Is this normal behavior?

Dear Guys,

I’m in a long distance relationship (over a year) and my boyfriend goes out to the bars and adds women he just meets to his social media. That bugs me that it happens every time he goes out. What I’m more concerned is that he messages with them. Is that normal behavior? I am new to the social media dating thing. (I was married) I guess I don’t understand why he would need to stay in touch with random women he just met. I need some advice.

Yours,

New to Social Media

Dear New to Social Media,

We understand that you’re new to the modern dating scene but traditional values still prevail. Meaning, what was inappropriate 20 years ago is still inappropriate, even if the way in which it’s done may look different.

We’re not trying to be cryptic, we’re just saying, trust your gut. What do you think is going on? Obviously, his behavior is making you uncomfortable, and from what you’re telling us, we don’t blame you. Social media makes it easy for men AND women to hide inappropriate behavior in the guise of friendly chatting. But think about it. He’s going out to the bars, he’s exchanging information with women who are not his girlfriend, then he’s taking that information home, adding information to his “little black book” (social media) and then flirting and putting out feelers. We know the confusing part is that he’s not hiding his behavior, which could make it seem more innocent. But this is only the behavior you’re aware of. We’re not saying he’s cheating, but we’re not saying he’s not. Whatever it is, we don’t think it’s respectful to you.

What should you do?

The thing is, whether he believes his behavior is innocent or not, the fact is, it makes you uncomfortable, and that alone should be enough for him to reconsider his actions. The fact that he’s not doing that, is as big a red-flag to us as his actual behavior. It might be time for a heart-to-heart conversation. You two need to work this out somehow.

Finally, long-distance relationships are not easy. They require even more vigilance than the “typical” relationship. And these types of issues arise more often in long-distance relationships because of all the freedom each person has. But the bottom line is still the same: When each person is out in the world, they should be asking some important questions.. 1. Would (name here) be okay with my behavior? 2. Am I being respectful to my relationship? 3. Would I be okay if (he/she) was doing this same thing?

You see, your partner should have your back when they’re out in the world. You need to ask yourself if you think he does.

All the best,

THE GUYS

ps. We hope you’ll share our site with friends. Thanks! (If you have questions/comments, please leave them in the comments’ section below.)

13 Comments on Is this normal behavior?

  1. I’ve been talking to a guy daily for 4 months who lives in another country. We both shy away from labeling what kind of relationship we have. He has been up front and honest since day 1. First time we spoke he told me his girlfriend left him for another guy but he is still in love with her and hopes to get her back someday. They are still friends. As we have continued to chat and skype we have shared a lot (have become emotionally connected) There are times when we both tease each other by calling ourselves “best friends” and “I love you”….never defining what KIND of love. His country is 2nd world country and he is miserable trying his best to find steady work and make a better life for himself there. (Btw. He’s never asked me for money and he’s certainly not after a green card)
    He is also what I would call “emotionally unavailable.” Although he has slowly opened up to me as trust has been built and he feels comfortable. He tells me “you make me so happy” and he has almost an obsession with wanting to make ME happy. …always wanting to hear about my day (work is stressful) and making sure I’m ok.
    Here’s my problem. Most of the time I am fine …meaning…I continue to live my life here as I believe this is the healthiest way to be. However, some days I long for him and get depressed and/or jealous about his ex gf. I NEVER mention her, but he posts pics of her and him hanging out on FB. I have stopped looking at his FB page. (We aren’t “friends”)

    Sometimes I want to say to him “I think it’s best that we don’t chat as much or in the ways that we do bc you are still in love with your ex. I do not want to feel like a temporary online girlfriend bc that’s not fair to me.” Is this something you would suggest???

    Every now and then we speak about him visiting me here in the US…to get to know one another in person. I don’t push the issue and told him to let me know when he is ready. (He has many problems to deal with over there at the moment)

    My thoughts are that he is in a battle with everything. His feelings for me vs his feelings for his ex. And whether or not he wants/needs to leave his country. I am a healthy support to him without being his therapist. (I try to keep that fine line boundary in place)

    Bottom line: do I cut this off now out of fear that I will eventually get hurt? Do I communicate what I mentioned above? Or do I continue on with life with a tiny hope that we will meet someday? Doing my best to keep my emotions in check.
    And do you agree with my thoughts of him just trying to figure everything out ? Give him time?

    Ugh sorry if this is all a bit confusing. I did my best to summarize. I really need a “outsider” male’s opinion.

  2. Sorry. I think I posted my story under what is supposed to be comments to another post. Oops

  3. @Anne…..It’s okay. We can give you our opinion here. We like that he’s been upfront with you. But he’s also sending you mixed signals. (Meaning, his actions don’t necessarily match his words.) However, we believe he sees you only as a support, someone who fills the emotional void he feels from missing his ex. And the bottom line is just that: He’s still in love with his ex-girlfriend. We’re not saying this has no chance of working out—we never say never—but it seems unlikely. Let’s say he gets over his girlfriend, that’s just step one. Step two is seeing if the two of you could make a relationship work. Just because you’re close on Skype doesn’t mean it will work in person. It could, but it also couldn’t. Honestly, this doesn’t seem healthy for you, because we think you’re stuck in an emotional holding pattern and that’s keeping you from being open to other possibilities. That’s just our opinion. Thoughts?

