He lied about his work friend

Hi Meredith,

I've been in a four-year relationship with my boyfriend. He started a new job last fall and has been very secretive and distant ever since. In November, I asked if he found anyone attractive at his work and he said "there's this one person you would think I'd find attractive."

It was confusing. I would think he'd be attracted to her, but ... he wasn't? Or was he? Early this year, I asked him if he actually found her attractive. After he denied it on several occasions, he answered yes. I couldn't help but feel slightly threatened because he had concealed his thoughts for so long. I asked if he could have less contact with her and to tell me if he spoke to her, and he agreed.

Months later, he still seemed very secretive. I asked again if he had spoken to her and if her number was in his phone. He said it wasn't. Then I found her number in his phone – with several phone calls. When I confronted him he said, "Yes, I have spoken to her multiple times and I have lied about it."

He says there's nothing romantic going on, but I don't understand the lies. Now I don't want him to speak with her because I feel very insecure, and the trust has been broken. Is this reasonable? Am I being too harsh?

– Harsh

There's nothing wrong with your boyfriend noticing that another woman is attractive. There's also nothing wrong with him wanting to be her friend.

But the lies are a problem. Perhaps he started this with dishonesty because he thought it would be easier, but he could have said, "I've found new friend at work. She's fantastic and I want you to meet her at some point." That would have helped you understand his intentions.

I can't tell you what he's doing and why, but it would help to think about the state of your relationship without this woman on your mind. You said your boyfriend was growing distant last fall. Maybe the change had something to do with this woman, but not necessarily. If she didn't exist but your boyfriend's behavior remained the same, would you be happy in the relationship? Would you want to stay?

Instead of setting rules for his workplace, focus on how it feels when you're together. Talk to him about that. The most constructive thing you can do is leave this woman out of it.

– Meredith

Readers? Is this work friend the problem?