Join 3,424 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Should I cry over you-Filter
July 7, 2010 4:22 PM   Subscribe

Help me turn the light on please. LDR boyfriend is active on adult sites, through live encounters, with real people. I am willing to understand, yet there is more to it. Where to draw the line ?

------- TL ; DR :
1) I am aware that cyber-s_x isn't necessarily a road to serious cheating, and that the overlapping of definitions between cheating and cyber-s_x are hazy and very personal ; Am I beanplating his hiding it from me ?

2) is it regular / normal for LDR couples to have separate cyber-s_x without talking about it prior to it, during the relationship ?

3) What more should I be aware of, approaching this ?

-----------------------------No DTMA please, I am simply willing to understand-----------------------------------------------

My boyfriend of 6 months (INTx), late 20s, whom I (24, ENFx) only get to visit every couple of weeks, has always been caring, loving, a skilled listener, and altogether wonderful. Our sex life is good. We have a GGG approach to sex, him being more casual than I am, and enjoy talking about it as well as experiencing new things, it is reallly nice and healthy. He never hid his past from me, as he has caused quite some emotional stress to ex girlfriends of his, often by mistake, or carelessness. I didn't want to fall into stereotypes, but was aware that he had cheated in the past. Finding it hard to believe that I was altogether very different from the others, which made him more in love with me (his words), I grew suspicious as his demonstrations of love increased. My self esteem isn't always top level, and I have been in therapy for 3 years.

4 months into the relationship, I snooped in his web history, (a rather clumsy/sad manner of trying to reassure myself that he wasn't meeting people online, and that his fantasies weren't too harcore for me). I quickly confessed it to him, and am fully aware of how wrong it is and damaging to a relationship. It was a good opportunity to talk about our habits / tastes / etc, and he was pretty light-hearted about it, we even cruised some sites together. I later asked him if he had ever had cyber s_x, which he told me was the case, including during the time we had been together. I was a little taken aback by the statement, and he immediately told me it wasn't important, and very sweetly offered not to do it again (without my asking), since he didn't want to hurt me. It felt really caring and free-willed.

I figured we would talk about it some more later on, and our relationship just kept going. Upon visiting him last week-end, I started a conversation which involed our sex lives & co... and his interest for cyber s_x chats, topics I consider very important, due to the 4 hours between us.
..... It may have been intrusive of myself to broach the subject, I am not sure.

He let it flow and didn't mention anything specific or new.
The next day, disgusted by myself but somehow compelled by a lingering doubt, I went back to his web history, and found recent activity in cyber s_x chat rooms of all kinds. He asked me about it later that day as he was expecting i'd snoop, he hadn't tried to hide it, and I have been feeling very stomach-achy and worried since then. We then had a really open conversation.

The fact that he didn't mention it in the first place, then after offering to stop so spontaneously, and later his not telling me he had kept meeting people, especially when I asked about it in an open and relaxed manner... made me feel like he lied to me. By omission, as a white lie somehow.

I have mixed feelings, for 3 reasons :
- I can't help but to think of his old girlfriends, who got burned by his behaviors while they were a couple. Knowing this, scared me very much when we first started dating.
- One specific website (s_xr0ulette) had pre-set filters to "discreet relationsip" and "romance". He told me these were default settings, but I am not sure to what extent it is true.
- He tells me he feels like I worry too much and am being paranoid, and plays it down, comparing his online partners to objects.

It is true that he says he wouldn't want to have these encounters in real life, and wouldn't go to these chatrooms if we lived closer. What to believe ?

----Thanks so much !
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (34 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
There is no correct answer to where to draw the line. You draw the line where you're comfortable. BUT, this requires lots of honesty. He needs to be honest with you, you need to be honest with him, and, most importantly, you need to be honest with yourself about what you're ok with and what you're not.

It is absolutely imperative that you guys make clear where you are and what's going on. Absolutely no snooping, absolutely no having cybersex behind your back (which isn't to say that he should tell you about each encounter... but if he's going to do this, you need to know about it).

And then there's where the honesty with yourself comes in. You need to figure out what you're ok with, what is fair because you are in a LDR and what isn't fair to your emotions. This is not a one-size-fits-all answer, but it's ok if you lie anywhere on this spectrum: it's perfectly fine if you are only comfortable in a purely, stereotypically monogamous relationship. It's perfectly fine if you are comfortable in a complete open relationship. What needs to be figured out is if your views on these things match.

