Is All Fair In Love & War?

I have a question.  I met this guy at the gym, we would talk every time we would see each other.  He seemed like a really down to earth guy.  He finally flirted w me and I said well “maybe you should give me your number”, he gladly took mine and called me to ensure I had his. I texted him a few times then straight up asked him if he had a girlfriend:  he responded yes but we can be friends.  We exchanged pictures and he asked if he could see me.  I said no because he had a girlfriend.  He understood and we continued to text.  I spoke to him on the phone and can tell he is not a scumbag dude.  He mentioned that he liked me and said “we can be friends right”? He has been w his girlfriend for 6 months and they don’t live together.

So the question is….is it ok to go out with this guy?  Your thoughts and poll please? – Traci


Here’s the reality. You’re going to go out with him regardless of what I say. You’ve already continued to engage this guy even after he told you he had a girlfriend. There’s no point in playing coy with him. He knows he has you, so you might as well just give in.

You’re saying the right thing, that he has a girlfriend and getting together would be wrong, but even you don’t believe that. You don’t really care. And look, I’ve been there. I justified it, too. And in the end it bit me in the ass. Here’s why: because it waives you the right to complain about how he was a cheater later. You were okay with him cheating when he was cheating with you. It when he cheats *on* you that you have a problem. It makes you a hypocrite and you end up feeling really crappy about yourself. Most of all, it strips you of any leverage. When it blows up in your face, as it often does, you can do nothing but sit on your hands unless you want to be the “crazy girl.” That, too, is a giant waste of time. Anybody who stays with guys like this are in their own personal circle of hell. No need to make it worse for them. These guys rarely date women who are secure and confident. They date women who look the other way because they’re too afraid to face the truth. These guys like drama, despite their claims to the contrary.

Now, let’s play another angle. 6 months? They don’t live together? He’s fair game. He’s not married, he’s not even engaged. He’s probably not totally in to this woman or else he wouldn’t be risking his relationship to exchange what I’ll bet were at the very least risque photos with some random girl he met at his gym. Of course, consider what you’ll be getting: a guy hitting on women at the gym behind your back.

Would it be nice if everybody kept their paws off Other People’s Property? Of course. But that’s not realistic. If there is one thing that sends ice water through some women’s veins it’s the idea that there are women out there who think nothing of sleeping with their man. Or any man, really. Without sex, these women have no power. And if there is another woman out there offering it up, then those women are forced to up their game.  This is why so many women have contempt for women who “give it up too soon” or for porn or prostitution. The more available sex becomes, the less control they have over their man. It terrifies them. As does the reality that a sense of obligation or fear of repercussions, and not a fear of losing them, is usually what keeps men faithful. Or at least prevents them from getting caught. It’s always the people who say that they’re partner would “never” do such a thing that end up with egg on their face. Trust me. Under certain circumstances, there is no such thing as never. We’re all capable of it, despite what some of the perch sitters might say. (And FYI? The people who say they would “never” screw around with someone who is already taken either have and lost OR they’ve never even gotten enough experience to get close to trying.)

This is yet another experience people need to go through to get to that higher level of understanding how the whole dating thing works. You have to know what it’s like to realize you could at any moment lose your partner in order to realize how important it is to keep them happy. You have to know what it’s like to hear someone say all the right things and then blindside you by dumping you. You have to learn that there are unscrupulous people out there and absolutely no guarantees or safeties.

OP, do what you want. Just don’t expect much in return.

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54 Responses to “Is All Fair In Love & War?”

  1. BruceWayne Says:

    “This is yet another experience people need to go through to get to that higher level of understanding how the whole dating thing works. You have to know what it’s like to realize you could at any moment lose your partner in order to realize how important it is to keep them happy. You have to know what it’s like to hear someone say all the right things and then blindside you by dumping you. You have to learn that there are unscrupulous people out there and absolutely no guarantees or safeties.”

    I don’t doubt this is true, but it is a little unsettling. I guess the moral of this lesson would be to stop investing so much of oneself in dating / relationships because there are no guarantees, but I can’t help feeling like that would spiral into complete emotional unavailability. Should people acknowledge that there is no “forever,” but act like there is in order to keep some kind of dating optimism? Or is it possible to be completely emotionally available and positive about dating even if you truly believe that every deep emotional connection you have with someone is only temporary?

