Culture

My buddy's engaged, but texts like he's still single. Should I tell his fiancée?

Dear Wayne and Wanda,

I'm in a bind. I've been friends with "Duke" for a long time. Duke is a musician and always was something of a ladies man. We met years ago and hit it off early on. He was always kind of a party guy, but he really calmed down when he started dating "Alice."

Unlike a lot of his girlfriends, the thing with Alice was immediately more serious. It helps that she has a good job (nurse) and great friends, and is just this really lovely person. Everyone loves Alice! And all of Duke's friends have been really glad to finally see him with someone so special and, frankly, good for him. When he proposed we were all a little surprised as they hadn't really talked about marriage but it also makes sense. They seem really happy together.

So way back before Alice, I mean years and years ago, Duke briefly "dated" my roommate, "Jolene." And I use the term "dated" briefly. Really they just went out a couple times and had crazy chemistry and crazier sex (usually after getting into stupid fights) and it didn't take them long to decide they should be just friends. Since then, Jolene became a flight attendant and moved Outside, but we keep in touch and sometimes meet up when we're both in the same place.

So here's the issue. I'm chilling at home last weekend and I get a text from Jolene asking if I still talk to Duke. I told her yes, we see each other out sometimes, and she said he has been texting her, as recently as that night, and was asking her to send him naked pictures. Ugh. A) I didn't need to know this. B) Why is Duke being such an idiot potentially ruining a relationship with someone as amazing as Alice by flirting with someone he never even really liked that much anyway? And C) What the heck do I do now?

I feel that at the least, I need to slap Duke upside the head and tell him to stop being such a dog. But then I'm betraying Jolene's confidence. And poor Alice, doesn't she have a right to know her fiancé is flirting with other women? And that's only what I know of. I mean, common sense would suggest Jolene can't be the only girl he's talking to, right? What should I do?

Wayne says:

Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Joleeeeene! Please don't take him just because you can …

As much as Dolly Parton nailed the allure of the fiery and overpowering seductresses with her epic song "Jolene," she, like many musicians, also embodies those captivating qualities — a talented, beautiful musician with a magical glow who no one can take their ears or eyes off of.

With great musical magnetism comes great responsibility. Just because Dolly and Katy Perry and Adam Levine and Lil Wayne could seemingly make your mate melt and make you disappear, it doesn't mean that they will. Believe it or not, some entertainers actually have hearts, consciences and significant others that they are faithful to.

Duke, on the other hand, clearly has not had enough musical success, fan adulation, critical acclaim and bright spotlights to sooth his insecurities and pump up his ego. He's a musician that uses his platform, guitar and Paul Simon covers (and probably a really bad neck-beard) to score as much as he does to express his artistry. He's dangerous. He's a loose love cannon. He doesn't care who gets hurt. And if Jolene doesn't oblige, I'm guessing there are dozens more "fans" in his phone who will.

I don't think that any kind of come-to-Springsteen talk with Duke will steer him on the straight and narrow. He's a dog for life. But someone should warn poor Alice that while she might think they're "Islands in the Stream," the waters are, and always will be, really really rough.

Wanda says:

Girl code, bro code, code of conduct, area codes — code red! So many alarms sound around this sketchy scenario, it's no wonder you're at a loss for how to move forward. My advice: Move sideways, then move away from this steamy mess.

Follow up with a text to Jolene and let her know that while you understand her need to vent, she put you in a truly awkward place. Tell her, in the future, if she has additional Duke drama, she should find another friend to dump on. My suspicion is she told you not only because of your connection to Duke, but also in hopes her confession would somehow spur you to alert Alice or even dis Duke.

And let's talk about Duke. Wayne hit it on the head: This scenario screams infantile ego. Duke is looking for pick-me-ups by continuing to pant over last paramours. Dog indeed. He could be all bark and no bite, with liaisons limited to texts and chats.

That prompts the question, what does it mean to be unfaithful these days? If you were Alice, is finding out your fiancé is texting an ex as bad as learning he's sleeping with her? Is a hookup with a stranger better or worse than being in a secretive and long-term emotional affair?

It really depends on who you are and how you define loyalty, monogamy and boundaries. Ultimately, in this case, it simply isn't your business.

Want to respond to a recent column, point out a dating trend, or ask Wanda and Wayne for wisdom regarding your love life? Give them a shout at wanda@alaskadispatch.com. 

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