What should I do about my ex? He won’t leave me alone.
Too little, too late; how do I break up with him? (Relationship and Dating Advice)
I can’t help but feeling that too much stuff has happened between me and my boyfriend for us to go on. I feel like his mom. Since he’s practically dependent on me I worry about dumping him; I don’t want to be responsible for making someone homeless. Here’s my laundry list of stuff he’s done. Please I can use all the advice and insight I can get, thank you.
In the beginning we were care free lovers. I always wanted more commitment out of him but we had such a good time so I let it go. It all started when he was experiencing some trouble with his family—he lived with his family and I offered to let him stay with me for a while. Once we started living together which seemed to be more out of necessity than romance he wanted to be exclusive. Now a year-and-a-half and four apartments later, he still needs my help and a place to stay, although I’m sure he could manage to manipulate another girl for a place to stay VERY EASILY.
During the time I was helping him and “exclusively dating him” he hooked up with my best friend whom I had know since I was 13 in a hotel room I was paying for in the bed next to me. (More than once.) His excuse for that was that he didn’t like her and wanted her out of my life. Turns out they still talk on Facebook. He used my car while I was at work to go hook up with his baby’s mom and would pick me up an hour late. (I work graveyard.) He also had another affair with this girl who thought that my car was his and to put the icing on the cake was older and not as attractive as me. He said the only reason he did it was because she “made him do it.” Yeah, right. He’s 6’2 and she’s probably 5’3; and did I mention she supplied his weed habit. (Probably better than I ever could UGH).
I wish this was the end of the story, but after all of this he had a mental break down (very hard for me) and did some stupid stuff that ended up getting himself and me into some legal trouble. Being the responsible adult of this relationship I made sure all of the legal stuff got taken care of and continued to give him all that I could to make sure he was okay.
It’s been about a year since he lost it and he’s totally fine now. I think he appreciates and loves me more for what I’ve done for him now than he ever has which makes it harder for me to dump him. After I gave him everything and put up with him cheating in very hurtful ways now he seems to respect and love me the way I always wanted. I’ve given him so many chances why now does he have to finally start to get his shit together after everything he’s put me through? It just feels like the classic too little too late. We’ve been through so much I feel more like his friend and less like his girlfriend. I would love to stay friends, but taking care of him is killing me; I feel like he’s sucking up the best years of my life.
The worst part is getting him to understand how everything he did just made me not love him like I used to. Haha did I mention that after a year-and-a-half he finally just got a real job for the first time today.
Thanks for your question and your donation. Wow, that’s quite a story. If you’re looking for encouragement, or even permission, to move on, you certainly have ours. He’s either a narcissist—someone who unknowingly takes advantage of other people—or completely self-centered—someone who knowingly manipulates and takes advantage of others—or some sort of combination if that’s even possible.
You’ve supported him throughout these years, but you’ve also enabled him. In a way, you are kind of like his mom. And many parents face this same dilemma: Their child can’t seem to get their shit together so they keep falling back on their parents to bail them out. Think about that. Parents react in different ways. Some parents continually bail their child out. Some parents finally stand their ground and say “enough is enough” but still try to offer some support. And some parents lay down the law and take away all support. (With much sadness, and sometimes anger.) It’s not a great position to be in that’s for sure. And we’re sorry you’ve somehow gotten yourself into this. Now you need to extract yourself.
It’s easy for us to say, but you certainly don’t owe him anything. In fact he should be forever grateful to you, and he probably is. But Stephanie, you’ve got your own life to live, and you need to look out for yourself. You don’t need for him to understand WHY you’re not in love with him anymore. You need to keep the emotion out of it as hard as that may be. Because the right approach is to simply be straightforward, honest, and succint. Have you seen the movie “Moneyball?” There’s a scene where Brad Pitt’s character explains to his assistant GM how to tell a player he’s been traded. You should watch it. He says you just need to be short and sweet and say it with no emotion. Example: “(Name), you’ve been traded to the Chicago Cubs. (Hands him a card.) Here’s the name of their player development guy and he’ll be able to help you out. Thank you for your service.” (He might say a little more and that’s it. No emotion, no long explanation.) The assistant GM is kind of surprised at how cold that seems, but when he actually has to implement it, he realizes it’s the best approach. Clean. Quick. Done.
And that’s how we think you need to approach this. Say something like this: “I’m glad you’ve finally found a job and are getting yourself together, but I’m not in love with you anymore. It’s time we went our separate ways.”
You might be shaking your head and saying to yourself, “There’s just no way I can do that. I owe him more than that.” And we say, “Actually you don’t.” You’ve already said what you’ve needed to say over the course of your relationship. There’s no more that needs to be said. If you truly want to extract yourself from this relationship, you need to do it fast and clean with little explanation. And then he needs to move out. Or you need to. Yes, you’ll feel guilty, but understand it’s best for both of you. This is about trust. You need to trust him enough to know he’ll be able to take care of himself without you.
And finally, the kicker: We also don’t think you should even be friends with him. You’ve got to build a new life for yourself, with a supportive partner that’s going to give as much as you give, and support you as much as you support them. You can’t do that with him around. And we can tell you, that when you find that new person—and we know you will—you’re going to be shocked when you look back at all that you put up with in this relationship. And you’re going to be angry with yourself. (Of course, we’d advise you not to be. Every human on this earth looks back and wonders why they did what they did. But most of us, make the best decisions we can at the time they’re happening.)
You seem like a strong woman, with a good head on your shoulders. It’s time to start applying that strength to your own dreams and aspirations. You can do it.
Thoughts? Feel free to ask as many follow-up questions as you’d like. (In the comments’ section below.)
Take care and good luck,
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My boyfriend cheated in the past; should I break up with him? (Relationship and Dating Advice)
My boyfriend has cheated on several of his exes in the past. He says they were cheating too, which to me is irrelevant. He still texts some of his exes and other girls he slept with. He’s never propositioned any—as far as I know— although he sometimes shares inappropriate stuff with them. He’s also slept around with a lot of women in the past. I’m not sure if I should break up with him, give him another chance, or if I’m being unreasonable to begin with. He assures me he’s changed but I’m not sure about that. He’s 20 and has a full time job and I’m 21 and going to college.
Some advice please?
Thanks for your question.
What happened to his first chance? Did we miss something? Why is he now on his second chance? Has he done something besides the occasional inappropriate conversation? (Yes, we agree that needs to stop.) We gathered that he hasn’t actually cheated on you. So this is just a feeling you have, right? A worry that he hasn’t really changed, and that these behaviors he’s exhibited in the past are lying dormant, waiting to resurface at their earliest convenience?
So this all comes down to you Emily. Are you truly able to give this guy a clean slate? And do you think you’ll ever completely trust him? Because you know as well as us, that if you’re constantly wondering and worrying about what he’s doing, or might do in the future, you’re not going to enjoy the relationship. With that mindset, it won’t matter whether he’s cheating or not. You’ll still feel exactly the same way.
It is true that changing a behavior like cheating is not easy to do. The person has to want to change, and then be willing to do the work required to change. And we’d say most 20 year-olds aren’t quite there yet. But once again, we ask you what do you think? What’s your gut telling you? You certainly know the guy better than we do. And if you asked 100 people what you should do, everyone would give you a different answer. (Of course all these answers would be based on personal history, and how each person feels about cheating in general. Which means none of those answers would actually help you solve your problem.)
Our advice: If you truly think you can get past the thought of him cheating, then by all means give him a chance, or a second chance. (Of course keep your eyes open moving forward.) But if the worry constantly gnaws at you, and you can’t let it go, it’s probably time to move on. You might not be the kind of person that can handle the uncertainty of not knowing for sure. And that’s an important thing for you to note about yourself. (You’re certainly not alone in that regard. So no worries.) But that information will help you make better choices in the future.
What do you think? Any follow-up questions? Ask away. And definitely keep us posted on what you decide to do. (In the comments’ section)
Take care and good luck,
ps. We hope you’ll share our site with all of your friends. Follow us on Twitter: @TGPBuzz. Also, help a fellow reader out. VOTE on the Ask our Audience page. Thanks.
I love him, but what if that isn’t enough? (Relationship and Dating Advice)
I’ve been with my boyfriend for a year-and-a-half now. I love him so much and I’d do anything for him! I was cheated on in my last relationship after seven-and-a-half years, and I think I bring a lot of baggage from that relationship to this one. From the start I always felt I wasn’t enough for him and wondered how I could I ever keep this fantastic man!
After a year with my new man I felt so much more relaxed and settled; I was happy! We decided to buy a house together and are moving in two weeks. But just over a month ago I found a chat he was having with another girl on his computer. He said he had split up with his girlfriend and just needed a friend. As the conversation went on, it turned more sexual and he asked her if he could pick her up for a cuddle. She said she couldn’t and the conversation ended shorty after that. But now all I can think about is how I’m not enough and will never be enough!! I talked to him about it and he said he was so sorry and that he loved me more then he could ever explain. He said he never wanted to hurt me and would never ever put me in that position again! He also said he would never of gone through with it and was just lonely and bored and he knew she would say no!
I do love him more than anything in the world and I have forgiven him and I know that he loves me. But what if it happens again? I love him far too much to lose him and don’t think I could handle/cope with the fall out! I’m still not sure if I’m this hurt because of what he did or if it’s more my baggage from my ex? But I’m getting to the point of feeling lost without him and scared when he’s not there. I’m terrified all the time, and I can’t/don’t want to talk to anyone about this. If I tell my friends/family all this, they will blame my new fella. But I love him and I don’t want to break up with him and I can’t stand feeling this lost.
