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How to confirm whether boyfriend is cheating without creating a shipload of unnecessary melodrama?
December 10, 2011 1:46 AM   Subscribe

I think my boyfriend is cheating on me, or at least looking for opportunities to do so. The problem is, if I can't trust him not to cheat, then I also can't trust him to tell the truth if I confront him. So how do I deal with this? (details below)

About 6 weeks ago the boyfriend and I moved in together. Just a few days after signing a 12 month lease I borrowed his computer to check my work schedule online and when I started to type the website, several items popped up as recently visited pages. Several of them were Craigslist "casual encounters" ads from crossdressers and transgendered seeking encounters with men...

I was upset by this (as I would have been even if he was looking at women seeking men ads) but already aware that he is curious about that sort of experience. It is something we had previously discussed looking at fulfilling somewhere a year or more down the line, if we feel our relationship is secure enough for something like that. However since we are nowhere near being stable in our relationship, I asked him to set aside this search for at least six months (then we'd discuss it).

I told him what I found on his computer. He claimed that he reads the ads "for fun". Less than 24 hours I hopped on to check something else and again, when I went to type the web address I was looking for... found that he had been looking at craigslist ads that morning. Curious, I checked the History and found that he had been looking at transgender porn and erotica (so obviously its more than "for fun").

We had a long talk about things and he agreed to completely set aside his search, promised not to look at CL ads, etc.

Then this morning I got an anonymous message on another website from someone who claims to be 'a friend' with links to 2 craigslist casual encounter ads that they claim were posted by the boyfriend. They claim to have responded to both ads and gave me the email address he replied from (I asked for copies of the messages, but they haven't responded yet).

I'm trying to stay calm. I have a tendency to react emotionally and irrationally, especially when it comes to broken promises, lies, and perceived betrayal. To say that I have "trust issues" is putting it lightly.

The last time we talked about this, he said that although he has posted ads in the past he's never had an encounter... if thats true, then he hasn't cheated yet... but if these ads were really posted by him, then I feel that I should consider the intent to cheat the same as cheating... as the only thing preventing him from following through is lack of opportunity. Which, to me, means that he is willing to cheat on me if he gets the chance, and its only a matter of time.

Obviously I don't want to be with someone who is willing to sneak around behind my back, and I definitely don't want to be put at risk for STD's that he might pick up by having sex with strangers he found online...

To make one thing clear... other than being insecure about him having a kink that I'm physically incapable of participating in, the fact that its a "shemale fetish" doesn't bother me any more than if he were looking for a woman. Infidelity is infidelity regardless of the plumbing involved.

I've confronted him before about this and he made excuses and empty promises... How can I trust any response he might give this time?

I've considered responding to the more recent ad from an old email account, but worry that even if he does reply... isn't that some kind of entrapment? Or is that a reasonable course of action? It feels wrong, but at the same time if I can't trust him to admit to it, how am I supposed to be sure (not to mention, I don't want to accuse him if this whole thing is just someone screwing with my head..)

After the last time I found something on his computer, he started clearing his history and logging out of his websites and emails... so even if I were willing to do so, snooping isn't an option. Of course, the fact that he does all this, when before we moved in together he used to leave everything logged in and never cared if I looked around, its kind of a red flag for me..

I'm sure there are other, more reasonable ways to go about finding out the truth without having to choose between blindly trusting someone who may be lying, or invading his privacy... but my head is so spun by the situation I can't think of anything else.

DTMFA isn't a necessary response. I'm aware that my inability to trust him means that the relationship is likely over regardless of how this situation is handled... I doubt things will last much longer, but I generally like to keep ex's as friends, so would rather not have it go out in a blaze of drama... Not to mention having just signed a year lease on a one bedroom apartment, so there are technical issues to figure out regarding the potential break-up.

I just need some perspective, or suggestions on how to approach this situation... or maybe a wake-up call, as its entirely possible I'm putting too much effort into a situation that I should simply walk away from.

Yet... as much as I feel I cannot trust the boyfriend... I also don't want to throw away a relationship on the word of a stranger who refuses to tell me who they really are, and has yet to provide any kind of proof (other than links to CL ads that they could have written themselves).
posted by myShanon to Human Relations (48 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
Yet... as much as I feel I cannot trust the boyfriend... I also don't want to throw away a relationship on the word of a stranger who refuses to tell me who they really are, and has yet to provide any kind of proof (other than links to CL ads that they could have written themselves).

What would be their motivation for lying?

There is no reasonable way to navigate the issues in this relationship in the way that you want. You can't trust him not to cheat on you or be honest if he were, and you acknowledge that's an issue that'll likely lead to the dissolution of your relationship, and yet you're not willing to end the relationship because...you just signed a lease? Is the trouble it would take to break up with him and get out of the lease worth another year of your life with someone you can't trust with your sexual health?

How will you avoid sleeping with a man you don't trust not to have sex with potentially promiscuous and diseased strangers? How are you willing or desire to stay friends with someone who appears to be willing to put your health in danger and your relationship at risk?

I know you don't want a DTMFA answer, but you've communicated your feelings re: your discoveries to him and he's responded with false reassurances and secrecy. Getting out of this relationship is worth the trouble of getting out of your lease.
posted by litnerd at 2:15 AM on December 10, 2011 [4 favorites]


"its entirely possible I'm putting too much effort into a situation that I should simply walk away from."

That's my thought on this. If you don't want drama, just say, "We need to break up. You want to have sex with strangers from the internet, and that's fine, except you can't do that and be in a relationship with me. Sorry. I can't deal with that and I don't feel like dragging this issue around all the time, so negotiating yet again is not an option. It's not worth the stress it causes me. Let's just be friends and you can do whatever you want. Now let's figure out what to do about the lease."

I do feel like you're over-thinking things. You don't have to have to prove anything to him to be justified in breaking up with him; it looks pretty likely that he is either cheating already, or will if given the opportunity, and you already know that he's done things you explicitly told him you are not okay with and that he has lied to you about it. It's too much drama, and it's not something you should have to be thinking about all the time and putting effort into. It's completely reasonable to break up with someone just because they require constant surveillance to ensure they aren't cheating; that is not a normal requirement of a healthy relationship, and it's not enjoyable. It doesn't really matter in the end whether he admits to cheating because you have airtight proof (unlikely) or lies again (likely, even if you were to get airtight proof). Break up, get checked for STDs, move on.

