Boyfriend's got a backup plan.

I've been dating my boyfriend off and on for three years. During that time, we broke up for six months and didn't talk at all. Around Christmas, we started talking again and decided to give it another try. We talked about how much we loved each other and wanted to get married and have children together. We talked about being serious with each other so we could stay together. We've had our arguments, but all in all, I thought we were fine. Yesterday, I was waiting for him in his car and started to play with his cell phone. I went to the text message screen and noticed that he had 78 text messages. They were from two girls—Megan and Amber.

Megan is his ex-girlfriend and they're still friends. Fine. But the other one, Amber, he met while shopping for birthday presents for his children in July. He said they have not seen each other since July, but they still text each other every couple of weeks. I found a text he sent to her on Sunday saying, "Tell me something nasty and I'll tell you something nasty back." I confronted him, and he apologized.

He said he knew he was wrong, but had been feeling rejected. Besides, he says, it's just like dialing one of those 900 numbers or watching porn. I can't believe he lied to me. He also told me that since he didn't want to get hurt, he had "kept his options open" when we decided to be serious in December; he just didn't tell me. Is this guy the loser I think he is? Should I send him down the hill, skates no brakes, or listen to him and give him another chance?

Ticked in Tacoma

I'm not going to call you out on the whole "playing with his phone" and "accidentally" stumbling across those messages, but know that I'm wise to that ploy. The fact is, you thought you had reason to mistrust him, and it turns out you were right.

Did you ever see Animal House? In it, Dean Wormer tries to get rid of the troublesome Delta frat by putting them on "double-secret probation." Wikipedia defines double-secret probation as "a condition of arbitrarily imposed scrutiny of a given person or group's activities in an organizational or academic setting without procedural warning." Translation: You're treading on thin ice, being watched like a hawk for the slightest slipup, at which point you'll be eliminated. Or, in your case, cheated on. Apparently, you have been on the romantic equivalent of DSP.

We already know Boyfriend's a liar; the real question is whether or not he's a philanderer, too. Given his flexible relationship with the truth, I'd say the odds look not in your favor on that one. Were his "options open" enough to keep having sex with this chick? I can't see wank-texting someone I wasn't rubbing up against naked. But maybe that's just me.

Even if, on the off chance, he isn't sticking it to her—how is keeping a contingency plan on the back burner even half fair? (Answer: It's not.) I wonder if she even knows about you.

Your boyfriend is a jerk and a weasel. By blaming his bad behavior on you, he's showing you he's not man enough to be in a relationship. Nobody wants to get hurt—if he was feeling insecure, he should've talked to you about it, not sought out a Plan B.

And let me just clear up the porno comparison for you: No matter how many times a guy rubs one out to a Joanna Angel flick, he's not going to end up fucking her. In fact, I doubt she'd even text him "something nasty" unless he paid for it. And as for those 900-number girls—feh! For all he knows, the person on the other end is a sad little eunuch, stuck in a cramped cubicle in Jaipur, jacking fat Americans off for a couple rupees a day. This country has outsourced pretty much every other customer service job to India, why not phone sex?

This Amber dame on the other end of your boyfriend's phone is very real and close enough to touch. And he knows that.

Dating dilemmas? Write Dategirl at or c/o Seattle Weekly, 1008 Western Ave., Ste. 300, Seattle, WA 98104.

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