Did he fuck her? No. Did he make out with her? No. He went and had a drink with her in a large group.

Chill out lady. You're being a crazy irrational person. This is YOUR bullshit. He was simply trying to spare your feelings and not create drama, but you create the drama yourself. I have a feeling this isn't the first time, ether.

He has friends. Some of them are female. He's allowed to see them. He's allowed to not tell you every detail of what he's doing when you're otherwise super busy and focused.

If a man was writing this letter, Dan would've been all over him for being a controlling douchebag.

And if knowing things about this woman makes you crazy, why do you follow her on Instagram?
Not to mention Dan would call the guy a snooping asshole who got what he deserved.

But in this case, an even easier explanation: she invited him, he didn't know if he was going to go to the drinks, and didn't want to create drama if he didn't (for self-serving reasons, or so you'd be able to focus on her law school exams). Because obviously it would have created drama, the letter writer makes that much obvious.
" Early on in our relationship, he and I had some troubles because he has an extremely low sex drive. "

Don't break up with him because he lied or was being misleading.
Don't break up with him because you're not sure how to get over your jealousy which might or might not be warranted.
Break up with him because he has a low sex drive and you don't. That's the beginning and the end of it. As long as he doesn't want to fuck you as much as you want to be fucked, you're going to feel insecure. Besides, you deserve a man who wants to please you sexually. Go out and find one.

And what's this thing about sex being the only thing you're allowed to feel jealous about? He might not being having sex with someone else, but he's certainly enjoying laughs and conversation and drinks and long walks with someone else, all things you'd have enjoyed doing if you could. You can be jealous of that.

Or look at it another way. What if being jealous was really wrong in this situation? Own it. Think of it as your own fault and break up with him for his sake. Say "I'm at fault here. I'm jealous when I shouldn't be so let's break up. You deserve better." Then you're free to find someone with a sex drive that matches yours AND who doesn't make you feel jealous. Same for him. He finds someone he's more suited for, maybe photography walk lady. Win/win.
I agree with @3. Put this all together and it sounds like you, at least, for all your faults, are aware of said faults and seem to have worked pretty hard at this relationship...but it's just not what it should be, or what either of you deserve. My bullshit alarm is going off a lot harder at your boyfriend's behavior, so maybe I'm wrong about him, but either way, your sexual incompatibility's the real deal-breaker. Focus on your exams, OP, and then gracefully, lovingly move on.
" they haven't really been in contact in over sex months..."

letter-writer's subconscious is pretty clear here :)
I'm sorry, but I don't blame the LW for being jealous. If he's got nothing to hide, he'd be upfront. Between his selective omissions, her mistrust, and their lack of sex, it doesn't sound like a relationship for the ages. Call it and move on. Whatever is actually going on between him and the intern (I'm guessing there is an infatuation) is beside the point.
I agree with Fichu@3. Your sex drives are mismatched, and that will always be a source of friction unless you can do what they do here in Savageloveland and open the relationship. While that sounds good in theory, in my world (and most people's worlds, I'd bet) that's a non-starter. So, even though it hurts, it might be time to say goodbye to an old friend and hello to a more satisfying relationship with a mutually agreeable fuck-schedule. That's not to say that you don't have to work on the jealousy, though. That kind of stuff is a definite relationship killer over time. You are both allowed to have opposite sex friends, and even to engage in a little harmless flirting. But be sure you (both) earn it and don't ever let things go farther than that.
Why does the LW have a weird tic about this one particular woman? Maybe because she's picking up on the fact that her BF is desperately trying to get in this former intern's pants. People aren't stupid. Well, they're stupid about elections and conspiracy theories, but they're not usually stupid about when their partners are cheating on them or trying to cheat on them.

My guess (and it's just a guess) is that the BF has already had sex with this other woman and, whether or not he has, he's doing his best to have sex with her now.

The LW should call Ms. Ex-Intern and ask "say have you ever fucked Mr. BF?" or just DTMFA. Whether he has a low sex drive or just isn't into fucking you, it's probably not going to get better.
To add to all that agreed that the LW should move on, please note that, unless her BF has a physical/MH issues that cause him to have a lower sex drive than she has, it's not likely to improve in the future. During the first few years of a relationship is the time when sexual interest in ones partner is generally at its peak. If the LW wants to live, ostensibly, with a partner who has a declining interest in sex with her -- declining from it is now; it's at its apex now. Move on girlfriend.
I suggest LW trust her instincts and get out. She brought up her concerns and he acted like they were ridiculous. Also, the number of times she deprecated her jealousy or 'owned it' in her letter was weird. She keeps saying the jealousy is irrational, then she describes perfectly good reasons to feel insecure and jealous.
@10 said clearly some of what I was thinking @8.