It's also not normal in a healthy relationship to receive anonymous tip-offs to your boyfriend's alleged cheating. Either the person is telling the truth, or your boyfriend has some drama-bomb people trailing him and making his life miserable and the lives of anyone he dates. Neither is great to be involved with, and while the latter is more sympathetic because it isn't necessarily his fault, I'm less inclined to believe it's a lie when it matches his browsing history and he's been lying to you.

So, uh, I don't think this guy really deserves much more than an exasperated, "No thanks, I'm out." Whatever he says in response doesn't actually have to stop you from breaking up with him, you know.
posted by Nattie at 2:26 AM on December 10, 2011 [46 favorites]


(FWIW, I'm a he) Why do you think you got these anonymous messages? What links you to your BF for this 3rd party? What's in it for them? Why do you trust them more than your BF?

What about timing? If he posted these ads while with you then intent may indeed be the same as cheating, if he did it before he was 'committed' to you, then what is your problem?

For some people, once lost, trust can never be regained. That cuts both ways, once someone has stopped trusting you, why should you assume they'll be any different in the future. If he is innocent then he should run away from this as soon as possible, if he is guilty then you should.

Its over, you'll probably never know the truth, end the relationship as amicably as you can and move on.
posted by epo at 2:30 AM on December 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


You reason you don't trust him is simple: it's because he's proved repeatedly he can't be trusted. Once broken it is in no way something you owe to him to regain (!) Clearing his computer cache regularly all of a sudden and this contact from a 'friend' that is totally in sync with the issues you've been having? Yeah, you need to break the lease and let him fuck around with strangers without putting your health on the line.
posted by everydayanewday at 2:50 AM on December 10, 2011 [5 favorites]


I will point out, just as a data point, that many people (myself included) sometimes read Craigslist casual encounters just for fun and/or moderate titillation, and do so without planning to respond to the ads in any way other than spending fifteen minutes at the computer reading them. Moreover, the reaction to being caught is often not dissimilar to being caught watching porn, since that's basically what it's functioning as. (Do people not watch porn for fun? I mean, that's pretty much what I'd classify it as...)

He posted ads in the past and has admitted it--unless these ads that a "friend" sent you are new and definitely from your partner, there's no reason to feel threatened by them.

I mean, your partner may well be a cheating slimeball who's just waiting for the moment he can sneak away from you and go off to fulfill his sexual fantasies with someone else, but I wanted to at least raise the possibility that this isn't actually anything to worry about. Case in point--I was browsing Craigslist casual encounters earlier tonight, just for shits and giggles. I'm happily married, have no interest in actually hooking up with anyone, and was in bed next to my partner, who's blind as a bat and couldn't possibly have seen what I was doing...but he woke up and asked what I was up to, and I immediately snapped the laptop shut and said that I wasn't doing anything. I 100% know that he wouldn't be bothered by me reading them--we've looked at CL casual encounters ads together, and we occasionally send each other particularly interesting/awful/amusing ads we've encountered in solo browsing, and even with that knowledge, my reaction to perfectly innocent internet browsing was guilt and denial, right off the bat.

All that said, you have trust issues, and he clearly isn't giving you reason to trust him--I think that's a bigger concern than whether or not he's looking at Craigslist. Is this the primary thing you feel you can't trust him on, or are there other things, as well? If it's the former, it may be worth having a long discussion with him and/or seeking therapy for your trust issues. If it's the latter, it's time to cut your losses and leave.
posted by MeghanC at 2:50 AM on December 10, 2011 [19 favorites]


I find the timing of the emails from the "friend" suspicious, happening *right* after an argument you had with your boyfriend over these very same issues, when the behavior that prompted the argument has seemingly been going on for months. Does anyone else know about your argument with your boyfriend? I ask because I'm tempted to say I think this "friend" is actually your boyfriend emailing you these ads as a strange way of telling you what's going on and trying to figure out how you'll react.

It sounds like you're just not compatible genders for each other. That's sad, but not a reflection on either one of you personally so as breakups go it seems like one that could proceed amicably (although he has been lying to you and getting financially entangled with you under false pretenses, which does really suck on his part).

If you want to keep the drama down to a minimum, the only option really is to show the emails to your boyfriend and ask him if the ads are his. I really think your only choice here is whether to accept his encounters with other people and stay in a relationship with him or not. It sounds like you can't accept them and that's fine, I wouldn't either. So the choice is made and hopefully you can stay friends (in time), figure out how to get out of the lease together, and wish him well in his new lifestyle.
posted by hazyjane at 3:08 AM on December 10, 2011 [11 favorites]


I also wondered if the 'friend' who sent the emails might be your boyfriend, given the circumstances. Either way, was the email address they claimed he responded from one which you know is his? If so, you could always ask him (if you confront him, and he denies writing those ads or responding to anybody) if he wouldn't mind showing you the Sent Mail from that account to prove to you none of the subject lines matched.

I would also caution you against letting your perceived 'trust issues' get in the way of your feelings about this. There's nothing in this post to suggest that you have any particular problem with trusting someone, only that this guy is acting in an untrustworthy way which bothers you greatly. Reacting 'emotionally' to broken promises and lies from someone you love isn't a pathology on your part; it's a totally normal, totally reasonable reaction to someone you love acting in an untrustworthy and hurtful way.
posted by Catseye at 3:22 AM on December 10, 2011 [4 favorites]


When it comes to anonymous third parties interfering in a relationship, the only proper course of action is to ignore them entirely. You know the foundation is broken, there's no sense digging for drama. Get yourself tested and break things off as calmly as you can. You don't have the foundation of trust, nor can you feel comfortable giving him the room in a relationship to do what he wants with other people. That's okay. There's no need to assume he did wrong in order for it to be right for you to walk away.

The only curiosity you need in this situation is to get an STD test. Aside from that, nothing good can come from investigation, only more harm and more drama. Spare yourself and just accept that sometimes things don't work out. It's also the best way to know you can smile and exchange pleasantries with each other in public.
posted by Saydur at 3:37 AM on December 10, 2011 [5 favorites]


Trust in a relationship isn't something you have because you've found reasons to have it; it's something it benefits you to extend until you're given ironclad evidence that doing so was unjustified. And to my way of thinking, the one behavior that monogamous partners are best served to trust each other to avoid indulging in is actual physical sex outside the partnership, because that's the thing that risks bringing home diseases and that's the thing that risks screwing up the intense bond of intimacy that's the essential point of monogamy.

