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Is he my boyfriend or a creepy sex addict?
July 19, 2010 8:09 PM   Subscribe

Should I trust him? Can people really change?

Boyfriend and I have been dating for almost 6 months. He is a loving, sweet, happy person, and we seem to be a perfect fit for each other. We have a lot of fun. I have fallen in love with him. Our relationship has moved quickly, and we are now living together and talking a lot about the future. He says I am the one, the girl he has been looking for his whole life, and he wants us to have a family and be together forever. He said he doesnt want to be with anyone else for the rest of his life, that he has "sewed his wild oats" and is ready to settle down.
Problem is, I dont know if I fully believe him. And it is my own fault.
About two months ago, I noticed that he was either telling white lies, or stretching the truth, about relatively minor things. He seemed secretive at times. And I just got that "feeling." I tried to fight it, but one day it got the best of me and I looked in his email. Yup.
I found out he had at least tried (he says nothing ever came from his attempts) to cheat on his last girlfriend of 3 years; he had, just before meeting me, been involved with at least 3 different girls, one of whom was an underage virgin, a fact he happily bragged to his friends about. He was all the fuck over craigslist and dating sites looking for girls. He was having a weird email thing with a russian girl, where he told her to come here and they would be together (he claims he was just playing along with a scam, but i think a part of him was hoping she was real, due to the long emails he sent, including his address and phone number. One of the messages said "thank you for the phone call yesterday...") what the fuck. He also sent facebook messages to all kinds of girls, saying "youre pretty" or "you are so beautiful" etc etc... This one hurts, because that is partly how he picked me up. He has about a thousand facebook friends and at the time I looked at his email, he was still requesting friendship with random girls, 4 months into our relationship. He has no excuse for it. It has since stopped.

He claims to be a Buddhist, has been for six years. He doesnt drink or kill flies, but he sure as hell DOES engage in sexual misconduct and telling lies. Again, what the fuck.

Anyway, he has a sordid past. He says that he has changed. He promises me that he will never hurt me. He tells me he loves me every day and so far has been a great boyfriend. But I just cant seem to trust him deep down. He is a lifeguard, and I cant stop picturing in my mind the photos he emailed to friends of girls at the beach, every time he leaves for work.

I am to the point where I have become a miserable, jealous bitch. I feel almost bipolar because the littlest thing will trigger my memory and I will feel hurt and let down and get sad.

I was alone for a long time before him. I thought I had found the one. Now I am not so sure. I am trying to forget it and give him a chance, but I am afraid of investing my time and love into a guy that doesnt deserve it.

Can people really change?
Should I take a leap of faith here?
Or should I get the fuck outta here?
Or am I being a complete psycho?

Sorry if my writing is confusing, but you should be inside my brain right now. I would really appreciate some advice. Thank you.
posted by osloheart to Human Relations (71 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
 
Sure, people can change.

That said, I don't think this dude is the right one for you.
posted by box at 8:10 PM on July 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


Well, as old as the saying may be, trust is a pretty big part of a relationship. If you can't bring yourself to trust him because you genuinely think he is up to no good, then that is not fair on you and you might do well without him. And if you can't bring yourself to trust him simply because you are a "miserable, jealous bitch", then that's not fair on him, and you might do well without him. I'm not saying it's either way, and he could have genuinely turned over a new leaf, but if this is the sort of relationship where you're going to be checking his email and worrying about him friending people on Facebook, then I don't predict much future in it if one of you doesn't start making some serious changes.
posted by turgid dahlia at 8:14 PM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


You've only been dating for six months. I'd say, give him a few chances to prove himself or to prove himself false. Don't leap, walk cautiously beside him and keep your options open.

On the other hand, if you can get some distance (i.e. move out), that will probably help you think more clearly.

And definitely keep your finances separate.
posted by amtho at 8:15 PM on July 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


But I just cant seem to trust him deep down.

As far as I can tell, everything he did was before he ever dated you (except friending girls on Facebook, and you don't know if he knows them or what). Most of the stuff he did before dating you sounds like fairly normal attempts to find a girl to hook up with or date, and bragging to his male friends... None of that strikes me as "sexual misconduct."

You, on the other hand, read his email. It sounds like you're the one who is not trustworthy here.
posted by amro at 8:18 PM on July 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


Problem is, I dont know if I fully believe him.

Me neither.

And it is my own fault.


No.

About two months ago, I noticed that he was either telling white lies, or stretching the truth, about relatively minor things. He seemed secretive at times. And I just got that "feeling."

Ding ding ding.