Thanks, Gamebird.
On one hand, LW acknowledges her jealousy as irrational and tries to own up to her faults. On the other, after claiming to have forgotten about the whole incident she still felt compelled to go snooping through his phone the moment he hopped in the shower (kind of odd that Dan didn't address the invasion of privacy). If LW's insecurities are primarily stemming from the mismatched sex drives, probably best to just terminate the relationship and find a partner with a more compatible libido. But it's perfectly reasonable that the boyfriend would want to downplay his apparently 100% platonic, in-public, birthday-themed get together with the intern if it sparks this level of jealousy. You aren't mad because your boyfriend was intentionally ambiguous, you're just using that to justify the jealousy that you yourself admit is irrational. "I wouldn't have been mad about this thing that I always get mad about if you had only told me beforehand" is almost always just a tool to justify preexisting animosity.
LW here! I appreciate everyone's advice and comments, including Dan's. Just to clear something up - most of my bf's friends are women. He has tons of female friends who I love, and I am never jealous/bothered when he goes out with them. You're right, I have a "particular" tick about this ONE person, so I will have to do some thinking on that. Thanks Dan and everyone!
i'm with @10 I think people who are truly irrationally jealous don't try to "work on it" or admit that it's irrational. I think that LW sounds like she's been told she's irrationally jealous and has bought into it. I just get a bad vibe from this. Sometimes you need to go with your gut and I think this may be one of those times.
LW aka briecheese @ 13
Regardless whether your suspicions are rational or not, it seems like your unmet sexual needs contribute to your mood and low self-esteem.
If BF can socialize with others maybe you can also have sex with someone else? Just be aware that this is more of a last ditch effort to try and maintain something bigger - 15 years together, two kids, house, minivan, etc.- but I doubt going this way so early in this relationship gives the two of you much hope for a better future.
Or maybe it will, who knows.
A relationship of only a year and a half and already the sex is sub par. And the bf is up to something with his ex intern.
Jealousy is a bitch.
LW. If the sex is not good then why are you in this relationship and why did you move in together? Move on and focus on your studies. Then find a guy who enjoys having sex with you and isn't sneaking off to night time birthday drinks or cute little walks or cosy lunches with other women.
Opposite advice here.

a) Why can't your bf invite you along to these events and outings? It's normal for couples to make friends together and socialize as a couple. Does she have a boyfriend? Double date. Is she single? Try to set her up. Or just include her in your lives as a mutual friend.

b) If your sex life was great, there wouldn't be a problem. If he was hanging out with this co-worker then coming home and banging you, nothing to be jealous about. But he's spending time with an attractive co-worker and then somehow he's too drained to have sex with you? 2 plus 2 equals ...

c) They "haven't been in contact in sex months" (Freudian typo!) then suddenly they meet up again ... but only because you found out on her Instagram. If you hadn't found out, you'd continue to believe they're not hanging out. Which means, for the past "sex months" they've been hanging out. And not telling you.

d) Doesn't your bf have MALE friends he can hang out with? I personally know straight guys who have opportunities to hang out with their attractive co-workers/students/ex-gf etc and they DON'T simply because they know the issues it will cause in their marriages/relationships. For gay men it's different. Men need male friends, gay or straight, and we have flexible attitudes about it. Straight men have way more options than the fuckable female co-worker to be friends with. And again, if it is platonic, why doesn't he include you in their plans?

Your feelings are not irrational. Maybe following his co-worker on IG and looking at his phone are stalker-ish and invasive, but if he's doing things that make you feel this way, you shouldn't be with him. Tell him you want to be included in his social life -- and include him in yours. If he says no, he's cheating, or giving you reason to believe he is. Either way, it's not worth being with someone who makes you feel batshit, whether you own own your crazy or he does. One of three things here: 1) He's cheating, 2) He's being inconsiderate, 3) He' doing nothing wrong and you're an over-reacting mess. In any of those three scenarios, you're not a match. If it's #3, nothing to feel guilty about -- you're just emotionally incompatible.

But personally, I think he's being a dick. Find a bf who has better judgement and puts your feelings before an unnecessary friendship that has completely suspicious, inappropriate optics. I'm sure their colleagues look at them hanging out and are saying, "Doesn't he have a girlfriend?"
I see no reason to believe that the LW/GF would have been any less "toxic" with her feelings had she known in advance that the BF was going to the interns birthday thing. No chance at all.
Toxic? Expressing one's feelings is not always toxic. It's just maybe some men are not up to a woman having her feelings, strong they may be, because drama.
And the looking at his phone business. It's the way my daughter found out one of her exes was cheating on her with his ex, mother of his children.
Let's call it female intuition.
Why would you be jealous of a guy whos sex drive is so low he frustate you sexually?
Good point @20.
LW, briecheese, this guy, what is going on with him for you. He's a lousy fuck and sneaks around behind your back. Way too much work.
Can we talk about jealousy for a minute? I want to know where we got this idea that jealousy is always a bad thing. Maybe because we hear about extreme examples of it where a guy is so jealous he locks his wife up at home and beats her black and blue when he thinks she might have smiled at a man. Maybe because we hear about extreme examples where a woman is so jealous she whines constantly and turns into a manipulative shrew who thinks it's okay to monitor her husband's every phone call and night out. Just because there are horrible extremes doesn't mean the whole possibility of ever being jealous is something to be ashamed of. Despite any ideas Dan may have on the subject, it's not an emotion you're never allowed to feel.