If two people are not in fact screwing around behind each other's backs, and if they're both taking responsibility for managing their own insecurities and emotional responses, and are consequently able to trust each other to keep sex exclusively between them, and consequently avoid vigilance of each other's private behavior: that's the basis for a good and healthy relationship.

Habitually treating each other as if untrustworthy: not so much.

My specific advice to you: set up your shared computer with separate user accounts, so that neither of you is likely to trip over stuff your partner's been looking at that you might find upsetting, and learn to turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to stuff he obviously doesn't want to share with until such time as either (a) he does - yay! or (b) you catch him in bed with somebody else - boo.

Getting out of the habit of micromanaging your partner's fantasy life will save you so much angst.
posted by flabdablet at 4:29 AM on December 10, 2011 [5 favorites]


" I'm trying to stay calm. I have a tendency to
react emotionally and irrationally, especially
when it comes to broken promises, lies, and
perceived betrayal. To say that I have "trust
issues" is putting it lightly."

Yeah, it is because you're way too trusting.

I was also going to say that the anonymous tipoff was most likely from your bf. He also put evidence of his potential cheating right there for you to find. And this happens right after you sign a twelve month lease so it's difficult for you to get away.

My interpretation is that this is his way of putting pressure on you. If that's not it, then he's just a particularly rubbish liar. Either way, this is a complete insult to your intelligence. I mean if you're going to read adult personals "for fun" at least clear your damn cache so your SO doesn't see it and get the wrong idea. I don't think you owe it to him to give him the benefit of the doubt to construct a scenario whereby this is all innocent because he should never have put you in the position of having to do that.

I know it's hard to believe that anyone, especially someone you love, could be so convoluted and devious, but it's one of those things that must be experienced to be believed.
posted by tel3path at 4:34 AM on December 10, 2011 [4 favorites]


You may totally misinterpreting what is going on here.

My boyfriend used my computer once (at that time I routinely just left it out and open) and decided that what he'd found (which was a sex site in my browsing history sort of similar to what you are talking about only not for cross-dressing etc.) meant I was cheating on him. I wasn't. After a long explanation session, I *thought* he finally got that I wasn't cheating on him (or trying to).

Fast-forward a few months, our internet was having problems and we had been on the phone with them for a long time already. I had to go take a shower so I left my computer accessible to him because the person on the phone was having him explore various things, I forget what, involving both our computers.

I get out of the shower and he's upset again, once again he had snooped (looked at browser history, in this case intentionally, and visited sites I had visited) and had decided
that what he'd found meant I was cheating on him. Again, I wasn't and I wasn't trying.

Guess what I did at that point? I stopped EVER leaving my computer open, not because I am cheating, but because I am tired of being accused of doing so. I don't want to have to think about what web sites I have visited that he may interpret as "proof" of some wrongdoing.

The same thing could be going on with your boyfriend. It makes sense to me that he would start erasing browser history since you have reacted so poorly to what you have found, not necessarily because he is cheating. And this *is* his computer, no?

Yes, perhaps it is wrong of him to continue his surfing. You do sort of sound like you badgered him into "agreeing"not to check out such ads, but yes he shouldn't have agreed and then done so again. But in my opinion you are also doing something wrong by approaching this with suspicion instead of giving him the benefit of the doubt that one should extend towards a partner (or even friend).

In my case, my boyfriend betrayed *MY* trust, not the other way around, both by snooping and by interpreting his findings in such a manner that he presumed I was guilty and I had to desperately argue my innocence.

Whatever is the case, confronting him with what you have already decided is proof is not the way to go. Readjust your attitude and go to him as a loved partner and talk to him as though he is that to you, and see what he has to say, with an open mind.
posted by parrot_person at 4:37 AM on December 10, 2011 [5 favorites]


This relationship is over, not because he is a piece of work who has little interest in remaining monogamous (though I admit I think that's the case) but because you are not the right people for each other. You seem to want monogamy. You said that you were willing to open the relationship up in a year--was that an honest promise? You want someone who is willing not to look at porn that makes you uncomfortable, in their own time. Most people will not agree to it (I would not, and I am a woman), and if they do, will break their promise because it's not really a reasonable thing to ask of someone, IMO. I think you are both trying to compromise more than you ought to, into doing (or pretending to do) things that make you unhappy.

Is this a good relationship otherwise? You don't say anything about it other than the fact that you have a lease. A lease is not a reason to stay with someone you don't trust.
posted by chaiminda at 4:58 AM on December 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Keylogging software, hidden camera...you could go really overboard with the snooping, but you're not looking to marry this dude or make kids with him or start a business together. Use condoms and/or move on.
posted by the young rope-rider at 5:26 AM on December 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


You will never be fully convinced that he's NOT cheating. It will drive you insane and drive you apart. Move on.
posted by desjardins at 6:32 AM on December 10, 2011 [6 favorites]


Curious, I checked the History and found that he had been looking at transgender porn and erotica (so obviously its more than "for fun").

I guess I'm not 100% clear here what sort of agreement you had about looking at porn and the like. I assume from your phrasing here that you don't consider "for fun" to include masturbation or just simple sexual titillation. But I would think that falls under that heading.

You're in a sticky situation here; this is a proclivity that you recognize you can't accommodate yourself (though I think we all have desires our partners can't fill even if they're just of "the grass is always greener" variety). But you need to ask yourself whether you are drawing the line at demanding your bf stop at the point of involving other people or if you're asking him to stop even rolling it around in his head and playing pretend for the sake of self-gratification (whether that be touching himself or just winding himself up).

Personally I don't think it's productive to try to stop people from having fantasies, but you can draw your own conclusions.

I think you're entirely reasonable in drawing the line on touching other people. I don't think he should interact with folks looking for this kind of encounter if for no other reason than it's kinda shitty to jerk people around like that if he's not going to meet up with them.

I've considered responding to the more recent ad from an old email account, but worry that even if he does reply... isn't that some kind of entrapment?

Entrapment is a legal term that's pretty meaningless here, but if you mean is it an unfair standard to hold him to, no, I don't think so. If someone is PLACING ads that's a higher level than just entertaining themselves with reading other people's postings. I suppose someone (him in this hypothetical) could place an ad for the sake of getting responses and never respond back (again, shitty) but it strikes me as a whole lot less likely. He can see postings from trans/cross dressers without going through the trouble of soliciting submissions so I'd wager a placed ad is more likely an effort at an actual encounter.