The cybersex, in and of itself, are not an issue. The two biggest things that stand out as issues for me are:
a) That he hid it from you. This has to not be ok.
b) That you snooped. This has to not be ok.
c) That he sees these women as objects. That is worse, in my opinion, than him seeing them as sexual encounters with women.

Be honest with yourself, and you can figure out where you want to take it.

(Also, "sex" is not a bad word, and even if it were, 'bad' words are not filtered on metafilter)
posted by brainmouse at 4:31 PM on July 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


Here's what I would believe, if I were you: you can't trust him.
posted by jayder at 4:32 PM on July 7, 2010 [12 favorites]


Sex (it's OK to say it here) is often an issue in long-distance relationships. What this set of circumstances means is entirely up to you: does cybersex count as infidelity to you? It would to very many women. Is your relationship one where monogamy is the rule?

It really doesn't matter what's "normal" in an LDR. It all boils down to your answers to those questions. If this is a monogamous relationship and cybersex amounts to infidelity to you, then he's cheating on you.

It's especially actively unfaithful if he's aware that it amounts to an issue for you and promised not to. It makes him very much a cheater.

How would you handle that in any other partner?
posted by bonaldi at 4:32 PM on July 7, 2010


Do you want to be with someone who compares women with objects?
posted by too bad you're not me at 4:32 PM on July 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


You draw the line at what makes you uncomfortable. There is no "normal." However, I would guess that most long-term couples do not have cybersex with others unless they already have an understanding that this is acceptable to both parties. You seem too concerned with his explanations and reassurances, when you should be thinking about how you want to be treated and what you are okay with in a relationship. Personally, I wouldn't trust him not to cheat IRL.
posted by ishotjr at 4:33 PM on July 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


You are either completely fine with extra-curricular activity, or you aren't. And if you aren't, this doesn't sound like a good place to be.
posted by kjs3 at 4:35 PM on July 7, 2010


Oh, just saw the "objects" thing, kind of a red flag in itself; not reassuring.
posted by ishotjr at 4:35 PM on July 7, 2010


It sounds to me like this pushes a lot of insecurity buttons for you. You need to decided what's cheating and what isn't and online that with him so that you both agree. Either his behaviors is okay or it isn't but so far you seem unsure yourself so I can imagine he feels confused too.

He hasn't really been "hiding" anything from you, just not telling. I wouldn't tell my husband every time I masturbated, he seems to think of online sex talk as basically an extension of masturbation.

To me I find the behavior harmless, there is certainly a big difference between talking to a faceless individual while engaging in a fantasy and actually meeting someone in person to have sex.

But it seems like if you just came out and said, "I see this is cheating, would you stop?" He might be more than happy to. Also, could you guys have online or phone sex? That might be a nice compromise.

My only other advice is to stop snooping. You know it's not cool but you keep doing it which is what suggests to me you think of what he's doing as cheating OR that the problem isn't so much his behavior as you feeling worried and insecure.

Either way I think more open communication is the answer, he seems to really like you, you guys seem pretty healthy in your communication patterns and if this is your biggest problem I think you're doing pretty well.
posted by Saminal at 4:46 PM on July 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


One of the great fallacies people in relationships fall into is that even though their partner has done 'x' with every previous significant other, you are somehow different. It's a benevolent impulse, with copious amounts of charity and forgiveness and understanding borne on the wings of the naiveté that goes hand-in-hand with being smitten.

But it's a fallacy. There are always exceptions, but if your significant other has well-established patterns, it's folly to think that things will change, beginning with you, simply because you feel "so right" together. That you'll be another iteration in the pattern is far more likely than his undergoing a radical transformation.

Your question is one only you can answer.

I'm not saying DTMFA, but you do need to think long and hard--and, most importantly, honestly!--about whether this is really the right kind of guy. The relationships that work are the ones that are easy. That doesn't mean there's never disagreement or emotional toil. But if you're stressing and worrying and feeling compelled to look at his browser history--not to mention ask for advice on the internet--that's a pretty strong indicator that this one is already starting to spiral.
posted by resiny at 4:48 PM on July 7, 2010 [6 favorites]


It's okay not to be okay with this. You can have limits. He can also decide if he can live with those limits or not.

