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Cathy
Cathy, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1436
Experience:  Ms, MS.Ed., thirty years clinical practice
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My boyfriend casually mentioned that he has a woman friend

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<p>I need advice on how to handle this situation. What is going on here and how should I approach resolving it? I want to preserve my relationship but I don't want to feel insecure.</p><p>My boyfriend casually mentioned that he has a woman friend that emails him sometimes and he had ran into her while shopping the other day. I was disturbed that he had never mentioned her before. Then a couple of months later he mentioned that he had ran into her again and she wanted him to bring his new car over to show it to her husband. He asked me to go with him and meet them. When I asked how he knew her, he clammed up. It seemed odd to me.</p><p>I pressed him to tell me. He said he met her at Kmart one day. They started talking and she asked for his email. He had told her that he was not from this area and didn't know many people. She had mentioned her husband during conversation and he asked if her husband would have a problem with it. She said he didn't mind and that everybody needs a friend.I decided to accept that my boyfriend met this woman and liked her because she is pleasant to be around and attractive. She is married but she befriended him. I think she likes to get attention from men and gets her self esteem from being attractive to them. She presents herself as a woman who likes guy stuff. She likes hunting, NASCAR, restoring old cars etc. </p><p>She implies that she has no women friends, other than her two sisters, because other women are catty towards her due to her good looks. I could understand this to a certain degree because she is very attractive. I told my boyfriend that it bothered me that he hadn't told me about her and that I think it is inappropriate on her part. I think it is disrespectful to her husband. I don't know what she told her husband about how she knows my boyfriend or if he is aware of their email correspondence. I told my boyfriend that I thought it was odd and that I felt uncomfortable about him not telling me about her sooner and being evasive when I asked how he met her and how often he is in contact with her. </p><p>My boyfriend told me he loves me, He said he just thought she was a nice lady. He said that he is happier than he has ever been with me and that this is the best relationship he has ever had. He emailed this woman and told her that he didn't want to communicate with her anymore. I told him that I would never ask him or anyone else to end a friendship on my behalf. I don't want to be involuntarily cast into the role of a jealous, controlling girlfriend. He told me that his relationship with me is important to him and because this has made me uncomfortable, he would rather not continue contact with her.</p><p>I asked him how he would feel if I had a guy friend like this. He said if the roles were reversed and a married man was sending me emails and stating that he likes to have lots of women friends, he would think the guy WAS sleeping with them or was TRYING to sleep with them. At this point, I was satisfied that we had resolved things.</p><p>Then last week, I was using his computer to check my email and send some faxes. While I was at it , I wanted to get a picture off his computer of the two of us that was taken when we were on vacation earlier this month. I wanted to put it on my computer. I then started browsing at his pictures because he has taken many of me and my kids over the past two years, of holidays, birthdays, places we have gone etc. Mrs. Web, I was shocked and stunned to find pictures of this woman. They were very sexy. It looked like the kind of photos a person would post on a dating website. She was in a bikini, wearing some sort of boudoir cat woman outfit, all dressed up for some formal occasion etc. There was also a picture of her and her husband together.</p><p>This has been disturbing me for two weeks now. I told my boyfriend that I was still disturbed by him having an email relationship with this woman.He said "She's a Christian." I told him that I was offended that he was implying that she was a good Christian woman who had done no wrong. I told him it is not right for a married woman to send pictures of herself to him. He said lots of people send pictures of vacations and family to their friends.(Mind you that he does not know that I saw the pictures.) So I said what were the pictures of? He said they were of her and her husband. I said , "So if I looked at the pictures right now, all I would see are pictures of her and her husband. Not any of her by herself?"</p><p>Then he said he didn't even know if he still had them. I asked if he saved them and he said he probably deleted them. At this point, I know that he knows any woman in my shoes would have an issue with this relationship between them. Otherwise he would not have been so secretive and evasive. I hate that he introduced me to her. </p><p>A few days later, I needed to use his computer again. While at it, I looked for the pictures. They were no longer in his picture file. So, I guess he deleted them after our conversation.<em> </em></p><p>As far as I am concerned she was either after him for sex or she just wants to be desired and get a lot of attention. I was very disturbed. </p><p>I sent a copy of the pictures to myself when I discovered them. I was so mad, I wanted to take them and show them to her husband. I didn't do it. I calmed down closed the computer and said nothing about it to my boyfriend. </p><p>However, this is eating me up. I feel betrayed. I love him but I feel like my faith in him is damaged. Should I tell him? Should I contact her and ask what was going on between her and him? Should I let her husband know about it? I don't want to hurt anyone. I want to be mature and do the right thing. What do you suggest?</p>
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Cathy replied 4 years ago.

