He Wants To See Other Girls, Is He Using Me?

A woman wonders if the guy wants to see other women because he’s just not that into her.

Originally appeared at She Said He Said

Dear Sexes: I’ve been dating a guy for the past three months. He said he wanted to keep things open = dating other people. Up until a month ago, we weren’t seeing anyone else. This week he told me he met someone and wanted to be honest with me. New girl and him not at the place in their dating “ship” that he and I are at, and he would still like to see me. Well, we went to dinner and a movie, and had a great time the other day. But after digesting all this the next day, I told him that I would prefer we be friends. I just don’t think he was into me, right?

She Said: This is a good choice for you if you weren’t comfortable having this “open” of a relationship… If you need to be the only girl in a guy’s life, then it’s so awesome that you made that clear and were able to not compromise your comfort and security with someone who isn’t feeling the same as you.

If, however, you telling him you wanted to just be friends was merely a pre-emptive strike against a break-up, then maybe it’s a mistake. I firmly believe that people can have strong feelings for more than one person at a time. How we choose to relate to those feelings is a part of setting up our healthy boundaries with others.

The guy you’re dating clearly finds it important to keep a relationship open for a while, and get to know other women. And most likely, those boundaries are just as good and healthy as yours (seeing as he was open with you and respectful about it). If this is the case, it might not actually have any reflection upon how much he likes you. It might just be a reflection upon how he goes about dating and getting to know women.

So the big question you have to ask yourself is this: Regardless of how much I’m guessing he likes me (only he can know that – so ask him if you really want to know!), am I okay with the openness of this relationship? And move forward from there.

He Said: Good move! This guy may have been into you, but he’s also getting into some other things (and some other women). It sounds like you were interested in dating him, and he was/is interested in dating around. It’s totally fine to date around, but two people have to be on the same page. While you were both working under the umbrella of “dating other people”, did you, yourself, ever look elsewhere, or were you mainly focused on him? For some reason, I have the feeling it was him who was doing most of the looking elsewhere.

There are plenty of guys out there who you can have fun with, will make you feel good, take you to dinner and a movie, AND make you (and only you) the center of their attention (on a day-to-day basis). If that’s the type of relationship you prefer, forget about this guy, and get your search on. And if “dating other people” boy comes crawling back to you, when he realizes the grass isn’t always greener, write us back. We’ll help you with the next chapter. For now, you’re writing your own story just fine!

Do you have a question for Eli and Josie? Ask it here!

 

Photo courtesy of eflon

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About She Said He Said

Eli and Josie, friends since college, realized how lucky they were to have one another—an honest friend of the opposite sex who tells it like it is. They wanted to share that with the world and so www.shesaidhesaid.me was born.

Comments

  1. She Said’s response sounds very naive to me. Sounds like the guy wants to play the field, which is fine , but it definitely means he’s not that into to letter writer.

    • I agree with you Sarah. She did the right thing in breaking it off with him and just opting to be friends.

    • There is nothing in the letter to hint that he ever hid his intention to continue dating others, or that she objected to it until *after* he actually dated someone else. I can see how maybe she thought she would be okay with it and then realized she wasn’t once he actually acted on that mutual understanding, but that’s on her to communicate and act on – which she did, and SheSaid commended her for. That’s not naïve.

      If the guy she broke it off with had lied to her or somehow strung her along after she made clear that she was only interested in dating exclusively, then he could be faulted, but I don’t see this as a case of some jerk being “not that into her”. She changed her mind (which is fine) about dating a guy who was honest and open about his dating preferences (which is also fine.) If she felt “used”, as the headline (but not letter) suggest, then I would say that’s her responsibility, not his, for not staying true to herself in the first place. If she knew all along what she really wanted, but lied to him about being okay with dating others when he brought it up, then she’s the one who deserves a scolding, not him.

  2. Doesn’t it matter whether or not they are having sex? If I was having sex with someone who wanted to date others (and have sex with them) then I wouldn’t be okay with that. But if there was no sex going on between me and the other person, I wouldn’t mind if they dated others.

    But that never came up in the original question, nor was it in either answer…

    • I assumed they were having sex because she asked “is he using me”? I took that as a reference to sex. But you are right, it’s not clear.

    • Correction, “using me” is only in the headline, it in the letter.

      Still, it sounds like she is looking for an exclusive relationship so this one’s not for her.

  3. Technically you were using him too. Remember that little thing called autonomy? How about equality? Take some responsibility for entering an open relationship instead of making him out to be “using you”

  4. Eric M. says:

    He is probably poly. Societal prejudice and intolerance toward poly people is far higher than it is toward homosexuals.

  5. Copyleft says:

    Is this sequence of events correct?

    1. He said he wanted to date casually and see other people.
    2. She AGREED and KEPT DATING HIM.
    3. Now he actually is seeing someone else, and she feels used and hurt.

