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Beware The Emotional Arsonist

I do a little admin work for the man I’m dating and have access to his email account. He told me he is good friends with his ex (as he is with most) and that she is in another relationship. When I saw her name in emails pop up (she has been doing marketing work for him), I was curious (suspicious maybe 🤨) and then found myself opening more emails coming across a few with terms of endearment. (In a couple of emails he used babe, baby and "xx". ) I did tell him I saw these emails and he went into explanation mode regarding their friendship and shared sporting interest and that he uses terms of endearment with many interactions. He told me he mentioned my concerns in conversation to his ex and she now says we should meet. Double date I guess. Do I?

You should definitely meet with her but not with him in tow. Cut out the middle man entirely. Instead you should contact her (you do have her email, after all) and say you heard she wanted to meet. Then ask her to join you for a drink. I’d love it if you could ask her not to say anything to him but that might be expecting too much. She’ll probably go straight to him wondering what’s up. I would, too. When she arrives, sit her down and start comparing notes.

You’re doing admin work for him. She’s doing some marketing. This guy should have a Glassdoor page for all the free labor he’s getting. He better not be paying her but not paying you. Find that out when you meet her, too. Men like him think nothing of asking women to perform free labor.

I suspect her interest in meeting you is genuine. The problem I have isn’t with her. It’s with him. He had no right to run back to her and tell her about your private conversation. This is the thing that will always make me side-eye men who maintain intimate friendships with their ex or really any woman. Friends? Cool. I want my partner to be friends with women, but there’s a line. Hang out with other women all you like even if I’m not there. But do not - DO FUCKING NOT - discuss private aspects of our relationship with them. Whether the friend is a man or a woman is irrelevant. Know that line.

By divulging that conversation you had with him about those emails, he betrayed you. Please don’t over look that. In certain circles there’s a name for what he did.

Triangulation can lead to problems in relationships, and the individual members of the triangulated relationship may experience stress, anxiety, or other mental health concerns as a result of the triangulation. When an individual feels as if he or she has been pushed out of an important relationship by a third party, for example, he or she may often feel angry, confused, or rejected and may experience depression or resentment. Further, when tension and focus is shifted to a third person, that person may feel burdened and frustrated and may attempt to withdraw from the relationship altogether.

This guy took your private concern and moment of vulnerability and shared it with not just a friend, not just a woman friend, but his ex-girlfriend. He now wants you two to hang out together while he’s there so he can watch the you two compete for his attention.

While I firmly believe the majority of ire should be directed at him, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t supicious of why she wants to meet you. It makes me wonder if maybe she’s trying to befriend you so you won’t ask him to cut her out of his life. I really want to be evolved here but I don’t think anybody should be this close or involved with their ex. It’s weird. It’s suspicious. Nuh uh. Nope. That said, he’s not just allowing this relationship to continue he’s encouraging it.

You know how they say that arsonists tend to set the fire then stand in the crowd of onlookers to witness the chaos? That’s your man. He’s an emotional arsonist. He’s setting up scenarios where there’s a high propensity for chaos.

As for those terms of endearment, uh, no. I don’t call my male friends baby or babe. There’s an implied intimacy to those words. One that doesn’t belong in a platonic friendship. I do love how he tried to justify it by saying he does it all the time so it can’t possibly be inappropriate.

Sir. Say less.

Your thoughts?

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