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He needs female attention

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  November 10, 2009 09:13 AM

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Craigslist strikes again ....

Q: Hi Meredith,

I read LL every day, so I'm sure you and your readers can help with this one...hopefully they won't be too brutal!

I have been dating my boyfriend for the past three years. The majority of our relationship has been spent an hour apart, with me in Boston and him out in the suburbs. Obviously this requires a great deal of trust, and with a few minor exceptions, we have had no problems.

Until now. He came into Boston last weekend and stayed in my apartment for a couple of days, which I was thrilled about. We had a great weekend, and I started this week in a fantastic mood. But yesterday morning, I signed into my Gmail account only to find his account still signed in. (COMPLETE accident, I don't know any of his passwords and would never, ever snoop.) Quite unfortunately, it was impossible not to notice the multiple emails he had from girls he met on Craigslist (pretty lame, right?). Though I did not open any of them, I noticed that they had attachments and included multiple conversations back and forth. While none of them seemed explicit from the preview line you can see in the Gmail inbox, it was obviously a huge slap in the face.

I confronted him about what happened, and made it very clear how the whole thing made me feel. He has told me that he doesn't know why he sent the e-mails, but he has never met up with any of these people, and would never, ever cheat on me. He has obviously been so beside himself that his sister -- not knowing what happened -- texted me to ask if I knew what was wrong.

I really do love this person, and though we have our disagreements, it is difficult for me to picture life without him. Am I am as big a fool as I think I am for wanting to believe that this was all just an attempt to feel wanted by other women? Should I believe him when he says he has never met any of these people, or should I be running fast in the other direction?

– Putting-On-My-Running-Shoes, Boston

A: POMRS, I do believe him -- but I’m still concerned.

It doesn’t matter that he never met up with these women. He still contacted them by e-mail and asked to see their, um, attachments.

I’d like you to assume that he’s telling you the truth and then evaluate how you feel. If he simply wants to chat with these women for sport – if he gets a high from this type of female attention – are you cool with that? Some women would be fine with it and might consider it to be … interactive pornography. But I think most people wouldn’t be comfortable with that kind of behavior at all.

Instead of accusing him and getting all Sherlock Holmesy about whether he has met up with these women, talk to him about why he needed the outside attention. See if you can get to the bottom of it so that you’ve silenced your concerns. It might be possible.

But if after talking to him you still don’t believe or understand, you’re allowed to lace up those running shoes. Not because he cheated, but because he’s e-mailing strange women. That's enough of a reason.

And for the record, I’d like to say that I’m shocked you didn’t open those e-mails. It must have been quite tempting.

Readers? Is he cheating? Does that even matter? Was this over as soon as she realized he had gone Cragslist crazy? Sharing is caring.

– Meredith



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ABOUT LOVE LETTERS: Welcome to Love Letters, the place for love advice (giving and getting). Globe relationship columnist Meredith Goldstein and Boston.com readers are ready to take your letters and tell you what's what. Have a question? Click here to submit or email us at loveletters@boston.com.
Blogger Meredith Goldstein

Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.

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