Please help. Any thoughts are welcome. I’m well aware that I will have a lot of people saying I should dump him, but it’s not that easy!
Thanks for your question. What he did should make you pause to consider what you’re doing? What he did—if it is a one-time thing—is not necessarily grounds for a breakup, but it’s certainly something that you shouldn’t brush under the carpet. (He certainly was doing something behind your back.) A full-blown betrayal? Maybe, maybe not. But certainly an attempt at a betrayal. His excuse, “I was bored and I knew she would say no,” is no excuse. He had no idea she would say no. He was just lucky she did. So the question is: What makes you think you can trust him?
What jumps out at us is your willingness to accept his behavior and move forward. You talk about how devastated and lost you’d be if the two of you split up, but what about being in a relationship with a guy who cheats on you? You think you’d be devastated if the two of you split, but that feeling will be nothing compared to how you might feel down the road. So we’re strongly suggesting you DO NOT move in with him until this is resolved. We highly recommend seeing a couple’s counselor.
The other thing that worries us is your self-esteem. Instead of being incensed by his betrayal, your first reaction was to immediately start worrying about whether or not you will be enough for him. That’s the mark of low self-esteem, and something you need to take a look at. If you’re telling him you’d be lost without him, that’s a lot of pressure for him. He has to worry about his feelings and yours. And what this does is create an imbalance of power in your relationship. Basically, he’s got all the power and you’ve got none. And most people have a hard time wielding this type of power. Usually they end up cheating, mistreating, or even abusing the other person. We strongly recommend you look into seeing someone—a professional— yourself to help you work through why you’re so scared to be alone. We acknowledge that it’s not easy being alone, but also understand that it’s worse being in a lonely relationship. And if you’re with a guy that you can’t trust, that is a lonely existence.
This is a lot to consume. What do you think? We’d like to hear your thoughts? Do you have any follow-up questions for us? Ask away.
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Relationship and Dating Advice: My boyfriend is checking out other men on craigslist
I have been with my boyfriend (I’m a girl) for several years. When I met him I knew he had fetishes but I thought he reserved them for at home play. Over the years we’ve gotten into arguements about his constantly chatting with women online and receiving pictures, and looking at women’s porn sites. This led me to believe I had no problem with his ‘fetishes’ leaving the house.
Bottom line (no pun intended): In doing detective work based on his elusive behavior, and picking fights, and going to sleep before I get home, I discovered he has been perusing men to meet on Craig’s List, and has met several.
Of course, even with tangible evidence he would never admit to anything. Would you?
To get to the point, this has been an ongoing thing; we fight, don’t talk for days then it blows over and he wants me to believe—and I want to—that the ‘men on the downlow’ thing will stop and go away.
Will it ever? Or does he ‘need’ to be with men?
Thank you for your help.
Thanks for writing to us. So we know what your questions are, but what do you really want from this relationship? Are you hoping his desires will slowly fade, and that he’ll turn into the kind of boyfriend you envision building a life with? (That’s what we’re getting from you, although you don’t actually say it.)
Let’s not focus on the “men” issue, and let’s just focus on the fact that he feels the need to explore beyond your relationship. Some people are comfortable in an “open” type of relationship, but clearly you’re not. And therein lies the issue. It’s not that he’s hooking up with other men; it’s that he’s hooking up with other people besides you. Yes, the fact that he’s attracted to men, or at least enjoys being with them sexually, presents other questions that may need to be addressed at some point. And that may puzzle you and make you wonder what’s going on in his head. But we think you’d possibly be even more upset if he was hooking up with a bunch of random girls. In some ways, the fact that he’s with “men” is probably less threatening.
We don’t get the sense that this is going to stop anytime soon. At least not with you. Why? Because in some ways he thinks you understand him, and by understanding him, he thinks you’re kind of giving him the green light, even though you’re not. In order to reverse things, you need to sit him down and explain clearly that his behavior is not okay, and not acceptable in the parameters of your monogamous relationship. And if he gets defensive and says something like, “You knew who I was from the get go” then you’ll know he has no plans of changing.
Having said this, our gut tells us he may change for a time, but eventually this will all start up again because this is who he is. And if you’re not comfortable in this type of relationship it might be time to rethink it.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on all of this. Leave us a comment in the comments’ section below. And ask as many follow-up questions as you’d like.
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He cheated; should I break up with him?
My boyfriend and I will be together officially two years in October. But we have had a lot of ups and downs starting with his flirting with females. I know guys flirt but I feel like he takes things too far especially when sex comes up. Sometimes he tells women that we are broken up when we are not. Well after confronting him about a situation with a chick he had sent a Facebook message to about going out to dinner he actually confessed to cheating with another female. (Somebody he met over the summer. He let her do a sexual favor on him and it hurt so much.) I packed my bags to leave but instead tried to sit and talk it out.
What should be done at this point? I love him
Thanks for your question. We’re sorry. Betrayal is painful.
You may love him, but the more important question is, do you trust him? Or rather, do you think you’ll ever be able to trust him again? It’s not like this is the first time he’s been deceitful. This has been a pattern of behavior since you started dating. And it’s likely this is not the only time he’s cheated. (This is the only time you know about.)
Cheating is the worst sort of betrayal, and the fact that he’s been exhibiting this kind of behavior since the beginning of your relationship doesn’t bode well for the future. Changing behavior is not easy. He has to be committed to change and then take steps to doing it. Telling you he’s changed isn’t enough. He’s got to show you. How? He should probably start seeing a professional—counselor and/or therapist—to talk about why he feels the need to cheat. And then do everything in his power to make this right, if that’s even possible. He’s got to stop the excessive flirting and make you feel like you’re THE ONE. Otherwise, you’re in for a miserable ride.
We hope you’re able to work through this. However, be careful not to compromise who you are to be with this guy. Don’t settle. You deserve to be with someone who respects you, and someone who is committed and trustworthy. Ask yourself if you really think you can build a life with this guy.
Feel free to ask as many follow up questions as you’d like. Or leave us a response in the comments’ section below. And if you’d like to donate to THE GUYS, no donation is too small or too big. Use PayPal button on the right side of any page on our site.
Other questions about cheating:
He cheated; and he had sex while we were broken up
I’ll try to make this short and sweet.
I’m in a 4-5 year long distant relationship with a guy who’s cheated on me 3 times—flirting, texting, sexting. He was also on dating web sites. Etc w/ other females. Every time I caught him, we would break up for a few months but somehow always get back together. The 4th time I caught him, I decided it was over! I couldn’t take it. We broke up for 6 months (May-Nov.) We started texting again a little in November-January but later found out he was also talking to someone else during that same time. I gave up and cut off all connections with him from that January-August of this year. In that time he never once tried to contact me until recently (2weeks ago) he sent flowers and multiple hand written notes about how sorry he was and how much he loves me and wants me back. He also claimed to be a changed man.
Seven days ago we started talking again via phone/text and I just had a burning question: Had he been sexual with another female?His reply was, yes. He told me it was only one time in October of last year. I feel hurt. If he really loved me, then why did he feel the need to be intimate with someone else knowing he want me back? I had plenty of opportunities to sleep around too, but I always denied the offers. Today he insists “that was the past” and that he wants a future with me. I want to be able to forgive and forget seeing we weren’t together. Now all day everyday I think of it and it just eats my heart out. The thought of him having sex with someone pisses me off and in return I get really angry at him. I hate that I dwell on it.
Am I over thinking this? How do I really move on? I really do love him. I just don’t know how much more heart ache I can take. I want to trust him more as well but I don’t know how :-/ HELP!
Thanks for your question. Pardon our skepticism, but the red-flags are flying high.
Him having sex with someone while you were broken up is the least of your worries. In fact, yes, you are overreacting. You weren’t together when he had sex with this other woman. (Although you can be sure that he had sex more than one time.) But even still, what he did while the two of you were broken up is not your concern. Maybe you’re upset because you passed up opportunities and he didn’t, but still, it’s unfair of you to expect him to behave the way you did. And yes, a guy can have sex with one woman even if he loves another. Guys are all about compartmentalizing.
However, what he did while the two of you were together is a whole other matter. We’re not sure why he’s had a sudden change of heart, but based on his previous behavior it’s probably because he’s lonely and/or horny. He may say he’s changed—and it’s possible—but changing this kind of behavior usually takes some serious work. Has he been seeing a therapist or some other professional? Has he processed his feelings with anyone besides himself? Has he been exploring why he feels the need to cheat when he’s in a relationship? (Believe us, you’re not the only one he’s cheated on.) What makes you think he’s really changed besides him saying it?
So the question Anastasia is, why do you want him back? Sure, he might have some great qualities, but if you can’t trust him, there’s not much of a relationship. Don’t settle. The person you ultimately end up with should be as committed to the relationship as you. Do you think this guy fits the bill? And do you really think you’ll be able to trust him again?
Feel free to ask us as many follow up questions as you’d like. Leave your questions and/or thoughts in the comments’ section below. And please share our site with friends. Share on Facebook, Twitter, or any other place you frequent. Thanks. We appreciate it.
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Ive been with my boyfriend for 18 months and recently we have started talking about moving in together.