    Maybe I’m missing the point. An easier conclusion would be to just appreciate and work on the relationships you really treasure. Kind of a social ‘carpe diem.’

    • Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

      I don’t doubt this is true, but it is a little unsettling.

      It’s supposed to be unsettling. Probably the worst thing that can happen in a relationship is when one or both parties becomes too smug or complacent. People are supposed to fear losing their partner, because there’s a really good chance they will to something or someone. The fear of losing the partner is what is supposed to keep people motivated.

      The take away isn’t to live in fear. It’s to not be smug and understand that you are replaceable. What do you do when you fear you’ll lose your job? You do what you can to be irreplaceable. Same goes for relationships.

      • Anonymous Says:

        Best. Relationship. Advice. Ever.

      • BruceWayne Says:

        Excellent points. But why do your best to be irreplaceable when nobody can truly be irreplaceable? To get as close as you can and hope for the best?

        I must not be understanding this correctly. How can a single person go through his or her life never trusting any commitments that are made to him/her because nothing is forever?

        Example: A man and a woman date for many months. The man proposes the couple move in together. The woman shrugs and obliges, because she can’t ever know if the man really loves her or really cares for her or will really be there for her emotionally. Or even if he does really love her and really wants to be with her, then nothing is forever, and the relationship could be over next week. So why put all the time and energy into moving in together?

        Maybe the answer is “Because she wants to. And if she wants to keep the relationship going, she must constantly strive to improve herself and the relationship.”

        But if everything is so temporary, why would she move in with him in the first place? If the entire relationship could be over at any second, why invest more emotionally into it? I think we all must have to lie to ourselves a little bit in order to just make relationships progress. Like, the woman could choose to believe the man really loves her and wants her, and that the relationship has a long life ahead of it, and move in with him. And then she wouldn’t hesitate to work to make happy lives for both of them.

        Is how this can all work together? Pretending that every serious relationship could have a great future ahead of it? So even though we all know it could be over any second, we choose to think it won’t just to make it work? I apologize for my lack of clarity.

        • dimplz Says:

          I think it’s more like how you make an effort at your place of business to do your best, because you take pride in your work and want to keep your job. Relationships are work as well. And yes, you are replaceable at work and in your relationship. There’s always someone who can do what you do but better. The point is to get them to want to keep YOU around.

    • Crotch Rocket Says:

      [This] is a little unsettling.

      Shouldn’t it be unsettling that, if you get complacent in your relationship, you may lose it?

      I guess the moral of this lesson would be to stop investing so much of oneself in dating / relationships because there are no guarantees

      That’s one way to look at it, but the other is that one shouldn’t get complacent.

      There’s one couple I know that’s been together ~25 years. They’re not married because, as they put it, “we don’t want to ruin our relationship.” They wake up every day knowing they have to keep working at their relationship, because if they don’t the other person could leave. Most married couples seem to think that they’ve “caught” their partner and don’t have to work at it anymore–until the other one threatens divorce.

  2. icara Says:

    Six months? Would you really expect them to be living together after 6 months? Why is that even relevant? If he wants to date others, he should break up with her, right?

    No, there’s nothing wrong with just being friends. But if he wants to get together with you as friends, tell him to bring his girlfriend. If he’s really not trying to cheat on her, that shouldn’t be a problem.

  3. offensivedan Says:

    Yeah, friends. Right.

    Let me start by saying this. If someone is not interested in me or wants to leave for another person, then so be it.

    Second, the OP is going to find out the hard way this guy is a douche. Then she is going to be like so many women and blame men for being dogs. Her friends will support her and tell her the same thing–guys are douches–without reminding her that it was her decision. This is why singers like Adele, who sing about breakups and how the guy was totally at fault, sell lost of records. As long as the blame is placed on the man, everything is okay.

    What appalls me about the OP is that there are so many single guys out there. Why put yourself through this crap when you don’t have to? However, as moxie pointed out, she is going to do what she is going to do. Hopefully, she will learn her lesson.