I've said this to other people here, but I don't think there is a thing wrong with you with not trusting someone who isn't behaving in a trustworthy way. Being caught in frequent lies is not behaving in a trustworthy way. I don't think not trusting him makes you a bad person who is incapable of being in a relationship, that it is something you need to apologize for. I think it means you have common freaking sense!

People do change, but I have never known someone to change for no reason, just because they say they have. What *reason* would he have for changing? The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. In this guy's case, his current behavior with the lying doesn't bode well. What concrete thing or things have indicated to you that he is different?

No, I do not think you should take a leap of faith with this one.
posted by Ashley801 at 8:23 PM on July 19, 2010 [11 favorites]


Dude's got more red flags than a world champion red flag collector.

People change all the time, but they need a real impetus to change. You found out about this guy's deceit on your own, and not because he confessed it to you. I would wager than any sorriness he feels is sorriness because he has been caught. That's not a real impetus for change. Maybe I'm just being a paranoid horse, but considering how you found him out, I'd worry that he'd only get more clever about finding girls.

On the other hand, if he loses something for real - like, say, YOU - then perhaps he could get better. The only problem is, you'll probably never be with that new, improved him if he even does make that genuine redemption. He has to make this change for himself and not to please someone else.

People have good and bad sides all the time. Plenty of pathological, deceitful womanizers have other wonderful traits. But, as far as you being his girlfriend goes, his being a pathological, deceitful womanizer is pretty much a deal breaker. Also, not drinking and not killing bugs has absolutely nothing to do with one's worth as a boyfriend. Plenty of beer-swilling, cockroach-squashing guys don't cheat on their girlfriends.

I vote you tell him that he's fucked up a perfectly good opportunity and split. I don't know how far he's gone with any of these ladies, but this is plainly a subject on which he cannot be trusted.

Also, you're not a "bitch" for wanting an honest boyfriend who doesn't raise a flurry of red flags.
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:23 PM on July 19, 2010 [21 favorites]


Also, it's a really, really safe bet that anyone who, when asked to explain why you will not be treated like their previous SOs, gives only the reason "because you're The One and they weren't" is going to end up doing the same thing to you.
posted by Ashley801 at 8:26 PM on July 19, 2010 [7 favorites]


... creepy sex addict ...

... but he sure as hell DOES engage in sexual misconduct and telling lies ...

... he has a sordid past ...

... He was all the fuck over craigslist and dating sites ...


This kind of language isn't useful. What exactly has he done that's so terrible?

I think maybe you know he hasn't really done anything wrong, and you're using harsh characterizations to cover this up.

I'm not at all convinced that the issue is his "misconduct" and "lies" and whether he'll "change." The relationship clearly has a problem since you're this upset. But based on the text you've posted, I have no idea what the actual situation is.
posted by Jaltcoh at 8:31 PM on July 19, 2010


To be honest, he sounds like a player who will say whatever he needs to in order to get what he wants.

Trust your instincts.
posted by orange swan at 8:31 PM on July 19, 2010 [12 favorites]


Hey OP, when I read your question, I assumed that the Craigslist thing and the Russian girl were happening while you two were dating. Was that the case?
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:35 PM on July 19, 2010


Hey OP, when I read your question, I assumed that the Craigslist thing and the Russian girl were happening while you two were dating. Was that the case?

Well, the OP is anonymous and can't answer. So let's look at what she wrote:
he had, just before meeting me, been involved with at least 3 different girls, one of whom was an underage virgin, a fact he happily bragged to his friends about. He was all the fuck over craigslist and dating sites looking for girls. He was having a weird email thing with a russian girl, where he told her to come here and they would be together (he claims he was just playing along with a scam, but i think a part of him was hoping she was real, due to the long emails he sent, including his address and phone number. One of the messages said "thank you for the phone call yesterday...") what the fuck. He also sent facebook messages to all kinds of girls, saying "youre pretty" or "you are so beautiful" etc etc...
None of this says it happened during their relationship.
posted by Jaltcoh at 8:38 PM on July 19, 2010


Sorry, I was wrong about the OP being anonymous. Maybe she can clarify.
posted by Jaltcoh at 8:39 PM on July 19, 2010


Yeah, it depends if he was doing this sort of behaviour while dating you. If he was, he may not be the guy for you. If this all happened before you became serious, well, it's still a red flag.

Personally, some of his behaviour is just weird. What grown man flirts with strange girls on Facebook? Who strings along a Russian email fraudster? What self-respecting man trawls Craigslist?