I think cybersex might mean different things to different people. For some, it's a gateway to physical cheating. For others, it might (MIGHT) keep them from being physical with someone else. The main concern is that he wasn't being honest with you upfront about it to give you a chance to say that it wasn't okay with you or it was.
posted by inturnaround at 4:50 PM on July 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


1) I am aware that cyber-s_x isn't necessarily a road to serious cheating,

Good.

and that the overlapping of definitions between cheating and cyber-s_x are hazy and very personal ; Am I beanplating his hiding it from me ?

Yeah you are. It doesn't mean anything especially he just doesn't want to talk about his jerkoff habits with you, because they're embarrassing.

2) is it regular / normal for LDR couples to have separate cyber-s_x without talking about it prior to it, during the relationship ?

Who cares if it's normal? You say that cyber sex (not s_x) isn't serious, and it isn't cheating and I think you believe that. If that is the case then you're looking for problems rather than experiencing them.


3) What more should I be aware of, approaching this ?

Sometimes it's all-right to not know stuff about your partner. Your best bet is to trust them. If you don't trust them, examine the evidence rather than your feelings about them. In this case, what he actually did was hide the specifics of his masturbation habits from you after you made it very clear that it bothered you. His problem was trying to please you rather than being honest and realistic about his online habits.

The only way to get over this is to trust him completely and work to ignore your doubts. OR listen to your intuition and break up with him. Some compromise that casts him as the one with the problem and you as his monitor will just end in recrimination and suspicion for all.

Finally to address this:

Do you want to be with someone who compares women with objects?

Besides the other wrong things in that statement, there's almost no chance any of those chats were with actual women (unless they're video chats which i think they aren't).
posted by Potomac Avenue at 4:51 PM on July 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


1) I am aware that cyber-s_x isn't necessarily a road to serious cheating, and that the overlapping of definitions between cheating and cyber-s_x are hazy and very personal ;

You get to define serious cheating. The definitions of cheating and cybersex are very personal, I agree. You get to define for yourself what those definitions are, too. It doesn't matter if every last one of us and/or Dan Savage would define them differently. Your definitions are exactly as valid, true, "reasonable" as ours are. Nobody has any more authority on this than you do

So, define those things for yourself, and come to an agreement with your boyfriend so that you both know the parameters of your relationship, and it is no longer hazy.


2) is it regular / normal for LDR couples to have separate cyber-s_x without talking about it prior to it, during the relationship ?


Lots of things are "regular" in the sense of being common, but just because something is common in relationships doesn't mean it's good. I don't know if having secret cybersex with random other people is common or not in other people's relationships. Personally, I would consider that to be cheating, full stop. But what I consider cheating doesn't matter here at all.

What I do know is that when two people agree to be monogamous, they really really should define what that means. And they should be open and honest about it. Being un-forthright in that talk by hiding sexual things you do with other people, is acting in bad faith and is bad relationship practice.

More than that, if he's hiding it, that means he knows it would bother you. If he were honest and just embarrassed, he'd make you aware of it and tell you that he does it, wants to continue doing it, and doesn't want to talk about it. Then you would be free to accept that relationship parameter, or to not accept it and break up. Going about it this way was underhanded of him.

3) What more should I be aware of, approaching this ?

That it's okay for you to have any boundaries you want, that it's okay for you to not be okay with anything you're not okay with. That you don't have to snoop, but on the other hand, you do have a right to ask anything you want to ask of anyone, particularly someone you're going to be having sex with/in a serious relationship with. And it's their right not to tell you, and tell you that they want to keep things private (and in that case you can decide whether they're someone you want to continue seeing) but it's not their right to lie to you and/or mislead you.

I made a comment a few months ago that your situation really really really makes me think back to; rather than repeat myself, I'll just link it in case you get anything out of it.

Bottom line, since you don't want to dump him:

1. Define boundaries, set them
2. Be very, very careful trusting people who make frequent use of technicalities, white lies, and lies by omission.
posted by Ashley801 at 5:15 PM on July 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Don't care about what the world or other people say is cheating, if it feels like cheating to you then it is. An open discussion about what you see as acceptable and not seems to be in order.