In your shoes I think I'd try to have a heart to heart about this with him and let him know you're okay with him having a rich fantasy life but when it involved other people it's not okay But you need to mean that and you need to be able to trust him to draw that line. It doesn't sound like either is true.
posted by phearlez at 6:48 AM on December 10, 2011


About 6 weeks ago the boyfriend and I moved in together

and

However since we are nowhere near being stable in our relationship


Wait, what?

its entirely possible I'm putting too much effort into a situation that I should simply walk away from.

This. Take the weird emails from whoever out of the equation. You can't trust your boyfriend, you know this, and I don't see how you can fix it. Be gentle, be honest, use lots of "I" statements, and move out.
posted by rtha at 6:55 AM on December 10, 2011 [5 favorites]


Here is my problem with this:

You asked him to stop doing something for a few months until your relationship has a more stable foundation, he agreed to it, then went behind your back and did it anyway.

Was it OK that he looks at there adds? Is he cheating? etc etc. To me the legitimacy or lack there of porn wise is irrelevant.

The fact that he agreed not to do *important thing* then went right ahead and did anyway would be enough for me to consider leaving the relationship.
posted by Shouraku at 7:12 AM on December 10, 2011 [7 favorites]


Once upon a time, I "entrapped" a person I suspected of cheating by using a bogus email address and fake persona. They were all over the the faux-person in a hot second, and when I busted them on it there was just no way they could lie their way out of it. They were caught red-handed.

Was it nice to do that to them? No. Do I feel bad for doing it? Not even a chance.

This person fucked with my head in a major way, what with all the lying and manipulation and such. I never knew what was what, therefore I agonized over what to do. I was so in love with them that the thought of breaking up with them on the off chance they were actually innocent was just agonizing. It was not fun finding out I was right about them, and it didn't magically make the resulting breakup painless, but it did cement my resolve to do what needed to be done and there was no second guessing whether I had made the right choice.

Not trusting your boyfriend due to his untrustworthy behavior is a perfectly valid reason for breaking it off, and if you can be comfortable going through with it for that reason I agree that it's the high road, not to mention the most drama-free route. But if you're going to be stuck in an agony of indecision, I see nothing wrong with answering his ad under an assumed persona and seeing what happens. I know this will not be a popular opinion, to say the least. But when someone's lies or inconsistencies are making you crazy I don't think you owe it to them to wait patiently in the dark until they are good and ready to fuck you over.
posted by sock puppy at 7:58 AM on December 10, 2011 [4 favorites]


I think you are BOTH in the wrong here. Wrong perspective. Wrong expectations. Wrong demands on your BF. Wrong promises from him to you.

From what I understand, your BF has a strong sexual fetish and you were asking him to abstain from even looking at his preferred porn while masturbating in the privacy of his own home. What exactly did you think would happen??

It seems you don't understand fetishes very well if you thought you could ask him to stop and he'd be able to. You created this no-win situation for both of you. The subject matter of gender and sexuality is shameful for some folks and lends itself to secrecy (socially and politically this aggravates me to no end, but that's another topic...)

- I too think your BF is the anonymous 3rd party that sent you the link.

- Find a kink-friendly therapist to help you and your guy work through this

OR

- Cut bait right now and break up.

Your BF's sexuality is what it is. You knew this going in. Stop asking him to be someone he's not. Likely he feels ashamed and that's why he'd like to go along with your demands - but just can't.

Another possibility is that he is using you as a sort of "beard" and he's already fully engaged in his fetish. If he lied to you about that going in, then he's not someone you want to waste anymore time on.

This whole thing seems so dramaz and out of control. And I can sorta see how it happened. He's ashamed, you love him... I can't know if he loves you or is using you. Either way, his fetish isn't going away.

I think a few sessions with a kink-friendly therapist will clear things up enough for you to feel clear one way or another.
posted by jbenben at 8:25 AM on December 10, 2011 [5 favorites]


It doesn't make sense to be in a relationship with a person you don't trust regardless of whether or not they are cheating. You are looking for deception and everything is viewed through a prism of deceit. He's making promises he doesn't want to keep to make you happy or at least to get off his back.

It doesn't sound like you're sexually compatible. He has a strong transgender fetish or fascination that you might or might not allow him to explore. But you seem ill-equipped for dealing with that kind of sexual openness. (This is not a criticism, many people that require/desire monogamy are similarly ill equipped including myself.)

Also, it doesn't appear that you two are truly honest with each other about your needs and wants. His transgender fascination is stronger than he is admitting and your willingness for some kind of open relationship is weaker than you want to admit. It appears to me that you're both lying to each other and to yourselves in order to stay together and that's just a recipe for unhappiness and lack of fulfillment.
posted by shoesietart at 8:45 AM on December 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


You will never be fully convinced that he's NOT cheating

unless you make a positive internal commitment to extend the benefit of any tiny shred of uncertainty. Trusting somebody is a deliberate act of policy and will; it doesn't just happen, it takes work.

The risk attached to trust-as-default-position is that you might end up trusting an untrustworthy person, and get betrayed by that person, which truly and completely sucks. But being in a monogamous relationship is an inherently risky business and it pays off bigtime to recognize that and accept that risk as you go in with your eyes wide open and decide to trust anyway.

The risk attached to trust-only-when-there-is-no-doubt is that

It will drive you insane and drive you apart.

even when you're actually in a relationship with somebody who is perfectly trustworthy (see also Othello), which is effectively choosing a lifetime of having to

Move on.

for no good reason, which is a shame and a waste. And the thing about choosing to embrace that risk is that there is no upside: you cannot fix an untrustworthy partner by maintaining eternal vigilance.

If you choose to adopt a positive and trusting attitude, you get to spend most of your life happy and you only get hurt if you actually do get screwed over. To my way of thinking, that's far more fun than spending most of your life suspicious and miserable with only the prospect of having proved your suspicions correct to give you any kind of satisfaction. Why choose self-torture?

Personally, I'd rather be right and happy. And if the price of getting there is being hurt by a succession of swine who betray my trust along the way: so be it. I would far rather see an ex-partner's perfidy undermine their self-respect than mine.
posted by flabdablet at 9:09 AM on December 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


It doesn't make sense to be in a relationship with a person you don't trust regardless of whether or not they are cheating.

Absolutely correct.