At the very least, you need to outline your expectations.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:40 PM on July 19, 2010


"one of whom was an underage virgin."
This guy sounds a little iffy to me (to say the least). Ask yourself if he's worth watching like a hawk, because behavior like that points to potentially bigger issues.
What do you know about his porn habits? Yeah, he has porn, so don't let him deny it.
Talk to him a little bit. Express your concerns. Guys who lie tend to get pretty cagey at this point (I'm a guy, and I've been that guy in the past). If he talks to you earnestly, and explains that he's grown up since this behavior, proceed, but with caution. If he gets huffy, indignant, or refuses to talk, you might need to start making other plans.
It wasn't exactly cool to check his browsing history and e-mail, but now that you have, not acting on that information would be ridiculous.
posted by Gilbert at 8:42 PM on July 19, 2010


What self-respecting man trawls Craigslist?

It's a dating site. He used a dating site at some point in his life.

This is turning into "let's pile on the guy" relationshipfilter at its worst. We know almost nothing about the real situation just based on the vague descriptions from one of the two people in the relationship. This whole thread is very heavy on judgment and short on facts.
posted by Jaltcoh at 8:43 PM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


What grown man flirts with strange girls on Facebook?

She says that's how he picked her up. Anecdotally, I've dated two guys that wrote to me randomly on social networking sites, one for two years.
posted by amro at 8:43 PM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Just chiming in here, trust your instincts. You are not a bitch and what Sticherbeast said a thousand times.
posted by DeltaForce at 8:47 PM on July 19, 2010


what Sticherbeast said a thousand times.

Which he updated to say it was based on a misreading of the question?
posted by Jaltcoh at 8:49 PM on July 19, 2010


craigslist was before me. Russian girl emails continued about 2 months into our relationship.

You, on the other hand, read his email. It sounds like you're the one who is not trustworthy here.
Yea, Ive been through that. I know it was wrong, ok.
posted by osloheart at 8:49 PM on July 19, 2010


When I met my SO of over a year now, he was actually dating someone else (which he lied to me about) and, in the early stages of our then-nonexclusive relationship actually slept with her once or twice (which he also failed to mention until much later). But one we started dating exclusively, he never ever gave me reason to doubt that he was committed to me and only me. Hearing his stories of the exploits of his younger days sometimes makes me queasy but I know that's in his past, because he's never given me reason to think otherwise.

I also once had a friend of a friend whom I would describe endearingly as "kind of a skeezbag" in the types (and relationship status) of girls he pursued. Then one night he met This One Girl and, while he kept up the talk, he hasn't to my knowledge made a pass at anyone else in over a year.

I'm not going to extrapolate this to your situation, if you're uncomfortable then you're uncomfortable and something needs to be fixed, but there's two anecdata. FWIW I think of it less as "changing" in personality and more as maturing out of a phase of life.
posted by ista at 8:51 PM on July 19, 2010


I would just get out. So he sewed those wild oats before he met you. He was within his rights to do this; he didn't break any exclusivity rules you two might have. But he said you're "the one" and didn't tell you about this stuff at all. That's a bad sign. I would get out quietly and respectfully, without any accusations or needless cruelty.
posted by a sourceless light at 8:51 PM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Our proclivities are like rubber bands. We can be motivated by tension to embrace the life we are sure we want, temporarily. Yet without real, deep inner work they invariably revert back to their original shape. Without evidence of this work we're wise to let go.
posted by Mertonian at 8:52 PM on July 19, 2010 [8 favorites]


He sounds like a player. Maybe he has changed, who knows? Do you want to take that chance?

And this:

one of whom was an underage virgin, a fact he happily bragged to his friends about.

Very bad. I would DTMFA for this alone.
posted by humpy at 8:54 PM on July 19, 2010 [5 favorites]


what Sticherbeast said a thousand times.

Which he updated to say it was based on a misreading of the question?


Aside from that, there is still much good in what was said. This guy did attempt to cheat. Just not on her. Add that to some iffy behavior on his part (so we are told) about underage virgins...and caution and red flags are still applicable in my book.
posted by DeltaForce at 8:56 PM on July 19, 2010


OK, thank you for your response, osloheart. It's more of a gray area than what I had first understood when I read your question, but I still say you should trust your instincts for yourself - and also, frankly, for him. It sounds like there is zero trust in this relationship. What's the point?
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:57 PM on July 19, 2010


one of whom was an underage virgin, a fact he happily bragged to his friends about.

We don't know how old he is. If he was 18 and she was 17, then I'm just not going to get all upset about that.

Russian girl emails continued about 2 months into our relationship.

If you think that's cheating, then dump him. It sounds about as harmless to me as calling a 900 line.

Yea, Ive been through that. I know it was wrong, ok.

This is pretty much what your boyfriend is saying too, right?

At any rate, you don't seem happy, so maybe you should just end it.
posted by amro at 8:59 PM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


OK, the additional factual information from your update changes things. The Russian girl along with the fact that he said he wanted to cheat on his ex-girlfriend = he's a cheater.