(Compare to anger. No, you're not allowed to get so angry you commit murder. That doesn't mean any good will come from squashing every angry feeling you ever have.)

Briecheese sounds so apologetic. First she blames herself for jealous feelings, then bends over backwards to explain how most of her boyfriend's friends are female and how she's okay with that. You don't have to start from a position of weakness, don't have to begin with everything that's wrong with you. You don't even have to write to Dan for permission to feel jealous of a woman who, from everything you've said about the dynamic between her and your boyfriend, has given you every reason to feel a little righteous jealousy.
I'm not on Instagram, but if it works like Facebook, she may have seen the photo because she tagged him and therefore the photo turned up on his page.

I'm with Dan. I wonder why LWs find it so difficult to put themselves in someone else's position. BF was invited to birthday drinks, and he knew that he was free because AIC would be studying, and it was her birthday fer chrissakes, and if AIC needed to study the last thing she needed was to be distracted by irrational jealousy. This is called a "white lie," similar to "no, your ass doesn't look fat in that."

And perhaps he didn't lie. Perhaps, to him, 24 hours is "the last minute." (It would be for me.) Perhaps on Monday night he wasn't sure whether he would go. Perhaps he would have admitted to where he was after AIC's exams. His actions were pure drama avoidance; the only unfortunate thing was that they didn't work.

Fichu @3 is right. AIC/Briecheese is acting irrationally because she is sexually frustrated. Find someone with a better matched drive, and I'm pretty certain this won't be an issue. And don't listen to @17. Boyfriend didn't include AIC in his plans because he knew she was studying for her law exams, big duh. There is no smoking gun here.
@23 BiDanFan: I respect your perspective, but about the "studying for exams" thing ... When I know my partner is too busy to leave the house, I still extend the invite as a courtesy. "I know you've got big exams coming up, but if you need a break and can spare a few hours, come join us at Cindy's birthday." If he has a legitimate reason to not do that, then so be it. It's up to them if they accept that as a white lie or a big lie. But whether she's irrational or he's cheating, either way I just think it stinks when relationships get to that level. Lying/omitting truth about hanging out with a hot girl on her birthday is way more than a "your ass doesn't look fat" lie. It's tiptoeing around landmines.
He wouldn't need to sneak around if there was nothing going on with the ex intern. Just straight up tell his gf , briecheese, he'd been invited to this girl's drinks party, and would she mind if he went. Understanding she was studying.
He has other women friends.
I don't like sneaks and I don't sense there's enough love and trust in this relationship to keep trying to give it oxygen. The non event sex would have seen me gone months ago.
DTMFA. This guy is cheating on and he's fucking with your head. And even if he was faithful it's clear you're not happy in this relationship.
End things. You deserve better.
@23: "Boyfriend didn't include AIC in his plans because he knew she was studying for her law exams, big duh. There is no smoking gun here."

There's a warm, recently fired gun with powder residue everywhere. Him intentionally lying through omission isn't a great sign of his sincerity and dedication to the LW. Maybe she's right to be concerned, maybe not. But when he starts to fudge things with teling her what he's going and doing it pushes towards the right to be concerned.
I'm so confused by this letter. First she says that if she would've known it was the female intern, then yes she would've been jealous but she would've controlled it. Then later, she says he has loads of female friends so she wouldn't have been jealous. She says there's something about this woman in particular- that she has a tic for her. So all the circumstantial stuff and he-said, she-said really seems irrelevant if the problem is just that this LW has a problem with this particular woman. I suspect it's a bigger thing than that- jealousy and drama and insecurity.

Seriously I had more to say but I don't even know how people get on in their lives feeling this way about things like this all the time. I would dramatically die of boredom.

She's jealous. Maybe she has reason to be and maybe she doesn't. He lies. Maybe it's because he's covering something up or maybe it's because he knows that she gets jealous about this woman and wants to avoid the blowout. If this is what your relationship is all about when you are both young and single with no kids and no shared assets, what the heck are you doing with yourself? The world is a big place. You only get to be young once. Get the fuck over yourselves! Your life is awesome, you have no problems, go live it.
Oh and they aren't even fucking all that much! I mean seriously, people...
@22 Fichu

Jealousy is a normal emotion. If that's what you mean. Normal people figure out normal ways to deal with it. Everyone screws up every now and again and let's their jealousy get out of control (not to the point of being abusive but to the point of asking your partner lots of probing questions). Usually it's about insecurity. Sometimes it's about actual lack of trust or betrayal.

I think the point in this case is that these are two people engaged in some really petty drama in a relationship in which neither are having as much sex as they like and... what I mean is I don't understand why young people who have no reason to stay tied down to one another linger in this sort of mundane bullshit in the hopes that it might one day get better or they need to work on this or that thing. Why? If you are young, have no kids, are not financially tied to one another, etc, why in the world would you put so much energy into crap like this? But I'm a cynic.