    Boy, it’s a good thing people don’t have to mean what they say, isn’t it? Her dishonestly should be applauded and rewarded.

    • Note: “Used” only appeared in the headline, which was (presumably) not written by the letter-writer but by an editor. In the letter, the only thing she indicates feeling is that his interest in other women means he’s not that into her. I’m not even getting “hurt” out of her letter – just confusion.

      Sequence of events, as I perceive them:
      1. He said he wanted to date casually and see other people.
      2. At the time, she felt OK with this and agreed to continue dating him.
      3. When he did mention meeting someone else he would like to see, she gave it a chance and went on another date with him, after which she realized she felt differently than she initially did and decided this arrangement would not work for her after all.

      People are allowed to change their minds. Honestly, how do you *know* if you’re OK with an open relationship if you don’t give it a shot? She did, and she found it didn’t work for her, because it made her feel like he wasn’t all that interested in her. She could have been wrong, of course, but that still doesn’t mean she would be OK continuing with an open relationship if he did express more interest in her. I think both parties actually acted quite maturely in this situation – it’s not near the train-wreck I”m used to seeing in advice columns.

      But again, the “Is he using me” sentiment wasn’t actually presented in the letter as published here, nor did she say “I’m so hurt/upset/torn.” Just that she broke it off because she didn’t feel he was that interested in her, and was asking others would draw the same conclusion.

      • wellokaythen says:

        Yeah, I had that same reaction to the title. She didn’t ask if she was being used, and she’s not being used, so where does that title come from? The title makes the LW sound less mature than she really is, in my opinion.

      • Copyleft says:

        Fair enough, KKZ. I again mistook the title for something contained in the actual article. I should know better by now!

  6. From the sounds of this letter there was no “using” going on. He said he wanted to keep things open, she didn’t like it and decided to no go down that path. I don’t think anyone is in the wrong here. Just two people who about to try to start a relationship and one concluding they are incompatible.

  7. The Wet One says:

    And here we come down to it. Date exclusively or date a lot of people.

    For my part, until you’ve settled on a person who you’re probably going to marry, dating exclusively is dumb. How on earth are you going to find out who you really like and what you want in a partner if you don’t see what’s out there. How do you know if you’re not selling yourself short?

    Who’s better off? The person who dated 60 different people in over a few years and then settled on one, or the person who dated 3 people exclusively over the same time span and settled on one? Which person likely better knows what kind of person they like, what kind of person they don’t like and what the world has to offer?

    I know what our culture seems to demand and I know what rationally makes sense. BTW, I didn’t say have sex with any of these people (but I know half of you responding to this will ignore that fact). I’m just saying, how do you know who’s best for you if you don’t shop around a bit? I think we would all make better choices in partners if we took the initial stages of dating (say the first month or so) waay less seriously and dated several people. Hopefully, in month 1, too little jealously will have built up to be terribly embittered. As well, if women “used men” as much as men “used women”, it seems pretty fair to me. Why get hung up on someone you’ve only known 2 weeks? At the same time, why get locked into an exclusive relationship just because you went out with someone 3 times?

    The Wet One

  8. John Doe says:

    Poly folks are more discriminated against than atheists (which are more discriminated against than homosexuals)… but they do exist (and it is a growing community). Some people are polyamorous without even knowing about polyamory. He could be a jerk, or he could be poly… this limited insight doesn’t tell enough to decide.

    As a married poly person with children and multiple relationships… I’m open and honest with potential lovers from the beginning. This guy seemed to try on some level. The only way to know his true intentions would be to have that conversation with him directly.

    We need to be less quick to judge, and quicker to ask!

  9. Having had a lot of male friends and some insight, I have known actually known some to date girls as ‘fillers’ until they find someone they’re really into. Whether it’s to get relationship experience, sex, out of boredom, or being lonely. There’s not enough information to really be able to tell if that’s going on. He could just be poly. He could just interested in dating around at the moment. All of that is fine.

    As for the woman changing her mind–these things happen. Something seems like a good idea until you try it. Nothing wrong with testing out this kind of relationship and realizing it doesn’t work. You don’t always know if you don’t try. It works other types of situations too. Say you find a much older or much younger partner and you click. You give it a shot. There’s always the possibility that the age difference will prove too much to handle, but you can’t always be sure of that at the beginning. I don’t think she was being dishonest, the realization just clicked when he found this other girl.

  10. Hambone says:

    What ppl seem to be missing is that at the end she says “I guess he was that into me?”
    She DID NOT say “I am just not as comfortable with this situation as I thought I would be.”

    BIG difference.

    Instead of own her decisions… she deflects it onto him.

    Typical.

  11. medic mind says:

    She’s right- he’s not that into her. So she made the right decisIon. They were both honest and that’s good.

    • hambone says:

      She should have concluded “he’s not that into me” when he first proposed he wanted an open relationship (when they 1st started dating.) NOT after 3 months of dating.