  4. Dark Sarcasm Says:

    I guess finding your own single fella was out of the question?

  5. Angeline Says:

    “he asked if he could see me. I said no because he had a girlfriend. He understood and we continued to text.”

    But *he’s* the one being judged by the OP – “I could tell by texting and talking to him some on the phone (plus, he’s kinda hot) that he’s not a scumbag dude”. WTF. And the “friends” thing is absurd. The powers of self-delusion are strong in this one.

    If people followed the advice “don’t be smug, and make yourself irreplaceable”, it would forestall so much bad behavior.

  6. b Says:

    Yes, all is fair in love and war, in that he’s not engaged or married, therefore free to determine whether he’d rather end his relationship and date other people (you), or stay put. And you’re free to make your interest known. But It doesn’t mean you should compromise your own values and start seeing this guy one-on-one (which is a dating, not friendship, since there is mutual attraction) while he has a girlfriend. Respect his decision to be in a relationship (even if he doesn’t respect it himself), and just be his gym acquaintance. Don’t text or talk on the phone, or see him outside the gym unless it’s in a group setting. Make it clear that if he were single, you’d be interested. If at some point he becomes available, then go for it, with all the caveats that Moxie and others pointed out. Would you really want to be in the girlfriend’s shoes?

    Good luck with this one.

  7. dimplz Says:

    I don’t really see the point in pursuing something with someone when it’s clear that you’re not a priority. Kind of sets the tone for what could develop, don’t you think?

  8. mari Says:

    He hasn’t broken up with his actual girlfriend to date just you – and is instead trying to have both of you – do this if you want..he may “choose” you in the end, but he is just as likely to continue to have a gf and have a “friendshiip” with you on the side – pointless from your perspective – don’t you want your own real boyfriend?

  9. traci Says:

    I am the original poster. For the record I did say no because he has a girlfriend and continue to say no. My friends told me there is nothing wrong with meeting up as friends. I believe in Karma and I’m trying to avoid any unnecessary drama. So my decsion is still the same, not to meet up with him. I just wanted everyones opinion.

    Its funny to read all the pessimism about me “already making up my mind” and wil “do what I wanna do”.

    Um no. The answer was no and is going to continue to be. #NoBadMistakesHere.

    Thanks for your inputs.

    • Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

      My friends told me there is nothing wrong with meeting up as friends.

      Of course they did. The premise of a man and woman being friends isn’t unreasonable. Implausible in this context? Yes. Men don’t ever mean it when they say to some random woman they met, “hey. let’s be friends!” This is one of those ideas that we use to justify our behavior. Through experience, we learn this.

      Its funny to read all the pessimism about me “already making up my mind” and wil “do what I wanna do”.

      The alleged pessimism of which you speak is based on the fact that you are continuing to indulge and engage this guy. You traded photos with him? Right. Because that’s what friends do. They trade pictures of themselves. Jesus. Friend him on Facebook and be done with it. Oh, right. He has a girlfriend. He can’t do that or he might get caught. The guy’s behavior is shady and you know it. You’re justifying it. We, as objective readers, can hear that and we are pointing out the inconsistencies. Your friends aren’t going to give you objective advice. My guess is they are telling you what you want to hear or you’re framing the story in such a way to get them to tell you what you want to hear. .

      • Crotch Rocket Says:

        The premise of a man and woman being friends isn’t unreasonable. True. It’s entirely reasonable for men and women to be friends if they’re not attracted to each other.

        Implausible in this context? Yes. Men don’t ever mean it when they say to some random woman they met, “hey. let’s be friends!” Also true. If a man hits on a woman, and only after discovering she has a boyfriend (or she discovering he has a girlfriend) suggests they “just be friends”, it’s a total load of crap. That’s what we do to get an “in” so that, when the obstacle is removed (or she’s willing to ignore it, eg. because she’s drunk), we can sleep with her.

        • SJ Says:

          I keep hearing the line from When Harry Met Sally in my head….”Men and women can’t be friends…”

          I agree with the “barrier removal” concept you mention…one less thing to have to navigate around once/if the opportunity arises.