Anything more than passing jealousy (which this is more than that- she has a "tic" about this woman") is usually about insecurity and control. You build your life up with another person. That often includes financial dependency or family dependency- once you make certain decisions with someone else, you no longer have your life all for yourself. You surrender a certain amount of control and freedom to this other person - and I'm not being touchy feely here, I mean in very real world terms: childrearing, custody, mortgages, debt, retirement plans, etc. So I absolutely understand feelings of insecurity and betrayal and jealousy if things start to go south. Back before marriage was a thing defined by the two people entering into it, there were social and family and institutional powers keeping those aspects of the marriage in place. So even if you were miserable (sexless, abuse, cheaters) you had the security of the marriage- your family and financial ties were permanent in almost all cases. These days, it's a constant renegotiation- it could end at any time. So you are putting a lot of trust into someone else, and the flip side of that can be jealousy or insecurity because frankly none of us are perfect enough to be able to flawlessly handle that level of responsibility. I prefer this modern marriage to the other one since we are not trapped, but it does come with its own set of problems- the insecurity and impermanence of most things in modern life. SO yea, people are jealous. It's normal.

But back down here in the real world of this letter, whatever. These are two people who are basically just dating- no kids, no shared assets, nothing- and they aren't even particularly happy- bad sex, lying to each other, ongoing and boring discussions of who eats what for dinner when/where a week ahead of time- and you add jealousy to that too? Yea, the jealousy might be normal in the same way that fear of snakes is normal, but I can't figure out why in the world they'd concern themselves with crap like this in the first place. I think people are bored and want drama to fill their time. I understand that feeling. When I feel that way, I come here and discuss other people's drama. I think some of these people just need an outlet. Maybe she should watch soap operas.

I have zero tolerance for this sort of crap in my own life. For one thing, worrying about it isn't going to do a bit of good. Dig deeper and figure out what void you are feeling and what you're really afraid of.
(briecheese, you don't specify your gender identity, but based on the relationship dynamics you describe, your self-critical descriptions in your letter, and the fact that the intern of whom you're specifically jealous/suspicious is a woman, I'm going to operate under the thesis that you are also a woman. Apologies for the incorrect deduction if you identify otherwise.)

@briecheese #13:
Just to clear something up - most of my bf's friends are women. He has tons of female friends who I love, and I am never jealous/bothered when he goes out with them. You're right, I have a "particular" tick about this ONE person, so I will have to do some thinking on that.

You describe this particular woman as "very attractive", while you don't comment on the attractiveness of the female friends whom you love. In combination with your noted insecurity around the sex drive mismatch, I suspect that you have a problem with this particular woman because you view her specifically as competition or a threat in a way you don't view Boyfriend's other female friends. What I'm reading is that you think this woman is hotter than you and also someone with whom your boyfriend was spending a lot of time because they worked together and additionally did things outside of work, so you're worried he might cheat or is cheating on you with her to a degree that isn't the case for his other female friends, probably compounded by a nagging suspicion that he doesn't want to have sex with you as much as you'd like becasue he's having sex with her. You may also be picking up on something different about how Boyfriend relates to her versus other women that is setting off alarm bells; I don't want to dismiss the possibility that your jealousy is well-informed and justified, though the context has me leaning toward the other possibility.

@LavaGirl #25:
He wouldn't need to sneak around if there was nothing going on with the ex intern.

Unless briecheese has demonstrated in the past that she's NOT actually any better about managing the jealousy when she knows up front. You're assuming that the jealousy is a reasonable reaction to sneaky behavior, but as far as we know, the sneaky behavior is a reasonable reaction to unreasonable jealousy.

From the letter:
I'd notice them texting pretty often, he'd take her on "photo-walks" (he's a photographer) to practice her photography, and they'd regularly get lunch together at work.

briecheese is telling us about the texting, photo-walks, and work lunches, which means she knows about them, which I think suggests that Boyfriend didn't start out hiding them, but began to do so becasue that relationship was triggering freakouts for briecheese. My read is that the jealousy is functioning as a self-fulfilling prophecy, prompting behaviors that retroactively justify the jealousy. That said, a narrative where Boyfriend is a cheating POS who is gaslighting briecheese also fits the facts; I don't think we know enough to be sure one way or the other, and I'm not sure briecheese does either.

At any rate, whether the jealousy is justified or not, there are at least two clear issues that are causing problems in the relationship - the mismatched libidos and the jealousy. Since I don't think trying to police a partner's other relationships is ever a good idea*, those two issues sound like a good reason to break up whether the jealousy is justified (in which case you split because he's a lying, cheating POS) or not (in which case you split because you can't handle the continuation of your partner's existing relationship(s?) and demanding a partner end other relationships is unfair and controlling).

*If you want a monogamous sexual relationship or a coupled relationship where the coupled people cast all other relationships as very distant secondary priorities (I think the latter is inherently extremely unhealthy, but it is a very common expectation/desire), the best course is to find someone who actually wants the same, not someone who has other close friendships or other sexual relationships that one then demands they end. Nobody owes anyone else the actions necessary for one's particular sense of relational security, people can choose to try to provide that; if you're with a partner who chooses to not try to provide that, you can choose to break up with that partner.
@EmmaLiz #30:
I think the point in this case is that these are two people engaged in some really petty drama in a relationship in which neither are having as much sex as they like and... what I mean is I don't understand why young people who have no reason to stay tied down to one another linger in this sort of mundane bullshit in the hopes that it might one day get better or they need to work on this or that thing. Why? If you are young, have no kids, are not financially tied to one another, etc, why in the world would you put so much energy into crap like this? But I'm a cynic.