And what you need to realize is that trusting another person is something you can choose to do rather than some kind of uncontrollable reaction to circumstances. It's a skill, like playing the banjo. It takes practice, and if it feels all wrong when you start, that's perfectly normal.
posted by flabdablet at 9:19 AM on December 10, 2011


The fact that he's suddenly clearing his cache would end it for me. He should be trying to prove his honesty, not hide things from you.
posted by coolguymichael at 10:16 AM on December 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


If you choose to adopt a positive and trusting attitude, you get to spend most of your life happy and you only get hurt if you actually do get screwed over. To my way of thinking, that's far more fun than spending most of your life suspicious and miserable with only the prospect of having proved your suspicions correct to give you any kind of satisfaction.

I don't want to suggest the OP should disregard this advice, if it's a path that might work for them, but I do want to point out that some of us can't work in that way and that OP shouldn't feel guilty if s/he's also that kind of person.

Speaking for myself, any time in the past where I've had that awful sick suspicion that a boyfriend's been doing something very wrong, I tried very hard to stamp down on that feeling because I felt an obligation to give them the benefit of all possible doubt and thought the only way to be a happy, trusting person was to do that. But every time, those feelings of doubt and worry just kept bubbling back up to the surface. Although I was trying very, very hard to trust a person acting in an untrustworthy way, my feelings of suspicion were acting like an internal alarm system trying to protect me from the risk of [heartbreak/STDs/serious financial loss], and as such weren't about to shut up. (And in retrospect, they were right every time. I've never had a problem trusting people who weren't actually doing anything wrong, whether or not the relationship was working otherwise.)

So I don't doubt there are people who can just choose to trust no matter what the circumstances, but for others, the choice isn't happily trusting vs. being suspicious and miserable; it's being suspiciously miserable and trying unsuccessfully to fight it vs. being suspicious, getting the issue out on the table, and dealing with it. If you fall into that latter category, OP, trying to shut down your internal alarm system is unlikely to be the way to happiness, and might actually harm you further in the long run. After all, when it comes to someone you're sleeping with and financially entangled with, you're risking more than heartbreak if they do screw you over.
posted by Catseye at 11:33 AM on December 10, 2011 [7 favorites]


I told him what I found on his computer. He claimed that he reads the ads "for fun".

Oh, lord.

DTMFA. You deserve a higher class of liar.
posted by rokusan at 11:39 AM on December 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


To clarify a few things...

Before we moved in together, he regularly let me use his computer and always left his emails and websites logged in. We would sit together while one or the other of us browsed the internet. He showed me fetish sites so that I could see what kind of "girls" he found attractive. We talked about what turns him on about it, what the fantasy involves. It was all very open. If we were sitting at his computer and I saw a link that made me curious, he told me to feel free to check it out. He went through his favorites list and showed me the various websites he regularly visits, etc.

It was all very open which was why I thought nothing of looking at what popped up in the browser window or asking him about it. I was using his computer with his permission and knowledge (my laptop wasn't able to get online at the time so we were sharing his computer).

Our discussions about his fantasy involved potentially searching for someone, down the road, to join the relationship as a third in a poly triad, or possibly just as a secondary partner for him. I identify as polyamorous, however I generally prefer a "primary style" poly relationship, where the primary relationship needs to be stable before either partner begins to explore other possibilities or potential partners. This is why I asked that we wait a year or so to make sure that things between us were stable enough that becoming involved with other people wouldn't damage our relationship with each other. It wasn't a solid 12 month "October 21st 2012 we'll begin dating other people" just an arbitrary number that we mutually agreed on.

So asking him to set aside actively searching for someone else (trans or otherwise) was not an unreasonable request on my part. He had already promised to do so before we moved in together.

Also, when I said he was reading ads "for fun" I meant he said it was "because they're funny" so also looking at porn with the same theme, calls "because its funny" into question. The average person doesn't usually find their masterbation material humerous... so if its serious enough to be your "me time" activity, obviously looking at ads is for more than amusement.

The recent ads in question were posted December 2nd. One was seeking to meet someone at a bar for drinks before hooking up... The other explicitly offered to host casual sex with a stranger in our home. 6 weeks ago he promised not to post or read ads on craigslist.

Also to make it clear, I never asked him to stop looking at porn or reading erotica. I only asked that he stop making contact with actual people. I asked him not to go on craigslist, not to actively search for anyone. I believe that these are reasonable requests to make within a relationship which has been mutually agreed to be exclusive (even if only for the moment).

As for the "anony" person. This is the second time they've contacted me. The first was back in October, just as we were beginning to explore the relationship after having a "friend with benefits" sort of thing for the previous few months. The person warned me of his online activities in case I wasn't aware of his fetish, gave links to several websites where he was actively searching for casual sex. I immediately went to him with this and he claimed that the websites were old (even though they showed him being recently logged in), came up with a lot of plausible explinations which I chose to believe over trusting a complete stranger who refused to identify themself.

A mutual friend looked at the emails, and also contacted the anony person to confront them. Mutual friend believes this person to be boyfriend's ex as the writing style is very similar, and the person made reference to some things that aren't known to the general public. This person claims to have been an old friend of the Bf's who wanted to make sure that he wasn't endangering me with his activities.

Given that before this person contacted me the first time, bf was open about his fetish and we were discussing how to go about eventually finding a way for him to explore... I don't believe that he is the one contacting me in some backward attempt to screen my response.

My issue isn't his desire, its the fact that he promised to set aside actively searching or making contact... and is sneaking around behind my back to do it anyway.

And yes, I responded to the 2 ads. He replied. Yes, the email address is his.

So I know he's sneaking around with intention to cheat, I still just don't know what to do about it or how to confront the issue. I don't know whether he's actually been with anyone else yet, although I have talked to a friend about going with me to the health dept to get tested within the next couple of weeks. But as far as confronting him, figuring out how to handle the living arrangements, or where to go if I can get out of being on he lease with him... I'm at a loss.
posted by myShanon at 11:52 AM on December 10, 2011 [5 favorites]


I'm so sorry that you're in this position. Don't let anyone make you feel bad for setting the boundaries that feel right to you. As someone non-monogamous, it always amazes me how quickly people are to judge others' boundaries as being too strict or not strict enough, based solely on arbitrary cultural norms--well, fuck that. You made an agreement and if it was too strict it was his job to say so, and he doesn't get the right to break the agreement because it's "unreasonable".

I personally wouldn't confront it at all, I'd just go with "different places right now" or some vague nonsense, until after you find another place to live.

I'd have a hard time being friends with someone who lied and put my sexual health at risk, and in my apartment too! Ugh.

Good luck.
posted by the young rope-rider at 12:18 PM on December 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


So basically, you're wanting to wait until the relationship is more stable before opening it up so he can have sex with someone of his preferred gender. He's doing anything but the things he needs to do to help stabilize your relationship because he just can't wait to have sex with someone of his preferred gender. How can this relationship possibly have a future?