I'm a guy, and his actions are completely in the wrong and he should be asking for forgiveness.
posted by zombieApoc at 5:20 PM on July 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Missed this:

- One specific website (s_xr0ulette) had pre-set filters to "discreet relationsip" and "romance". He told me these were default settings, but I am not sure to what extent it is true.

In my humble opinion, that's bullshit. I've seen cheating guys give girls that "default setting" line soooooooo many times, it's a cliche at this point. (Other varieties: "I didn't even mean to go to the site, I just got a spam email/pop-up and accidentally clicked.")

Tread carefully.
posted by Ashley801 at 5:24 PM on July 7, 2010 [5 favorites]


The thing about any LDR is that you need to weigh the good with the bad, both in % time and level of intensity. If you see each other three of every 14 days and one of those three days is invariably fraught with distrust and Serious Conversations, and 60% of the remaining 11 days is you feeling jealous or worried, then you're looking at some pretty slim odds of remaining satisfied in this relationship long-term.

I don't usually work out the actual numbers, myself, but it's a useful extension of "does the good outweigh the bad?"--which is the most important benchmark in ANY relationship, LD or otherwise.
posted by ista at 5:29 PM on July 7, 2010


Here's what I would believe, if I were you: you can't trust him.

This. From experience. Sorry.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 5:57 PM on July 7, 2010


You need to determine for yourself where your boundaries are, which others thankfully also seem to be saying, but I'm a little concerned at your ability to do that right now, sad to say.

Regardless of whether one thinks of cybersex as cheating or just enhanced masturbation, the way your question reads is that you're making tons of excuses for this guy which I'm not sure he deserves. I don't know him and you do, so I'm not going to pass judgment there, but it seems a hell of a lot like he's got 100% of the control in this relationship. How, then, are you going to set any boundaries? You've already had that conversation, where he sweetly told you he would stop doing this, and then he blatantly continued to do it anyway. Now you're asking how to "understand" why he's doing this, and my best answer, tough as it may be, is that he's doing this because 1.) he likes it, and 2.) he can.

You used GGG in your question, so I presume that you read Dan Savage. The other three-letter-term that you need to pull away from that reading is "LTR" - Loving, Trusting Relationship. I don't know if cybersex is cheating or not, and I sure as hell can't answer it for you personally. All I know is that he isn't holding up his end of the bargain on the "trusting" part of LTR. So you've got some options.

1. DTMFA
You've already said that this is off the table. Fine.

2. Suck it up, change your worldview, and learn to live with it.
Not as hard to do at your age as you might think, but it doesn't speak to the bigger issue, which is that he told you one thing, did another, and was entirely blase about you're discovering his actions, which I'll go out on a limb and say was probably because he fully expected that this would be the sort of reaction to it.

3. Assert your boundaries without any DTMFA-type ultimatum and stick to them.
Will probably lead to the slow death of the relationship, as this becomes more and more of an issue and his "paranoid" accusation continues to be his way of turning his actions back upon you, which, frankly, is bullshit. That's the big red flag for me.

4. Assert your boundaries WITH the DTMFA ultimatum.
Might work. You need to be able to actually show a bit of force in your stake in this relationship. Right now, you are not. He might change his habits or at least be honest with you if you make your presence known. And if he doesn't, then you've made a deal - a unilateral one, yes, but still a deal - that someone who won't give you the benefit of honesty and respect is not worth your time.

Good luck, and I'm sorry if all of this seems harsh.
posted by Navelgazer at 6:15 PM on July 7, 2010 [7 favorites]


My two cents: you let your BF know that his behavior bothered you, but he did it anyway. This implies that he's not willing to change his behavior in order to satisfy your emotional needs. That's the red flag for me.