I share your consternation over young people with few to no serious entanglements staying in romantic/sexual relationships in which they are not happy. My provisional conclusion is that it is literally a desire for the abstract ideal of "being in a relationship," which, sure, you do you, but my advice will always be to reevaluate one's priorities and decision-making, becasue the current approach isn't working.
Keep making those accusations LW until your boyfriend gets sick of your BS and makes them come true. At least then you'll have the satisfaction of being right...kind of.

He's totally boning the intern. And he doesn't really like you. Get out of this.
Xian @24: "When I know my partner is too busy to leave the house, I still extend the invite as a courtesy."

Different schools of thought on this. Many years ago I was working in a job that required me to work until 11pm or midnight a few nights a week, including Friday nights. A good friend of mine persisted on including me in group e-mail invites to things on Friday nights. I eventually said, "Why do you keep sending these to me when you know I can't make it?" She said, "I don't want you to feel excluded." I said, "I am excluded, my work schedule excludes me, and it's worse knowing what fun things I'm missing out on when I'm stuck at work!"

So, personally, if I knew my partner was too busy to come to a Thing I would not invite them to the Thing. It's not a "courtesy"; it's a cruelty.

And who laid the landmines, hmm? Briecheese herself. I agree he shouldn't feel he had to tiptoe around them. I second everything John @31 said.
EmmaLiz@30 - If you are young, have no kids, are not financially tied to one another, etc, why in the world would you put so much energy into crap like this?

Because they are young and don't know any better. It takes a while to figure out that life doesn't end just because the relationship did. Everything seems so important in those halcyon years that you don't realize that life goes on, and there will be other loves. It's nice in a way, because you get to live so totally in the moment, that moment before a few breakups and the rest of life's little jabs take away your innocence and replace it with a (hopefully) healthy dose of cynicism.
The day before an event IS a last minute invite. There's a significant chance that his decision was even more last minute, after he mulled over the invitation.
Letter writer! Life is too short to be with someone who has a terribly low sex drive! DO NOT DO THIS TO YOURSELF! I don't care about anything else that may or may not have happened. Do not make the mistake I did and assume that it was all my fault, for several decades. You deserve the man who cannot wait to get into your pants, celebrate your accomplishments (go law school girl!), and invite you along to whatever fun things he has going on, whether you can make it this time or not. I used to think that if only I was thin enough, smart enough, pretty enough, made enough money etc., my ex would finally sit up and take notice. He never did. Don't wait another day. Seriously.
Don't shame yourself about feeling jealous. That does absolutely nothing positive for you or the relationship. My husband always says "your problem is my problem, we are in this together." That attitude banishes jealousy way quicker than lies and obfuscation. By the way, sex isn't going to get any hotter...until you find a more sexually compatible partner. I used to think that sexual incompatibility was a fact of life after a certain point. Two exhausting kids, crazy jobs and a thousand mundane responsibilities later, I'm here to tell you it's not.
LW: This situation you describe:

"My boyfriend and I have been together for more than a year and a half and have lived together for 5 months. Early on in our relationship, he and I had some troubles because he has an extremely low sex drive. I had a hard time not taking it personally (still do) and it made me very insecure."

This will never get any better than it is right now. You are a smart and hardworking woman. You hope that you can think of a way to improve your sex mismatch, or perhaps you can work hard enough somehow to make him want you more. You can't. Get out now, save yourself the pain. When you feel desired, you won't feel jealous.
Women almost always hate their partners closest female friends: they have a relationship that maintains its energy and vivacity through distance - the one a couple share when they're new, but fades over time.
Omg, he is totally sleeping with her or wants to. This advice is clearly provided by a gay man who only deals with other men in relationships.

Tell your boyfriend you're not comfortable with him having a relationship with her. Respect his choices but don't start acting like he has your blessing.

Really? You think if the situation was reversed he would be okay with you being friends with some hot intern or old rich dude or something? Nope. The reason you don't trust her, unless you're a jealous type, is because of subtle clues only your subconscious is picking up on.

I swear to god sometimes the polyamory movement has made us so blind to basic human behavior. Some women I trust around my partner, up to the point of sleeping with him, and some women I don't and it is pretty clear which ones I'm not okay with them hanging around. The end.

Price of admission, no sexy interns that have changed jobs.
@41: "they have a relationship that maintains its energy and vivacity through distance - the one a couple share when they're new, but fades over time."

