The Domestic Spying Program, or Digital Cameras Are the Devil, too!

Good day, Garland & Chuck!Hope all's well with both your families!

I happened to stumble upon your site- well, because I was just on the search for answers to some of my doubts I had- which was- unfortunately- relationships (Not again! you must be thinking). I hope I won't be boring your mind out about a load of questions I am gonna ask but anyway, just wanna thank you both for your really precious time on behalf of EVERYBODY who... well, seem to have their own set of issues in life... your advice has been really candid and I believe that's what we really need to hear. Ok, let me get straight to rumbling now...

Scenario 1: I am currently dating this guy & this relationship has been going on for about 6 months now. He is from NZ and I won't have doubts that he has many past relationships/flings/one night stands with random girls before we met (he is 29 this year).

Well, I do not want to sound too petty about his past.. anyway, it's not so wrong if he had sexual encounters with a couple of girls when he was unattached. Few weeks ago I was just looking at the pictures in his camera and I chanced upon naked pictures of a lady & some of his, on a bed, in the hotel in which he stayed in while he was on a business trip to china. That was in August 2007, BEFORE we met.

The issue now is, because he constantly has to make business trips to china, indonesia, london etc... should I be worried that he might commit them again? I know that it's probably common for men to have flings while working on a foreign soil... and maybe I should not brood too much about it at all since he was single then.. but women are emotional and sensitive creatures, rendering us the ability to fabricate a whole lot of stories outta one single picture, or to interpret words which might not even mean what we think it is. But the pictures still inflict a certain degree of pain unto me (I am just on his computer now and saw the pictures on one of his folders- which prompted me to write to you).

Should I talk to him about this at all? Or should I let it go, like come on it happened before we met? There is just this feeling of insecurity whenever he is away... & I am aware that it's downright unhealthy to distrust, but circumstances haven't assured me that I hold at least a significant place in his heart.. or is he just going out with me because we just 'happen to meet and hang out before he meet some other ladies''?

Scenario 2: I do not know if 6 months is long enough (my one and only precious relationship was 4 years so I am pretty much very inexperienced), but my boyfriend seems a little phobic when it comes to letting his close peers know about our relationship. Why is that so? Is he still unsure whether he should officially introduce me as his girlfriend? Why does it seem as if he is holding back a little?

Scenario 3: Recently, we had this little side talk about his plans to move to china in a couple of years time. And when i asked if he was really moving there (adding a somewhat cheerful tone and trying to sound casual).. he went ".....not in the near future". And he went on to imply that Yes, in the future but not too soon.. and added "you might be going to the states anyway" (i do have an ambition to move there for studies but I have on more than one occassion assured him that I might just stick with a local university), have I not make my "priorities" clear? Even if I have been just too vague and subtle... I am just a little upset with the fact he had a 'future' planned without me in his life... Ok, I hope the both of you aren't feeling the need to punch the screen or the impulse to curse and swear at me, yet.... But I do feel 'exploited' at some point in our relationship. I do not want him to go out with me simply because he just needed someone to spend his time with, besides slogging off in the office most part of the week.

Thanks once again for your time. It's a long mail but I have no way of truncating them without making sure the necessary details are in.
Muchas gracias.

x T

GARLAND: Thanks for such a candid question. You're candid with us, so I'm gonna' be candid with you.

I think you are the only one in your boyfriend/girlfriend relationship.

I don't mean to be cruel, but I hate to see someone being their own worst enemy. Your "friend" telling you that HIS future plans include HIM moving to China is a 100% certain way of telling you that you are just the woman that he is "hanging out" with at this time. By him following that up with, "You're going to the states, right." He was nailing the coffin shut! An appropriate response by you should have been a moment of polite chatter followed by you leaving and never calling him back again. He wrote it on the wall for you, you just didn't want to read it.

I'm a little puzzled about you roaming through his photo files on his computer. When you look deep enough, you will always find something. He probably knew you did a little snooping, and I bet there's a 50/50 chance that he hoped you'd find them, be offended and then leave him. That way YOU'D be the one who walked out and his conscience would be that much clearer. Let me guess, the file with the naked photos was labelled, "PRIVATE" or "PERSONAL". The kinds of names that no one uses for themselves on their own computer. Those are bait titles, nothing more.

Not telling his friends that you are his "girlfriend" is some classic high school foolishness. I bet that Chuck will tell you that he does this just in case something better comes along - he can slide up to her without the stigma of having a known girlfriend among his friends. Real smooth, real low, real obvious.