Also, it seems like he's done this in other relationships before. That's pretty suspect too.
You should really discuss this with him, and if he's not willing to change his behavior to make you feel comfortable in your relationship, then you really need to think about how strong your relationship is and how worthy this guy is of your feelings.
posted by elder18 at 6:19 PM on July 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


I personally would be very unhappy if my significant other dismissed any concerns of mine as "paranoid". That's invalidating my feelings. You seem open to trying to talk through this situation and come to some mutually agreed upon boundaries, which is cool. From what you've written, it comes across that he's trying to shut you down a bit. It should be completely fine for both of you to talk this out.
posted by gaspode at 6:25 PM on July 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


He's lied to previous girlfriends. He lied to you. Therefore, what you really have to decide is if you want to be with a liar; or would you rather be with someone you can trust? Because he isn't showing any inclination to change.
posted by MexicanYenta at 6:32 PM on July 7, 2010 [6 favorites]


You draw a line when his behavior makes you uncomfortable and/or unhappy. That's it. The line is different for everyone. If you're thinking "wow, this makes me uncomfortable and/or unhappy, but maybe it's just me" -- well, it is just you, and that's okay. Only you can draw that line, you're totally justified to draw it where you like it, and if he doesn't approve -- well, then you split up. Easy peasy.
posted by davejay at 6:35 PM on July 7, 2010 [8 favorites]


Oh, and yeah, if someone addresses your concerns as "paranoid", there are only three options.

1. Your concerns seem, to him, to be genuinely paranoid. You two have quite different boundaries for behavior, and that's a red flag for continuing the relationship.

2. He's hiding something, and trying to convince you you're paranoid so you won't find out. Obviously an even bigger red flag.

3. You're actually paranoid. Given the scenario you've described, you're not.
posted by davejay at 6:37 PM on July 7, 2010


Last thing:

Not everyone has a relationship where their serious SO isn't "supposed" to look at what they do online. Everyone I have ever dated has been allowed to look at my email, web history, texts etc., whenever they feel like it. I like to have the same privileges in return.

This kind of relationship is not for everyone. But I, personally, would feel really really weird in a relationship where we felt the need to keep that stuff "secret" from each other.

So maybe you should suggest this sort of thing to your boyfriend. Then if you're ever curious about what he looks at or vice versa, you can look all you want, and it won't be snooping or a violation of trust at all.
posted by Ashley801 at 6:43 PM on July 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


He said one thing, did another, and hid it. On top of cheating in the past. So, you understandably don't trust him. It sucks to be in a relationship where you can't trust someone. I'd make a quick decision: was this (a) because he's untrustworthy and will not keep his agreements, or (b) because you had an unclear agreement to begin with (or you're not sure which of the two it is)?

If (a), break up. If (b), you guys need to reach clear and ironclad agreements that work for you both, then see if he keeps them, while working on building your trust in him. For me that would go like this:

- what do you and don't you both think is ok within the confines of the relationship? Being completely honest, each describe the kind of freedoms you want and what faithfulness means to you. You could each comment yes/no on "ok with me if you do it" and "I'd like to be able to do this" for a bunch of actions -- can you/he kiss random others? cybersex? a serious regular online chat partner? hot-n-heavy emails with an "old friend?" For gray area, here's a 1 to 10 rating scale.
- then together compare: here's where you agree, great. here's where you disagree, and how do you each feel about that? where are you each willing to compromise? what are the potential dealbreakers? this could be a long conversation. "here's why I don't think my online chatting needs to bother someone." "I hear that. here's why it bothers me." At some point, maybe you'd want to think it through before talking more in a day or two.
- did any serious dealbreakers arise? if so, I'd break up. He's great, you're great, but you want different things. Dealbreakers are things like restrictions he can't live with, freedoms he needs that aren't okay with you in a committed relationship, or vice versa.
- if not, you'd then have a real, solid, clear agreement. I'd be clear: if either one of us wants to change this, we have to talk to the other person, and failing to do so is cheating and basically means breaking up right away.
- then, examine the trust issue. because of past activities (him cheating in the past, him saying he'd stop something and then doing it and not even disclosing that he was doing it), you do have reason to be concerned. you also have to be vigilant (as it sounds like you are) for times when you might be worried unnecessarily. does he have any ideas about how to give you enough access to reassure yourself while trust gets built up? how can you balance his need for privacy against your need to feel secure?
- you might even say that after X months of this, you'd revisit this to see if you're feeling better. if you're still feeling mistrustful, you would need to examine whether that was something that he was doing or something that you're carrying.