Your description of them as a new couple does little to assuage her concerns for them being their own coupling.
@35: She doesn't want him to lie to her about where he's going and what he's doing because it's a person she has concerns about his relationship with. You had that specific preference/arrangement, she explicitly does not.
Undead @44: You're misreading what I'm replying to. I certainly never wanted anyone TO LIE to me. The question is whether inviting someone to things you know they can't go to is polite or needlessly cruel. We don't know whether Briecheese would have wanted to be invited out to a social gathering. We only know that she would have wanted Boyfriend to tell her he was going to Intern's birthday, so that she could freak out about it.
Hey, briecheese, I posted this cartoon in response to a SLLOTD earlier this week. It is relevant to my own life, it was relevant to the SLLOTD earlier this week, and I think that it's entirely relevant to you too.
@45: "We only know that she would have wanted Boyfriend to tell her he was going to Intern's birthday [so that she could freak out about it]"

The last bit is extraneous, though. That it bothers her is for him to work out with her, not for him to shield her from and thus infantilize. Maybe she shouldn't worry, but omitting critical information is his bad independent of hers. It matters to her so there's a greater importance for him to communicate than a work party, which he wouldn't have hid.

Actively deceiving helps suggest that there's something she should be worried about, it isn't about "protecting" her, it's not for her benefit but his.

It may not be an active campaign of gaslighting, but why make someone feel you're lying to them by... lying to them? It's completely counterproductive.
@46: Gawd yes. I can't believe the number of persons on these letters who try to shoehorn their own misery in a relationship that still barely works onto others who have a better chance to be happy. It's not romantic, it's just sad.
DTFMA. Don't let anyone gaslight you about owning your shit, if he feels justified in lying to you the relationship is already over. Maybe you're jealous of this one girl for good reason? Regardless, if you're not getting enough sex now, it's not going to get any better. Please don't waste the best years of your life with this guy, especially if he's going to make your very legit needs out to be "insecurity", fuck that.
@17, "for the past "sex months" they've been hanging out. And not telling you." Yep, probably for the last sex months, while briecheese has been getting the sexless months.

@20, Yes. Jealousy is healthy as long as you don't take it to an unhealthy extreme and I get a terrible vibe from LW's apoplogies for her irrationality. I once dated a woman who whenever we got in an argument, she'd apologize for being so irrational and blame it on her hormones, even when I was mostly at fault. I hated it. I may have sometimes said that she wasn't making sense, but I never blamed her hormones, but I still felt guilty when she did that because I was pretty sure some other guy was responsible for her blaming her gender for all arguments.

Stand up for yourself LW/briecheese. You know what you know and you know BF's relationship with the ex-intern is not platonic.
Oops. I meant 22, not 20.
@46, That XKCD is relevant to my relationship (with my employer) as well. I probably should have DTMFA'd 7-8 years ago. Now, I'm finally working on it.
Wow Dan, way to give the way thumbs up to his gas lighting. Women are always painted as crazy and irrational, I am disappointed you are jumping on that bandwagon. I would like to tell this lady that his behavior was absolutely not ok, and whats even more not ok? shifting the blame onto her and her potential reaction to avoid taking responsibility for boldly lying. Yes, she shouldn't have looked at his phone, but what he is doing is undermining her emotions AND more importantly, causing her to doubt her own sanity. Just as she has made assumptions, so did he. So, proper response? help her to feel seen in her emotional response all while taking responsibility for his own assumptions, which would then open the door for them both to feel able to own their own experiences, without any "rights" or "wrongs" AND without supporting more bullshit patriarchal narratives around women and their emotions. I guess even Dan Savage isnt immune to indoctrinated patriarchy. Maybe you should stick to advising men.
Nope. I disagree with that shesupsidedown. I'm pretty fast to jump on misogyny when it happens, but it's not happening here.

Either the guy is lying and he's screwing the intern (but not at a public birthday party) or he's not screwing her but withholding information because he's afraid of confrontation. In either case, it's the LW writing to Dan, not the bf. What can she do about it? She's in a relationship with bad sex with a guy that is either a cheater or a coward. The only rational response to something like that is to dump the guy or else stop worrying about it. Seriously what else? You seem to be responding here as if Dan was in a position to send advice to the LW's boyfriend and not the LW herself. You can't make other people take responsibility for anything. You just have to decide how you are going to respond- that's all you can do. Dan gave her a third option- to give the guy permission to have drinks with whoever he damn well wants (he's a fucking grownup) and see if this opens up communication between the two of them. He didn't shame her for feeling some way or lecture her or anything about being crazy or irrational. The LW did that to herself- going on and on about how she disapproves of her own jealousy, etc. She's stuck in her head here, analyzing her feelings about her feelings and replaying the event, etc. Dan's advice was pretty good. Give him permission to go out and stop worrying about it. If she can't do that, then what else is there to do in this case? Dump the guy, then. You are never going to know for sure what other people are doing.