I had been having a feeling that maybe something wasn’t right and a couple of weeks ago I checked his phone. In the sent messages there were messages to a “Kate” saying thank you for a good time, it would be great to meet up again. I confronted him about it. He said that he started to panic about us moving in together as his last break up was so difficult. He said he had to be 100% sure I was the one. He decided to go back on line to test his feelings and arranged one date that lasted an hour; he decided there and then that it wasn’t right and wouldn’t be doing it again. This also coincided with other good things happening between us that helped him make his decision. He said the messages he sent after were saying he couldn’t do the dates she had suggested but he never just said no and he doesn’t know why but he was sure he wasn’t going to meet up again.
The other issue I have is that he carried on talking to a number of people after he had made this decison not to “test” our relationship with another date just because he found it flattering and a bit of fun and he was going to cancel at the end of the month. He now says he knows the answers to his questions and he really does love me and wants to take the relationship forward. He also has been coming over more, making more time for me, calling and planning nice things for us to do together. He seems really sorry but I wondering if this story is believable?
Thanks for your question. So what do you think? Let’s say his story is believable, do you forgive him? Do you trust him? Has he done other things in the past that make you wonder about his story? Will you be able to trust him in the future? These are the questions you need to be asking yourself.
His story could be believable. Or not. It’s hard to say. And it’s almost a moot point. What’s more relevant is that instead of talking to you about his fears and doubts—yes, that might have been a difficult conversation—he snuck around behind your back, joined a dating site, talked to a bunch of women, went on at least one date (that he’s admitted to) and has still kept up correspondence with other women since. And the kicker: You had to find out about it by yourself; he didn’t volunteer the information to you. The issue we see is not what he did, but how he went about doing it. So what happens in the future when something comes up between you?—some stressful event let’s say. Will he then feel the need to “check out” for a time and test the waters in some other way? Because the red-flag here is how he chose to deal with his doubts, not that he had doubts. In fact, we’d be surprised if he didn’t have doubts. Many guys do when faced with the prospect of committing to someone long term in whatever capacity that looks like. (Living together, engagement, marriage.)
The good news is that he seems remorseful and recommitted. Maybe his actions have gotten him to a solid place, but what about you? Obviously you’re not feeling as clear about him now, otherwise you wouldn’t have written to us. What we suggest is that you don’t move in together until this is completely resolved. If you’re still feeling hurt, unsure, nervous, angry, you need to talk about these feelings with him. And he needs to be open to talking about this as long as you feel the need to. He has to understand that he betrayed you. (Sure, maybe not to the degree that some do, but still a betrayal.) And when this happens, trust is broken, which often takes a long time to repair. He has to understand that his actions had consequences and that you might need to process this for a long time.
Finally, don’t settle Claire. He may be the one for you after you work through this. But keep in mind that you deserve to have someone who feels the same for you, as you do for them; and someone who’s committed to working through issues, especially when things are tough. We hope you can work this out.
Do you have any other questions? Leave us a comment below. We’d like to hear your thoughts on this.
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Other questions about cheating:
Is a guy able to be in a relationship with one woman without getting bored or without cheating?
I am a girl who is afraid to “put my guard down.” Even though you guys really say men are simple, they really aren’t. I am afraid to give my all in a relationship. Reason being is all men check out other women, fantasize about them, and so on and so forth. Not only that, but men NEED sex. Which even though I give my man sex (since I love it just as much as him) I’m scared he will get tired of doing it just with me and cheat. He claims to really love me and after two years of dating the connection is still there but I can’t truly believe him. He says I’m the best he’s ever had but in my head I’m thinking that if somebody better comes along, I’m history.
So I want to know two things: Will a man eventually get tired of having sex with the same woman? Or does a man actually have the potential to love like you see in romance movies?
Thanks for your question. We understand your concern.
It’s not just men who stray because of boredom. Sex can get stale for both people in a relationship. In fact it’s very natural after a year or so, for what at first was amazing and mind-blowing, to become ordinary and routine. Effort is required from both sides to sustain an exciting sex life. We’ve also heard the same complaint from women: That they’re sick of the ‘same old thing.’ And the point we’re getting at is, if you’re relying on keeping this guy interested based on amazing sex you’re doomed to fail.
You’re right when you say guys check out other women constantly. Yes they do; it’s in the wiring. But remember that checking out other women shouldn’t be threatening as long as it’s done discreetly and respectfully. And checking out other woman doesn’t automatically lead to cheating. In fact it’s good that your guy is open about it. If he was trying to hide his “interest” in other women, then you’d have a reason to be concerned. We’d suggest not trying to suppress his need to do this, as long as he not trying to move his fantasies to the real world. And you know, you might see other men you find attractive; why not share this with him as well so he sees that it can work both ways?
So Missy, so why are you so guarded? Have you been hurt before, or been let down in previous relationships? If so, that can seriously impact your ability to trust. But those feelings stem from you; don’t project those feelings onto someone else. If he hasn’t done anything but be a loyal boyfriend you shouldn’t assume the worst, unless he’s given you reason to not trust him. Has he?
Men are not so different than women. Maybe the pull to have sex with lots of women is there, but for many guys, the pull of a family, and a loving relationship with a woman they can trust, love, laugh with, and grow old with, is also there, and we think that pull is strong enough to prevent most guys from throwing it away with a silly affair that’s only about sex.
Part of this Missy is about you not feeling confident enough that someone could possibly love you for the long term. This is less about your guy straying and more about what you’re feeling internally. We think that’s worth exploring, to see why you’re feeling insecure. Obviously he adores you, so be confident that he will continue to.
As far as the movies, well, don’t believe what you see in the movies. None of that is real. Because relationships are messy and complicated, because humans are messy and complicated. And when have you ever wanted to kiss your boyfriend first thing in the morning when he has “dragon breath?” (We’ve always wondered that about the movies.)
In the meantime, give your guy the benefit of the doubt until he proves that he’s not to be trusted.
Feel free to leave us a comment or ask a follow up question.
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I’m with my ex-husband’s best friend; but he’s into S & M
This could take forever. It’s a soap opera. To help get to the point, a short background. I am with my ex-husband’s best friend. In truth, we all three met at the same moment fourteen years ago. My ex was faster at the draw so my current boyfriend has literally been quietly waiting. I had no clue until a year ago. When we hooked up last year, he called my ex to ask permission. Ex was fine with it, but my current boyfriend ended up losing the relationship over us. I was very careful to let him decide, but after quietly loving me for so long he took the jump.
So, this guy and I have been best friends for years. Now we’ve been living together for a year as lovers. Here’s the catch, we are AWESOME together. We are SO in love. It’s gross, but we can’t help it. Even after a year, we’re still acting like teens. It throws us both.
Here’s the problem, he has always been into S&M. I’ve known him so long there was no surprise there. We are both dominate people, and in that game, only one person gets the top. After a year of trying to solve this problem, we knew I could never meet that need for him. I did agree to allow him to find someone to get that need met. He tried for a month, and by the end of the month we both agreed (enthusiastically) that we actually wanted an exclusive relationship. The last standing order was that we were exclusive, and we didn’t want anyone else…but when we were more ready, we would try it out at a later date.
So…fast forward about three months. I leave home to help a dear friend in a family emergency. I do not get a return flight, as I will stay until she no longer needs me. He actually pushed strongly for me to go and provided all the support I needed. But three days into my mission, his son told me his dad was at the bar. I’m like???? Because he went alone. So I investigated. I find his postings on Craigslist….I find a new email address….when I confronted him he got angry and defensive and said I didn’t trust him and automatically felt accused wrongly. He got so riled up that he cursed at me in a voicemail. That was not like him. We both hate confrontations. So I yielded and just told him to do as he wishes. That was 24 hours ago. His last statement to me was, ” I will.” He tried pulling the “I’m a grown man and can do as I please” card. (He’s been getting testosterone injections lately too. It’s likely building his confidence up again.)
For as much as this man worships me, I’m wondering what the heck is going on??? This is the first time he’s ever lied or held a secret. He entrusted me with his entire life, finances, and even power of attorney for his son a year ago. We live like we’re married. We’ve been best friends for fourteen years. We already knew all our stories. His last words at the airport were, “Please call and text me…I hang on your every word.” I don’t care that he needed something I couldn’t give so he’s trying to find it. But, why lie to me; why hold a secret?; why change the rules, especially without notification? This is killing me.
Thanks for your question. Sorry we couldn’t get to this sooner. And we’re sorry this is so difficult.
The very fact that the two of you are so intimately connected, and like you said, “still act like teens” almost makes this more understandable. We know that might not make sense so let us explain.
When two people are so connected the way the two of you are, it’s almost as if your identities have fused to become one. For a while—sometimes a long while—that can feel empowering, exciting, mind-blowing even. But after a time, someone comes to the realization that they are losing their own identity in the mix. When this realization happens, the person starts to try and break free, flex their muscles, be autonomous, declare their independence. This is when many couples break up, because it’s a wake up call; it’s a reality check, and more often than not, the reality pushes someone to search elsewhere to find that euphoric feeling again. Of course we all know that that search is futile because the longing they have is more about what’s missing for them internally, rather than something to actually obtain.
What’s going on here is a cousin of that. He doesn’t want to leave your relationship but he still wants to carve out his own space and be more independent within the parameters of your relationship. He’s just doing a crappy job of it right now. This is not about S & M and what he’s not getting from you. (You seem like a very sensitive and loving partner and he’s lucky to have you.) This is about him trying to find himself; this is about him sending you a message that he’s a man, and with that comes independence. Yes, it’s an immature way of going about it, and maybe he feels this is the only way he can do this: by acting like a teenager. But that’s what’s going on, and that’s why he’s kept this a secret from you.