    • dina Says:

      This guy is blatantly trying to have his cake and eat it too. He admits to having a girlfriend so that you won’t get your hopes hope in ever making him your boyfriend and maybe get you attached so that you’ll chase him and give him the attention he is so much in need of. Then he uses that pseudo-genuine ploy, “we can be friends”. pleeze. doesn’t he have enough friends? i’m sure you have enough friends. he was flirting with you to get you attached so you would chase him.

      he sounds very insecure to be honest. in his mind, he probably wants to play the stud, pretending to be a playa who can juggle more than one woman. guys like this are boys, not men.

      if he was really looking for a friend, male or female, he would not have been flirting with you. this guy has completely self-serving, selfish, ulterior motives.

      you did the right thing.

    • Kay Says:

      You wrote in for our thoughts and comments, we’re not your friends, we’re not gonna tell you what we think you wanna hear.

  10. UGH! Says:

    Go for it, Just recall how you met & don’t bee too upset when he does the same thing to you when he meet his next dish. People are STUPID!

    • Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

      I don’t think it’s a case of stupidity. I happen to think I’m a pretty smart and insightful woman. And even *I* fell for someone like this. I justified and I rationalized. I think it has more to do with where you’re at in your life at a certain moment. People can justify anything. It’s pretty easy to do.

      • UGH! Says:

        Oh well I didn’t know this. I mean if even Moxie can fall into something like this well it must be OK.

        At the beginning, middle & end of the day it was a bad choice to enter into a relationship whose foundation was based in deceit.

  11. traci Says:

    Nothing to justify because I won’t be going out with him. A simple “hello” is all he will get in the gym. I believe in Karma and avoiding bad decisions.

    • DrivingMeNutes Says:

      So, essentially, you wrote into Moxie’s blog in order to brag that you can get a “hot” guy to talk to you at the gym and to announce that, unlike other women, you’re smart enough to not get taken in by a guy with a girlfriend. Okay, thanks for the info.

    • Selena Says:

      Simple hello in the gym sounds appropriate. Does that mean you are going to stop texting/calling/exchanging pic’s with him as well?

    • wishing u well Says:

      But you know what, OP? Your “no” does seem to be a bit, well, flimsy. The time for the stand in your beliefs and karma was when he answered your question about having a girlfriend in the affirmative. Period. Because in that moment – you knew all that you needed to know. Number one: he wasn’t upfront about not being single. Red flag. He continued to engage. Number two: it shows what category you may potentially fall into when it comes to how he sees you….bangable but not seriously dateable. Number three: the fact that you contined to text and talk on the phone after he told you that he is not single shows that possibly you are willing to “wait him out” or may be “bait” for a pump and dump situation. Is this how you see yourself? I didn’t think so. You’ve got to show that you respect yourself, and that’s a stand that is most effective when taken sooner vs later. And last, but not least, number four: the fact that you continued on, has the potential to make you seem as if you are “thirsty” and will settle for anything to date this “hot” guy or may try to “win” him away from his current situation. Dating methods employed on reality TV should not be applied to real life scenarios.

      Regardless of whether or not any of this is true, this is what your responses to his actions kind of puts out there. Please try to be more self aware of how your actions can make you seem as if you are willing “bait” for potential dating “predators.” (Of course, this assumes that you aren’t looking for a fling kind of thing). Anyhow, I wish you well.

  12. Kay Says:

    I tell guys im not interested in that i have a boyfriend, sometimes its just easier than explaining my lack of interest. 100% of the time, they ask for my number anyway so ‘we could be friends’. I have male friends but I know that a guy hitting on me and asking for my number DOES NOT JUST WANT TO BE FRIENDS. In the past I thought so, however, I soon learned that they were always trying to find a way ‘in’.

    If the girlfriend doesn’t know he texting, talking with and flirting with you, he’s obviously trying to hide something. Think about it, would you want your boyfriend flirting with a woman and asking her out, even as friends, without your knowledge? Whatever he does, just think, ‘if my boyfriend did this, would it be ok, would I be comfortable with it?’ My bet is, you won’t. Would you act this was if you had boyfriend?