Also, how does his ex-girlfriend know so much more about what he's up to than you do? This whole situation just doesn't make sense!

If I were you I'd be working on figuring out the financial side of things because the rest of it is just too much of a mess to even try to untangle.
posted by hazyjane at 12:20 PM on December 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


Also, when I said he was reading ads "for fun" I meant he said it was "because they're funny" so also looking at porn with the same theme, calls "because its funny" into question. The average person doesn't usually find their masterbation material humerous... so if its serious enough to be your "me time" activity, obviously looking at ads is for more than amusement.

This is a very oddly narrow interpretation of "for fun." Putting aside the allegedly posted ads for a moment, I can't fathom how just reading CL ads is "actively looking."
posted by desuetude at 12:33 PM on December 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


But posting ads for casual sex, which you intend to have in the home you share with your SO, that you reply to is beyond a doubt 'actively looking'.

I'm so sorry he's put you in this position. I hope breaking the lease and finding a new place goes as smoothly and quickly as possible.
posted by everydayanewday at 12:39 PM on December 10, 2011


Hey, myShanon, I'm so sorry he did this to you. If it were me, what I would want is just to find a friend to stay with for a few days so I could get some time and space to clear my head. I think you also need to be really gentle with yourself and take this one day at a time. You don't need to figure out what to say to him right away--you can just say, hey I need to get away for a few days. Which is true!

As for all the logistics, you will figure something out. Can you determine which part if the most urgent to plan for and focus on that? Also, I think for some people saying, hey, I'm not going to think about any of this what-to-do-next stuff for a few days while I process how I feel about the end of this relationship is exactly what they need. And other people need to focus on getting themselves set up in a new place before they can feel safe and secure enough to grieve. And some people (like me!) can't seem to help but do both at once and become giant balls of stress and need to run around and write a lot and call up their friends crying.

Which approach do you need right now?

Also, please ignore all the judgment coming at you in this thread. It's not what you need right now.

I'm confused by comments like this:

So basically, you're wanting to wait until the relationship is more stable before opening it up so he can have sex with someone of his preferred gender. He's doing anything but the things he needs to do to help stabilize your relationship because he just can't wait to have sex with someone of his preferred gender.


Because, um, people can have more than one preferred gender. It sounds like the dude in question is attracted to both cis ladies and to trans people of a specific type.
posted by overglow at 1:18 PM on December 10, 2011 [4 favorites]


But posting ads for casual sex, which you intend to have in the home you share with your SO, that you reply to is beyond a doubt 'actively looking'.

Um, yes, I acknowledged that in my reply. My point was specifically about their general communication on the topic of his kink. Curiosity and prurient interest would legitimately count as reading ads for fun. Placing ads or answering them, on the other hand, is browsing the ads seriously (aka for real.)
posted by desuetude at 2:42 PM on December 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


The other explicitly offered to host casual sex with a stranger in our home...
And yes, I responded to the 2 ads. He replied. Yes, the email address is his.
.

Dude. I would confront him by saying, "hey, these emails you answered? I sent them," and then showing them to him and seeing what he says. Then kick HIM out. Get a roommate. (Your landlord won't care as long as the rent is paid.) Let him worry about the logistics, because that's the price you pay when you're LYING ABOUT TRYING TO HAVE CASUAL SEX WITH STRANGERS IN YOUR APARTMENT.

You deserve a life with way, way, way less crazy drama.
posted by Countess Sandwich at 5:08 PM on December 10, 2011 [4 favorites]


The recent ads in question were posted December 2nd. One was seeking to meet someone at a bar for drinks before hooking up... The other explicitly offered to host casual sex with a stranger in our home. 6 weeks ago he promised not to post or read ads on craigslist.


B U S T E D

It's over. I'm so sorry.

Better luck with the next one.
posted by flabdablet at 6:37 PM on December 10, 2011


OP, thank you for the update.

So sorry I was off-base.

I agree with someone above, you deserve a life with way, way, way, less crazy drama.

I'm sure your guy has shame issues that deserve consideration, but the character flaw of out-n-out lying trumps any understanding warranted.

Sorry, again.
posted by jbenben at 1:04 AM on December 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


And yes, I responded to the 2 ads. He replied. Yes, the email address is his.

CASE CLOSED. There is no need to "handle it" beyond "Boyfriend, I know you're cheating or trying to. Pack your shit and leave." (Or "I'm leaving.") There doesn't need to be any drama; it's cut and dry.
posted by desjardins at 6:55 AM on December 11, 2011


So asking him to set aside actively searching for someone else (trans or otherwise) was not an unreasonable request on my part.

Well it kind of is unreasonable, actually, in that you're asking him to stop wanting something and to want you more than he really does, or to suppress what he wants in favor of your own wishes. That's never going to work out.

That is, you can't impose feelings or desires on someone. He's searching for someone else despite knowing that you disapprove because he wants this more than he wants you.

I'm sorry if that sounds harsh, but you have to face up to this. He's really not yours anymore, assuming he ever was to begin with.

Move on before you create an even bigger mess.
posted by rokusan at 8:54 AM on December 11, 2011


Hey, something very similar happened to me (from your boyfriends perspective actually), or similar to the story of flabdablet.

I was in a relationship with a girl who said she had trust issues, knew that I had cheated on former girlfriends, an of course had understandable difficulties trusting me. She would snoop in my computer on a regular basis, find whathever sex encounters/porn sites in the browser history and conclude I was up to cheat on her. I would neither hide my embarassing solitary habits (no erasing the browser history) nor openly mention them, since I do believe that 1) it's private and 2) in a healthy relationship, one should assume there will be no snooping and behave on that basis.

Needless to say we went trough lots of unnecessary drama, as she was considering breaking up over the assumption that I "may" cheat on her some day and that she could not trust me. And guess what ? I never cheated on her, and being very much in love, never had the intention to do so. But I had my kinks.

She posted a question on Mefi on that topic, actually, quite funny...one of the things which helped us talk this through is when she showed the discussion on Mefi to me. It was hurtful because of the general assumption that I was indeed up to cheat on her, a perfect asshole, the hasty DTMFAs, etc, but it helped me measure just how much it mattered to her. It was certainly the first step towards solving the problem.

So, maybe you should consider doing the same with your boyfriend ? It can help start a serious conversation about where the relationship is heading towards. At least that's what I would suggest you do before decinding whether or not to break up.