We suggest letting the smoke clear—for both of you—and then sitting down and trying to work through this maturely. Some questions to consider and discuss: What do you need from this relationship? What does he need? Are you both getting your needs met? Is that possible? What compromises can be made to move forward? Is this really about your sex life, or is that more a symptom of some other larger issue? If it is about the sex, more specifically what he needs, are you comfortable allowing him to seek that out elsewhere?
After these questions—and probably others—are answered—possibly with the help of a professional (A couples counselor perhaps?)—you need to come up with a plan for how you will communicate and then resolve issues as you move forward in your relationship. Because, as you know, relationships don’t float forever on the giddiness of new love, they ride on tracks dug from hard work, commitment, mutual respect and love.
What do you think?
Leave us a comment below, or ask a follow up question.
All the best,
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Questions about Sex:
Did he cheat?; I’m not sure what’s right from wrong?
If you met someone in a random city and spent days together and nothing happened, then returned to living in separate countries but struck up an internet friendship that over two months led to a romantic rendezvous in a foreign city for one week which went amazing, then one month later you (the girl) goes to his city to see him,..then find he has been messaging with a fuck buddy of his two days prior to your arrival to come and take her clothes of at his house…is this a red flag?
The situation is so unique, but the reason I ask is that we had already talked about me coming to see him, and him coming to see me, and I am actually moving to his city soon..so was this cheating? Even though we had never defined anything and I was not exactly the most forth-coming?
He says he is 100% invested and that this was some sort of last hurrah, but I am worried that I’ll never get this out of my mind as some sort of betrayal, despite my liking him a lot..and understanding how this could have happened, given we have known each other only five months and spent 2 weeks together physically in total. But then again in that five months we chatted everyday.
Thanks for your question. An interesting situation indeed.
It’s very likely he’s telling the truth. That this was one last “hurrah” and that he’s 100% committed to you. That’s all well and good, but where does that leave you? That’s the question here. He didn’t technically cheat on you since the two of you never had the “are we exclusive” conversation, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t betray your unspoken emotional connection. And herein lies the problem.
If the roles were reversed a guy would have a hard time getting over this betrayal. But it wouldn’t be about some imagined emotional connection with some guy, it would be about the sex. He would say to his woman, “Why did you need to do that? Is he better than me? Is he bigger than me? Do you like the sex more with him? Am I not enough for you?” But we imagine for you it’s more about the bond he may have for this woman, and the fact that you’re not sure you can trust him.
We can reassure you that if guys are unattached they will try to get as much sex as they can, within reason of course. He probably thought to himself, “I might as well get one more taste before I commit myself to this person who I really care about.” But we don’t think it was anything more than that. (If that’s reassuring at all.) As far as trusting him again, you have to trust your gut on that. We can’t look into his heart and tell you what he’s thinking. You need to base that on his overall behavior and how he treats you and this relationship. Positives to look for: Is he a good communicator? Does he share his feelings? Does he listen to you? Does he try to solve problems with you? How does he treat other people? How is he with his friends/family? All of these things give you a sense of his true character, which will help you determine who he really is, and if you’ll be able to trust him in the future.
Our suggestion: If you really love this man, and truly believe this relationship has a chance, then talk to him about how you feel and try to work through this. If he makes it difficult well, then you’ll have your answer. If he’s contrite, and willing to do whatever it takes to make it up to you then you know he’s really committed to you, and it could be worth exploring.
What do you think? How do you feel about this?
Leave us a comment below, and feel free to ask as many follow up questions as you’d like.
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My girlfriend is cheating with more than one guy
I have been seeing a woman who told me she wasn’t in a relationship. She called me one night to tell me she has been seeing a guy who talked her into having sex with other men while he watches. I have told her she is in a potentially dangerous situation. She says she enjoys it.
I am devastated. What should I do? This I find out has been going on for a couple of years.
Thanks for your question. We’re sorry you’re going through a tough time.
Well, the one positive thing we see here is that she at least was honest with you, and felt compelled to tell you what she was up to. However, besides the obvious physical danger she could be in, we have to wonder about her self-esteem. How does she view herself? That’s not to say that women can’t engage in sexual activity that men might even be lauded for. (Its quite the double-standard in our society.) But the question is more, why is she doing this particular activity? Is it because she truly enjoys it for what it is? Is it because she wants to please the guy who is watching? Is it because she’s trying to make you jealous? What is it?
We’re not so sure this woman is ready for a relationship.Being open to trying new things is a great quality. And dating a women who is open to trying new sexual things is a bonus. (At least that’s what we’ve heard from many guys.) But having a partner who is willing to do anything and everything just to gain approval, means that person is putting the needs of others before her own. That may sound enticing at the onset, but it’s guaranteed to get tiring pretty quickly. (It’s nice to know our partner has his/her own ideas, and is not afraid to express those ideas.) Mutual respect is important for relationships to grow.
The other question is, how serious is your relationship? Or rather, how serious do you think your relationship is? Her view of your relationship seems to be different than yours. Once you figure out the first problem—her questionable activity— you’re still left with working out a relationship that works for both of you. (If that’s even possible.)
Thomas, start with trying to sort out why she’s behaving like she’s behaving. Then if you still want her back the two of you need to sit down and decide how you want to proceed moving forward. If you’re not sure about all of this, then now’s an easy time to move on.
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I don’t want to cheat on my Prince Charming
I was raised in a very conservative family and was taught that one ought to save themselves for marriage. I grew up as a strong young woman with firm beliefs, and did save myself for the man that I am with today. I was very clear with him when we first got together where my boundaries were, and even though he’s from a completely different background, he was prepared to wait for me —something very few men would do. We have been together for over 3 years now (I am 25) and I lost my virginity to him about a year ago. I haven’t regretted it for a second. He’s been supportive and amazing; he genuinely loves me, and I love him.
The problem arises, however, now that I have been awakened into this whole other world of sex. Even though I have no problems with how I was raised, I have started to wish that I didn’t in fact wait so long until I lost my virginity. I think that what I did was a beautiful thing, saving myself for my one true love, but the fact of the matter is that now I wish that I had had a LOT more sex before I met “the one!”
My boyfriend is one helluva guy and he raises the bar way high, but I have in fact met a few guys who I have had crazy chemistry with these past few months. I have never done anything with them, but I still feel like I am cheating because in my mind, I am. I imagine myself having crazy, wild sex with other men. It’s not that my boyfriend and I don’t have good sex— but then again, what do I know what is good sex or what isn’t? All I know is that all my life, movies, music and everyone around me has been running around and being crazy about SEX. And I want to know what all that hype is about! Having sex with my boyfriend is fun, it feels good and he does make sure my needs are met. But it’s not that crazy, electric, goosebumps-all-over, I-can’t-stop-thinking-about-
And sure, maybe it IS just that the grass-is-greener on the other side, and if I were to taste it, it would simply confirm that what I have here and now with this relationship is amazing. But how do I know that? How can I just take someone’s word for it? If I can’t stop thinking about having sex with others, surely that’s a tell-tale sign that something isn’t completely right? I don’t want to cheat on him, but sometimes I wish I could push the pause button on the relationship, screw around a little, and come back to him. But I know it doesn’t work like that. If I were to break up with him just to be able to sleep with some random guys, he would never take me back. And I don’t want to lose the best, most stable guy I’ve met in my life—someone that I know I could spend my life with. On the other hand, I don’t want to end up a married 40-something with kids who starts to cheat on her husband of 20 years either, because I suddenly have a mid-life crisis and need to get something out of my system!
I don’t want to cheat on him (Cheating is baaad! Badbad! Trust is crucial!) buuuut sometimes it feels like the only way to kill those grass-is-greener thoughts is by having a taste. I have imagined talking it out with a distant guy-friend (we dated a little once, it fizzled and we became distant friends), laying my cards out on the table, and asking him to jump my bones, and then leave it at that —both of us being very aware of what it is that I am asking for. I am also aware of the fact that it is, actually, a bad idea, seeing as it would be cheating, but for me, it feels like it would be the only way to get some random, meaningless sex with others out of my system so that I can fully understand what an amazing thing it is that I have with my boyfriend already. Sound confusing? Yes I know… I don’t actually understand why I have this need to sleep with others when I already have someone so perfect in my life already, but I can’t stop the thoughts from entering my mind.
So HELP! Either tell me something that will stop me from wanting to sleep with others, or tell me that it is okay to want to have some random, meaningless sex before I get hitched and spend the rest of my life with the one guy I’ve ever been with!
Dear Sudden Non-Virgin,
Thanks for your question. It’s an interesting one, but you’re certainly not alone in your thoughts and feelings. You sound like a lot of guys we know.
Having fantasies about other men and women is perfectly normal. Most everyone that’s honest with themselves—and in touch with their true feelings—would admit to having some sort of fantasy from time to time. Being with one woman or man is a compromise. Actually, every decision in life is a compromise, and a mix of gain and loss. For example. if you choose one college, you don’t get to go to the other one you got into. If you decide to vacation in Italy, well then you can’t go to Japan. And so on. It’s the same for relationships. If you choose one man, you can’t have another. And if you choose to be in a monogamous relationship you can’t have sex with other people, unless you want to cheat on the person you’re purported to love.
We happen to think that the sex you have from a stable relationship is much more gratifying and deeper than what you get from sleeping around. However we understand your conundrum since you’re relatively inexperienced and never got to “live” the single life. Yes, we can tell you that you’re fixated on thinking the grass-is-greener, but we’re not you. And if this is something that’s going to eat away at you, then it’s going to seriously impact your relationship, beyond just you cheating. It’s likely you’ll start feeling resentful and angry, and your boyfriend—or possibly husband by then—will have no idea why you’re lashing out at him. It will go from bad to worse, and if you don’t cheat on him, you’re likely to leave him. You’re smart to try and figure this out now before you get too ahead of yourself.
