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How much should I share?

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  November 3, 2009 07:00 AM

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Don't hate the player, hate the game. Or something like that.

Q: When does an on-a-need-to-know-basis situation become a too-much-information situation?

So I just started exclusively dating this girl who I think is perfect for me. We have been seeing each other on and off for about a year and just last month mutually decided to make it exclusive.

Part of the reason that it took so long for me to decide is that I was dating several people over the past year and was not ready to commit. I was a single guy in my mid 30s and was playing around without serious intentions. During my playing around days, I accumulated several friends that were simply party friends and were nothing more (no possibility of a long-term relationship).

Several important virtues that I think are critical to a successful relationship are honesty, transparency, and communication. With that in mind, I am stuck in a situation that I don’t quite know how to handle. Once I started to date my girlfriend, I severed all ties to the party girls and told them that I was now in a committed relationship and that I could not and would not want to party with them any longer. But over the past month I have been contacted by several party girls who were checking in on how my relationship was coming along and wanted to see if we could get together.

Initially I thought that it was fair to explain this to my GF in the hopes that she would understand -- and that if by some chance she came across these texts or e-mails, she would not misinterpret them. But as time went on, these emails became a bit more frequent and much more inappropriate.

My initial course of action was to completely ignore the communications with the hopes that they would just stop. That turned out to be not the case. While I think my GF handled the initial conversation very well and appreciated my honesty, I think that this might take a toll on her in the long run (as I got a fairly graphic and detailed text that I shared with her a few days ago). I do not want to lie to her, but I think it would not be prudent for me to keep sharing these messages with her.

– AG, Boston

A: Party friends, eh? Sounds like you were having quite the celebration. I have to wonder how many party friends you had, AG.

Your gut is right -- you do not have to share the content of these texts with your girlfriend. The last thing she needs is to see a bunch of racy messages from your past flings. I’m all for honesty and sharing, but you don’t want to be cruel.

Just tell her, in one blanket statement, that if and when you get contacted by these women from your past, you’ll make it clear that you’re no longer available. Then do that. As you get these texts, write back to these women that their messages are no longer welcome or appropriate. Eventually, they’ll go away.

And really, if it’s not too much trouble, just change your cell number and get a new e-mail account. Your real friends and family will learn your new contact information. Your old “party friends” probably don’t need to. Changing your number would show some real commitment, wouldn’t it?

Your girlfriend has been in your life for a year. She obviously knows that you had an active social life before the two of you became exclusive. Maybe you can tell her your concerns about honesty vs. cruelty. Maybe you can set some disclosure boundaries together.

Readers? Would you want to know if your significant other’s old “party friends” were making contact? Is this letter evidence that people with "party friends" can commit? Is 100 percent transparency a good thing? Please share thoughts with AG here.

– 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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