Another point is that, if he never cheated on you, does not have the intention to do so and is actually cheacking GL for fun, then he did not do anything wrong. The decision of breaking up would rest on a false assumption, and therefore would be unfair. In fact, you have no way to be certain of his intentions, and an intention means nothing prior to its realization anyway. I'm not suggesting that you wait for him to cheat, as this may never happen; I'm saying that you should not cause an injustice over a simple assumption. Briefly, if he cheats, then break up, he did something wrong. If you break up now because you think he may cheat on you someday, then you're doing something wrong.

As of the issue of trust...someone posted this :
It doesn't make sense to be in a relationship with a person you don't trust regardless of whether or not they are cheating.

It's weird. It's like saying "I can't trust you, have no arguments whatsoever to justify it, but I'm going to make you miserable anyway, you lucky bastard".

However, the statement probably true. It's certainly stupid in a certain way. At some point, we need to realize that we can't expect everyone around us to prove they are 100% trustworthy, and give our trust nonetheless. If you choose to trust, to take this risk, enjoy how it improves your relationship. If you choose not to trust, you're digging the grave of your couple. And yes, you can choose that sort of things.

At last...your boyfriend telling you he will stop cheacking GL and not doing it is actually perfectly cute. If he has a kink, it's terribly difficult for him not to follow it; if he nevertheless proposes to stop doing so, it just means he want to be nice and he cares enough about you to, at least in principle, try not to do something you find hurtful. I don't think there's much to be upset about.
posted by that_guy at 2:12 PM on December 11, 2011


Another point is that, if he never cheated on you, does not have the intention to do so and is actually cheacking GL for fun, then he did not do anything wrong.

What he did wrong was posting advertisements on Craigslist offering the OP's home as a venue for a sexual encounter with himself, after promising explicitly not to do so.

Two possibilities:

1. He actually intends to invite another person to the OP's home for sex, which is a betrayal of the OP's (admittedly shaky) trust.

2. He's posting things on Craigslist just to fuck people around for his own amusement, which makes him a prick.

I'm a conspicuous promoter of trust in relationships. But I'm also quite fond of the old Judge Judy line about peeing in my pocket and telling me it's raining.

He's so gone.
posted by flabdablet at 2:36 PM on December 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Update #2

Saturday afternoon I confronted him. I waited until a couple of hours before I had to go to work, knowing that me being out of the house for a few hours after the conversation would give us both time to cool off... and knowing that I would be miserable at work thinking about the issue either way.

His response was shocking, frightening, and completely unexpected. If I had a friend who would let me take my puppy and crash for a bit, I'd have moved out this weekend... but I have yet to find anyone willing to help out so for the moment I'm still sharing an apartment with him. I still haven't had a chance to talk to the complex's management about getting off the lease and moving myself into a cheaper unit, so I'm hoping that will be an option.

He took a nap on the couch while I was reading MeFi responses, and woke up shortly after I posted my last update. I waited until he was awake and talkative and asked if we could talk. He made comments about how I'd been having such a crappy week due to being sick and such and I told him it was a lot more than just that... told him that the anony person had contacted me again about him placing ads on CL, and before he could interrupt me continued quickly to say that I had wanted to make sure it was him first, so I responded to the ads from another email and I had his replies in my inbox if he wanted to look at them.

He became immediately defensive and angry, denied having posted the ads, insisted that someone must have posted them to frame him. I pointed out that for the responses to go to his email he would have had to confirm from his gmail account so we could easily just look in his email to see if the confirmation was there. He refused to open his gmail account, saying that even if there was anything there... it would just mean that whoever framed him had also hacked his email account.

I pointed out that even if someone had framed him, the person didn't force him to reply. He admitted that he did reply, but then claimed that he thought he was talking to someone he used to chat with, from an old ad that had been placed a while back. I reminded him that the last time we had this conversation he went into his CL account and removed all of his old ads, and also pointed out that when someone responds to an ad throught he site it includes text of the ad they're responding to... so saying that he didn't realize it was "a fake ad" didn't really add up either.

He became loud, shouting, advancing toward me, gesturing wildly. It scared the dog who started barking and growling at him. It terrified me because this conspiracy theory "nothing is my fault the world is out to get me" paranoia is exactly how a previous relationship started to turn toward ugly and abusive... I ended up huddled on the couch holding the dog crying... while he got on his computer and deactivated his gmail account, saying that solved all of the problems because now there was no email account for the hacker to use to frame him, and that was the end of the subject.

I said no... I also have a copy of an email that YOU sent... responding to someone else's ad... back in september, on a day when I know that I was at hour house, asleep in your bed. I convinced him to go into his hotmail account and show me the sent messages, and showed him the message I had a copy of. He started shouting again, saying there's no way he could have sent that, the person must have hacked this email account also... he changed his password on that account, and again said that should be the end of it.

I asked how I was supposed to trust him if he refused to do anything to show that I was wrong? He told me it was my choice, either decide to trust or fuck off and get out of his house (I reminded him we're both on the lease so he can't throw me out). He refused to believe that he should be expected to do anything to prove he can be trusted, or to address my fears.

He started up on a new version of the conspiracy theories... attacking the anony person... saying at first that it was obviously someone who wanted to be with me trying to get me to dump him so that they could have a chance. He accused a friend who I had been involved with before he and I met, who introduced us and encouraged me to pursue a relationship with him instead... and I pointed out that when the first anony msg happened, we were still just casual FWB and the other person could have simply told me they wanted to be with me and I would have ended it with him. So it wouldn't make sense for them to be manipulative... I also told him that there is no one else in the area who is interested in me that way. My former circle of friends were all friends of my ex, and stopped talking to me after the break up earlier this year.

He then decided that anony must be someone who hates me and wants to make me miserable by making me think that I'm being cheated on, since I've been open about having trust issues. I asked how this random person would know his passwords or find otu about his fetish in order to target him so precisely...

Then he decided that maybe its one of his ex's after all, or someone from his past who would have known his secret, wanting to screw with him by screwing with my head... but refused to discuss any possibilities as to who that might be or how to get them to stop.

He then decided it doesn't matter who anony is, since the problem is that I keep reacting to what they tell me... and the solution was for him to order me to stop responding, to block their account, and to ignore any further attempts at communication if they should try to get to me again. I refused, saying I want to know who the person is and what their intentions are.

More shouting on his part, more barking on the dog's part, more crying on my part as he again tried to throw me out of the apartment saying that if I refuse to trust him then I have no place in his home. I again refused to be thrown out of an apartment where I'm on the lease.