BTW I don't know if I'd really call it a lie. She sent him an invite on Monday. Next day he went to her public birthday party. He told his gf that he was going to take a last minute invite to go to the bar to celebrate a former coworker's birthday. That isn't really a lie. It's an omission and it's to avoid either confrontation or it's because he's either screwing her or wants to. So she already knows everything about him that she really needs to know. Rephrasing all of this just to say that he should take more ownership doesn't really solve anything. So she tells him next time not to lie or omit anything. Do you think that would make any difference? What else can she do, honestly? Dump him over something that is probably minor. Live with him even though he avoids confrontation and isn't entirely honest. Stop worrying about it and tell him you don't care who he goes out with. The key of the third choice here is that it might reveal the difference between the first two. A faithful coward who no longer fears confrontation might open up honestly. A lying cheat is going to be that way regardless. Short of saying they should go to counseling to save their very new consequence-free youthful relationship with shitty sex, there really aren't that too many options for her.
Undead @47: "The last bit is extraneous, though. That it bothers her is for him to work out with her, not for him to shield her from and thus infantilize."

It's not extraneous. It's the whole crux of the problem. It's the whole reason why he didn't tell her. He wasn't "infantilising" her; he was attempting to avoid drama. It's impossible to "infantilise" someone who is already behaving like a child. Was it cowardly? Yes, but how many times have we seen this situation play out:

She: "If you tell me, I won't get mad."
He: *tells her*
She: *gets mad*

[Genders irrelevant]

Boyfriend probably had good reason to disbelieve that Briecheese "would have been mindful of her toxic feelings and not projected them onto him." He's generally an honest person; no? So why would he lie about this except to prevent a blow-up, a blow-up which he would have no reason to fear if she wasn't so suspicious ("sex months") of their friendship. If he felt he couldn't be honest for fear of her reaction, then perhaps it's he who needs to DTMFA.
Shes @53: Sorry, but I disagree too. "Women" aren't crazy and irrational; this woman is behaving crazily and irrationally. "Indoctrinated patriarchy" doesn't mean that there is never fire where there is smoke, and there is a lot of smoke here, even by Briecheese's own description of the situation.
I'll chime in with EmmaLiz @54-55 and BDF @56 in defending Dan against Shes @53's accusations of indoctrinated patrimony in his response. BF should be able to attend a friend's public birthday party, without having to deal with LW's crazy jealousy. LW is angry that BF didn't reveal the identity of the Birthday Girl before the party and get her "permission" to attend - seriously???

Having said that, I'd also be willing to bet good money that BF is a former, current, or aspiring lover of the ex-intern, and that LW's instinctive alarm bells go off around the Birthday Girl for good reason. That's why she has such a "tic" for this particular woman, while not minding BF's other female friendships.
@56: "He wasn't "infantilising" her; he was attempting to avoid drama. It's impossible to "infantilise" someone who is already behaving like a child."

He was attempting to avoid drama of his own creation. He's treating her like a child and acting like one at the same time, this is not how adults communicate. Jealousy is far from ideal but not somehow a thing for children.

"If you tell me, I won't get mad."

This wasn't actually stated, so why inject it in? She would be mad regardless but less suspicious of him if he didn't skulk around and lie for his (not her) benefit.
@58: "LW is angry that BF didn't reveal the identity of the Birthday Girl before the party and get her "permission" to attend - seriously???"

I took it more as her being mad that he was deceptive about it.
Undead @60, if LW stops caring so much about who BF hangs out with in public places, there will be no more deception and no more drama. As an added bonus, she will be able to focus more on her law school studies instead of constantly stewing and scurrying around, trying to uncover more incriminating evidence about BF with the Birthday Girl. (Although I do believe it's likely they are or were an item, in BF's brain if not IRL.)
Undead @59: From the letter: "I told him that if he'd been upfront with me, I would have been jealous, but I would have also been mindful of my toxic feelings and not projected them onto him."

To quote Admiral Ackbar: IT'S A TRAP!

She's mad that he went. She would have been mad that he went even if he'd told her he planned to go. She might have sulked and pouted and insisted that he not go, leaving him in the position of either defying her wishes or having to explain to Intern that his girlfriend wouldn't "let" him attend a group outing. She's more mad that he didn't specifically tell her he was going somewhere he knew she'd be mad about him going. But in his shoes, I might well have risked her never knowing and therefore never making an Issue out of it, rather than telling and being certain there'd be an Issue over it.

Now to the question of why she is jealous of this person and not his other female friends. Perhaps, as John notes @31, she's hot and the other friends aren't. Perhaps it's as she says, he did fun things with Intern (texting, photography walks) that he didn't do with Briecheese, and combined with the inadequate sex, she felt neglected. Perhaps he actually is cheating. I don't see any evidence of this, and in fact doubt it due to his "low sex drive," but instincts can be correct. However, aside from the Freudian "sex months" gaffe, Briecheese herself never suggested he's done anything worse than being "willfully ambiguous." So if her instincts aren't saying "he's cheating," she absolutely shouldn't believe biased strangers on internet forums.
@62: It's not a "trap" and it's true that she'd be unhappy with either option, but it's both perpetuating and self-generating drama and the best option he has is to not give her reasons to worry.

"she absolutely shouldn't believe biased strangers on internet forums"

I'm not trying to convince her he is, of course.
Anyone who says things like the sentence that BDF quoted in 62 is very likely the sort of person who insists on having really long discussions of feelings and how to communicate respectfully and all that meta-talk about the status of the relationship type crap which can be sometimes useful in a situation in which two people are trying to really understand their problems but can also sometimes feel like an attack. For minor shit like who you see at a pub party, I can totally understand wanting to avoid these sorts of conversations. That doesn't make it right. The guy is likely being a coward. He should face the music or move on in a perfect world.