So what about sex? We love your quote. “But it’s not that crazy, electric, goosebumps-all-over, I-can’t-stop-thinking-about-
You say the sex with your boyfriend is good, but you’re not sure what that means. Well, simply put: That’s good. You’re with a man who loves you, and cares about satisfying you. Not all men are like that. (Or women.) So don’t discount what you have with your boyfriend. He’ll never be the “new guy” to you again, but he loves you, and it sounds like you love him. That’s nothing to scoff at. (We know you’re not, but it’s good to hear it from an objective viewpoint.)
Our suggestion: If you feel the weight of wondering pulling at you every moment you’re with your boyfriend, then you might need to take a hard look at it. We’re not saying you should break up with your boyfriend, but we’re saying, if this is going to affect your relationship then you need to decide now what you want to do. We wish we could give you the answer, but unfortunately we can’t, and won’t. This is your decision.
However, we do know guys that were in your current position. Some decided to suck it up and deal with it, and went on to marry their girlfriends. Others, decided they just weren’t ready to commit, and they went the other way. We can tell you—we’ll speak for THE GUYS—that every guy we know would like to be able to have sex with other women, even though they’re happily married or in committed relationships. For us, the longing of a new woman doesn’t go away. Some days it’s better than others, but we’re wired to sleep with as many women as we can. But acting on it is a whole different story. The guys that cheat, and throw away their marriages/relationships, usually regret it later. Maybe you’re more like a guy in this way. (The fact that you have the longing.)
If you do decide that you just have to experience “more” we understand. You’re young, and sometimes people have to make difficult decisions that affect other people. If this is just one of those things you have to do, please don’t cheat. You need to break up with your boyfriend first. You don’t need to give him every detail—we wouldn’t—and tell him every single thing you’re thinking. But if you’re honest with him—tell him you need to be single a bit longer before you get married—you never know what might happen down the road. Most guys would have a really difficult time with this, but maybe he’s different. There are certainly no guarantees he’ll be around when you’re ready.
Hope this helps. Please feel free to ask us a follow up question. (Leave it in the comments section below.)
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I am asking for a divorce but still feel sad and confused
I will try and keep this short and sweet but feel I need to give you the whole picture so you understand how I ended up where I did.
I met my husband at a party in August 2003 but we didn’t actually start dating until February 2004. We were engaged in November 2006 and married in September 2007. I was 32 and he was 33 when we married.
Let me start by first saying I was married one time previously to a pilot for only three months. We were together for two years before we got married and almost called the wedding off two times. I knew I shouldn’t have married him but we had everything planned and all his relatives were coming to Michigan from Portland. The same night of our wedding I knew I made a huge mistake. We filed for divorce in July 2003.
So my husband now and I had our first date in February 2004 and then kept dating ever since. I remember enjoying his company but I do not ever remember feeling completely gaga and soooo in love but I found him attractive, he had a great job, was “normal”, never been married, no kids and was an all around great guy. He really is a good man in so many ways and I always thought he would be a wonderful father.
Some of the challenges we encountered after we got married follow:
1) We started trying to get pregnant in June 2007 (I was 36 and he was 37) We tried for two years solid to get pregnant and it never happened. In 2008 we tried some fertility measures like Clomid but we were unsuccessful.
2) My husband lost his job of ten years in January 2009 that he loved due to downsizing. It devastated him. I always asked if he was okay and he said he was fine, just angry. He found out he was losing his job on a Friday and that following week was our fist appointment to meet with our fertility specialist to start the “big” process of invitro fertilization. He received a severance package of $40,000 but we both decided we needed to cancel our appointment not knowing how long it would take him to find another job. (The economy was horrible). I made $55,000 and he made $170,000. We lived in a $300,000 home, both had new cars and $40,000 wouldn’t last long if he had trouble finding a job.
We started growing apart, not sharing anything or enjoying activities together. I felt like I tried numerous times to feel him emotionally (something we always kind of struggled with) but I always felt so alone in our relationship. We never had a great sex life but it wasn’t horrible. It was just “awkward” and is the only way I can explain it. I also felt that the sports and how the house and yard looked was more important than us spending quality time together. I fel like I was always sitting in the background trying to grab his attention
Anyway, I was at a friend’s happy hour in June 2009 because she was leaving her old job and starting a new one, when everything in my life seemed to change. A guy that my friend worked with was at the happy hour. (She didn’t know him well but he knew some of the other girls there.) We started talking that evening and really hit it off. He was full of energy and was always smiling. He took my friend to another bar we were going to because she couldn’t drive and that is how he got my number because he was following me and had it in case we lost them on the way.
It all started with a random text weeks later out of the blue; it is now August 2009. Next thing you know we were texting all the time and I was laughing and smiling all the time. He filled my days and the texting continued for months. Next thing you know we felt like friends and started meeting for lunch a few times and quickly it went on from there.
My husband suspected something but never approached me until April 2010. I tried a few times to cut the ties with the other guy and did for a few months but really missed him. I thought about him constantly and loved how he made me feel. I would stay away for about 3 months and then a text would come up. He was married and had two children. He got married very young (20) and was married for 24 years and both children are now 23 and 18. He is just now 43 and I am 40.
My husband and I separated for about a month in October of 2010 and then I went back and then we separated again in February of 2011 and have been apart since. I have been in a relationship with the other guy ever since. If I had met this guy before my husband I have no doubt we would be together. He is getting a divorce and it is almost final and I have been putting things off which isn’t fair to all three of us.
I told my husband last night we need to move forward with the divorce but I feel so sad and sometimes still wonder if I am making a mistake. I love the other guy and we are at the finish line of being together yet I second guess myself.
I have never cheated on anyone before not even in my teens and 20′s and always prided myself of that. Then when I should really know better I begin an emotional affair that eventually let to a physical affair. I tried a few times to end it with this person but always felt like I was losing a best friend and then immediately started feeling lonely again. I hated myself for what I have done but yet felt like I couldn’t let the other guy go.
My husband feels like he never really had a second chance and that 3 months was not enough. He would still take me back now if I went back. He said he knew we had problems but didn’t think they were that bad. He said this all wouldn’t have been such a kick to the gut if we had separated and then if I met someone else (other than the guy that started all of this) and felt another person was a better fit but because it is the guy that caused our marriage to crumble it is hard for him to take. He obviously is upset because I gave up him to be with the other guy instead of giving up the other guy to work on our marriage.
I am not a heartless cold “b”, in fact, I am quite the opposite. I tried the best I could to not crush his world but of course I did. I am disappointed in myself for what I did, and I have a hard time forgiving myself for it even when he said he forgave me for the affair a long time ago he just wanted another shot.
It wasn’t like we fought or had major problems other than I felt like I didn’t connect with him or didn’t feel emotionally close to him. I wasn’t even thinking of divorce before I met the other guy. I knew we had things to work on but I too didn’t think our marriage was horrible by any stretch. I know I am rambling now. I guess I feel like I am this horrible person and like I am the only person in the world that failed a marriage. I HATE the hurt I am causing my husband but only wanted to go back for the right reasons and not because I felt guilty. However, I can’t seem to fully let him go and I cannot keep one foot in each relationship.
He said he is going to miss me, my family and friends. That when he married me he meant forever but obviously that isn’t going to be the case. He has been more than a gentleman considering everything I have done. I don’t know that I would have held on like he has if the situation would have been reversed.
You would think I would feel better finally making a decision after almost three years of this. The other guy is about done with me but he loves me so much he has been putting up with my dragging of the feet. I never thought in a million years I would have had an affair and anyone who knows me would have never believed it.
Should I be excited about finally moving forward? How come I feel scared? Am I making a huge mistake even though I know the guy I am with now makes me laugh all the time and he absolutely adores me. This guy is willing to have a kid with me when he has two adult children which floored me. I never “felt” that my husband loved me as much as this guy does. Maybe he did and just didn’t know how to show it. I am so confused. How do I know it is right to divorce? Why can’t I move on fully with the guy who stole my heart?
Sorry again for the rambling. I am sure this doesn’t make a ton of sense but if you still have questions for me I will gladly answer them if you can help me from either making the right or worst decision of my life. (Sorry for the poor grammer as well. I am tired of typing.)
Any thoughts or opinions are appreciated.
Scared and Confused
Dear Scared and Confused,
Thanks for your question. We’re sorry this is such a tumultuous time in your life. Only you will know what’s right to do, but we’ll give you our thoughts and opinions on your situation.
Let’s start with your husband. There’s no doubt in our mind that he loves you dearly. And the fact that he’d still be willing to take you back, even after all that’s happened, is a testament to his strength, and willingness to forgive. Maybe he doesn’t know how to show you his love as much as this new guy—and maybe that’s what you need; someone who can show you—but he definitely loves you.
However, this doesn’t mean you should stay with him. Love is a two-way street. We’re not sure your reasons for getting married, but it sounds like you felt it was time, and so you married a good, solid guy. Maybe your weren’t sure how strongly you felt for your husband—was it true love?; you weren’t sure–but after some of the struggles the two of you had—conceiving and then financial—you started feeling less and less connected to him, and some of your doubts became amplified.
