The Austin Chronicle

Luv Doc: The Definition of a Double Standard

There’s no difference other than the equipment

By The Luv Doc, March 8, 2019, Columns

Dear Luv Doc,

About two months ago, I found out my girlfriend of more than two years had been secretly spending time with one of her old boyfriends. When I found out, she said that he is only a friend and that they hadn't done anything other than get dinner and watch a movie at his apartment. I told her I believed her and I begged her to be honest with me from then on about him or any other friends she hangs out with. We had a big argument where I told her I had slept with a mutual friend about a year before we got together. She got really angry and insisted that I tell that woman that she knows we had a relationship and that she doesn't ever want us to be around each other. Fast-forward to a few weeks ago – I found out my girlfriend has still been seeing her ex-boyfriend. I confronted her about it and she said she is sorry but swears it's just a friendship thing. I asked her to not see him again and she says I don't get to tell her who her friends are. That seems like a double standard to me because she doesn't think I should be around a woman I only slept with, but she gets to hang out with her ex-boyfriend!! Does this sound right to you?

Lied 2

Yes. Absolutely. You are correct. That is a double standard. In fact, if you look up the definition of a double standard, that would be it. At the very least, it would appear somewhere in the footnotes – probably sandwiched between a photograph of Colin Kaepernick and a section contrasting female sluts with male studs. (Psssst: There's no difference other than the equipment.) So yeah, you hit the nail on the head, but the question is: What are you going to do about it?

This is so obviously a double standard that if your girlfriend doesn't recognize it as such, she may not know what a double standard is. Feel free to point it out – maybe even put together a PowerPoint presentation or something – but I wouldn't expect a huge epiphany. She doesn't want to trust you, even though – as near as I can tell – you haven't cheated on her; you just lied to her about sleeping with someone before you even started dating.

Your girlfriend, on the other hand, may not be actually sleeping with her ex-boyfriend, but at the very least she lied to you about hanging out with him, and their relationship, no matter how chaste, appears to be ongoing. Maybe you know her well enough to live with that. After all, plenty of people are just friends with their exes. Most people, however, don't spend time alone with their exes in their apartments. They also don't conceal that relationship from their current partner. In the end, it's the latter issue that is most disturbing.

Maybe she didn't tell you the first time because she knew you wouldn't approve of the movie. Maybe they were watching The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl. The second time, unfortunately, is really inexcusable. The best-case scenario is that she lied to you so you wouldn't get hurt. I think we both know that the worst-case scenario involves liquid butter, a bucket of popcorn, and a screenplay written by a 7-year-old. Then again, maybe I'm just projecting. The important thing is to not let your imagination run wild so you can stay focused on what's important: You need to let her know that her lying has broken your trust and that if you are to continue as a couple, she will need to find a way to repair that trust.

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