The facts matter. Again, a lot of what you've told us is just harsh characterizations that don't mean much.

Will he change? I don't know. None of us know. Maybe he will. He probably won't. More importantly: is it worth your time to wait around and see if he does change, when you could be spending that time with someone else?

humpy: We don't know how old the OP and her boyfriend are either.
posted by Jaltcoh at 8:59 PM on July 19, 2010


You must be feeling anxious constantly... I have been in the same boat and it sucks. You can't force yourself to trust someone if you deep down have doubts about them. You checked his email and you are going to do it over and over again. You will check his phone and his facebook page. You will be obsessed. Every time you do it you feel like shit because you are scared that you may see something that you don't want to see . You are digging for evidence and its not your fault. He has made you feel insecure. Don't ignore your intution. Sometimes the anxiety and anticipation pain can be too hard to handle. Just make a decison and stick to it. If you wanna be with him then YOU HAVE TO STOP FISHING FOR EVIDENCE. If you feel forced to do so then walk away from this relationship. People change but the chances are slim. Good luck my friend!
posted by simba at 9:03 PM on July 19, 2010 [5 favorites]


My thinking thus far has been: if he really has changed, then I can probably, in time, trust him. But I dont know if he really has changed. He has burst into tears and begged me to stay on three occasions. He said if I left, he knew it was his karma and he understood, but when I went for the door, he freaked out. The guy seems so genuinely in love with me, I can see the fear in his eyes. I just cant get past the fact that he is capable of such dishonest, disrespectful, and yes, illegal behavior.

But maybe in time I can learn to trust him? Thats what I am hoping/wondering..
posted by osloheart at 9:04 PM on July 19, 2010


1. You should not be peeking at his email. Even if he is doing things that concern you. You either trust this dude or you don't, and the fact that you've gone through months of his old emails implies that you do not. And if you don't trust him, why are you thinking about marrying him? Regardless of his issues.

2. Was he involved with any of these women while your relationship has been going on? You don't make that clear in your post. If not, it is none of your business. Period. Even if he's been in sketchy situations or gotten involved with people it was not appropriate for him to be involved with.

3. Yeah, it sounds like he is at least a jerk (bragging to friends about dating an underage girl? lame). And possibly a liar. Also a potential cheater. You have to decide if that's something you can deal with. Personally I'm tempted to say DTMFA, but it's honestly your call. From your email it doesn't sound like he's done anything that was a break-up level offense, just that he comes off like a tool. You can probably do better, though.
posted by Sara C. at 9:04 PM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


on preview, he was 29 and she was 17
posted by osloheart at 9:05 PM on July 19, 2010


If he still acts that way when he is 29, then maybe he had his chance to change and didn't take it. I wouldn't be surprised to hear of a college-age guy behaving like that. (Not that I would condone it, I just wouldn't be surprised...) But at 29?!
posted by twblalock at 9:10 PM on July 19, 2010


Well, if you have power over him, then you have power over him. State your demands and a probationary period. If he passes, marry him (that seems to be where this is leading).
posted by KokuRyu at 9:11 PM on July 19, 2010


thank you everyone. this is helping. a lot.
posted by osloheart at 9:12 PM on July 19, 2010


Wait, he's 29? You can do better. Anyone can do better.
posted by halogen at 9:14 PM on July 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


As someone who is currently 29, I'd say that if he's 29+ and still living this generally sketchy "Russian mail order bride scammer" lifestyle, you should probably steer clear regardless of anything you found when you were snooping around.

How old are you, if you don't mind me asking? If he is a lot older than you are, that really tempts me to tell you to get out of there.
posted by Sara C. at 9:14 PM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, the Russian thing is what confuses me the most. Is he trolling some Russian scammer by phone? Is he boning her? It sounds weird-in-a-bad-way either way.
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:15 PM on July 19, 2010


Im 28, he just turned 30. The Russian thing is Ultra Weird to me, too.
posted by osloheart at 9:18 PM on July 19, 2010


It sounds like your relationship did move too fast, and you moved in together before you really got to know each other. Now, you are getting to know each other, and you don't like what you're finding. I personally would have a very hard time trusting a guy who is the way you described - even if you hadn't snooped around his emails, you found that he was lying about all sorts of random things anyway. And now you think you're a terrible bitch and worry that you're going crazy. The relationship sounds pretty much toxic at this point.
posted by wondermouse at 9:18 PM on July 19, 2010 [4 favorites]


he was 29 and she was 17

And he was bragging about it? No. This is not a trustworthy guy.
posted by callmejay at 9:24 PM on July 19, 2010 [8 favorites]


Yeah, now he's sounding pretty gross.
posted by amro at 9:28 PM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


The guy seems so genuinely in love with me, I can see the fear in his eyes.
This is not a good reason to stay with someone - focus on your feelings, rather than his. Especially if his idea of genuine love is compatible with these other shenanigans (and it seems to me that he is comfortable with it until he's found out).
posted by Paragon at 9:32 PM on July 19, 2010 [6 favorites]


It sounds to me like you're ready to leave this guy but you feel lie you need to have a solid reason to leave.