As everyone has said, it's also possible that he's cheating or wants to, and the LW knows it, deep down, hence the tic. Her desire for him to tell her everything about this other woman is just a way to protect herself against the insecurity that she feels- the possibility that he is fucking her. She might be dressing it up in fancy psychological words, but what's she's really saying is "I need you to reassure me that you aren't fucking this woman".

Which again goes back to the status of their relationship. If she actually said that (rather than going on about toxic projection and ownership of feelings) then the bf has two responses (if he weren't a coward): a) I want to fuck this other woman, or b) I promise I will be completely transparent about my contact with this woman in the future.

Now, option b is only possible if he doesn't, in fact, wish to fuck the intern. But even if he said that, the LW has no way of knowing if it's true or if he's continuing to lie. Therefore, nothing is going to change in this situation and her worrying about it is futile. I do believe that people can learn to deal with one another's insecurities and I do believe that she might have reason to feel insecure. But I don't see that the sort of work involved in dealing with those things is worthwhile in a rather mundane young relationship like this, especially if the guy is a coward and/or a cheat. So even if he says b and even if b is true, the LW will never get the thing she says she wants: the assurance that he is being honest about every encounter with this woman because there is no way to ever know for sure if he is lying or not. And even if he never sees this woman again, they are young, and there will be other women that she'll have a tic about.

So let's look at option A again which is basically Dan's option. If she (the LW) is more open about it, then it's possible that the bf might open up about his feelings for this intern (or lack thereof) or for other women in general. This open-ness doesn't necessarily mean he's going to be screwing around or that she'd be OK with that, but maybe they could work that into their sex life somehow. Plus the open-ness might take away both the insecurity on her part and the allure on his. Or it might remove some of his cowardly reservations. Maybe not. Maybe it wouldn't solve anything, but at least there is hope for change in this scenario, plus when the tables are turned (and if they stay together for a while, they eventually will be) then she will appreciate the open-ness. An open and honest discussion like this might also lead them to realize they aren't ready for committed long term monogamy. Or the LW's willingness to have this open conversation might show her what a coward her bf is if he is unwilling and continues to lie. In any case, it is a possible step towards change rather than stewing in "toxic projections", etc.

The only other possibility is for her to stop worrying about it at all, file it away under "the things I can't control" and focus on other things. Or break up because seriously there is no reason to waste your youth in mundane shit like this. Go find a guy that likes to fuck for one thing.

This is the long version of my first post which was just- why the fuck do young unattached people put themselves through crap like this?
Also, along the lines of the usefulness (sometimes) of jealousy, I'd add that it might help us know when we need to move on. Not in a mortgage/kids situation, but in a new young I'm-a-student and I-don't-like-the-way-I-feel situation. It really doesn't matter if he's lying or cheating if you feel insecure about him and he's not fucking you much anyway. She didn't say anything that she actually likes about the guy and she mentioned nothing that made them sound happy.

You have your whole life to have what's-for-dinner conversations.
Emma @64: "why the fuck do young unattached people put themselves through crap like this?"

Because they do not consider themselves "unattached."
Why do unattached people put themselves through crap like this?

Partly as BiDan says because they don't consider themselves unattached. But also partly because it's good practice. If we all walked out on our partners the first time they did anything the least little bit annoying, then none of us would last past the first date. By the time we wanted to settle down, we'd have been in no long term relationships. So we practice (ideally) coming to compromises and trying to be more accepting people. Except we don't know what's a dealbreaker for us-- without practice. We don't know what we're willing to put up with and what we're not unless we experience it for a bit... And then we write to Dan.
Fichu @67: Good point. Also, as Dan says, there's no settling down without settling for. If no one put up with crap from an S.O. who was great in many other ways, the species would soon die out. We've all heard (and observed in parental relationships) that "relationships take work." We expect, realistically so, that we will have to put up with partners' crap -- just like they put up with ours on occasion, or at least we hope they will. No one is perfect.
There's "putting up with crap" and there's "putting up with crap." Not all crap is created equal. Some crap isn't crap at all, except in the eyes of the crap-ee. Crap on a Monday might seem worse then the same crap on a Saturday. If somebody takes a crap, do they have to give it back? Would taking a crap be a misdemeanor or a felony?
Ahhhh, sweet 69. Haven't had it for a coon's age.
Apropos of whatever: I've just received a Facebook invite to "Andy's last-minute birthday plans."
The event is Thursday. Today is Monday.
"Last minute" was not a lie.
If I knew my jealousy-prone girlfriend was continually checking up on me by following my ex-intern/her object of jealousy on social media and snooping my phone while I was in the shower, I'd lie my ass off (and I hope I'd do a better job than LW's BF, who doesn't even seem to be trying). Surveillance invites subterfuge. People lie when they're scared, and BF is clearly scared of LW and her tantrums.

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