He gets too friendly with other women

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Dear Meredith,

I've been dating this guy for three and a half months now. We've said that we will not be dating other people, and that we are going to see how things go for a little bit before we have the boyfriend/girlfriend talk. I'm 26 and he's 31. I like him, and from what I've seen so far, he is the kind of guy I see myself getting serious with. He is attentive, communicates well, makes effort to see me, and is a nice guy.

My issue: whenever we go out in groups, he gets a little too friendly with other women. I'm not next to him for all these interactions, but from what I see, it seems like small talk and some conversation. I didn't say anything at first because  I didn't (and don't) know if he's friends with these women or just met them. The other day we were at a smaller group gathering where someone introduced both of us to three women. He and the girls kind of branched out and were talking for some time. Then we all gathered to play games. During these games, he seemed to be competing with them, and I felt kind of ignored, to be honest. At the end of the night, once we were back at his place, I brought up how it bothered me that he was being too friendly with women he just met, specifically one of them. We had an argument and I explained how he would not have liked it if I branched off and talked to a guy I just met and was being too friendly.

Matter of fact, a while back he saw a guy talking to me at a bar while he went to the restroom, and he said it made him feel uncomfortable. In the end, he apologized. He said he has a friendly nature and will work on this issue. Yesterday, a week after this discussion, he was at a brunch party that he didn't invite me to (I was OK with that). At this party, he was posting videos and pictures with him and a bunch of women, just smiling. Multiple stories, multiple women.

I think/hope these are just his friends, or friends of friends, but it kind of seemed like he was doing it on purpose. It felt like a slap in the face, to show me he can do whatever he wants. He has been single for a long time and my concern is that even though he told me he is ready to be serious with someone and settle down, he is not there yet. Am I being unreasonable to think it was unnecessary for him to post these kinds of stories on social media? Especially after I told him his extra friendliness with random women bothers me? And he agreed that he wouldn't have liked it if things were reversed? Should I walk away accepting that this is going to be a bigger issue in the future? Should I bring up this conversation again? If so how should I approach it? Am I being unreasonable in my concerns?

– Lost on what to do


It sounds like you're missing some information here.

Yes, sometimes he chooses to spend quality time with women he just met, but in other cases, it might be women he knows. The women in those brunch pics could be longtime friends. They could be people he hasn't seen since before lockdown. After three months of getting to know someone, I think it makes sense to ask, "Who’s important to you? Tell me about the people in your life."

It would help to know when you're seeing a picture of his best friends's wife or one of his own close friends. Any context will help.

I do think you should bring it up again because as much as it stinks to have a talk like this over and over, the issue wasn't resolved. You don't have to accuse him of breaking some rule. Instead, you can ask the questions from the second paragraph here. Tell him you're wondering about his posts.

To me, the bigger issue is that he isn't working to make you feel included. It's not his job to navigate you through all social events, but it sounds like there's little communication about what he wants to do, who he's prioritizing, who you are to him when you're there, etc.

It might also help to hang out with your people, whether it's friends, family, etc. Maybe in that context you'll appreciate that he’s super friendly. Maybe it'll give you a sense of when and why he decides to post photos.

Having a "friendly nature" isn't a flaw if he can be kind to you too. And for the record, I know what it's like to be single for a LONG TIME, and even if I brought a platonic friend to a party of strangers, I'd check in, introduce them to people, and make sure that every so often they feel like I brought them for a reason. That might be all you're asking for.

If the people in his life remain a mystery, yeah, this might be a mismatch. But for now, ask more questions.

– Meredith

Readers? Is there reason to be concerned? How do you make a significant other feel included at a party? Is it wrong to have a "friendly nature" and post pics like this?