Lastly, while I think that it is not uncommon for people to have multiple sex partners, it sounds like you may have a real "Darren James" on your hands. Your boyfriend may have quite an extensive international lovers list and my instincts question the level of your carefree partner's commitment to safety. I hope you keep this one "strapped up" when you are in the bedroom... the sex may be to die for.

Bottom line - cut your losses, wish this one well, and take your heart to someone who'll care for, and deserve, you.

CHUCK: For those who don't surf Garland's link, to be clear: Some solo international travelers will partake in sexual tourism that can be damaging and risky to their partners back home. So whatever you ultimately end up doing with this guy, try to make sure that you have been safe with him, and he has been safe with his past partners.

T, I'll take your scenarios one at a time, rather than just give you one simple answer (i.e., DUMP THIS GUY). You took the time to give some detailed questions, so I'll try to answer them.

Scenario 1: ANOTHER woman snooping on her man's electronical shit? Man, what did you guys do before computers and digital cameras made it so easy for you? I know, you went through his house like 5-0 executing a warrant. There's a chance that he left those files as bait for you to uncover, but it's just as likely he didn't think to conceal or delete them. Because, A) He didn't feel the need to hide proof of something he did before you were together; or, B) He never expected to be snooped on. You know, talk to him if you like about this, but prepare for at least some blowback on your domestic spying program. Some men can laugh things like that off. Others take it more seriously. But you've got other issues with this man anyway.

Scenario 2: You've dated six months and he hasn't introduced you to his close friends yet? Not good. Three months I might understand, but six months... That's half a year. He's trying to keep you from them, because of the things they might tell you about him, or he's trying to keep them from you, because he doesn't foresee you hanging around for very long. Either way, it seems like a jerk move, and you should call him on it.

Scenario 3: Here's the big break, the Chinese Escape Clause. Under other circumstances, I'd suggest that this man was keeping you sort of at arm's length because he doesn't want to get overly involved with someone with a major move on the horizon. Or I'd say that maybe he is taking for granted that you might not want to relocate to China with him, and has thus made his plans without including you. But it just straight up seems as though you are not being considered at all. This guy, based on your scenarios, seems to be using you as an emotional and sexual way station between the current phase of his life, and the next phase. If you don't mind that, stay with him. If you want something more out of a relationship. move on.


The Internet Is the Devil (Part 1)

QUESTION: Hi I think I understand men pretty well, but maybe not. What percentage of men search for adult parties and adult massages on the internet?

I found my boyfriend had been looking for such services on the internet. We have been together for three years, and have been planning on getting married. Unfortunately, for him I'm not so into having a third party as being part of our relationship, or keeping him entertained when I'm not around. He stated that he was just looking and has not had an adult massage or attended an adult party.

He is 36 years old, so it's not like he is still a kid. I understand that some men entertain themselves with pornography or masturbation, but am I being naive? Is there actually a high percentage of 'nice men' out there who are just being discreet, and now I have a misperception?

GARLAND: Thanks for your question!

Honestly, I have no clue about what percentages of men are into "adult massage" or "adult parties." The guys I hang out with are largely married and for the most part older than your 36 year old. However, I do recall one good friend of mine telling me about an "adult massage" place he went to a few times, but he was single and in his 20's when that happened, so I guess that doesn't help.

Okay - let me cut to the chase. I'm my opinion, there's probably a 1 in 3 chance that your man is seriously considering checking out a massage parlor or adult party with high hopes for a "happy ending." Obviously, I don't know your man or anything more than you've told me, but that is just my gut feeling.

Now, as far as the other 2 out of 3 times goes, your man could have simply been curious. Maybe the guys at work were doing some talking and he just wanted to know a little more; Maybe one of his boyz without a computer at home wanted him to get an address for a massage parlor; Maybe a dozen other things could have caused him to look these subjects up. And this leads me to another thought I have about what you've said...

You said that you "FOUND" that your boyfriend had been checking certain things out online - well, my wife and I share a laptop computer and a desktop computer and honestly I can't tell you anything she looks up online, simply because I don't care and I trust her. Now, please don't take what I'm about to say as an assault your character, but... I'm curious as to whether or not you are the kind of girlfriend who checks the last 20 or 30 calls on your boyfriend's cellphone, or you peek at the last 30 or 40 photos on his digital camera when he's not around, This behavior would be both bad and good for your situation - MEANING - it's BAD because deep down it means that you don't trust him and this kind of behavior is one of the first signs that you should not be with him. It is oddly GOOD, because if he has any sense, he knows what you're doing and if he knows that you snoop behind him, then he would have to be stupid to look up sites online that he knows would blow his game out of the water! So, there is a chance that he was just innocently surfing the Internet.