  4. I agree. “Emotional holding pattern” hit me hard. That’s exactly what’s beginning to happen. I have spent many months working on myself….but still I’m human and 36 years old so the loneliness gets worse over time. I want someone I can truly connect with. So I ,too ,have filled my void with him. I quit dating in August to just take a break from the stress of it all. (It’s so very hard to find a good man these days) I focused my energy on self awareness. I have 2 dates next week since August, but I’m only going so I can have a distraction. You helped a lot with the clarity and possible REALITIES of it all. Thank you so much. You’ve validated my thoughts.

    Do you have any suggestions about how I should go about dealing with it from here? I really want to just be honest and say “I’m becoming more and more attached to you and it’s not healthy for me as I know this will probably end in me getting hurt. I care for you but I need to…not chat as often? Or do I cut it off completely? Ugh
    You know why I’m asking you this:) I want to say it in a way that doesn’t make me look pathetic….and in a way that will let him know he’s losing me in hopes he will chase me. I’m pretty sure his reaction will be “ok”…and he will feel a sense of loss but I believe he will just go find another woman to fill the void.

    The other part of me says “wait. Keep your cool. Date again and see if he ever comes around” in the meantime I might find someone else. but I don’t know if this will work for me emotionally. I know myself well and it’s a 50/50 chance

    Thank you again for your quick response. This might be the most complicated relationship I’ve dealt with (in terms of having no idea what to say to him) so I appreciate any advice.

    One addition: I’ve been a bit distant lately. He writes more and wants to know what’s wrong and sends me sweet texts. Also: he has mentioned many times “I don’t know what I want. I’m so conflicted. He tells me he is conflicted about work, but I know it’s also about me vs his ex.

  5. @Anne……Question: What country is he from? You? (We’re assuming you’re from USA or Canada perhaps) Anyway, we don’t think you look pathetic. In fact there is NOTHING pathetic about you, or what’s going on at all. So stop thinking that. Dating is hard, really hard. And there’s a lot of randomness and luck to it. But it also requires fortitude, like looking for a job. You gotta keep putting yourself out there. (We know. Not very romantic.) The romance comes after the business approach. :)
    As per your situation. Like we said, we never say never. He’s kind of living in a fantasy world when it comes to his ex and you. Both are not steeped in reality for different reasons. Just because he’s in love with her still doesn’t mean it will work out for him even if she does come back. Clearly she dumped him for specific reasons and those reasons haven’t suddenly disappeared. On the flip side, he’s not giving you a fair shake because of it, even if he feels strongly connected to you. In some ways you’re both in holding patterns. Hmmm…..Our suggestion: Be honest with him. (It’s not pathetic.) It’s okay to tell him that you’ve begun to develop feelings for him. Remember, the whole goal of a long-distance relationship is to one day live in the same city with one another. You should tell him that if that isn’t the goal, this is not working for you. We can tell you that he’s going to give you a wishy-washy response and throw you a bone, just enough to keep you in the fold, but not enough that much will change.(We hope we’re wrong) At which point you say, “We can still talk, but I need to cut it back. If this isn’t going anywhere, I need to put myself out there and this is preventing me from doing that.” And then we suggest you get yourself back out there, or try to be open once again. He should be trying to figure out how the two of you can meet somehow. (If he was totally in love with you.) What do you think? ps. Cutting it back is the first step. At some point, you may just need to move on entirely if he’s not going to step up to the plate and go for it.

  6. I can’t thank you enough for helping me. Really….and it’s working. I will take your advice.

    I am from US. He is from Albania. Over 50% unemployment rate. Thousands left recently to find work in Germany. His mother is sick and he is the “only boy” to take care of her so he did say this was one reason he feels like he can’t leave right now. He is currently working with his cousin at a summer job but has nothing lined up after that. His only hope is getting accepted into the police academy. (He will know in about 2 weeks…he was excited at first but now says he doesn’t know what he wants to do) He is very depressed but does not “dump” on me as he says he doesn’t like talking about his problems. However, he’s had some difficult days and has opened up to me…then the next day he wants to know if my opinion of him has changed. (Insecure) He feels like a complete loser. I know if a man can’t provide (job) and have respect from others..it makes them feel worthless. Like I said before…I have been careful not to be his therapist and not offer solutions…but to merely remind him that his circumstances do not define who he is. I listen and support him by reminding him of his good qualities and to please not lose hope.
    I mentioned a long time ago …before I had feelings for him…that I will help him find work here. He says living in America is a dream that he doesn’t think will ever become a reality bc it would be like us winning the lottery. I told him that’s not true bc I can make things happen. He’s forever grateful. I told him “the invite is there. ” I don’t want you to feel pressured so I will not mention it again. You just tell me when/if you are ready. You can visit first and see if you like it.” My friends have also offered to help get him over him financially and my brother owns a company in his line of work and has offered to hire him (sponser) or help him find a job. He said “I will wait to see if I’m accepted to academy then I will let you know.”
    I have learned he has a very difficult time accepting any kind of “help.” I think it makes him feel emasculated.

