Ask A Dude: Is He Hiding Something?

Got a Dude itch you just can’t scratch? Sick of getting the pity-eyes as you sift through the Self-Help section at your campus bookstore? Over wondering what those boys are thinking?  We got your back, girlfriend. Send your question over to The Dude won’t sugarcoat it, beat around the bush, or any other weird cliche that means lie to you. Like a nice, juicy hot dog, he’ll be 100% real beef, 100% of the time.  So bring it on, ladies.]

Dear Dude,
I have a new boyfriend and things are awesome, but there’s a problem. Let me preface this by saying I tend to be the problem in my relationships because even though I’ve never been cheated on or truly hurt, I still have a problem trusting guys for some reason.

With this new guy, he’s never really done anything physical with women before because he believes in waiting until marriage, and he’s never said ‘I love you’ before me. We haven’t been dating that long but we’re getting pretty serious already and he’s professes to be in love with me and wants to marry me. We’re also getting physical. So, it seems like he’s crazy about me but there’s one thing that keeps bugging me: he never talks about his exes. The only one he’s ever mentioned is now married to one of his friends. I asked him why he’s so secretive about his exes when I’m open about mine and he says “they’re not worth talking about” and “I still talk to some of them and I don’t want you to hate them.”

Is this something I should be worried about? I love him and trust him not to cheat on me, but I’d hate to be someone he settles for while being hung up on an ex he can no longer have. It could be my usual paranoia but I want to get some outside advice to make sure this isn’t a legitimate problem and I refuse to unload all my neuroses on him. Please help!!!!

-Trying not to fixate

Dear Trying not to fixate

Yes. You’re fixating. Yes. You’re paranoid. However, maybe – just maybe – you should be afraid, very afraid.

There is a point in almost every relationship where you feel like there’s something to prove to the other person. What do you do? What has he done for you to prove his feelings? He’s never told someone that he loves them, but he said the three little words to you (and he’s not even in a life or death situation like Chuck Bartowski). He’s saving himself for marriage, but he’s pushing the boundaries of chastity with you. Isn’t this enough? Must he complete 12 mythical labors to alleviate your fears and earn your trust (Heracles beat the crap out of Death to free Alcestis, make him drag race in a Prius).

What gives weight to your worries is the subject matter: The exes. Comparing exes can be like swapping war stories.  You open up your shirts to see whose scar is bigger or drop your pants to see who’s got the most shrapnel wounds. Then you laugh, you kiss, and you promise you’ll never hurt the other person like those damn Vi-ex Cong did (you mean it in the moment, at least). Here you are, stripping down for him but wait, why won’t he meet you half way?

The issue is that there’s an emotional boundary he won’t let go of. Why? Because he might have some unresolved issues with the ghosts of girlfriends past (do NOT see that Matthew McConaughey movie). If the past truly has nothing to threaten you with, odds are he’d be willing to open up about it.

I understand you’re not jealous of an ex since you can’t be. Jealousy is person to person. He hasn’t even given you a name to start plotting acts of terrorism against. What he’s done instead is made you distrustful of his commitment to you and the relationship.

We must return to the mantra that resolves all unknowns: communication is key. Talk it out! You have to keep asking him to open up the ex-files.  If he won’t then he’s withholding out of fear. Fear of what exactly? Could be he’s still involved with one or more of his exes. Could be because he’s hurt and bitter at the way things ended with the others. Could be because he’s afraid you’ll compare yourself to them and is worried you’ll start hating them for no reason. Could be because he’s an idiot. All you can do is explain that what you need is for him to be as open with you as you are with him.

Everyone is coming to get me,
The Dude



  1. I agree – Dude is my favorite advice columnist ever. It's all fantastic, and this one is no exception :P

  2. criolle johnny says:

    Perhaps he has no exes.

  3. I’m beginning to think the dude is actually a licensed relationship therapist or something… No matter, though. This is great advice.

  4. Bob says:

    Hey, Dude…as usual, you give great advice.

  5. S says:

    why can't one be jealous about exes? it's possible. it is a little questionable as to why he won't say anything about exes but then again, why would you want to discuss that?

  6. Marsha K says:

    Sometimes your boyfriend doesn't talk about his exes because hes being respectful and not that hes trying to hide anything. Is he the kind of person that talks about others behind their backs? If not, chances are he just has some damn appropriate boundaries which is more than you can say about most people. Just think, if your relationship doesn;t work out, he won't be talking about you and what you shared behind your back!