I would type this in 74 point font if I could:

In a six month relationship, wanting to leave is reason enough to leave.

Seeing fear in his eyes is not a reason to stay.

You are entitled to a happy, loving, trusting relationship. You deserve a man with whom you feel empowered and comfortable. A man whose style of loving creates an environment in which you feel like a 'bitch' for wanting more is not a man for you.

I'm not qualified to judge his character, but the content of his character matters not.

You are uncomfortable, and you are hoping to hold it together because on paper (some parts of) your relationship looks good.

I saw on textsfromlastnight.com once something to the effect of: 'he looks good on paper, but so does communism. In person it doesn't work.'

As a match for you, this guy doesn't even look good on paper because his behaviors with a 17 year old girl, and a russian scammer are outside a boundary for you.

He may never find a woman whomcan love these things about him, but it's not your fault that you don't.

Now please, go find a man who makes you more wobbly in good ways and not wobbly in scary or sad ways. You are strong and he is out there.
posted by bilabial at 9:38 PM on July 19, 2010 [12 favorites]


Also: in the two wrongs don't make a right category. You know that perking in his email wasn't the most mature way to confirm or refute your suspicion.

But now you have the ugly truths, and it's up to you to make the best decision you can with the information you have.

Just because you didn't act 100% honorably does not remove your right to a healthy relationship going forward.

But it doesn't sound like this fellow is healthy relationship material in the present moment.

As others have said, the inkling that he may become a stand up, loyal, devoted, fabulous guy does not obligate you to stick around wishin' and hopin' (and my experience with humanity suggests that changes to the attitudes his behaviors suggest are only achieved with lots of work. Such change does not usually happen overnight.)
posted by bilabial at 9:49 PM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


I wouldn't trust either of you quite frankly. He is a skeeve and you are a sneak. If I were you I would leave. If I were him I would leave I'd I found out about the email reading. Good luck.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 9:52 PM on July 19, 2010 [4 favorites]


People change only when they want to change. He doesn't want to change. He wants to stay exactly the same but live a false life on the surface, one of nobility and honesty. He's convinced himself that if you never know, if he "tries" to change things, that he's not at fault or that it's normal, or some other rationalization. When people REALLY want to change, they do. They stop talking and start doing. They try hard. But the motivation has to come from him, not from you.
posted by Nixy at 9:52 PM on July 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


I think the important thing to focus on is how the relationship makes you feel. And this is what you told us: "I am to the point where I have become a miserable, jealous bitch. I feel almost bipolar because the littlest thing will trigger my memory and I will feel hurt and let down and get sad."

You sound miserable, and it seems like you're only still dating him because you're questioning the validity of your own feelings and you feel bad about breaking up with him. But you should, because there isn't much sense in dating someone who you don't trust and who doesn't make you happy. And for the record, I do think he sounds shady and you should trust your gut with this one.
posted by emd3737 at 11:08 PM on July 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


No one deserves to be with a 29 year old man who sleeps with a 17 year old virgin and then brags to his friends about it. Hell, I'd stop being friends with a 29 year old man who sleeps with a 17 year old virgin and then brags about it. To me, that signals immaturity, insecurity, a warped view of women and sex, and an unempathetic heart - all of which are the last things in the world I'd want in a partner.
posted by danceswithanonymity at 11:11 PM on July 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


Various things aside, telling the white lies, stretching the truth is worrying. Being a lifeguard and taking pictures of women and sending them to his friends is at best unprofessional and strikes me as creepy, swinish. "Freaking out" when you went to leave is not a good sign.

Much as he may come across as sweet--a friend once said, "Anyone can look good for six months."--it sounds like he has an enormous amount of growing up to do.

And I agree with those who relate that he could have cleaned up his act months ago if he was motivated to do so.

Oh, as someone in a similar situation once said, "I wonder what I don't know." Feels hard to imagine that you are aware of all the questionable-or-worse things.

Sure, some people change, but it's far from guaranteed.

Not sure what you mean by leap of faith. Is it possible to move out and keep seeing him, see how things go?