You mentioned "nice men being discreet." I'm not sure if you mean discreetly looking at porn or discreetly getting mind-blowing massages behind their wives backs. I would have to say "Yes" to the former and "I doubt it" to the latter. Yes - there are probably many "nice guys" checking out porn or at a minimum checking out "racey" entertainment. You can't go into a bookstore or news stand and not see magazines with scantily clad women on the cover. We are visual creatures through and through - we can't and we won't ever change that. But we can still be "Nice Men" - loving husbands and boyfriends, fathers and friends. By MAN STANDARDS, looking is completely innocent! Now as far as the "Discreet happy ending" at the massage parlor goes, I think that is over the line for most guys. MOST GUYS, but not all. Some guys can do this [and more] and still go back home to The Wife with a clear conscience. I couldn't, but that is me. And, I know Chuck well enough to know he couldn't either.

All that being said, there is a fair chance that your man may have some sexual curiosities going on, but there are also a very reasonable number of innocent reasons that he could be looking up these things. He's probably still the "Nice Man" you imagine him to be, so be careful not to redefine him based on his last four Google searches! Let's see what Chuck thinks... he'll probably say I'm crazy.

CHUCK: No, my friend, you are NOT crazy.

Curious (can I call you "Curious?"), I'm sorry, Garland and myself don't really have access to any stats on how many men make, shall we say, sex-related searches on the internet. If any men out there would like to give your response on that topic, we'd like to read them, though.

In the alternative, I'm curious about some stats myself. How many women out there feel the need to snoop on their boyfriends', husbands', et al, internet traffic for "suspect" activity? I'm just saying. I may be being naive, but that doesn't speak well of the trust in these relationships.

As for your specific case, Curious, I don't see much cause for concern right now. First of all, the material that he's researching is pretty tame. "Adult parties" and "adult massage" may make you suspicious, but he could be cruising sites like Emperor', or, or even To use my soon-to-be-patented catchphrase, You got off light.

Seriously, though, I think that you are confusing the will to do a search with the will to perform an act. The internet provides an accessibility and anonymity that is almost unheard of. So it is all too easy for someone with a passing interest in something to do a search on the hundreds upon hundreds of websites catering to sexual content. It might mean he has the intent to pursue some things out of your relationship, but not necessarily. Watch out for other danger signs, but don't overreact.

A tip for other women who regularly cruise their men's web browser: I wouldn't dare suggest you stop doing it, but choose your battles carefully. Curious here reacted prematurely, but I think her situation will work out okay. Some guys, however, with more pervese tastes and worse intentions, when confronted with anything less than a smoking gun, may just go completely underground on you. By that I mean, scrubbing his browser clean after every use, getting a new ISP, or even another computer. The thing about computers is for every measure there is a counter-measure. And let's face it, nearly all men have cruised for sexual material at one time or another. But before you unload on the guy, you should make sure that his searches are of a less-than-benign nature.


No Callbacks

Ok, Firstly I want to say that I love you guys site, you give excellent advice.

QUESTION: So alright I met this guy a few months back online, and we talked pretty briefly for a month or so, then we exchanged numbers and made plans to meet up. Around the end of January he came and picked me up, we went out to eat, he was a perfect gentleman and before I stepped out of the car he gave me a goodnight kiss. So after that we talked off and on for a while. A weekend ago I told him that I would be in his area and asked if he wanted to meet up and he told me to call him once I got to where I was going. Well I called him twice and left a message and he hasnt responded to me since......Its been a week. I have consulted others and they have told me to just let it go and not even try and contact him. So my question is, Is he just not that into me? Is he not interested and doesnt want to go through the headache of actually telling me? What do you guys think??


Confused in Chicago

GARLAND: Thanks for your question!

Yes, honestly, I think he's not that into you. And I don't think its an issue of him not wanting the headache of not telling you. In a man's world, he DID tell you. He didn't call you back.

Sure, that was some lame passive agressive mess - him not calling you back. The whole, "Call me when you get where you're going," was a subtle ruse. Maybe he thought he'd hurt your feelings by saying "It's ME not YOU."

