Lost in Manhattan: Is It Cheating If You Have A Sleepover With An Ex?

, by Zoë Gulliksen

"Just because he's staying with his ex girlfriend and her family for a week doesn't mean he's gonna fuck her, right?"

        Last night I was up late killing time on Tumblr, like one does at one in the morning, when I got a Facebook chat from Parker. After asking if I was still awake, she sent a a series of hysterical messages about The Tardis and how she thinks he's cheating on her. I couldn't understand the gibberish of mistypes and spelling erros so I told her I'd go up to her apartment if she wanted. She begged me to, with the promise of sharing her Strawberry Vodka. 

I had never been inside Parker's apartment before. It was twice the size of mine (which really isn't a big feat) and if possible, even messier. The walls were covered in Doctor Who framed prints, Supernatural posters, and a portrait of Albert Einstein. We climbed over her bed (which was covered in clothes, text books, and a Mac Book) to go out on her fire escape. She had obviously been crying and was drinking Smirnoff out of a Boba Fett mug.

"So what's going on?"
"I think he's cheating on me."

Now I could recall the conversation in a well written recap, or I could just copy down the rant that I reordered on my iPhone. And seeing as how I was up until 4am on a fire escape, here's a shortened version of Parker's low down:

"We're both broke, you know? We don't have a lot of money or else we'd spend it seeing each other. We've been saving up for San Diego so we can share a hotel room and everything. But get this! He casually tells me today that he's going to spend the next WEEK in California! He says he has a meeting with some people from Marvel about a possible job opportunity. I say that's great but how is he affording everything? He said his dad lent him some money for a plane ticket and he's staying with some friends in LA. But then I get confused. Marvel comics offices are in New York, not LA so why would he have a job offer there? And then hours later I ask who he's staying with and it turns out, his ex girlfriend and her family! Now I know they dated for like, forever before her family moved to the US but it doesn't make sense! His meeting is only ONE DAY and yet he's staying a whole week. He could easily fly out to New York or take a bus or something and stay with me for the rest of the trip! But I know how his dad bought him the plane ticket and everything and it just sucks. He doesn't even think its weird that he's staying with his ex girlfriend's family. I just don't know. I see him tweeting at her sometimes and he doesn't with me because he's trying to keep our relationship a secret so people don't harass me even more than they do now. But, how fucked up is this? It's fucked up right?" 

I've been in long distance relationships before, a few shorter ones and one that turned into an actual relationship. All of whom I've met off of Twitter. Parker and The Tardis met through Tumblr (if you recall) and have been dating since August but have not actually met. Here's the thing, obviously this situation isn't right for Parker at all. It isn't right that she's in a relationship with a guy who is staying with his ex girlfriend for a week when she hasn't even met her in person yet. But that's the thing: is it a real relationship because they haven't met?

She doesn't have any "real" rights as a girlfriend because they haven't crossed that boundary of actually touching each other yet. It doesn't seem fair and people in LDR would probably argue with me that love is love no matter and all that other bullshit. Then again, a relationship is a relationship and if he loves her, which he tells her he does, wouldn't he care about how she feels? And isn't his Marvel interview in LA and not New York kind of shady?

These days long distance relationships between people who have met on the Internet is shockingly common. You search the "LDR" tag on Tumblr and you've met with hundreds of stories about love affairs reaching around the world. A guy in Australia connected with his "true love" in Maryland, USA. Everyone from lovesick teenagers to business adults are making connections in a way that has never been done before this generation.

Last month Durex announced their "Fundawear", a series of underwear that can be stimulated over the Internet. Your significant other can get to second base, operating sensors over a bra of your man's under roos. Couples like Parker and The Tardis can please each other without having to meet, ever. When I mentioned this to her, Parker said the Fundawear isn't available yet but she would buy a set in a heartbeat. That is, if they were still together by the time it came out.

I didn't have much advice for her, except that if she trusts him then it shouldn't be too big of a problem. So instead we shared a black and mild on her fire escape, watching taxis speed down Broadway at 2 in the morning and hoped for the best. 

P.S. -Let's also take a moment to fawn over the amazing artwork Chris Flocco did of the girls! Without seeing actual pictures of them (to keep their identities anonymous), Chris was able to perfectly capture them all. I especially adore the Rebel Alliance shirt/sweater combo. Even though 'Parker' has different tattoos in real life, she loves the ones her character has. Thanks again so much Chris!

Previously on Lost in Manhattan:


  1. Intriguing story. I do wonder how your friend's analysis of the situation would have differed had it not been drowned in alcohol...I think the hysterics of it go hand-in-hand. I'd also say that it sounds like there's not a ton of trust going on there.

    Now "having a sleepover with an ex" is a bit sensational in comparison to "staying at the ex's family's home." People who date and remain close give off a been-there-done-that vibe: they are usually good friends who thought about being more and then ended up deciding that wasn't going to work. I see a lot of friendships destroyed by the attempt to make it something "more," but the ones that last, are usually lasting not because of a latent attraction but because the friendship was stronger than the awkward/pain.

    So I guess I just think it's paranoid to assume that a person who still is friends with and keeps in touch with the person and family of a person who played a huge role in his life is doing anymore than just that -- being friends, and benefiting from their hospitality. Sure, it's possible that other things are happening, but having suspicions and wanting to clarify them is very different from getting drunk and complaining to your friend that your boyfriend is pretty much definitely cheating on you.

    So...again with trust. She doesn't trust him. It's as simple as that. She's not giving him the benefit of the doubt here, and whether that's because he actually doesn't deserve it or because she just doesn't trust him, either way, that relationship strikes me as not-going-well. The nature of the relationship (long-distance or not) or the "rights" she has as a girlfriend are irrelevant, in my opinion. Either he's cheating on her (in which case, bad relationship) or he's not (and she's severely overreacting to all this, so again, bad relationship). In no way does this little anecdote suggest a healthy, trusting connection between two people.

    ...and that's my .02.

  2. "is it a real relationship because they haven't met?" When questions like that come up I always like to share these couple links (they're more about friendship than love but the point is still relevant) http://thedist.tumblr.com/post/46971393126/embrace-is-love-funny-sized and http://thedist.tumblr.com/post/40596963894/my-internet-friends-are-real

    Different people may see it in different ways, and when it comes to a long distance relationship started online both people need to be on the same page as to what it means to them. If both people see it as an actual relationship then the guy is a bit out of line and an idiot for thinking it's OK to just casually stay with an ex, even if nothing is going on it's still not the right thing to do.

    Also, Fundawear? wtf? I guess I'm a little surprised it actually took this long for that sort of thing to be made.

  3. Great post! To be honest, if they haven't properly met, in my opinion it isn't a relationship. Online, everything is manipulated and adapted to what one wants to see, not what one does. Sleeping on your ex's couch is another issue altogether. If he did care, he would have been upfront about it. Being a guy, I know how much we lie to avoid confrontation, especially with those we care about.
    They should properly sit down, and figure things out. Otherwise, it's still early to avoid getting too involved, and move on to greener pastures.
    But hey, I'm just a reader.