No, you're not being a psycho. He has honesty problems, his approach to work is questionable (and perhaps could get him fired) and there are markedly more mature people in this world.
posted by ambient2 at 11:13 PM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm on the follow your instincts bandwagon. If it doesn't feel right, there's a reason.
posted by wv kay in ga at 11:19 PM on July 19, 2010


That you have already experienced so much mistrust that you checked his email, violating your own code of conduct because of it, is reason enough to back away from this. It looks like this love between you is not doing great things for your own character so far, is it?

You see what his pattern is when he is on his own. When he's stressed and afraid of being alone, that's what he will do. I agree there is probably porn in the mix and I doubt you'll enjoy what you might find behind his firewall. Russian girl and 17yo virgin suggest his immaturity at the very least and nearly certainly control issues. Don't stay just because he implies that you can save him from his old self, or that you're the only one who can. You won't save him and you'll find yourself turning into a jealous, judgmental sneak. You two have already got that dysfunctional thing going. You've threatened to leave him three times and he played the right card and you stayed.

Think what happens if you should want to have kids together. They'll learn how to cheat and blame other people for it and to sneak and blame other people for it. They'll learn this from their parents. They'll learn how not to trust people and how to manipulate people.

Without even addressing his future behavior, look at what it does for you. The person you're in love with, if it's right, will bring out the best in you, not suspicion and temptation to violate your own integrity. A good match is not someone you can't take your eyes off of, neither because of mistrust nor adoration. A good match is more like following the same star, side by side, facing the same direction, or even back-to-back, having your back, seeing the world through two pairs of eyes and both being better for it.

Good is what you feel good after and this doesn't even seem to meet that simplest of tests.
posted by Anitanola at 11:37 PM on July 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


He is a 29yo who banged a 17yo. Leave now.
posted by nestor_makhno at 11:38 PM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


The guy seems so genuinely in love with me, I can see the fear in his eyes.

He probably does really love you. And he probably loves you as he does all these things that hurt and betray you. And he will be genuinely sorry. Really sorry. He'll want to change, but he'll just keep doing the same thing over and over. And he'll keep being really sorry, but he'll just keep doing it.

And years after you eventually leave him, maybe you'll see him again or try to be friends and he'll tell you that messing things up with you was the biggest mistake of his life. And he'll probably be right, but he won't be the biggest mistake of your life.

Seriously, just because someone really loves you does not mean they will not hurt and betray you over and over. This isn't either he loves me and wouldn't do these things to me or he doesn't love me and therefore he would do these things to me. He can really love you and genuinely be terrified of losing you and still keep doing the same crap over and over. I don't know if this is for sure the case with your boyfriend, but don't let his love for you overshadow his actions.
posted by whoaali at 11:39 PM on July 19, 2010 [28 favorites]


Keep in mind that this is a 30-year-old who—within the last year—was actively bragging to his friends about his committing statutory rape.

This guy is repulsive.
You’re 28, you deserve an adult.
posted by blueberry at 12:22 AM on July 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


osloheart: "The guy seems so genuinely in love with me, I can see the fear in his eyes. But maybe in time I can learn to trust him? Thats what I am hoping/wondering..."

Here's the really quick, tough-love version:

One: Part of becoming a grown up is realising that being in love is not enough. In love is an emotional state; in a relationship is a rational decision. One of the things crappy relationships do is give you the experience to make better rational decisions about your future relationships. There's a learning curve here.

Two: There are broadly two kinds of people. One kind goes into a relationship with trust being the default position: I assume I can trust you until you show me otherwise, and over time our trust will deepen. The other kind goes into a relationship believing trust has to be earned: I am open to learning to trust you over time.

In either case, the angle of trajectory we're looking for here is UP. More trust, not LESS.

Next: You are not responsible for making your partner happy. I understand that for many people this news comes as a shock, but it is true. Actions have consequences and you are not in charge of protecting him from that.

All of this is kinda vague and not really tied to your narrative, I know. But the point is, the details of the narrative sort of don't matter. You've been together for six months and you already have significant trust issues, a boyfriend who's charging you with his personal happiness, and are questioning if you should leave.

This is too much major drama way too early to make this relationship viable long term. Get out.
posted by DarlingBri at 3:00 AM on July 20, 2010 [7 favorites]


This is the problem:
"I am to the point where I have become a miserable, jealous bitch."
If this is really the case, it's not going to work out. It doesn't matter if you have reason to be jealous or not. Feeling this way is toxic. It is relationship poison.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:11 AM on July 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


I think "sex addict" is too generous -- he just sounds like a misogynist asshole. Misogynist assholes are great at telling you they love you, doing anything to manipulate you, as long as they want to possess you. I don't think he really loves you because I don't think he believes you're a human being: from every indication he still sees women primarily as sex objects and not really as human. Sure, sure, you shouldn't have read through months of his email. But the only way this guy is going to actually change is if he starts seeing women as humans; "sowing his oats" won't have helped that happen at all. He can grow and change but not through a relationship with you -- and even if he could, do you want to be his mommy?
posted by xueexueg at 3:19 AM on July 20, 2010 [5 favorites]


Dating is called dating because you can leave and come back anytime without getting a lawyer involved. Just go with your instincts and walk. If it's gonna work out in the future, it'll work out.