But let’s be clear. What you’re feeling right now—the sadness and doubt–is because you understand that a new person isn’t necessarily going to solve every problem. It might feel ‘perfect’ now, but inevitably all couples have issues. (Understand that it’s not guaranteed that the two of you will have an easy time conceiving, or that he’ll still be willing when the times comes. Just throwing that out there.) You also have a long history with your husband, and that’s tough to move on from. (For anyone.)
Now to your affair.
Yes, you betrayed a person you love. There’s no other way to say it. However, it’s you that needs to try and work past it. Your husband will heal—although it might take time—but what about you? At some point, in order for you to be happy moving forward, you’re going to have to forgive yourself.
The thing you need to do is separate the two situations, or the two men. Ask yourself the simple question: If there wasn’t another man in your life, would you still want to leave your husband? Because one situation is muddying the other. Sure, the new man possibly gave you the strength to finally move forward with your life and get divorced, but would you have ultimately done that anyway?
What we’re saying is, this new guy shouldn’t be the reason you’re leaving your husband. Maybe he’s showed you that the love you always hoped for is out there, but you still need to make one decision first, then make the next decision.
We hope this helps. Feel free to ask us as many follow up questions as you’d like.
Good luck and hang in there,
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Soon to be husband cheated; what do I do?
Another question about dating a guy from a different country:
I feel hopeless and ashamed to talk to my girlfriends so I need The Guys help…..
I have dated my current boyfriend for five years and eight months to be exact. I found out he cheated on me with over five prostitutes three years ago. He swore he wouldn’t do it again and since I was stupid and love him, I trusted him again. We’ve been doing a long distance relationship (because of work) since Aug 2009 (6 months after I found out he cheated) and we meet once a year for about three weeks usually.
I used to think we had a good long-distance relationship going even after he cheated because we talked on the phone a couple times a day. (Basically I know his routines and friends even though it’s long distance.)
I flew over and met him again last week, just to find out that he constantly has been visiting dating sites and still checking online postings for random sex. He said it was because he was lonely but he did not do anything. He says he was just curious to check out their pictures. He also has an interest in having intimacy with same sex. Sounds terrible heh…. but I can’t let go because I’ve been so emotionally attached to him. We plan to get married in August of next year and I plan on moving back to his country next January. I don’t know what to do… I feel hopeless. And maybe only you guys and God can help.
He said he would do anything to rebuild the trust (e.g. he would go to church with me, go to counseling, give me his bank account etc) But I feel that it’s really hard to trust him again. What should I do? If your advice is for me to leave him, please teach me how to let go……
We’re really sorry you’re going through a difficult time. But please don’t feel ashamed. You’re not the first or the last to go through this kind of thing. Many people deal with trust issues in their relationships.
Long distance relationships are difficult and can put a strain on even the strongest of bonds. The fact that you only see each other three weeks out of the year, means there are more weeks than not, that the two of you are alone. We understand that he might have some physical needs, but if he truly was committed to you, he would figure out how to fulfill those needs without seeking out the company of other women, especially prostitutes. (That could be a health risk to you as well.)
Let’s take it a step further. What happens when the two of you get married, and let’s say you have a baby together? All of a sudden you’re busy, tired, and he’s not getting what he needs as often. Is he going to start hooking up with other women then? It’s a red-flag that when the going is tough he resorts to this kind of behavior. Because as you know, relationships have a lot of “ups” but they also have a lot of “downs.”
It’s clear that you love this man, but do you think you could trust him if the two of you got married? Because you’re going to be even more miserable if you get married and then realize you still can’t trust him. You don’t want to live your life constantly worried that your spouse is cheating on you, or that he might cheat on you.
So we advise you to think long and hard before you decide to get married to this man. We can’t and won’t tell you what you should do—only you can figure that out. But there are some important issues to figure out here. Think about what you want, and what you can handle, and then go from there.
So what do you think? Leave us a comment, and feel free to ask us a follow up question.
Hang in there,
ps. Check out our “Relationship Memoirs” page. You might enjoy Charlotte Pescale’s “Rebecca, a memoir.” And please consider a small donation to THE GUYS. (Use PayPal button on any page of our site) Thanks!
Overseas military affair
I am overseas in the military. When this marine and I met it was like love at first sight. We started talking everyday and having lunch together. But somehow he would not ask me out. I started questioning him why but he always had an excuse.
He came to visit my place and we made out a couple of times but didn’t have sex. He told me he had feelings for me but he had a girlfriend back in the states that he loves and doesn’t want to end his relationship with her. We broke up, sort of, and now he’s making me feel like I was the one that was pursuing him. (But he also says he still wants to be my friend and swears that he has deep feelings too, but he wants to stop the flirting and suggestive language that we used to use.)
I am hurting so much; I trusted him and then he does this to me?! Everyone that knows about the situation says that he is going to come back to me and is going to break up with his girlfriend. But I don’t want to get my hopes up. He said he doesn’t want to lead me on. But now we both extended our tour here and will be seeing each other a couple times of week. We are so attracted to each other and passionate for each other. It is amazing. He told me that he’s never felt this kind of passion before. Me either. He said that it feels so good and so natural to hold me and kiss me. What should I do? Advice please!!!
Thanks for your question.
The best thing to do right now is try to be friends with him as best you can. He’s right, while he has a girlfriend the two of you shouldn’t be flirting, or doing other things. But the fact that he’s tried to put this on you is a red flag. He’s not taking responsibility for his actions. From what we can see there was only one person who was cheating on their partner, and it wasn’t you. He’s got a lot of nerve to dump this on you. And that’s the other thing. You do realize this guy cheated on his girlfriend don’t you? And who’s to say he wouldn’t cheat on you if you were that girl back in the states? It’s certainly something to think about, and something that needs to be talked about if things move forward between the two of you.
We suggest that you try to work with him—if that’s why you’re seeing him a few times a week—and be friendly. But you need to make it clear to him that you’re not open to having a relationship with him until he’s resolved things with his girlfriend back home. (Meaning he’s broken up with her.)
The thing is, passion is great and all, but relationships only last if there’s strong communication, trust, and mutual respect. Those are things that are built over time.
Good luck. Please keep us posted as things progress. Leave us a follow up comment and/or question.
ps. Please let your friends know about us. Thanks!
Other questions about military relationships:
Sex Addict: I feel like I’m not enough for my boyfriend
I feel like my 32 year old boyfriend is obsessed with sex, naked women, and porn. He stares (not looks!) at other women while we are out together. I understand people’s eyes wander, but he has in the past made me feel like I wasn’t even there. I confronted him about it but he thinks I’m being crazy and usually just gets defensive. He combats me with accusing me of “forcing him to walk on egg shells” but I just want him to respect me while I am with him.
He also told me he masturbates at least twice a day (which I know from doing his laundry, yuck) which to me sounds more to me like a 16 year old than a 32 year old. I can only assume that he’s watching porn while he does this… Which, c’mon… he probably is. And the other day I was using his StumbleUpon app on his iPhone and in his history it showed that he only ‘stumbled upon’ his “babes” interest and the last 1,700+ pages he saw were of completely naked women in provocative positions, some with other women. THAT’S AT LEAST 1,700 WOMEN ON HIS CELL PHONE ALONE!
We have a pretty regular sex life and I would like to do it more, but now all I can think about is whether or not he is fantasizing about someone else while we are being intimate. And some nights he rolls over as if sex means nothing and I know sometimes it’s just because he jerked off before I came over. He says he loves me and finds me sexy and loves fooling around, and he really is an amazing boyfriend, but I can’t help but feel like I’m nothing in comparison to all of these other women.
I’m usually very confident, but I sincerely feel like he’s obsessed with women and getting off. I DON’T GET IT. And he’s cheated in the past on some/one of his girlfriends, so I worry about this behavior encouraging him to cheat. I want to confront him about it, but I feel like he would just get defensive and angry and I doubt it would change anything. And I’m starting to feel like I’m not enough for him. Please help… Am I crazy? Am I over-thinking this? Or is this abnormal?
Thanks for your question.
So if your boyfriend makes you feel defensive, insecure, and less confident what is it about him that makes him amazing? Honestly, we’re just curious. Because a guy could have a lot going for him—smart, confident, good looking, successful—but could still be a shitty boyfriend or husband.
But let’s talk about the specifics of your question. It’s pretty “normal”—although remember, normal is kind of subjective—for a guy to look at other women—including women online—as well as pleasure himself regularly, even if he’s very happy and satisfied in his relationship. But two times a day sounds a bit excessive. Our biggest question is, how does he have the time? Does he have a job? As far as looking at woman while he’s with you, that’s a whole other story. Sure guys look, as you say, but stare, no. He should absolutely be focused on you while he’s with you. That doesn’t mean he has to lavish you with PDA (Public Displays of Affection) but it does mean if he needs to look at the hot girl who’s walking by he should do it discreetly, or at least include you. (Some women don’t mind if their guy looks as long as they are included.) But even with that, a guy should be respectful of the woman he’s with. And the same holds true for woman with their men.
From what you’re describing, yes, your guy seems to be over the top when it comes to porn. Most guys have some interest and dabble when they “need to” but we still come back to the time issue. Most guys just don’t have the time to stay home, pop in a video, and go to town on their “special buddy.” At least not everyday.
As far as his past indiscretions, he shouldn’t be held hostage for that. Yes, he has a track record, but people do learn and change, although you’re right to be aware of this. Cheating is a behavior that’s difficult to change, because it’s more about the person who’s cheating rather than the person being cheated on. It has more to do with the person’s own feelings of self-worth, or even on the flip side, entitlement. This is something to keep your eyes open about.
