What Is the Definition of Monogamy?

Hi Evan,

I started dating this guy (met online) about 6 weeks ago. Our first date was one of those dates where we just kept talking and even though we met early, we ended up closing the bar (I only had 2 drinks!). He followed-up the next day, and secured the 2nd date w/in 2 days for the following weekend. Skip a few dates, we sleep together.

After that happened, on our next date (which was a really romantic restaurant here in LA), I told him I need to know for my own health and safety that this is monogamous. He assured me it was. Fast forward 3 more weeks, he’s been swamped with work (high powered attorney at huge firm) and our dates have become more like hang outs, and not as scheduled/formal due to his 100 hour work weeks. He calls me one night (we’d been communicating every day via phone/text) and says that a friend is coming to town this coming weekend who he has hooked up with before and staying with him (this the man who is too busy to hang out the previous weekend). He went on to say that because he likes me and respects me, he wants to tell me this might happen again. I brought up the monogamous conversation and he said “I said it was monogamous unless I was going to sleep with someone else”. For one, BULL, I would have never continued that dinner if he said that.

However, am I in the wrong for telling him to lose my number and have a nice life? I’m of the mind-frame that if a guy likes you, he only sleeps with you. Apparently this girl’s trip was planned prior to our meeting. However since we aren’t official bf/gf, did I over-react? Should I respect that he told me beforehand? If she was planning on coming this whole time, why did he take me on such nice dates, meet my friends, and invite me to a wedding in 2 months?

Thanks in advance!

What could he possibly have meant otherwise? He was monogamous while his penis was in you, but was a free agent once he took it out?

Jenn

Leave it to a lawyer to parse the definition of monogamy.

Your question is particularly interesting for two reasons:

1) You did the right thing by kicking him to the curb.

2) He isn’t as entirely wrong as you think he is.

To explain how I arrive at this conclusion, let me start with a story – one that I’m not sure I’ve told publicly before:

I met my wife at a party in January, 2007. We hooked up (without having sex) a few times before I was scheduled to take a short trip to San Francisco.

I told her the main reason that I was going was to visit Steve, one of my closest friends from college. This was true – sort of. I was going to stay with Steve. But I was also going to go on a long-awaited first date with Jill.

Jill was (and is) a super-cool chick with whom I’d been flirting for a few months. We bantered by email, chatted on the phone for hours, and talked about the excitement of meeting each other – as well as the possibility of a dreaded long-distance relationship. But that was just putting the cart before the horse. We hadn’t even met yet. We put a date on the calendar.

And before that date, I picked up my future wife at a party.

You with me so far? Good.

You somehow found space between monogamy and boyfriend/girlfriend. In my book, there is none.

So let’s recap: Did I lie to the woman I was seeing to obscure the fact that I was going on a date in San Francisco? Absolutely. And it was perfectly defensible. The woman in LA wasn’t my wife yet. She wasn’t even my girlfriend yet. She was a woman I’d met twice. As such, she didn’t have any claims of exclusivity – and, for that matter, I didn’t have any right to expect her not to see any other men at that point.

I went to San Francisco, had a great time, spent the night with Jill, and returned to LA. And while I definitely enjoyed my date, it wasn’t so transcendent that I wanted to uproot my life to make things work. If I already lived in SF, I might have given it a shot. But driving 6 hours every other weekend? I just wasn’t up for it. Instead, I continued to date the first woman in LA. I had absolutely no idea she’d become my girlfriend, much less my wife.

End of story. Mostly.

As it turns out, my wife was still dating on Match.com until we became exclusive. As she should have been. That’s what you do until you are truly monogamous.

Once you’re monogamous, you stop seeing other people.

That’s where your guy fucked up, Jenn.

That’s why you were right to kick him to the curb.

He said you were monogamous and then changed his mind. That is unacceptable, no matter how you slice it. What could he possibly have meant otherwise? He was monogamous while his penis was in you, but was a free agent once he took it out?

Good riddance to him.

However, don’t get too high and mighty on him. Because if he didn’t say that you were monogamous, he wouldn’t have done a single thing wrong.

He would have been just like me in the story above. He had a previous fling and plans on the books. He met and hooked up with a new girl, which complicated things. He didn’t want to cancel his plans with #1 until he was sure about his feelings for you. All perfectly acceptable. If you’re not exclusive, he has the right do do whatever (and whomever) he wants. As do you.

Where you really lose me is your final paragraph:

I’m of the mind-frame that if a guy likes you, he only sleeps with you.

Not remotely true.

Apparently this girl’s trip was planned prior to our meeting. However since we aren’t official bf/gf, did I over-react?

You overreacted if you were just “seeing” him. You didn’t overreact if you were “monogamous”. You somehow found space between monogamy and boyfriend/girlfriend. In my book, there is none.

Moral of the story: if you claim to be monogamous, you should be in a secure relationship. And if you’re not in a secure relationship, then don’t have sex. Problem solved.

Should I respect that he told me beforehand? If she was planning on coming this whole time, why did he take me on such nice dates, meet my friends, and invite me to a wedding in 2 months?

Because he wanted to.

There’s no reason a guy can’t like/be attracted to/sleep with two women simultaneously. It’s up to you whether that’s okay with you or not.