For the record, I think you're being pretty harsh with the guy about stuff he did while he was single and not committed. People do weird stuff when they're lonely and bored. That doesn't mean he isn't capable of keeping a promise.

Having said that, little while lies are a dealbreaker for me no matter what. Honesty or nothing.
posted by milinar at 3:35 AM on July 20, 2010


one of whom was an underage virgin, a fact he happily bragged to his friends about.

Sleeping with a virgin - not that weird, many people have sex underage, some of these with older partners, as long as it wasn't exploitative it's not that bad. (17 is legal where I live so it seems odd for this to be seen as statutory rape!)

Bragging about it - OK, well it is that bad.

At 29 - that's just weird. He's acting like a teenager when he's old enough to know better.

I have a friend who has had big problems with jealousy in the past, to the point where it's really messed with relationships. However, while she has been with some guys who were assholes, none of them lived out some kind of player fantasy that your guy seems to be. I myself have dated someone like that and it did turn me paranoid in the end. (We 'sort of saw each other' for a bit and then he made it official by saying 'I'm tired of that strangers in the night bullshit'. It was never really about me.)

He may have changed, he may have decided to put the past behind him (and he did do this stuff before he met you which is his business) but if it's making you uncomfortable that's your answer. I think you need to talk to him about all this - come clean about the e-mails - if you really feel this is someone you want to be with.
posted by mippy at 4:23 AM on July 20, 2010


Head for ze hills. NOW.
posted by kidelo at 4:39 AM on July 20, 2010


Let me get this straight, before he dated you, he was something of a player. Two months in, the worst you can find is he was flirting with some girl online? And since then, nothing but goodness, so says the evidence?

How 'bout you judge the guy on who he's been, with you, rather than who he was, with others?
posted by effugas at 5:18 AM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yes, he can change. He'll get better at lying. Run.
posted by dobbs at 6:55 AM on July 20, 2010 [6 favorites]


Get out now. He's not going to change and despite what he says or what you find, he's still doing whatever he's been doing. He's just hiding it better now. He's come up with fake facebook and email accounts, he's using a different computer, different user account, clearing his history or using private browsing to cover his tracks.

If you stay with him, thinking that he's changed, one day you'll discover that he's still up to his same old tricks. But then it will be harder to leave because you'll feel more invested in your relationship.

And confronting him? Asking him to change? He'll say anything and agree to anything to keep you in the relationship for whatever reason.
posted by indigo4963 at 7:07 AM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


This sounds remarkably like an ex-friend of mine. If I were talking to his new girlfriend, I would tell her, listen, I know. I know that he's wonderful & funny & smart & charming. I know that he tells you he loves you. No, scratch that -- I know that he actually loves you. I know that he's told you enough about his past for you to know that he did some messed up things -- & I know that you love him anyway. But he still lies. He'll keep lying. You can talk it out with him over & over & he won't stop. He can't stop. Don't waste your time on him.


What whoaali said is spot on. This dude I'm talking about, we never dated. We were really good friends for a number of years, & we got together for a couple of those years, & when those years were over & nothing had changed & I wasn't all that different from the other girls he screwed over after all, I went on to actually for-real date someone else & it was so much better.

Two years after that, this dude called me & said that his mom was right -- I was the best thing to happen to him, & screwing things up with me was one of the dumbest things he ever did.

& you know what? It didn't stop him from pulling the same shit with the next girl, & the girl after that, & now, I assume, the girl he's currently dating. People can change, ok, I know, but this dude doesn't NEED to change b/c he keeps getting what he wants without changing.
posted by oh really at 7:27 AM on July 20, 2010 [6 favorites]


"One: Part of becoming a grown up is realising that being in love is not enough. In love is an emotional state; in a relationship is a rational decision. One of the things crappy relationships do is give you the experience to make better rational decisions about your future relationships."

THIS. God, this. DarlingBri speaks the truth. Just because he loves you or you love him... there are other things needed that to make a relationship a good one. Things like respect and trust. Do you LIKE him? Do you think he LIKES you? Do you feel like he makes your life better?