I think you should find a little solace in the fact that he treated you like a gentleman on your date and seemed very respectful in his actions. I'm always glad to hear about guys that are, at a minimum, respectful enough to not try and get any one sided financial or sexual benefit when they know a woman may have feelings for them.

Always keep in mind that you are better off WITHOUT a man that doesn't want to be with you. And, also keep in mind that not being with you is most likely HIS LOSS!

CHUCK: Garland's completely right here. For whatever reason, this guy was not into you. Does it even matter why? But rather than string out a bunch of excuses for you, he figured he just wouldn't bother. "She'll get the message," he probably told himself. But I guess you didn't.

Anyway, don't dwell on it, Confused. Frankly, you got off light. Many is the number of women who end up attached to a man who recognizes that she is more into him than he is into her, and will try to exploit that discrepancy. So he'll let the relationship wither away, but only AFTER he has gotten the woman to co-sign for a car, bail him out of jail, or "loan" him thousands of dollars. Don't believe me? On your next day off, watch Judge Mathis, Judge Judy, and Judge Alex. If it wasn't for relationships like these, court shows might go out of business.

So move on, Confused. I can almost guarantee you that this guy isn't expending as much time thinking of you. And if it's closure you're looking for, I've said it before here: Closure is overrated. Keep your mind and eyes open for that guy who's going to be into you. He's out there.


Still Friends?

Hi Chuck and Garland,

First off, very informative and helpful blog. I appreciate that you both are out there and giving women the cold hard truth.

So here is my dilemma. I have a good friend and we are both attracted to each other. A few months ago we acted on this attraction- we didn't have sex- but we acted on it. A week or so afterward, he told me that he wasn't ready for a commitment and we both decided that neither one of us wanted to jeopardize our friendship. The problem is that now I realize that I do have feelings for him. I can't help or control my emotions. Seeing him only makes me realize that more and, by the looks of things he's still not ready for a serious relationship.

My question is, should I spill the beans and tell him how I feel. That way it would get everything out in the open and off my chest. I'd be able to move on if need be. But it would also put me in a vulnerable postion and give him all of the power in the relationship dynamic. The other option I am contemplating is to say nothing, but show him through my personality, character, actions etc. that I am the best woman for him and that I can fulfill his needs. This way I could save some face and keep my relationship options open.

Our friendship is still very important to me and I don't want to ruin that. So what do you think I should do? Please let me know if you can help me or if you decide to use my question for your blog. If you've a addressed a similar issue on your blog already please provide a link to your response.

Thanks in advance!


GARLAND: Thanks for sharing your situation and giving us such a great compliment.

If this guy is giving you a vibe that he's not ready for a relationship - then TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS. He's NOT ready and trying to convince him otherwise is 9 times out of 10 going to leave you emotionally beaten up and drained.

Men - WE know when we're ready to make that relationship commitment, and he has done a pretty honorable thing by telling you, "Hey, I'm not ready for a commitment, lets just stay friends." A LOT of other guys would have used that opportunity to get you between the sheets. And PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE don't run off thinking that because he didn't want to hurt your feelings that time, that he must deep down want to care for you. He likes your friendship and thats pretty much it.

Sure, telling him that you're feelin' him would get things off of your chest - but like you said, HE would have any upper hand in the dealings the two of you have. Take my word - don't worry about telling him how you feel, or showing him how wonderful you are, or proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that you could fulfill his needs. Chill out and seek that guy that will FULFILL all of YOUR NEEDS! He told you where he stands, so take that at face value and keep looking out for YOU!

Best wishes out there!!!

CHUCK: Thank you for the question. I would say that it's probably a good idea to not profess your affection to this man, but I'm not 100% sure. In other instances, my advice is usually to communicate to the other person, and let them know how you feel. Your friend has communicated to you first, though, that he isn't ready for a relationship with you. That seems to cut off the idea of further communication on that issue. But maybe not.

I don't know if I believe in things like the "upper hand" in a relationship. If you think in those terms, how can you ever let yourself open up truly to another person. Don't get me wrong, I'm aware of a need to protect yourself from all the predators out there who will try to use you. But you have to acknowledge that there will be a time, and a person, for whom you can let your emotional guard down. It isn't Art of War all the time, ladies.

I believe that for now your best bet may be to do what you yourself suggested, and subtly let your friend know how you're feeling, while keeping your other options open. There's an attraction there, all that's missing is the willingness to act on it. If, say, after three months, he hasn't changed his mind, let it go. Some people are just meant to be friends.