“Hi ladies… this is completely off topic but I wanted to post on the most recent article so my comment would be seen. I am completely lost and heartbroken, I don’t know where to turn. I just recently found out that my fiancé, a man I have been dating for 5 years, is interacting with women from craigslist and online dating sites.
I found an email account I didn’t recognize on our internet history and found several emails he had sent to women under a fake name. I was completely freaked out and.. I know this is bad… I changed the password to the account so that I could see what other emails would come in.
I confronted him about the account and he lied and said it was form a long time ago and he just got bored and sent a few emails out to see what would happen.
Well, I went back to the account and did some digging found the dates it had been accessed (every single day for the past two months), how many emails had been sent (over 50), and I was also able to retrieve numerous email addresses.
I confronted him about all of this again and he admitted to contacting numerous women and that he was already feeling bad and planned to delete the account. but he SWORE that was all that happened.
I just didn’t feel like I was getting the truth so I reached out to all the women I had emails for and told them my situation in a calm, respectful way and I asked that if they felt like I needed to know anything that they could reach back out to me- otherwise they didn’t need to respond.
Several women responded… all saying they had never met up with him in person but that sexual emails, pictures and phone calls were exchanged. One girl even forwarded me the emails where he had said he had ran out of minutes on his pre-paid phone.
This sent me over the edge and I confronted him AGAIN and he finally admitted to having a second phone but that he “only txted one or two girls” and when I asked to see it he said he threw it away after I found out because he was angry at himself.
I’m in WAY over my head here… I don’t know how to handle this situation. I can’t stand the secrets and the lying. I feel like he is only telling me the truth once I present him with evidence, so who knows what else has happened. I feel completely blindsided, we were in love and happy. We have a great relationship, we travel and do fun things together. He is so good to me… well I guess I thought he was.
We are both young and attractive and educated. I don’t understand the craigslist thing… why not go out in person and cheat on me?
I don’t know.. I just feel like I’m not getting the full extent of this issue and how deep his gone into it, how long its gone on. I don’t know whether its a problem he has that will never go away or whether its just him being a guy and pushing the boundaries on a “pornish” experience.
He is absolutely devastated since I’ve confronted him… won’t come out of his bedroom and crying all the time saying he’s so down on himself and hates that he hurt me. He just keeps swearing none of it meant anything.
What is going on here? Is he being genuine? Was he really never intending to physically interact with these women?
The trust feels broken. I love him but I can’t understand any of this. I cannot live with continuing this relationship if 10 yrs down the road I will find something like this again.
Any advice? Jen”
Jen – Welcome, and here’s my advice (after hugging you hard…):
1. To me, as I am and feel now, and as you describe this man, I wouldn’t want to go on dating him. Not any more. Once I’d been lied to (in what, to me, would be an enormous way) – that would be it.
AND… to you, and to many, many women out there (and perhaps to me, at a different time and place) – this could be WAY FIXABLE!
It’s all about what YOU want, how you feel, what kind of character flaws in a man you’re willing to tolerate.
* (I personally believe that I would have stayed married to Bill Clinton, just as Hillary did, those many years ago – but we’re talking the President of the United States, and one of the most powerful (and, to me, handsome, charismatic and sexy) men there has ever been in the world…
* But would I stay married to a “regular” guy, and work on the “problems” just because I “loved” him and was afraid to go off on my own and start over?
Probably yes – if I were married to him.
* Would I stay “dating” a man and work on the “problems” (even if we were “engaged”) under these circumstances?
I’m just not the “rockstar” kind of woman who could be okay with this – and yet, many women ARE!
If I were feeling sort of “open” and wanted to experiment myself, and wanted some leeway to hang out with other men and STILL date this one – perhaps I’d jump at this chance.
If I really believed anyone could “change” so suddenly and completely, and simply “no longer need” variety in women and the excitement of lying and cheating in this way – I might give the man and myself another three to six months and see how I felt.
***AND – I do not believe that kind of change is possible without serious intervention, desire, and support. To me – it would be like taking back an alcoholic or drug addict and not requiring he go to AA or NA and “Recovery” therapy – forever.
And what program, is there, exactly, out there for this kind of thing? I’m not sure.