    News flash, he’s acting like a scumbag dude. You like him and is therefore, trying to justify his actions.

  13. LT Says:

    And now after all the comments the OP is saying, “A simple “hello” is all he will get in the gym. I believe in Karma and avoiding bad decisions”.

    So what about the calling and the texting?? Now all of a sudden you’re just going to say hello when and if you see him at the gym?? I’m not buying it.

    Hey I think if we all stay single long enough we find ourselves in these situations and they all seem fun at first but they usually end very badly.

    • Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

      Hey I think if we all stay single long enough we find ourselves in these situations and they all seem fun at first but they usually end very badly.

      I honestly believe that being single for a good stretch of time when you want a relationship has a very adverse affect on people. It makes them more aggressive. And the harsh truth is that it’s a dog eat dog world out there in the dating scene. People can be ruthless when they feel pushed in to a corner.

      • Selena Says:

        I think being single for a good stretch of time when you want a relationship can perhaps make a person more eager for attention. And with that attention, can come the rationalizations – like “All is fair in love and war”, etc.

  14. traci Says:

    What a tough crowd Lol. The texting lasted an hour. Then I wrote in for everyones opinion. My mind was already set on not going out with him. My friends tried to convience me otherwise. To answer your question, texts have stopped. This is all within a 48 hour period.

    Thanks dor all the assumption, but most importantly, feedback.

    • Selena Says:

      I’m curious why your friends would encourage you to go out with a guy who has a girlfriend. What’s up with that?

      • Crotch Rocket Says:

        Her friends may encourage it because they think it’s what she wants to hear, they want her to remain single like them, it makes them feel better about their own similar mistakes, it reinforces their beliefs that all men are scum, etc. In the end, though, it doesn’t matter why. It’s simply a bad idea, and she should have firmly placed this guy in the “acquaintance” zone as soon as she discovered he was taken.

    • Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

      Your friends tried to convince you otherwise? More evidence that women should never go to their girlfriends for dating advice.

      You’re saying that you had made up your mind but just wanted our opinions. Why? I ask because I’ve done this too. I swore up and down I knew the right thing to do and just wanted to hear what everybody else had to say. But the truth is, I was looking for anybody to justify my rationalizations.

      I’m not coming down on you. I’m just trying to point out that your words and your actions are inconsistent, which usually means you’re not as set on your decision as you say you are.

      • DrivingMeNutes Says:

        Please. This whole scenario is just her attempt to prove to herself that she’s “better” than other women. Why would anyone even present this situation to their “friends” as some sort of problem in need of resolution? They’re advising her to do the “wrong” thing but she’s better than that (and them.) Then, she goes to the Internet to present her “problem” – knowing full well that the Internet, much like the Jerry Springer Show, is a place where people go to receive philophically improverished moral advice. He’s a cheater! Don’t date him girl! So, now she can say, “I would NEVER do that.” I can’t even understand why anyone is indulging this.

        • Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

          So, now she can say, “I would NEVER do that.”

          Another similar line is when women (and I see it hear all the time and makes me want to gouge my eyes out) say something along the lines of:

          “I’ve never heard of something like that!” (Like the dinner whore phenomenon. Unless you live in a cave, yes, you have.)
          “I’ve had the exact opposite experience.” (Like the discussion of women withholding sex.)

          Translation: I would NEVER do that! I’m different! I’m better!

        • Selena Says:

          I can. Some of us have been on one, the other, or both sides of this kind of drama.

          Plus, it’s a dull day. :)

          • DrivingMeNutes Says:

            Well, them let me be the one to throw the first chair.

            • Selena Says:

              This poster aside…maybe we could debate the old adage. Is really all fair in love? Or is this merely a rationalization to do what we want regardless of the consequences, or who may get hurt?

              Does the degree of commitment matter? That is – is it okay to pursue involvement with someone who states they have a bf/gf but isn’t co-habitating? Co-habitating, but not married? Married, but not happily so? Is there a line when all ISN’T fair when it comes to love? Where is that line drawn?

              • SJ Says:

                All is not fair in war. See Geneva Conventions, etc.

                It shoudn’t be in love, either. Unless we really are no better than the beasts. And then I would argue what we are talking about isn’t “love”, it’s “lust”.

