships that stand the test of time involve both parties doing what's best for the relationship. this obviously involves more than just "not cheating." it doesn't really seem to me like your bf is thinking of the relationship and your feelings. these are unnecessary and damaging friendships. though you can get over your insecurity about cheating, you will always have the nagging feeling that these girls are trumping you and that even if they say bad things about you, your boy will continue to see them in your face against your will. in a relationship, you should consider yourself as one and so, if the girls say bad things about you, it's like they're saying bad things about him and thus, why would he want to hang out with them? your boy should defend your honor always and shouldn't hang around anyone, particularly ex's, who defame you. just my 2 cents.
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 8 years
DearSugar, can you please explain why you edit these posts beyond recognition? It's honestly frustrating, and I personally don't see how it's helpful at all to the people writing in! I don't want to feel like I'm wasting my time trying to help someone whose problem isn't even accurately represented! Rant over. To the OP... I'm sorry you are going through this. It sounds like a few of the women have some intentions toward him and that must make you uncomfortable. I have to say, I respect your boyfriend for telling you "no". I think a lot of guys would just pay lip service and say "okay, I won't talk to them anymore" and then just do it on the sly. So the situation you are in... you at least know what it is, if that makes sense. In other words, he's pretty directly addressed your question with an unequivocal answer. That puts the ball in your court. You get to decide if this is something worth ending the relationship over, or if he is worth dealing with some insecurity over.
ladychaos ladychaos 8 years
Not to be a negative nelly, but I dated a guy who was friends with his ex, and he finally admitted that he was in love with her but she didn't want anything to do with her so he was ready to move on. He cheated. I'm not saying that your guy will cheat, but I'm telling you to make sure that he doesn't have feelings for them. If you are seriously worried about them, tell him that you're uncomfortable and see if he would maybe not see them when its just them alone and maybe somehow to get him to invite you out with them so you feel more comfortable.
Pallas-Athena Pallas-Athena 8 years
I didn't read the advice given, but my cousin was in a similar situation. My cousin has been dating since she was 11 and probably sleeping with with people since she was 11 as well. They were usually 7-10 years older than her. Anyway, she met her now, dead husband (they knew each other for 13 years), when she was 11 and he was 16. Anywho, she had tons of boyfriends and slept around and whenever they got together officially and broke up he would sleep with someone. He also had bad friends who he had known for years and I'm pretty sure he was involved with them romantically. When she was 19 she got pregnant and had his daughter when she was 20. He was 25. He got serious and started to dump his friends and tried not to be a bad influence on his daughter and tried to become more fatherly. So they got back together and when he would go out with his friends he would act like an idiot and get drunk or do drugs. They broke up and got back together for the next 3 years. Eventually he got more into religion, became a Christian, moved in with her, broke up with her, slept with someone, got back together, proposed, and then she got pregnant with twins. They got married when she was 4 months pregnant and then he died one day before their one month anniversary. My point is that if he didn't give you any reason to doubt him then don't. My cousin knew what her man was doing. He did stay in touch with these people, but didn't really talk to them as much and didn't really hang out with them often. If he did then he behaved like a father should to 4 children. (He only had one child that he officially claimed was his with her and she had 2 others with a different man, and a third with either her dead husband or her friend's ex.) Maybe your boyfriend just needs time to figure out what he needs in life and he needs to grow up and so do you. You don't know if you're going to spend the rest of your life with him. If you do then try and work things out and don't accuse him and if you're not then still try, but in the end if you lose him then you'll find your true love.
karlotta karlotta 8 years
Okay, your explanations DO change my mind a WHOLE lot! I would never be able to accept that from my boyfriend. Not because I don't trust him, but because him choosing to hang out with women who were catty, seductive and sneaky, and who undermined our relationship - however long ago that was! - would simply be disrespectful. I mean, common, that's just wrong. He's got his priorities all screwed up! I would try to have one last chat with him about it. Ask him how he would feel if the situation were reversed; and really paint the picture for him. Then tell him you're not asking him to never see them again (because that would be unreasonable, since they're in his circle of friends), but only not to initiate contact, and to nicely, tactfully ask them not to do it either. They cannot maintain one-on-one relationships, and that's it. That would be a compromise, and if he can't appreciate that you're making an effort and make one in return... personally I'd pack my bags and go. When you start folding on stuff that really matters to you, and keep quiet about what is hurting you (which is obviously what he'd like you to do!), then it's not a healthy relationship, and however great the fucking guy is, I'm sorry - he really isn't if he can't do that one thing for you. What is more important to him - you, or having these girls in his life? And when I say you, I don't mean having the honor of dating you (which he should be grateful for every darn day of his life, thank you), but simply your well-being and your level of emotional comfort. Don't nag, don't put ultimatums. Have a quiet talk where you try and compromise. And if that fails, get out the door. The thing is, if he cares about you, he'll come running after you, and do what you are asking for. Good luck!