Good luck. If you remember only one thing from my comment, it's that I don't think you're worried unnecessarily. Do less second-guessing of your feelings. Do more to know and to get what you really need.
posted by salvia at 8:37 PM on July 7, 2010 [5 favorites]


4 months into the relationship, I snooped in his web history ... I quickly confessed it to him, and am fully aware of how wrong it is and damaging to a relationship.
And then you went and did it again. It appears both parties are having trouble changing their behaviours – which of course is not surprising because it is very hard to change.
My self esteem isn't always top level, and I have been in therapy for 3 years.
I hesitate to highlight this but as you freely volunteered that information my advice in response is that maintaining a long distance relationship with the sort of person you have described while you are not fully confident of your own self-worth is going to be very difficult. I know you don't want to break up with him but as I see it that's the only line you can draw. The alternative is you tell him you are not happy with him engaging in cyber-sex (you clearly aren't), he continues to secretly do so, you snoop again and find more evidence of his 'cheating' and everyone ends up miserable.
posted by Pranksome Quaine at 9:14 PM on July 7, 2010


i decided a few years ago that i couldn't be with a guy who couldn't openly discuss his jacking off. other people don't care, but i do. this has led to amazingly fun, sexy times with the husband.

you get to decide what you care about in a relationship and you have every right to demand those things, just has he has every right to deny those demands. then both of you get to decide if that thing is more important than staying together. i've found that my sense of self is the one thing i was far too willing to give up in early relationships and something i'd never compromise on now.

lies of ommissions are lies. people who say differently are convincing themselves.
posted by nadawi at 9:43 PM on July 7, 2010


From the OP:
Wow, so many interesting answers, so quick ! It feels really refreshing to be able to hear some insight on this story, especially some that isn't in black/whte thinking mode. Thanks !

to everyone : I wasn't feeling super well at the idea hat my question (though anonymous) would be seen by anyone searching for sex, etc.. that's why I disguised key-words.. there is a lot of self-consciousness here.

to Potomac Avenue : the chats I describe here are video chats, with real people, that can be added to a friend list or with whom one could exchange IRL info, or pass on to skype to secure the communication, etc.
posted by jessamyn at 10:15 PM on July 7, 2010


I can't help but to think of his old girlfriends, who got burned by his behaviors while they were a couple. Knowing this, scared me very much when we first started dating.

This is not unreasonable.

I didn't want to fall into stereotypes, but was aware that he had cheated in the past. Finding it hard to believe that I was altogether very different from the others, which made him more in love with me (his words)

And this doesn't have much to do with your self-esteem, or with you not loving yourself enough. You're wary because he's done shitty things to other women in the past, and he's now playing with the boundaries of that same shitty behaviour with you (setting filters to 'discreet relationship'; promising you he wouldn't use particular sites, then using them the next day and not making any effort to hide it although 'he was expecting [you'd] snoop').

I can't say what is and isn't best to do for you and your relationship, but I don't think you should be blaming your discomfort over his shifty behaviour and past history on your own issues. Especially because he tried to convince you you were different, and therefore wouldn't be cheated on and lied to; and not that he had changed, and therefore wouldn't cheat on and lie to a partner.
posted by Catseye at 11:04 PM on July 7, 2010


You're getting a lot of great advice here. But I also want to make sense of everything you've said (and I recently ended a one-year LDR), so here's what is still a little perplexing:

* Am I reading this right that you go to see him every few weeks? Does he not ever see you? If this is the case, you've already got a problem. Seems like he's happy to have to make a relationship work, but on his terms.

* Sorry, but I've never, ever heard of a cheater who didn't keep cheating. Seems like if anything, he's testing the waters with you by letting you know up from that he's having sex with strangers on the internet, thus opening up the door for, "Well, one thing led to another, and I wasn't seeing you that weekend, so...".

* This: It is true that he says he wouldn't want to have these encounters in real life.... I want to be gentle here, but of course, you have NO IDEA whether or not this is true. He may already be having these encounters (see above). You just don't know, do you?

* And this: ...wouldn't go to these chatrooms if we lived closer. My BS radar went up on this. It's a pretty flimsy excuse because he's doing this because he LIKES them and he wants to. If you lived down the block, there would be periods of time when you wouldn't be together. And maybe he'd be doing this because you were busy for an hour on Tuesday. This one...well, it just doesn't ring true.

