Dear Wendy: Exchanging Numbers When You’re In A Relationship

I recently met this guy at a trivia night a couple months ago. He has a girlfriend and I wasn’t attracted to him so when he asked for my number, I figured great!, a new friend. We’ve hung out socially several times since; I’ve met his girlfriend; and I joined a coed summer softball league with him, his girlfriend, and his friends. It’s been really nice to make an intelligent and fun adult buddy post-college and build a new social network. Last weekend, a bunch of us went out for dinner, drinks and dancing and it was a lot of fun. He walked me home afterward and we ended up making out. I’m not into him that way, so my only justification is that I was excessively drunk and it was nice to make out with someone. Besides the overwhelming guilt that arose the next morning when I realized I made out with someone’s boyfriend, I didn’t feel anything. We’ve hung out since then at weekly trivia and it was completely normal. I honestly believe it was just a one-time blip, but my sister insists that even if I don’t like him and vice-versa, the threshold has been broken and it could happen again. I guess my question is: is it inappropriate to maintain this friendship? — Overly Friendly

Believe me, your new “friend” knew exactly what he was doing when he asked for your number, when he hung out with you without his girlfriend around, and when he walked you home after a night of drinking. This kind of dirtbag has no problem basically cheating under his girlfriend’s nose, and by remaining his “friend” you are not only enabling this kind of behavior, you’re setting yourself up for a messy love triangle when his girlfriend inevitably discovers you’ve been making out with her boyfriend. And your friend is right that you’ve opened the door for future indiscretions. If everything was “completely normal” between you two after you made out and he showed no signs of guilt or remorse, this is probably normal behavior for him. It’s just a matter of time before you’re alone together again and drunk and he puts the moves on you once more. Avoid the drama and ditch the dude now. There are plenty of other softball leagues and trivia teams to join out there with potential friends who don’t have so much baggage.

I recently entered into a long-distance relationship with the guy of my dreams. We knew each other from high school and always kept in touch, and now years later we’re together and I couldn’t be happier! Even though we only get to see each other every 4-6 weeks, I’m totally committed to this relationship, but I do have an active social life in my city where I’m trying to make new friends after recently graduating from college. This leads me to my question: Do I have an obligation to tell guys I meet (through sports teams, work or through friends) that I have a boyfriend? It’s not that I want to hide it at all, but I don’t always have an opportunity to drop the “boyfriend” card before a guy shows interest in me. Recently, one guy even asked for my number and because we play on the same sport team I gave it to him to avoid awkwardness. I’ve been feeling weird about it though because he doesn’t know about the boyfriend. How do I handle these sorts of situations in the future? I feel like I’m doing something wrong, even though I know that I’m not interested in these guys. I’ve just found it hard to seamlessly mention my boyfriend in conversation when we don’t see each other that often. — Long Distance GF

With very few exceptions, giving a guy your number in a social setting is basically saying you’re available and interested in dating him. It may feel awkward to mention your boyfriend when he doesn’t organically come up in conversation, but unless you want to give these guys the impression you’re single, you have to find a way. And the truth is, there are lots of appropriate ways to “drop the boyfriend card.” If someone asks what you did the night before, you can say you spent the evening talking to him on the phone. When a guy asks what you’re doing next weekend, you can say you’re not sure but your boyfriend might be visiting (even if you know he’s not). If a guy’s flirting with you, you can ask where he got his cool shirt and tell him how much your boyfriend would like it. And when some guy asks for your number, you can say, “Sure, I’m always looking for new friends, but just so you know I do have a boyfriend so I’m not looking to date anyone right now.” It may feel awkward and perhaps a little presumptuous, but guys will appreciate you not leading them on. And anyone with half a brain will know when you casually mention your boyfriend, what you’re really saying is, “Hey, FYI: I’m not on the market.” And any guy who disregards the information and tries to pursue you anyway isn’t someone you should be friends with.

*Do you have a relationship/dating question I can help with? Send me your letters at [email protected]