By Baila Sebrow

Question

Men are so immature. My mother says they are like little boys. You will see what I mean after you hear my story.

I’m dating a guy, and things have been going really great. He told me how lonely he was until he met me. Now we’re talking about the future, getting married, and everything else. He says he loves me, and we see each other every single day, even if it is for just a few minutes.

I am so good to him. I always cook his favorite foods, which he takes home with him, and I write e-mails for him for work. I order things for him on Amazon when he needs stuff. Don’t get me wrong; he appreciates all that I do for him. The only thing that I ask of him is to get off all the singles groups he belongs to on WhatsApp. He says that it doesn’t mean anything to him, and he stays on those groups for entertainment. But I know that women message him, and he answers them. I confronted him about it, and he says he doesn’t want to be rude. He keeps reassuring me, but I don’t know what to believe anymore. Is it really possible that it means nothing to him, that these women really mean nothing to him?

Response

My answer to your last question is LOL. In other words, it means to laugh out loud about his assertion that he’s on singles’ WhatsApp groups for entertainment purposes only, and that it means nothing to him when he communicates with other women. Something that clearly does not matter to him is how you feel about it; it is your feelings that he has little regard for. But before we get to dissecting his motives and way of thinking, I want to focus my response on you. Here is a loaded question that you need to find a way to answer. Why are you playing the part of dutiful “wifey” to him when you are not married to this guy? You cook his favorite goodies that he takes home with him? Why, exactly, do you “always” do that? Is he physically incapable of preparing or shopping for his own food? Why do you write his e-mails for work? Are you sharing in his salary? And why do you order the things that he needs on Amazon? I think he has proven himself to be quite adept with the keys on a phone and computer.

I am all for being a giver in a relationship. As a matter of fact, when two people give to one another, they each become happy recipients. However, it can become unhealthy when one partner does all the giving, and the other one does all the taking, without giving anything in return. Eventually, the consistent giver starts being taken for granted by the perpetual taker. More importantly, when one partner in the relationship does all the giving without any reciprocation, he or she ends up losing a huge part of himself or herself. And it sounds like that is the juncture you have now reached. Furthermore, it can turn whatever you have with this guy into a toxic relationship, assuming it has not become one already.

You might not agree with what I expressed to you, and it is possible you may even be thinking that you were only interested in an answer to your initial question of whether his female connections should be considered an issue, so why am I crossing into what you may consider uncharted territories? The problem is that from what you are conveying, your concerns and how you relate to one another are signs of an unhealthy relationship. You need to understand that everything that you are experiencing while dating this guy is part of one big picture.

You are in a one-sided relationship, and that is a very lonely place to be. If you think that things will get better once you are married to him, think again. You could be sitting right next to him, having what would seem like a nice conversation, but you will still feel alone because you will be emotionally deprived. When your significant other takes it all and does not see you as someone he needs to give to, a substantial part of yourself will be lost. You will become emotionally exhausted from all the giving. And exhaustion of any kind causes a collapse. In a marriage it is the collapse of the union in one form or another.

You are not just dating this guy; you are there to take care of whatever he needs, and he knows that he can rely on you. What does he do for you to make your life easier? Does he ever offer to pitch in when you are stuck on something or running short on time? Does he make any effort to deepen and fortify your relationship, or are you knocking yourself out to please him for the satisfaction of a tiny acknowledgement? While on that subject, do you cook his meals and whatever else you do for him because you make excuses to yourself that he is just too busy or is not capable of doing simple, necessary personal tasks for himself? And the big question of the day: Are you afraid that if you stop coming to his rescue, this guy will no longer want to continue being in a relationship with you? Should all this continue, the dynamic in your relationship can potentially have disastrous consequences for you. Since you did not share more information with me, I will not be presumptuous and offer other scenarios which I believe are present in your relationship. But I have a strong conviction that there is plenty more that you have not disclosed to me.

Now let’s talk about the one thing you do want from him. You want him to stop his social media philandering. Yep, I said philandering. There are people who falsely assume that online social communication with the opposite gender is perfectly acceptable. Such folks justify their behavior by saying that since they have not met these people in real life it does not matter. What many people do not realize, or choose not to admit to themselves and their significant other, is that online relationships can be considered a form of emotional cheating. Just because there is no physical contact with the person does not mean there is no emotional intimacy. Emotional cheating is not a new concept, but it has become a dangerous common practice since communicating via social media has developed into a standard mode of connecting with others. If the guy you are dating is communicating with other women, even if he is not the one initiating the contact, then he is philandering.

You talk about WhatsApp groups, but what about Facebook and Instagram? I have a strong hunch that he has accounts on those platforms, too. It would be a good idea and simple enough to find out. If it turns out that he is “friending” people of the opposite gender for non-professional reasons or is an active member of singles groups on those platforms, you know what you are dealing with. Even if he is not very active on those groups, the mere fact that he is there while in a serious relationship with you is problematic. Do not allow yourself to be fooled into believing that it is all innocent, even if he does not comment on or “like” pictures and posts. His moral compass might convince him that he is doing nothing wrong, but if he knows that it upsets you, yet disregards your feelings, that is just plain insensitive. I do not agree with your mother’s perception that he is immature. He is behaving in an adult-like manner, but, sadly, in a dishonest and questionable way.

In order to fix whatever is wrong and to heal, you must acknowledge that the way things are going now is not healthy. It is not OK to keep giving and not receive at all. It is not OK for a man you are planning to marry to hang out with other women, even if it is only electronically. This guy wants to have his cake and eat it, too. You must tell him how you feel without mincing words or sugarcoating your true feelings about the way he treats and disrespects you. Refuse to allow him to appease you or reassure you. He already tried that, and you still feel apprehensive about him and the way he is treating you. If he responds to you in ways attempting to make you feel that you are imagining things that are not true, cut him off as he speaks, and make it clear to him that he cannot talk to you that way. Do not be afraid that he will leave. If he does, you will have saved yourself a lifetime of grief. This unhealthy pattern needs to stop immediately.

Baila Sebrow is president of Neshoma Advocates, communications and recruitment liaison for Sovri-Beth Israel, executive director of Teach Our Children, and a shadchanis and shidduch consultant. She can be reached at Bsebrow@aol.com. Questions and comments for the Dating Forum can be submitted to 5townsforum@gmail.com. Read more of Baila Sebrow’s articles at 5TJT.com.

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