What you need to decide if this is all cool with you. For me, it feels a little too slippery and yucky, YMMV.
posted by dzaz at 5:25 AM on July 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


I tangled myself in knots trying to justify an ex-boyfriend's lies and creepiness. I knew he'd cheated on previous partners, including his wife, and I didn't listen to my gut. It's not worth it; there are so many guys who will not lie to you. Part of having low self-esteem is believing that you don't deserve such a partner. Being with an asshole has two advantages: 1) people feel badly for you, and 2) it's easy to walk away and blame the failure of the relationship on him. Being with an awesome guy is actually more work because they won't tolerate your codependency, and you're equally responsible for the relationship.

I found out that the ex wasn't just having flirtatious chats; he was having unprotected sex with both men and women. So I had an extremely scary couple of weeks waiting for blood tests to come back (thank god, all negative). I would not wish that on anyone. I married an awesome guy who won't tolerate my victimization bullshit and I'm a much better, stronger person as a result. Dump your guy and find an awesome one closer to home.
posted by desjardins at 7:56 AM on July 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


One specific website (s_xr0ulette) had pre-set filters to "discreet relationsip" and "romance". He told me these were default settings, but I am not sure to what extent it is true.

An ex of mine was like this. He didn't want a relationship as I defined it, but instead of being honest and/or breaking up, essentially snuck around on online dating sites behind my back. I found evidence time and time again, but when I brought it up he would justify it as your SO is doing, and I began to wonder whether the problem was actually with me, whether I wasn't being considerate enough. It fucked with my head enormously. What I learnt: if something feels wrong, it doesn't matter whether it's objectively wrong - it means it's wrong for YOU.
posted by mippy at 8:41 AM on July 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


[BF]has always been caring, loving, a skilled listener, and altogether wonderful.

Except that...he hasn't been. Here's what you wrote:

- he has caused quite some emotional stress to ex girlfriends...he had cheated in the past.
- I...asked him if he had ever had cyber s_x, which he told me was the case, including during the time we had been together. I was a little taken aback.
- he immediately told me it wasn't important.
- sweetly offered not to do it again (without my asking)...I went back to his web history, and found recent activity in cyber s_x chat rooms of all kinds.

- He tells me he feels like I worry too much and am being paranoid, and plays it down.

Your words indicate that in this relationship, you feel suspicious, unassured, disgusted, doubtful, physically sick, worried, and deceived. Obviously, humans feel those things from time to time, but when they occur so frequently in any relationship, there's a problem.

- I grew suspicious as his demonstrations of love increased.
- trying to reassure myself that he wasn't meeting people online.
- disgusted by myself but somehow compelled by a lingering doubt, I went back to his web history.
- I have been feeling very stomach-achy and worried since then.

- made me feel like he lied to me. By omission, as a white lie somehow.

My guess is that your admitted low self esteem is clouding your ability to see that this particular person isn't good for you. I'm sure there are positive feelings and good times attached to this person (attraction, good sex, etc.) but the overall framework appears to be one of deceit and belittling of your concerns/emotions. This isn't the type of person who is helpful in your quest to better your self esteem. I think it would do you some good to discuss this dynamic with your therapist. There are, unfortunately, people in this world who seek out partners with low self esteem because they know those who have better self esteem would call bullshit on this behavior long ago.

I understand you don't want to leave him because there are good components to him, but there appears to be some serious emotional manipulation here which will make your path toward good self esteem even rockier if not impossible. Watch out for yourself. He certainly isn't.
posted by December at 9:59 AM on July 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Video chats?

He's cheating on you. If he hasn't, it's because no one has taken him up on his offer.

I am not monogamous--just so you know where I'm coming from--and this is the kind of thing that obviously needs to be agreed upon BEFORE it happens.

Are you sure you're his only long distance relationship?

Sorry to be paranoid but everything about this screams "he's cheating on you". Get tested for STDs and use protection every time.

Best of luck.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 6:30 PM on July 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Are you sure you're his only long distance relationship?

This. In spades.
posted by dzaz at 7:12 AM on July 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


« Older xbox 360-filter: looking for g...   |  I updated a Wordpress blog tod... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.