The Georgia Straight

One month of dating doesn’t make a friend an ex


- Dan Savage

A MAN I very casually “dated” for one month more than 15 years ago—a man I have maintained a friendship with ever since—tells his new girlfriend­s that I am his “ex-girlfriend”. This disclosure causes a lot of unnecessar­y awkwardnes­s between whoever his current girlfriend might be and me.

I’ve told him he shouldn’t do that because I was never officially his girlfriend.

For 99.999 percent of the time I’ve known him, we’ve been friends, compared

o the .001 percent of the time when we were very casually dating.

He says he doesn’t want to lie?!? But it’s not a lie to say we are friends! I hate the awkwardnes­s that it causes between me and the women he dates now. They never have a chance to get to know and trust me. Help me explain this to him so he finally gets it!

- Never His Girlfriend

He gets it, NHG. The awkwardnes­s he’s creating between you and his girlfriend of the moment—the awkwardnes­s you see as unnecessar­y and avoidable—is exactly what he wants.

Introducin­g you as his ex makes things awkward with his current, and his current girlfriend’s intuitive sense that he’s either intentiona­lly or thoughtles­sly making things awkward makes him a less appealing partner. He doesn’t want a commitment or anything long-term, and instead of being honest about that, he’s weaponizin­g your existence to erect barriers between him and whoever he’s dating at the moment.

He may not be doing it knowingly, but he’s doing it just the same, and it’s a shitty thing to do to a friend. And the next time he does it, NHG, object and object loudly: “Don’t be ridiculous! I was never your girlfriend!” g

Follow Dan on Twitter @FakeDanSav­age. Email Listen to Dan on the Savage Lovecast. Columns, podcasts, books, merch and more at To read other letters by a 31-year-old queer person who recently met a wealthy 46-year-old man and by a kinky gay man with a belie in God, please visit

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