It’s not yet “sex addiction” – but it’s still a “compulsion.”
I do know I sure wouldn’t expect he’d “change” all by himself.
2. “Dating” a man for five years is just that.
A man who wants marriage, commitment, family – gets married.
He begs you to marry him.
He is faithful, because that’s ALL he KNOWS.
This kind of man may seem boring to you at first – but that’s what you want to start with – a man who’s true blue and wants you.
(And I realize this man seemed like all that to you all these five years, and yet, your reference to “his bedroom” says otherwise. If you’d said: “his office/study” in the home you share, it would have sounded different.)
3. NOW – the cheating and lying and his compulsion to do all this in spite of wanting you MORE than he wants these other things – is just part of what your energy field and your mind says is TOLERABLE.
And we all have different limits of tolerability.
Everyone has to give up something sometime, in order to get other things.
Everyone makes choices that come with strings.
You can buy the blue dress, the red dress, the pink dress – and, yet, you can only wear one dress to the “ball.” The others stay in the closet.
Marriage means you get your sexual life satisfied with only one person (if that’s your agreement). It’s not an easy agreement – and yet, the intensity of intimacy it can create is worth what you give up.
Or – it isn’t.
You can no longer wear ANY of the other ball gowns in your closet! You can’t even SHOP for them anymore!
Lying has an energy signature. Just like all emotions, actions, thoughts.
There is no blame or villain here. I’m not saying you’re responsible for “missing” what was going on here – but I’m asking you to take responsibility for missing it anyway. It’s the best way for you to heal this, whatever you choose to do.
I want you to ask yourself:
Where am I lying to and cheating MYSELF?
When we lie to ourselves about stuff (seemingly tiny, non-important stuff usually) – that’s when we “miss” what’s going on around us.
When we cheat on ourselves by not noticing how we’re feeling, that’s when we “miss” what’s important to us.
4. What to do now:
I’m not saying we cannot all be fooled – or, on the other side – that what this man has done is so horrible.
This level of fooling isn’t really “cheating” in the sense that there’s no actual relationship with any other woman going on – but it qualifies as lying.
Because nothing physical has occurred (likely he’s never even met these women) – for SOME women – this would be tolerable.
It might even be MORE tolerable if it were out in the OPEN! And – if that’s YOU – GO FOR IT!!! Tell him it’s all okay, and you just need to have it all out in the open, and you won’t ask questions.
And all this is a mental exercise. A discussion. When the only thing to consider here is this:
Is that you? Is this what YOU want?
Some women may be fine with it.
I would NEVER be – because that’s me.
I need singular attention, and, truly, I’m not good at sharing.
I never have been good at sharing – not even about “things” – so I’m not likely to ever be good at sharing my man.
Even though this wasn’t exactly “sharing” – if this were me, I’d dump this man so fast he wouldn’t know what hit him, and I’d NEVER CONSIDER taking him back (as the song says).
And Never is a long time. So let’s say: Unless and until he got this “compulsion thing” fixed – by himself – and I had professional and documented proof of it, and I wasn’t already with another man – and I was still attracted to him as a person.
A lot of “ifs.”
What would I do instead?
I’d go out, lonely, feeling lousy, do what everyone on this blog says to do, get online dating, get gorgeous, get out, and start Circular Dating like mad until I’d healed and started to surround myself with good men, and start to see how all of this lying, secretive behavior of his over five years went unnoticed by me somehow.
I’d discover, man by man, what it was about this secretiveness and inner compulsion that attracted me.
And I’d be honest with myself…
Do I really care all that much about this kind of thing? Do I really care if my man goes to strip clubs or watches porn, or writes other women, or sends naked photos of himself to them? Do I really care if he frequents prostitutes, or has women in other cities as he travels, or an ex he’s overly fond of?
How much do I care? And if I DO really care, what am I willing to do and not do in order to not be with a man who likes to do these things?
And at the core of this is: What do you do while you’re figuring things out?
I would be out Circular Dating, volunteering, treating myself with loving care and revving up my career.
A man like the one Jen describes here would SO turn me off that I can’t imagine ever wanting to touch him again. I’d be gone.
What would you be doing?