      • Selena Says:

        If most of us had said, “Sure, go out with him – all is fair in love and war!” – would that have influenced your decision Traci?

    • chillybeans Says:

      OP to do list:

      1)get new friends

      2) find new gym

      3) acquire moral compass

    • Mark Says:

      I wrote my response to the original letter without reading the comments first. I did not know that Traci chimed in.

      That does not alter my position.

      Karma has nothing to do with it.

      The plain and simple fact is that you did not stop things in their tracks when you found out he had a girlfriend. He was involved. Period. That should have been the end of it and You sound smart enough to know it.

  15. traci Says:

    Ps. He wasnt hot ….which you are stuck on, I found him to be just a nice guy,

    • Crotch Rocket Says:

      I found him to be just a nice guy,
      There’s your first problem. If he has a girlfriend and is still asking other women out on dates (even if he pretends it’s “just friends”), he’s not a nice guy.

  16. Dark Sarcasm Says:

    But you wrote in, asking if you should go out with a man that admitted he had a girlfriend…now after all this feedback that wasn’t to your liking, all that has changed?

    • traci Says:

      @dark sarcasm… did you not read my precious posts???? All of the responses have confirmed that I did make right decision.

  17. Christina Says:

    I don’t understand what your friends’ opinions have to do with anything. Sounds like you’re doing the right thing in spite of them. If your friends consistently give you advice that goes against what your conscience tells you, then either stop asking them for advice, or get better friends.

  18. Howard Says:

    That was a pretty insightful take on this situation. Let me however look at this from a slightly different angle.

    Traci, as it was pointed out, you are going to go date this guy anyway, so here’s how you play this game.
    Don’t get your head in any exclusive mindset with him or try to convince him to do that. In fact be sure to flirt with other guys blatantly, and be sure he sees it. Let him know you are not too sure about him and that you are going to date other guys. Since you seem hellbent on playing his crazy game, you are going to have to beat him at his game. Make him become the one, trying to convince you about exclusivity.

    Of course you could also pay us all heed, and realize he is setting you up to become part of his harem, and you not being able to complain after the fact, because he was completely honest with you.

  19. mari Says:

    I’m sure other readers have fallen for this sort of thing – I have, and all it did was keep me single while he had me and his actual girlfriend – we never slept toghethe but definitely flirted/sexually explicit texts etc..Only when I finally realized I was being a complete idiot and stopped the “friendship” completely, did I find my own boyfriend. Think my choice had something to do with inexperience with dating, and of course, thinking he was hot, the attenition..and the mistaken belief that he would leave is gf for me..arghhh…anyway, lesson learned – hopefully Traci learns this one much quicker than I did..

  20. Snowflake Says:

    Traci – what makes you think he is telling you the truth about how long he has been with his girlfriend? Lying to my is by omission of the truth which he did when he flirted with you and did not give you the upfront truth he is already in a relationship. So with that knowledge what makes you think he is at all telling the truth to begin with? In my honest opinion, any guy who does that should never be considered at all for a friend let along a potential date. That is not a nice guy. Calling a spade a spade here.

  21. Mark Says:

    I had to re read the original letter to make sure I got it right.

    Lemme see:

    Flirting with the guy at the gym: flirting is cool. Most women really find that a guy hitting on them at the gym isn’t (unless he is super hot in that dreamy sort of way) a no no. True you said flirting, but I suspect you were flirting in a non flirting sort of way.

    The whole text, call, exchange pics thing. OK you are attracted to him. Just say it straight up,

    The “Do you have a girlfriend” question. Well, he was honest about it. Bur from his response it sounded like he was looking to have something on the side or maybe a trade up.

    You spoke to him and you could tell he wasn’t a scumbag. You might be right, yet I can honestly say you have to be kidding. Then to say he has a GF for six months is way over the top. Why the point that they do not live together shouldn’t even enter into the equation.

    I say go ahead and date him. Just don’t be shocked, cry or anything else if he sometime later finds someone else (for whatever reason). It might be that you two were made for each other.

    Rather harsh words, I know. But seriously, what do you expect?

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