  7. Sienna says:

    I got lost in all of the references so I have no idea what the great advice was.

  8. […] truly has nothing to threaten you with, odds are he’d be willing to open up about it. …Next Page Cancel […]

  9. Nanina says:

    the first thing that came to my mind, too, was: maybe he just has no exes! or he doesn't want to talk about them behind their backs, which is equally understandable. my boyfriend rarely opens the ex-files, some of them he has not talked more then 5 words about in years. sure i wanted to know, but what it really comes down to, and especially as i got more secure and confident as a person, i doesn't matter all that much. and as of today, i don't care. i'd be interested if he told me… but if he doesn't i really don't give a rat's ass.

  10. KC says:

    This article just feeds this poor girl's insecurities. He says his exes are "not important." Case closed. He probably doesn't want to talk about them because he just doesn't care about them anymore, and if he does, he doesn't want to needlessly slander girls who are now his friends.

  11. Devin says:

    For about the last 2 1/2 years I have been talking to this guy on a telephone chat line. I finally decided maybe I am ready for a serious relationship now and gave him my home # . He claims that he has known I am the "one" for the better part of our "chatting". He tells me he loves me, He has fallen in love with who he has gotten to know not because of appearance. Goes out of his way to let me know in stalker amounts of messages to my home phone how crazy he is about me . Every time we make a plan to meet in person, he leaves me waiting all day and he cannot even give me the courtesy of a call to cancel.He even left me and my daughter waiting to hear from him Easter weekend, we were supposed to stay at his house for the weekend , so we made no other plans and he F'D us off for 3 days w/ no call. Never really explained himself, I didn't push because it just made me angrier. I've never held much stock in these chatlines, and now .. uhm …yahhh. Not like we are youngsters no need for games, we are both 42. I just can't figure out why would a grown man go to such great lengths to convince me he cares about me if it's all fake??? What could he possibly gain from that??

    Thanx for your time DUDE !! Please respond with your view. THX

    Sincerely, Devin

  12. kristin says:

    Okay so im a sophomore and my boyfriend is a junior.we have been dating for over a year and im worried about whats going to happen when he leaves for college.weve kind of discussed it and he says thata he doesnt believe that anything will go wrong but i just dont know.were both madly in love with each other and can trust each other and everything aabout our relationship is perfect and hes told me many many times that he wants to marry me.but with him going off to college after next year i dont know what to expect.i know that hed never cheat on me but in over a year im worried about him changing.could you give me some advice about what to expect to happen and if i should even worry about college ruining our relationship as great as it is right now?

  13. Louise says:

    I been with my fiance for about two years.We just got engaged last Nov. I have 3 kids that are not his that he is very good with. He has almost always showed me that he only has a heart for me only. we both got super crazy during the wedding planning but more so him. we decided to push the wedding back a year until we get our finances in order. I have two jobs, my kids and him who I pour my all into. he is in school and most of the time I end up typing all his papers. I am very kind and giving and patient with him he has had some hard issues to deal with over the past year. About 3-4 mos ago he startd to behave so differently with me and the kids. Not mean or but short tempered and very distant. we both have our on places but live very close. he works about 4-5 days a week and has class a night. Now he barley comes over during the evening until the kids are sleep. He only seems as loving as the past only when he need some sexual healing and the killer is he always keep his phone off now or say it dead. I’m so tired of that line I can scream! He use to be at my house day in and day out, never hiding his phone at all and i even new his code but had no reason to go through it. Now even though he still seems to be in love with me the same i really feel like somethings up. I cant let it go. This has been going on for a while and when I try and force myself to look at the great parts it just never goes away. at one point we broke up after I told him he was acting different and I couldnt trust him. this lasted about two weeks. I even took off my ring. we have been in counseling since we got engaged on and off. once we talk about getting back together i still didn’t put my ring back on and he begged me to after a few days I did. But still I dont trust him. If he is not cheating I trongly feel like he is hiding something. he says he loyal and would not do that to me. Why is he so different now? I feel like I could never be with someone I cant trust. and really keep feeling i cant keep going like this. He treats me like a girlfriend and not a fiance. I’m tired. PLEASE HELP. am i just trippin?

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