      What irks me is the passing of “he’s not that into me” or the erroneous article title “did he use me?”

      Why is this about HIM!!! He was the only one that was upfront with want he really wanted from day1.

      Yet when she changes her mind, it’s something about HIM (he’s not that into me.)

      No, you thought you could change his mind but couldn’t.

      • You also have to look at dating conventions. The first month or so, you’re expected to not be exclusive. It’s the courting phase, and in today’s world that means seeing or hooking up with other people (or if it’s online dating, continuing to message others in case this one doesn’t work out). She might have thought that by 3 months they would have gotten past that point and that they’d become exclusive.

  12. From looking at this tiny fragment I would say that you are both playing relationship games. Being poly since ’71. I have had a number of different relationships and an open marriage. Sometimes I have dated several women at the same time. You know four of us going out for dinner and dancing. (love to dance and have danced for hours with no breaks so extra partners is a good thing). At other times when I want things to be very intense its just my one date and I. But you have to know what YOU are comfortable with, so regardless of anything else this was a wonderful growing experience.

    I would say that most likely that it was your avoiding the relationship. If it was me I would ask him if I could meet the other person. Then you would have a better understanding of where his head was at.

    With some of my ex-wife’s lovers they were kept distant. But on several occasions we had dinner together or I would take her to his hotel room if it was just a fuck buddy. Meeting the other people is one of the biggest steps in an open relationship. Because then all of the persons involved are aware of each other. At the same time it can throw up red flags because I the other is afraid of being known it could be trouble.

    On one occasion I helped one of my wife’s lovers relax a lot because he was terrifed of me. He had been shot at, stabbed, and beat up by angry husbands. So when I smiled and shook his hand and said, Enjoy fucking my wife he just about fainted.

    Open-ness can be very good and it can be very scary; its your life enjoy it and be comfortable and honest with yourself!

  13. Great thoughts, James Love. Is the other girl aware of her? If so, he really just wants an open relationship. If not, he’s probably just not that into her and using her as a filler girlfriend until he finds someone he’s really into.

  14. really says:

    All I can say to open relationships is “STD”. Rather you than me.

    • I never said that there wasn’t ocassional problems. Yeah, every now and then one of my wife’s lovers would pickup stuff. Since we separated that hasn’t been a problem, can you say pre-screening. When I find someone I’m interested in we go to the Health Department and get screened together. After all AIDS is forever!

  15. At least the guy was honest with her in the begining, she should have backed out then! Who wants to be an option?! We all want to be the one & only, don’t lie!
    I just had it sprung on me yesterday that the guy wants to have an open relationship! We haven’t had sex yet, which was because he said he wanted to take things slow. I was fine with that, but that was all he said, “take things slow”. I even asked him about another female, and he denied it, well I finally caught him out! Now he’s telling me we could still be more that he just needs to make sure he’s with the right one, and so wants to date others, and he wanted it this way all along. He did apologise for not telling me up-front. I have been talking to him for almost six months, so I told him if his mind wasn’t made up at this point then I’m not the one for him.
    I refuse to be an option. Here’s how it works in the dating world…First 8 dates or so = option, dating regularily, hanging out at eachothers homes & meeting parents = a potential pair, but a pair non the less, having sex, met the family = partnership/relationship. What’s so hard to understand people!
    He’s mad at me for not agreeing to the whole open relationship thing! I have told him repeatedly, “I’m old fashion in my beliefs!”

    • It sounds to me like you are living in two different worlds. If you want to understand him better I would suggest that you watch the Showtime series Polyamory on Thursday nights. It is also available in the on demand section Specials. Its to bad that you put limits on love but at least you found out now. He was doing you favor by being honest. Its far better to be honest.

      I have a number of friends that started out as dates but the fit wasn’t good enough for deeper relationship.

  16. Ok… So I moved on but I kinda still like him & he’s been putting on a front saying to his friends he doesn’t like me all of a sudden cos I asked for his # … Ever since then he lied to my cousin an said that my other cousin tried to get at him? (a yr. Ago) & he’s been callin me from blocked, but stopped than, he’s been making fake profiles on instagram & trying to add me like he’s tryna be nosey, stalk me ect. An it’s creepin me out an I think that’s un-attractive ! & I just don’t know what to do ?! My bestie, said I should wait. N see if he’s trys to talk to me… idk… I’m an impatient person .

  17. Broken Heart says:

    Sounds like she sincerely cared for him in a special way and he didn’t feel the same. Unfortunately, I understand this all too well. After being with my man for almost three yrs he recently said he wanted to date other women and date me too. That it would be acceptable for both of us to see other people while still seeing each other. This broke my heart. How could I continue to see him while knowing he’d also be with another. If I didn’t love him the way I do, it would be tolerable. When you sincerey care about someone, how can you share without it breaking your heart?

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