Hi and thanks for writing JA

 

I am sorry that I missed you in chat. It does appear SOLELY FROM WHAT YOU HAVE POSTED that more is going on than just a casual relationship, because you are right, women do not send men pictures of themselves in bikinis and negligees if they are not also sending sexual overtures.

 

What you do not know at this point is whether or not this is a flirtation which so far is all the proof you have or more. It it was just a flirtation there is nothing really to worry about as many people do this all the time and more so now in the internet generation. Men fantasize about other women all the time which is why publications such as Playboy and Penthouse are so successful.

 

I would take him at his word. If he says he is not having an affair leave it at that. See how things go in the coming weeks and months. If you find more reason to be suspicious of him confront him and see how he reacts.

 

I think it would be very much out of line for you to confront the woman in question or speak to her husband and you would be ill thought of by all involved in this matter.

 

Right now, you have no evidence of an affair just a flirtation so try to take it easy and see how things unfold.

 

If you have more information you would like to add or more questions to ask , please do.

Warm regards,

Cathy

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
My problem is that, I can't stop thinking about it. When my boyfriend hugs me or gives me a compliment, "she " pops into my head and I wonder if he is comparing me to her. She is very attractive. It is making me hold back emotionally from him. I used to feel so close to him and believe that he loves me. Now, I wonder if he would like to find a more desirable woman. It offends me that he would take me to her home and put me in her face so to speak. And you are right about how , if I were to say anything to her or her husband that it would make me look bad. This is frustrating because I am not the one who did anything wrong. And she gets to be "just a nice lady, who has more interests in common with men than women" When I know that she is a married woman doing this behind her husband's back. I wish that I didn't even know about it. My boyfriend does not know that I saw the pictures. He told me that she emailed him and sent him pictures of her family, vacations, etc. To me this was intentionally misleading because he knows it is inappropriate to send photo like that to a man. I want to find a way to be happy in my relationship again. I want an apology that I know I will never get. Should I tell him that I saw the photos? On the other hand, my boyfriend did clearly state that his relationship with me is the most important thing to him. He did ask her to stop contacting him Do you think time will heal my emotional injury? What should I do to get over it?
Expert:  Cathy replied 4 years ago.
Hi and thanks for writing back. Your post is very honest and I can imagine this was difficult for you to share.

I do think time might heal your injury and the gold standard for these types of things is three months. If after three months you are still having difficulties as you describe you need to make an appointment with a counselor to help you to sort things out. Sometimes when we get "stuck" and cannot shake off thoughts that we know are unhealthy for us, a few sessions with a caring and compassionate therapist can help immensely.

I believe that if all of was were as honest as you we would say that when attractive women capture the attention of our men, we feel insecure and start measuring? I think you gave the honest response on this. I do not care how confident and esteemed we might be, it has to put a little chink in our armor when the man we love, even momentarily, gets distracted. Interestingly, I have found that most men I have treated over the years, work with and associate with women who are often younger and more attractive than their partners/wives and do not cheat.

Men fantasize a lot about other women. Many "look", some view pornography, etc and so on, but when it comes right down to it they tend not to stray very often. And on some level, in your specific case, your boyfriend knows that his friend is actually "not just a nice lady". She sounds actually like quite an unhappy lady. Happily married ladies, I do not care what they look like, do not send other men pictures of themselves scantily clad. I know its hard to believe, but even very attractive women can have some very sad esteem issues themselves.

I think you need to trust your boyfriend and take him at his word. I do think you will feel better about this in time, but if not, do get some help. I am not sure if I would tell him or not about viewing the photos. I am one who believes that we need not tell "everything" to our spouses, while there are others who would say it is lying by omission to not tell him. I just do not see how it can do either of you any good right now. From what you have posted he does seem trustworthy and I would take him at his word.

I do not know if this will help you or not, but sometimes when I have clients who report what you are reporting I ask them to gaze into the eyes of their partner while being hugged or cuddled. This takes the focus off of everything but their "other". Try this and see if it does not help you to forget the other woman?

Take good care of yourself. I think in time this will be less intense for you and you will feel much better.
Warm regards,
Cathy
Cathy, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1436
Experience: Ms, MS.Ed., thirty years clinical practice
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Cathy
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Ms, MS.Ed., thirty years clinical practice