I know over a week ago I started a thread full of hope about the guy I was dating a couple of things now have to come to a head (the problems associated with giving someone the benefit of the doubt I guess.) Here's the situation: He went away for 2 weeks at the end of July. I then very nicely celebrated his birthday by fixing him dinner and getting the exact cake that he likes. Then a couple of weeks after that, I had to make an emergency trip to my parents over three weeks. We e-mailed each other a couple of times. I had mentioned the day I was getting back and suggested that we get together. He responded to the e-mail but didnt sound too enthusiastic. We spoke the evening that I arrived, in any case, talking about how our last three weeks went. He asked me if I thought it was ok that he goes out with women but just as friends. Despite the literal meaning of the question, I had the feeling that he was letting me know that hes seeing someone(s) else. Then he mentioned that he was taking a trip at the end of the month, saying the destination but not giving any indication of whether it was a group thing or one on one. I was thinking that he was losing interest but then he called me twice to suggest getting together. I returned his call and we settled on a Sunday as there were a couple of cultural things I wanted to see and I was rounding up a group of friends to go anyway. We ended up having lunch with a group of friends, one of whom is leaving the city for good. So she announced her leaving drinks for next Friday there. He then calls me in the middle of the week suggesting that we see each other on the weekend. He had no plans but after some talking he mentioned that he wanted to go to the theater. Ok, fine lets go. So then I felt more comfortable asking him if he would like to join me at this leaving drinks. So, last weekend was very nice. We saw each other both Friday and Saturday nights and I stayed over both nights. But Sunday morning, the truth comes out. Hes taking this trip with one woman, not with a group. She was someone whom he dated a few times a couple of months before he and I met. She had, it seems, downgraded him to friend so they stopped seeing each other. Then she called him, asked him whats going on and he told her told that hes dating another woman and mentions me by name. He asked me if I wanted to join them. I said no, that I had some other obligations, I couldnt go. I would turn such an after the thought offer, whether I was busy or not. He reassured me that they have separate hotel rooms, but theres indication for me to see. Of course now today, more stuff comes out. He sent me an e-mail last night in which he says he now knows that she has a boyfriend. I was really enervated over this and finally sent him an e-mail saying that he owed me a telephone call right now. He called me in a bout 15 minutes of that e-mail. We hade our discussion in which I learned: He recalls saying that he wished that I was going with them, not that he was asking me to join them. Even though I reminded him that had said I too much going on to join you this weekend. He also doesnt recall telling me that they had separate room but in fact separate beds. Im thinking a couple of things here. 1. In these conversations he and I have had in this last month, he has asked me if I had considered being exclusive with him, but didn't directly ask for it. This was one of the conversations in which he became direct about the reappearance of this woman. Introducing this third party, whether real or not, has not had a positive effect on my opinion of him or our relationship. But given some things that have happened between us that didn't make sense, I now think that this woman came on the scene around the middle of July. 2. Do a lot of men really think that competition is a good motivator for relationships? 3. I find it interesting that while he tells me that he had mentioned me by name to her, he didn't tell me her name until he informed me that she had a bf. Is there some siginificance to that? 4. I accept that while we are not exclusive, he may want to go dutch treat more often. But I find it an interesting that he can pay completely for a trip with someone he is not exclusive with. If he is asking me to pay when we go out, does that mean that he really sees me as Z-list: Opinions from both men and women who have been on both sides of this equation will be very welcomed.