elizabethsosewn elizabethsosewn 8 years
If he's not succumbing to any of their desires, then Sarah I believe you just need to trust him. i read your update, and I whole heartedly understand the paranoia that those other women will work their way back into intimacy with him. I really do understand, but as long as he isn't doing anything with them, then don't let them ruin YOUR relationship. You've been together for two years. That's an accomplishment to me. Those women are not something to lose the relationship over. If he complains that you need to 'get over it" when you complain about it, then tell him that you are allowed to complain about it. He knows your uncomfortable with the situation and will complain but let up on the ultimatums. [IMO giving an ultimatum on such a washy subject is silly. pick your battles, because this one doesn't look like you'll win. some people just date losers and are way too nice to cut ties.]
jennifer76 jennifer76 8 years
Thanks for the update, Sarah. It makes me understand your insecurity a little more. But, I think you need to at least try to understand where he is coming from. These girls are a part of his group of friends. He can't just cut them out. And he would feel seriously emasculated having to tell them not to talk to him because his girlfriend won't allow him. You say yourself that he is crazy about you and is trustworthy. Trust him. He's completely earned the right to be treated like an adult. I find it a little disconcerting that you are so insistent that he run around in circles to accomodate your feelings while you don't even seem to be considering his.
sjo33 sjo33 8 years
Hi everyone-- I'll expose myself, I'm the ORIGINAL POSTER. Thanks so much for the comments, but please keep in mind that the post was SUBSTANTIALLY edited by DS. Maybe your opinions will change once you read the whole story: 1) my BF was still having occasional casual sex with two of these exes when he and I first met (before we got serious) 2) One of these two exes was still in love with him and when she heard that he'd started dating me, begged him to stop. 3) An ex-fling of his even followed him back to his house after all of their friends had gone out to try to get him to sleep with her. This happened 6 months after he and I became BF/GF, and actually after she and I had met. She still calls occasionally under a number of ruses, including "business advice". In my opinion, these are not benign exes, guys. These are women who allowed themselves to be treated like f*buddies in the hopes that he'd re-/commit to them. Two tried to undermine his relationship with me (albeit, over a year ago, but still, they crossed the line). While he views them as platonic friends and his actions show it-- I suspect that he's still a romantic hopeful to him. These women are part of his larger group of friends so I understand that it's hard to NOT see them from time to time. Still. I'm also resentful because it's not like I put him in the same situation-- I'm from a different city, so never hang out with my ex-bfs. The ball is clearly in his court to do the right thing and I do believe he's crazy about me and hasn't cheated on me. But it makes me wonder, particularly because this is an issue that bothers me so much-- why allow these girls to call or text? Why try to be their friends? He will not change his mind on this and insists that I trust him and that he's doing right by me. He tells me that these women were grossly incompatible with him, and I can acknowledge that obvious fact too. But I worry that this situation shows a lack of priorities and poor judgment. Sorry for the long post, but I'm curious- does this change your reactions? -thanks, Sarah
Muirnea Muirnea 8 years
Matamoros, that is horrible advice, I can't believe what you said!!!! You cheated on the girl and now you are saying she was insecure! Well duh!!!! Why does it even matter if it was every day or not? It doesn't!!! She wasn't crazy, she was right. I agree with karlotta! Good advice!
Matamoros Matamoros 8 years
"I respect your honesty, but I am sure your comment does nothing to reassure the original poster that her bf is not cheating! If you are admitting that you were sexually involved with these women while your were still with your ex-gf, then I would say that your ex had just cause to be concerned/'insecure'!" No. She was just crazy. It's not like I had sex with them every day or anything. It was only when my ex had her period and/or I had a bit too much to drink.
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