Dear Miss Emily:

My boyfriend and I have been living between 2 households for over a year.  We started to build our relationship 2 years ago, but waited to date, so to speak, as my life was in a bit of a turmoil. He has been single for 10 years ...a casual dater.....after walking away from an engagement gone wrong. He is a very caring, gentle man whom I never doubt loves me deeply, but here's the thing. While he was single he developed a love to country dance and spent most Fridays at the local club making friends with several single women. He is not open about these relationships, and I have tried to not overreact. Last New Years, he shocked me by announcing that he had quit his job and was moving to where I live to make this relationship work.  He did, but moved to a home on a property his family owns – but says after my sixteen year-old daughter goes to University, I might want to move in with him.  His lady friends from the bar (who are aware of our relationship, but I have never met) continue to call and ask him to take them out dancing. I was not invited – not really a dancer. I finally blew up and said that if you look for trouble you will find it.  I said that I found this behaviour inappropriate. He agreed, when he thought of it in those terms, that he had crossed the line and said that it was not worth it to him. I have since found out that when I was out of town this summer, he went out of town to go dancing.  In his defense, he did tell me that he was going.....but he lied to me about the fact that he stayed the night at someone’s house. He told me that he got home at 3:30 am and napped most of the following day. I was told that he was at an intersection in the town he was dancing in at 10 the following morning. He also continues to web cam it with these friends when I'm not around.  I know this as I have arrived unannounced and he was in the midst of a web visit.  I do not know where he stayed while I was out of town and have not confronted him on this subject. I really do not believe that he did anything intimate on this occasion.  Am I crazy to think this?  At my sister-in-law's wedding this summer, he lent his cell phone to someone to call a cab. It was handed back to me with the screen displaying a call he made to the woman who calls and asks him to take her dancing the night before, for more than 10 minutes.  He doesn't know that I saw it and, in fact, I think I may have deleted the call history inadvertently in my state of shock. He continues to tell me that he has never spoken to her and that she has always just left a message. I struggle everyday with the thought that I am stopping him from being in touch with his friends, but I just can't overlook the possibility that these women are definitely interested in more than a friendship with him. What if I am wrong about my suspicions and they really are just friends?  If they really were just friends, would they not want to meet me and would he not want them to meet me?  Go for dinner etc?  There is nothing good in this situation is there?  Do you think he is cheater?
Doubting His Motives

----------------------------Miss Emily’s advice--------------------

Dear Doubting:

Anything is okay in a relationship as long as both parties agree to the terms. Your boyfriend is used to a certain type of freedom that he was reluctant to abandon.  I don’t advocate his lying to you, by any means, but you have made your point that you do not appreciate this lady-laden hobby of his, and he’s made a decision to agree in theory, but not in practice.  No, he shouldn’t have a close relationship with these woman unless you are given the option to be included, because if he loves you the way you say he does, he shouldn’t care if the two were intertwined (as long as he could trust you to be friendly in their company).  But I don't think he was cheating and that is the reason for his breach of trust while you were gone. He thinks that, somehow, he can keep doing what he loves and prevent you from forcing him with an “It’s me or them” ultimatum.  In this particular case,  I’d give him the freedom he wants and let the chips fall where they may.  Nagging someone to tow-the-line in a relationship rarely works, and invites covert behavior.  Also, consider these options: Confront him with his lies, hoping he will repent and forever change his ways; ask to, at least once, be included in a dance outing, and then you can be sure if you really don't enjoy any aspect of it, and also determine if these dancing partners are a real threat or imagined; you can realize that it rarely works when you ask someone to restrict their freedom in doing something they love.  If you don’t like his affinity for country dance (which requires a female partner), you have the freedom to decide if you want to go it alone.