Bail. You'll look back in 6 months and wonder how it was even a question.
posted by 8dot3 at 7:47 AM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


I generally don't "pile on" in an AskMe if I see the general consensus echoes my own feelings.

BUT...

Your story hits close to home for me. The details couldn't be more different, but the underlying problems of "trust" and "change" are the same. I made an awful, no-good, very-bad choice as a young man of 28, and I lived with consequences of that for almost ten years before I was able to step out of it. I like the man I am now, and I wouldn't be that man if I hadn't done that, but there's still a big part of me would do just about anything to erase that.

That is all. Sorry for the "pile on."
posted by OneMonkeysUncle at 7:58 AM on July 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


Yes, people can change-BUT (and this is a huge but) they have to really feel that what they are doing is wrong, they have to want to change it for their own self respect and they really must be in long term therapy to really have a deep down long term fundamental change in their behavior.

I've been a pretty bad person in my lifetime-but it was when I got sick of myself that I got serious about therapy, knew the kind of person I wanted to be and began to learn how to act and behave like that person. If I didn't have an amazingly good therapy relationship and a lot of support from close friends and some family-I'd still be a crappy immature person that hurt people that loved me by lying over and over again.

Oh, and this-over and over and over again this:

"One: Part of becoming a grown up is realising that being in love is not enough. In love is an emotional state; in a relationship is a rational decision. One of the things crappy relationships do is give you the experience to make better rational decisions about your future relationships."

posted by hollygoheavy at 8:15 AM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


FWIW, him begging to stay and making promises etc etc aren't signs of love, although I used to think they were at one point. Love is caring about a person and wanting what's best for them and putting that above your own wants. It definitely didn't sound like he was caring about that 17 year old. Why are you willing to accept this man who your gut is screaming at you is wrong and who possibly engaged in criminal activity to solicit a minor? I don't think that there is any question he needs to change, but I think that maybe there are some things going on with you that should be looked regarding this relationship and possible co-dependence/self esteem etc...
posted by heatherly at 9:08 AM on July 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


Hmm. I had an ex who was like that when he was single--taking pictures of girls in public, sleeping with women who were really naive or relatively powerless, trolling craigslist and dating and hook-up and swinger sites constantly to the point of spamming.

I was always bothered by the things he'd done in the past. He admitted to them--but didn't seem to think he was doing anything wrong until I called him on it, at which point he would agree with me. I didn't like that he had been like that, but it was all borderline stuff. It gave me a bad feeling. But he was so great to me and I thought that was more important than his past. And it was in the past--he cut that out when we started dating (for a while).

I do think that he really loved me, in a way. He certainly was desperate for me to stay with him and did what he could to keep me around. That included sweet things, Christmas gifts, emotional support, hugs, dinner. All great things. And a lot of them were done cheerfully and affectionately. We had fun together and he was there with me through some hard times.

As long as I was independent and willing and able to leave, he was great.

Then there came a point when I was newly estranged from family, thousands of miles away from friends, broke, and I had a major health crisis. I needed him. I had pretty much no option besides being with him.

At that point it became clear that, given the option, he wouldn't do anything for me at all. He would strand me in our apartment without food. He would touch me sexually despite my objections. Then I got better, and moved into my own place (we were still together, imagine that!), and all of a sudden he was the same nice, respectful guy I'd always known.

At that point, it became clear that all of his borderline behavior was part of a larger pattern. I realized that instead of thinking "am I doing the right thing?" he thought "what can I get away with?"

When he was single, that was pretty much anything that didn't land him in legal trouble or make him look bad. No one thing you would point to and say without doubt "this guy is fucked up" because he was intelligent and socially aware enough to toe the line without going over. If I wrote a question like this, people would have the same mixed reaction, including plenty of people who would't think he'd done anything wrong.

My experience will not necessarily apply to you, and my ex is not your boyfriend, but I hope that my history will encourage you to take care of yourself and stay as independent as possible until you trust him, if that ever happens.

By the way, I don't think you're a bad person for snooping or reading his email or whatever. You had a gut feeling and you went with it, and while it wasn't the most honest thing, overall it was a good decision.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 2:17 PM on July 20, 2010 [5 favorites]


I could go on and on about this one, but he is not someone you want to be involved with in any way, just be straight with him and with yourself. Sorry, this is life. In the future, remember, intuition is more powerful and profound than you may ever know, learn to trust it, mine is rarely wrong when it comes to knowing about someone's character. Im a guy, a women's intuition much more powerful.
posted by inlimbow at 8:31 PM on July 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Story of my life doll. GTFO before it's too late and before you get even more hurt. If he did this to his last girlfriend, he's not going to stop doing it, it's probably a psychological problem.
posted by foxy at 4:58 PM on July 27, 2010


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