We just think you need to ask yourself, are you happy? Are you getting what you need from this guy? Let’s say he continues his behavior but still treats you well, are you okay with this? And what is it about him that’s amazing? Do you think you’ll ever be able to trust him? Once you answer some of these questions we think things will become clearer and clearer for you. Remember Heather, don’t settle. The guy you are with should respect you, and care enough about you, that if something’s bothering you, he would do whatever he can to find a solution. Because relationships are all about trust, respect, good communication, and effective problem solving. You want someone who’s not always going to deflect the blame onto you.
We hope this helps. Good luck. Please leave us a follow up comment, and/or question. And keep us posted on how this unfolds.
ps. Please let your friends know about us. Thanks!
Questions about Sex, Porn, Cheating:
My cheating boyfriend; can I learn to trust him again?
Other questions about cheating:
I currently have a boyfriend who cheated on me a few months back. Including the break up, we have been together almost three years.
Let me start from the beginning. I had a close friend who was also friends with my boyfriend. This girl was popular for getting around, yet I ignored the fact and continued to be friends with her thinking she would never betray me. One night my boyfriend calls me saying he had to go to Walmart to buy something for his Ipod around midnight. Of course I did not believe him, but I was tired and decided to ignore the situation and go to sleep angry.
The next day he wakes up late and he uses the excuse that he was “up late playing xbox with his cousins.” Of course I did not believe him, but I had no proof. When I finally saw him he was acting different. Very distant, angry, did not want to hold my hand or kiss me. I started to suspect he cheated on me. Sadly it was true. He cheated on me with my close friend and I found out a week later by a friend who heard from a friend and so forth. The worst part about it is when I asked them both, they lied to my face. I was overwhelmed with sadness and anger. I could not stand her. I tried to let it go and forgive him, but at the time he did not care. He continued talking to her like nothing had happened and defended her saying it was all her fault. That was the moment I decided to pretend like he fell from the face of the planet.
For three month I ignored him completely and everyone knew to not mention him around me. In fact I changed my number around three times because somehow he would get it and “drunk text” me saying how sorry he was and how much he missed me. I did not believe him. I even had to block him off Facebook seeing as to he wrote me this insanely long mean message mentioning stuff he heard about me that wasn’t even true. The day came where he texted me early one morning calmly and so I finally replied. One thing led to another and we ended up meeting each other to talk. I realized how much I loved him and cared for him when he was pouring his heart out to me.
Shortly after meeting, we started dating again and I have noticed the effort he has put into our relationship. He is more sweet; I am his first priority and he tries to give me whatever I want, etc. But in a way, I feel like we are falling into our old habits again. I can’t help but think in the back of my mind that he is lying to me or that he is going to cheat on me again. I would love to actually believe him when he says he will never do that again and in time he will prove it to me, but I just can’t. It’s been six months since we started dating again and I still fear him. I fear he will do this to me again and that he is lying.
My question is: will I ever learn to trust him again? If so, how? I feel like I will never get over the betrayal and our relationship will never move foward because of me.
Thanks for your question. Sorry it took us a while to get to it.
You’ve probably heard it said a thousand times that relationships are built on trust, but we just have to say it again: Relationships are built on trust. And when that trust is broken it’s often very difficult to repair. It’s not because the love has disappeared—as in your case you still love him—but because love can’t hold up without trust. And this of course throws pie in the face of all of those fairy tales we hear as kids, that love will conquer all, and it’s all about love, love, love. Well, sure, love is an important ingredient, but it’s only a part of the equation. You’re experiencing this first hand.
It is possible for you to trust your boyfriend again but he’s going to have to show you that he’s changed and willing to do what it takes to regain your trust. And he’s going to have to show this over a long period of time. (How long is up to you.) But at the same time you’re going to have to forgive him, and try your best to not think about his unsavory behavior and move forward. We’re not saying you SHOULD do that, we’re just saying that in order for you to move forward with your relationship you’re going to have to try and forgive.
The thing is Janet, much of what happens here on out is up to you. We’d say the majority of couples don’t survive a breach of trust like you’ve experienced. Cheating on someone you purportedly love is akin to taking a knife to their heart. But even so, it still happens every day. You might want to consider couples counseling and talk to a professional about this matter. There are likely other issues going on that should also be addressed. Cheating doesn’t usually happen in a vacuum.
But finally Janet, just remember that you weren’t the one to breach the trust. Don’t start blaming yourself and feeling guilty. In fact, blame needs to be taken out of the equation if you’re really serious about trying to put the pieces back together. With a lot of work on both sides you can repair the crack in the foundation, but at the same time listen carefully to your gut. What’s it telling you as you process the relationship? Sometimes even with love, two people aren’t meant to be together. They push the wrong buttons in each other.
Good luck. We wish we could give you a definitive answer, but really it’s up to you to try and sort through your feelings. We’re pulling for you whatever you decide. Please keep in touch and keep us posted. We’re interested in how this plays out. And leave us a follow up comment, or ask a follow up question anytime. Use the comments section of this post and we’ll respond there.
ps. Please let your friends know about us. Thanks!
Cheating when drinking; can he change?
My partner of four years recently left me; he ran away without leaving a note or anything. He had been drinking heavily for the duration of our relationship and during September last year he borrowed £10,000 from his Mum to open his own hair salon. When I finally found him a week later, he was living in London with an ex-girlfriend.
It turned out that he had spent all of the money that hadn’t gone on equipment for the salon on drink (approx £4,000) and that was the reason he had run away because he didn’t have the money to cover building work and rent to open the salon, and he was scared to tell his Mum and Stepdad that he had blown all of their money.
He admitted that he was an alcoholic and that he wanted to get sober and start his life over with me. He came back to Manchester but went to live with his Mum as I didn’t feel able to accept him back into my home at that point.
Since then we have been seeing each other once or twice a week and things are looking good for us. He has been sober for over three weeks now and has been attending AA meetings. (I know it hasn’t been long but it’s promising.)
However, when he was in London he told me that he only stayed with his ex for one night and then moved to a hostel. This weekend I found out that was a lie. He had spent the ten days he was there staying with her, sleeping in her bed; they had sex twice. (Not very successfully apparently because he was so drunk.)
I have also found out that he cheated on me with this ex during the first 6-10 months of our relationship and has had one-off sex with another woman in July last year. He blames the drinking and has said that if he had been sober he never would have cheated on me. He wants to start again but I don’t know if I can ever trust him again.
Do you think that being an alcoholic can effect his judgement that much that he would cheat? He says that to ease the guilt of cheating he just drank more and so the vicious circle continued.
Should I give him another chance?
Thanks for your question.
It’s absolutely possible for people to change the course of their lives. Certainly confessing to his indiscretions, admitting his faults, and attending AA meetings is a great start. But like you said, three weeks is a very short time and alcoholism is a lifetime battle.
People do become sober, but every single day of their lives they have to choose sobriety. We’ve been told it gets “easier” as time goes by, but we’ve also been told it never actually gets easy.
The even potentially bigger issue is WHY he began to drink in the first place. Those are issues he’s going to have to work through with help from professionals. (Counselors, etc.) AA is a good place to help him get the services he might need. And certainly support from friends and family will help him be strong enough to face his demons.
You obviously care about this man a lot. Otherwise you wouldn’t even be considering taking him back. But it’s really a matter of whether you can forgive him and trust him again. What do you think? Can you?
We think you’re rushing that decision a bit. Why don’t you wait and see how you feel in a few months, or even longer? Because as he stays sober and starts to work through his issues, you may start to feel differently, one way or another.
We imagine it’s hard to believe he’ll change. He cheated on you many times, lied to you, and has basically been an untrustworthy person and partner. Drinking can certainly impair a person’s judgement and make him do things he might not normally do, but not everyone who drinks chooses to cheat on their partner. They might display other destructive behaviors that they are prone to but not cheat. So the question is whether or not he’ll cheat on you when he’s sober. And we think it’s too early to tell. (We also don’t know him, so you’re going to have to be the one to make that call.)
Jane, much of this is up to you. Are you strong enough to forgive and start over with this guy? Give it some time and see how you feel. Because it sounds like you’d really like it to work out if possible. Be supportive of his journey, but we’d stay away from an actual “relationship” with him for a while. Be only a PLATONIC friend. And keep tabs on how you’re feeling. What’s your gut telling you to do? And what do your friends think? See if they think he’s actually changing, or if he’s just putting on an act.
The last thing we’ll say is don’t wait forever. Sometimes people don’t win the battle of alcoholism. As sad as that may be, you have a life to live as well. And you ultimately need to look after yourself.
Take care and good luck. Please keep us posted—leave us a follow up comment and/or question here in the comments section; we’ll respond to you here.
ps. Please let your friends know about us. Thanks!
Other questions about cheating:
Text messaging, tears and betrayal
For the past week, my boyfriend has suddenly started receiving text messages from some girl that he says is just a friend. He gets off work around midnight and from midnight until about 2am they are texting back and forth. He says she’s much younger and having issues with a guy after having sex with him.
I began getting suspicious because after a couple of days it should have stopped. When he got in the shower, I checked his messages and saw her asking where he was and if they were meeting at the usual place. Before getting in the shower he replied, “Sweetie, are you there?” She began calling.
I was so pissed I confronted him and confessed to looking through his phone. He was calm the entire time and kept shaving. I asked him why he would keep leading me on if he was in love with someone else? He said, “You don’t know what you are talking about and you are thinking too much.” I pushed and asked if he lied to me about visiting his mom in the hospital. He got pissed and told me, “Fine. I’ll leave. I’m not coming back.” I went in the bedroom and slammed the door. I came back out and grabbed his phone threatening to call her. He snatched the phone from me and said, “You don’t know what you’re doing.”