    It’s strange….I don’t fret about all of this during the day. Only at night when I’m exhausted:)

    You are right. I will do my best to put myself out there again. God I hate dating 😂Haha. But I need to just do it bc I’m starting to become a hermit.

    Thank you for reminding me I’m not pathetic. I know I have a lot to offer. that’s one of the things I’m working on….loving myself and not beating myself up with negative “self talk.” I was raised in an environment where I was “never good enough.” It’s taken many years to progress out of that. Still more work to be done:)

    I do believe that if a guy is in love he will do everything/anything to make it happen. For now I will cut back as I have been doing this for 2 days now. (I must say…I’m a champ at not texting and sticking to my guns when I make up my mind to not do that:) hehe. In the meantime I will go out on those dates and try to have a good time. My work helps too as it is my passion. (Piano teacher/performer/classical)
    If he chooses to stay in Albania (he has to make that decision in a few weeks) I will do what you suggested and be honest.

    Whew. I feel like a burden has been lifted from my mind today. Thanks to you I now have a plan and this brings me comfort and confidence.

    Thank you again. I appreciate you. If you have anything else to add please respond :)

  7. @Anne….We’re glad we’re able to help you process your situation. One thing: We understand that you want to help him. But this must be a selfless act. (As much as any act can be selfless.) Meaning, helping him come to the US is a very generous thing to do, but it needs to be separate from your romantic hopes. Obviously, it’s not going to be completely separate, but there are two issues right now and the more they don’t intersect the better. 1. His job situation. 2. Your relationship (Maybe they are related, but they shouldn’t be.) We’re sure you can surmise what we’re getting at. ps. We’re glad you’re putting yourself out there. And yes, your work sounds like it helps ground you, and provides a creative outlet, as well as excitement. A nice combination. You’re lucky. (We have a few musicians here too!) Finally: We hope you let your friends know about us. Thanks.

  8. I completely agree. I needed to hear that. Reality check! Selfless….without expectations …I won’t be able to help having romantic expectations/hopes so that seals the deal for me. That’s not fair to him or me. His whole life is on the line and that’s a far bigger problem than I can ever imagine. Onward I go to new things. Haha.

    YES I will tell my friends about you. I’ve already told 3;)

  9. @Anne…..We hope it works out on all fronts. Keep us posted. Take care. ps. And thanks for spreading the word about us.

  10. Hello,
    I went out of my way to look online for a solution to a similar situation and I stumbled on this beautiful site.
    I am in a long distance relationship with a former platonic friend who we recently reunited via linkedin after 8 years of being out of touch. He was glad to know I was not yet married and asked for a serious relationship which began 6 months ago. We text and talk often, and we only met physically a few months ago when I traveled to his country for vacation with my brother. I spent a week extra after my brother returned simply to give us time to connect and we had a good time together with a bit more intimacy, during which I met his family members as well.

    Now since I returned, his calls have been far apart, my messages aren’t responded to early enough, initially I tried to explain it away because any time we spoke, he seemed to have a lot he was working on. After a while I decided to reduce my contacts and noticed he made more attempts to text and drive the conversation, nonetheless it is a far cry from what we had before I visited.

    My brother is of the opinion that I pull away completely and risk not hearing from him again, but really not sure what to do, because whenever he calls, he seems to have some reason for being away without any accusation or questions from me
    I’m near mid thirties actually, and him being Pisces made me excuse some of his disappearing acts
    What do you think/advice?

  11. @Tygirl…….Being Pisces is no excuse. We tend to agree with your brother. Why not try pulling back and letting him initiate all contact. Look, you’re not happy with how things are going, so you’ve really got nothing to lose. And remember: Being busy is just an excuse guys use when they don’t feel like putting in the time and effort. Do you have any plans for another visit? If not, he should be the one to bring that up.

  12. I truly appreciate this quick feedback. Pulling away it is then, because I kind of feel taken for granted lately, so my plan is to ignore his whatsapp calls and text for a week and see what happens, because he used to make regular phonecalls before but not once since I returned from vacation, and the whatsapp calls he makes are usually so brief because he is either driving to work when he calls or the calls are intercepted by other regular calls, reducing our conversations to just pleasantries. the plan was that he would visit for a formal introduction to my family,…but now he keeps having a busier schedule and no concrete date in sight.
    I do not plan to visit before does anyway.

  13. @Tygirl…..You’re welcome. Sounds like a plan. Keep us posted.

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