Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Infidelity Accusations

My friend Ethan and I were supposed to meet up tonight and babble about exiting new possibilities in our respective lives. So today we got in touch to make plans and he bailed on meeting tonight. Why? Because his long-time girlfriend has been acusing him of cheating on her, and he didn't think it would be cool of him to hang out with me. Good call.

However, I have a few weird thoughts about this issue. First, she is known as his "Imaginary Girlfriend" because most people, myself included, have never met her--but he talks about her all of the time. She seems to be a homebody from what he says. I've invited them out several times, but either they don't show up or Ethan comes alone. This lead to me calling her the imaginary GF--and Ethan readily admitted that several other people have also labeled her as such. He says that he has know friends for over five years that have never met her. This is weird to me.

Anyway, I don't know quite how to deal with this. On the one hand I feel like I should completely back away and not initiate any contact with him, so as to not create any new possible suspicions. But on the other hand, Ethan sounded pretty bummed and distraught about the situation. He seemed to want to talk in depth about it, but we were both at work. We've known each other for only a year, but he has always been incredibly supportive to me and has always been completely willing to lend an ear/shoulder during stressful times in my life. Plus, my impression has been that many of his friends in Chicago are more 'drinking buddy/acquaintences' than confidants. So for these reasons I want to reach out to him--but I don't want to make the problem worse. I am not sure what is the way to be a good friend to him--actually be present and supportive, or disappearing to help resolve the situation.

It seems crazy, but I fear there is a potential that I may be suspect in the eyes of his girlfriend: we exchanged X-mas gifts, sometimes meet for drinks/dinner, email, talk on the phone and share our interest in CBF and biking (she is afraid to ride a bicycle). If this is the case, then I really shouldn't contact him until this blows over.

This shouldn't even be a problem--she should just go out more with him. What sense is there in being suspicious about your partner's activities when you simultaneously refuse to join in? If she spent more time with him outside of their apartment then she wouldn't have to wonder what he was doing when she wasn't there. Crap--now his unpleasant situation has stressed me out too.

Good vibes to Ethan--I hope this gets resolved and we hang out soon.


At 10:27 AM, Blogger equipoise said...

Is there *anyone* you know who has met the imaginary gf?

Assuming she exists, you're right, this shouldn't be a problem at all. But there's no reason for you to stress about it - why don't you just tell him that you want to be a good friend, but you're a little uncomfortable because you don't know what's best for him - being present and supportive, or disappearing for a bit if it would help. Why not let him choose? If there's one thing I've learned it's that it's better to get questions out in the open rather than second-guessing yourself.

What's the worst that could happen?

At 2:39 AM, Blogger jojo said...

No, I don't think any of our mutual friends have met her--but we don't have too many mutual friends.

They are invited to my party this Saturday, so I am going to wait until after then to drop him an email. I think another part of the problem is that my advice to him wouldn't be all that positive. I had an experience with a jealous boyfriend that parallels his a bit too much: Long-term relationship with a person who had been cheated on in the past. Recently started a new job and met new people. Sudden accusations of cheating.

In my situation I tried to be understanding by avoiding any questionable situation, but that only caused him to seek more compliance. The inch-mile syndrome. This escalated until I was extremely unhappy as his demands became too unreasonable and restrictive and his accusations completely ludicris. Basically he went psycho. Therapy and strong drugs were prescribed after I broke up with him. Only at the bitter end did I find out that he was projecting: while accusing me of having affairs with co-workers he was developing a flirtation with a girl he worked with. D'oh!

Since this, I have noticed a pattern with people around me--the people who are the most jealous are generally the ones most likely to cheat themselves. People who don't cheat don't look for it from their partners. So my general advise to someone dealing with a jealous partner is: bail out if the situation doesn't seem temporary and find out if they are projecting their own guilt.

A pessimistic outlook, but advise I wish I would rather have been told, than learned personally.


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