I was defeated at this point and since I was taking a trip out of town in a few days I decided to focus my energy on preparing. I went to dinner with a male friend of mine and came home pretty tipsy and I thought I beat him home, but I didn’t. He was standing outside and his face was red and he had been crying pretty hard. I walked up and he said, “I’m so sorry. I was so worried.”
When we got in the apartment, he held me and put his head in my lap. I tried consoling him, but I felt betrayed. Even during the night he cried in his sleep. I don’t know what to do. I know I betrayed him by looking through his phone, but I found what I found. Were his tears an admission of guilt? I truly love him. I don’t know if this is grounds for a break up or if there’s a way to fix it?
Thanks for your question.
We’re sorry you’re going through a rough time right now. Betrayal is a very difficult thing to deal with, and also very difficult to recover from.
Curiosity is what drives people to snoop through their hosts’ medicine cabinet when they are staying for a visit. Suspicion is what drives people to snoop through their partner’s phone. We totally understand why you went through his phone, but once you do something like that there’s no going back. But we hardly call that a betrayal. Yes, maybe a breach of trust, but not a betrayal. Why? Because unfortunately you found the information you were looking for, proving that he’s been doing “something” behind your back.
We interpret his tears as you do: an admission of guilt. But they’re also likely tears of fear, possibly because he’s scared that you’ll break up with him. They could also be tears of sadness because although he cares for you, he ultimately knows that something isn’t right between the two of you.
Is his betrayal grounds for a breakup? That’s up to the two of you Eve.
Some questions you have to ask yourself:
Do I believe his story?
Can I trust him again?
Do I believe he won’t do this again?
Does he truly love me in the way I want to be loved?
What drove him to do this, and is that particular thing something that can be addressed?
What kind of man do I want to be in a relationship with?
Am I able to forgive him and move past this?
Eve, there are no rules here. People break up for much less, and people stay together after enduring much more. It’s all a matter of what you can handle, and what’s right for you and your boyfriend. We would suggest you start talking about these difficult, but important issues. You might possibly need a third party to get involved to help facilitate the conversation. (A professional counselor possibly.) Either way it all starts with talking. (One thing to consider. While you’re trying to sort out all of these questions you might want to steer clear of the physical side of your relationship. That’s only going to confuse you.)
Good luck. Please leave us a comment and/or a follow up question. We’ll respond in the comments section.
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My guy is an alcoholic; I just want him to realize what he’s lost
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Some recent questions:
I was with my boyfriend for nearly 7 years. He cheated on me in the past with a girl who is nothing but wrong for him; she has a bad reputation as a known alcohol and drug user. He had a year long affair with her and she influenced him into drinking heavily. When I found out he cheated I left and disappeared from his life for about six months without any arguments and questions. I just accepted that it wasn’t me he wanted so I left him to be happy with her.
After about six months his family members came to me in desperate need, saying he was finding it hard to cope with life without me and therefore turning to alcohol as a barrier to block out the pain. I also witnessed this myself as I couldn’t just take their word for it. At that point in time I really thought he had realized what he lost and really did regret cheating. After convincing me that he was no longer in touch with the other woman I gave him another chance.
He was open and honest with me for a little while when the other woman would try to get in contact with him. He changed his phone number many times but she still got a hold of him. She would post him a letter or sit outside his house. As he was honest about her I believed he wouldnt risk losing me again. But just a few days ago I found out that he was still in contact with her and talks to her all night on the phone. I’m now back at the same stage I was when he first cheated. I don’t understand where I went wrong? Over the 7 years I did so much for him. His family absolutely adores me. When I confronted him about cheating again, he completely lost the plot and told me I was being crazy and paranoid and that I should go and kill myself. He also said that he doesn’t want me in his life and he wished I would just get lost. So once again I decided to leave.
But my question to you today is, if it was her he wanted why did he send his family to come find me? Will he ever realize and cry for me the way I cried for him?
Thanks for your question. We’re sorry you are going through such a rough time.
Your guy has no idea what he wants or who he wants to be with because he’s using drugs and alcohol as a way to cope with life. This doesn’t make him a bad person, but he is ill and needs to get help in order to reclaim himself and get his life back in order.
He is not making a choice between you or this other woman, he’s making a choice between two different lifestyles. This other woman is part of the lifestyle where he uses drugs, and you’re part of his clean living lifestyle. At this point in time he’s not capable of choosing you. It might feel like he’s choosing her, but in reality it’s the chemicals running through his bloodstream that are doing most of the talking.
Why would his family come to you? Because they want to see him healthy and happy, and probably when he’s able to think straight he tells them how much he cares for you. They know you are a good person and are a positive force in his life. However, you aren’t the savior here. Certainly you can support this man if you choose to do so. (Emotionally we mean.) But at this point he’s just going to drag you down with the ship if you choose to be in a relationship with him.
We think you did the right thing by leaving. You have to protect yourself. If he’s cheating on you with this other woman this could be a physical risk for you, but the emotional toll of being with him is even more detrimental to your well being. Will he ever realize what he lost and cry for you? Possibly, but only when he’s sober and seeing the world through a new lens—the kind that isn’t tainted with chemicals. This could take some time, and also may never happen.
Jo, you need to try and move on. You need to surround yourself with people who are healthy and positive, and who support you. Focus on the things you love. Your ex is going to have to figure this out on his own, and/or with the support of his family.
ps. Let your friends know about us. Thanks.
Cheating Boyfriend: How do I know it won’t happen again?
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Some recent questions:
Relationship advice: Dating older men (Also check out our video on the topic. See our video page)
Okay, so my boyfriend and I have been together for almost two years. We work at the same place just different sides of the building. We used to have all the same friends but sadly they were not supportive of us and got weird.
So anyway we started dating. Three months after I moved in his younger brother died. My boyfriend became distant and I understood. Things seemed to progress with time but I guess I always felt something was wrong. We kept separate rooms as I am the first woman he has lived with. He is very reserved and not so great with communication.
The last few months have been really bad. We hardly ever have sex and it was like everything else came first. I picked everything apart trying to find answers. Then he just got even more private and started locking his computer and never left his phone alone. I have never wanted to look at either up until this point. Last Saturday he forgot to lock his phone because he got sick from drinking too much. I went to plug our phones in because they were almost dead and that’s when I saw it was not locked. I had to look. I found emails between him and another woman. It sounded like pics had been exchanged, and they planned to meet up but didn’t.
When I confronted him he first tried to say these were spam messages, but finally admitted to what they were. He said it was over with her and nothing happened outside the emails. He said he couldn’t continue with her because he wanted to work on things with me. But he also said he just couldn’t love me the way he should. I tried to ask him if he wanted to work on things and he couldn’t say yes or no. So I moved out.
He was so crushed the whole time I was getting my stuff out. He kept saying to stay and lay with him, and how much he loved me. I told him he obviously cares more than he thinks, otherwise my leaving wouldn’t hurt this bad. I told him to figure out what he wants and I left. That Monday he decides he was wrong and that it took me leaving for him to see what I meant to him. He got rid of all email addresses and phone numbers from ex-girlfriends. And he now leaves everything unlocked besides his phone because he has to keep it password protected because of work emails. He seems to be trying overall. I have moved back in and things seem better.
How do I know it’s for real? How do I know he won’t cheat and that he really woke up and it’s not just him feeling bad and not wanting to be alone? I don’t want to have to surprise check his emails or phone. I want to trust him. I want things to continue the way they seem to be going since I moved back in.
What do you think?
Thanks for your question. First of all, our condolences to your boyfriend. We are very sorry for his loss.
Unfortunately this is less about what we think and more about what you think. Sure, people can change, and do change, but we can’t give you a general rule about guys which would then apply to your boyfriend. You’re going to have to make that call based on what you see: his actions, his words, a gut feeling you might have. (Listen to some of our videos on these topics.)
You’re right to question what’s going on. A lot of people don’t like to be alone, so they’ll do anything, or say anything to prevent that from happening. Obviously your boyfriend cares about you, but we can’t guarantee he won’t dip his toe back into the perennial pool of available nymphs, especially since up until recently he had his ex’s email addresses and phone numbers tucked away in his “little black book.”
You can see how important trust is within a relationship. Once trust is breached, even ever so slightly, it’s very difficult to get it back. Both of you have stepped over the boundaries of trust: He cheated. You snooped. We do think what he did is more serious, but both fall in the realm of the unacceptable.
Women in general seem better at forgiving. This could be due to societal pressures, or possibly societal expectations—men are often labeled as potential cheaters based on their biological makeup—so women often feel forced to forgive even if they don’t want to. Of course this varies from individual to individual. Where do you fall in this spectrum Amanda? That would be an important question to ask yourself.
The best advice we can give you is: Keep close tabs on how you feel day-to-day. What is your gut telling you? Do you feel close to your boyfriend in the ways you need to feel? Besides the trust issue, are you getting what you need out of the relationship? Think about why you love him, and why you want to be with him, and then align that with your feelings. Does everything match up?
Have faith in yourself; you’ll figure it out Amanda. We also think you should consult your friends. What do they think? They’ll give you an honest answer, and it will be up to you to listen. (Once again, we have a video on that very topic.)
Good luck, and please keep us posted. Leave us a follow up comment. And feel free to ask another question anytime.
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