Shortly after that I finished getting dressed and went to work.

All day yesterday he kept trying to be suggestively playful, tried to trap me in the kitchen and grope me while I was making lunch, tried to pin me to the couch while I was watching netflix on my laptop (ignoring his football game), tried repeatedly to kiss and molest me in spite of my pulling away.

He finally left me alone when I had to push him off to have a hacking/coughing fit where I could barely breathe... I ended up taking nyquil and going to bed around 7pm (this illness I've had the last couple of weeks keeps coming back).

I'm pretty sure he thinks that he was trying to make up after the fight, but to me it was all just a bit disturbing and creepy. I'm guessing that since I didn't move out, he thinks that means that I forgive him and everything is okay, which means that another confrontation is likely to come in the near future.

I talked to a mutual friend who is one of his ex's and described everything that happened... she says he's gone off the deep end, and the behavior is nothing like the man she has known for over a decade and considered a best friend even after they parted ways. She says she's seriously concerned, and thinks that his confusion over his fetish, and the fact that he can't set it aside while in a relationship, might be why he's losing it.

She says that when they were together she knew about his fetish (over a decade ago) but since she wasn't okay with him exploring or having sex with anyone else, he set it aside while they were together... and that he's done the same in other relationships... she doesn't know why he won't do it for me as well.

So yeah... even more drama than I'd been hoping to avoid... quite a lot more crazy than I'd ever suspected, and a potentially ugly situation that I'm stuck in until I can find somewhere else to live.

I envy those who lead simple, dull lives.
posted by myShanon at 11:31 AM on December 12, 2011


You confronted him with evidence, and he responded with increasingly absurd defensiveness; when that failed, he tried to twist the situation to be somehow your fault; and when that failed, he got abusive.

Scary abusive. I'm literally scared for you, myShanon. I don't know you, I haven't even seen you around MeFi before, but I, a complete and total stranger, am worried for your safety. The yelling and trying to throw you out was bad enough, but the out-of-nowhere physicality crossed the last line—we call that kind of thing assault where I come from, but I don't want to get hung up on terminology. Whatever you want to call it, it's absolutely 100% not okay.

I know it's technically your apartment too, but you're not safe there with him. Pack your things, grab the dog, and get out now.
posted by Zozo at 12:54 PM on December 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


myShanon, please get out now. He is definitely showing very scary signs of abusive behavior. You mention friends, and also mention needing to find someone who can take your puppy--if I were you I would tell all of my local friends how intense the situation is becoming, and how scared I am, and hopefully someone will be enough of your friend to be more concerned about your well-being than what a puppy might do to their furniture.
posted by overglow at 12:56 PM on December 12, 2011


What a shit. I'm so sorry.

I asked how I was supposed to trust him if he refused to do anything to show that I was wrong?

I understand that this was fully a heat-of-the-moment question, but it's still the wrong question. For the sake of your own mental wellbeing, trust is not something you need to make conditional on circumstances to maintain; it's something you can decide to extend until circumstances make doing that obviously and clearly untenable, as yours just have, at which point you just stop.

If you embed that principle deep into your psyche, the idea of asking somebody like Mr. Craigslist Slime "how you are supposed to trust him", thereby giving him a cue to blast you with a barrage of manipulative bullshit, would simply never occur to you. As soon as you knew your trust had been betrayed you'd simply stop arguing, withdraw intimacy offering no further explanation for doing so, and quietly prepare your physical exit strategy.

More shouting on his part, more barking on the dog's part, more crying on my part as he again tried to throw me out of the apartment saying that if I refuse to trust him then I have no place in his home ... All day yesterday he kept trying to be suggestively playful, tried to trap me in the kitchen and grope me while I was making lunch ... tried repeatedly to kiss and molest me in spite of my pulling away ... I'm pretty sure he thinks that he was trying to make up after the fight, but to me it was all just a bit disturbing and creepy.

To me it's neither, it's just pathetic. Fucker has not apologized for attacking you, and is now doing the playful puppy leg-humping routine to try to make you go "awwww...."

Fucker.

You're well shot of him.

I'm guessing that since I didn't move out, he thinks that means that I forgive him and everything is okay,

No way. He knows you're insecure, and he's banking on being able to leverage that to undermine your resolve to dump him.

which means that another confrontation is likely to come in the near future.

You can prepare for that to some extent by resolving to say nothing at all if he manages to trap you into one. Make physical safety your priority. If that means picking up the puppy and walking out into the night with no clue where you'll end up: do that. But it would certainly pay you to line up a couple of possible boltholes before you find yourself in that position.

I'm so sorry.
posted by flabdablet at 4:38 PM on December 12, 2011


I just wanted to clarify a quick misunderstanding... he never became physically violent, just became very loud and confrontational and advanced in a way that made me think he was about to become violent. He never actually laid a hand on me, if he had I would have grabbed a coat and my purse on my way out the door with the puppy, and come back later for my things. I've been in an abusive relationship already, not happening again.
posted by myShanon at 10:28 PM on December 12, 2011


I just came back to read how this tread went, and your update popped up, and:

It doesn't matter that he didn't get physically violent.
He's busted.
He knows he's busted.
And all he's doing to trying to twist things around and talk in circles and get you to walk down some trail to delusionville, in order to get you to forget about all this, so he can go off an do anything he wants.

That, in and of itself, is concerning enough. At some point, someone with decency and respect for you would probably say, "you know what? yeah. busted. you're right. I'm an ass." And would go from there.

But this guy? This guy is trying to A) manipulate you B) turn all this around on you and make you feel bad about "not trusting him" C) force you out of your own home D) act like nothing's happen, even though things are obviously awry.

Go.
Go go go go go go go go go go.
You deserve better.
And I highly doubt this is going to get better, in any way, ever.
posted by vivid postcard at 10:38 PM on December 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


And by "highly doubt," I mean: it's not.
posted by vivid postcard at 10:45 PM on December 12, 2011


I would also advise getting out of there as soon as is humanly possible. That kind of irrational, aggressive, inappropriate, and unpredictable behaviour suggests that whatever's going on with him is well beyond your pay grade. There's clearly not going to be any point in reasoning with him about any of this; make your plans, grab the puppy, and get yourself somewhere safe until you can discuss the lease situation with the building management. You don't need to get dragged into another confrontation about this, either, you can just inform him (by text or email or with friends present, if you're not comfortable doing it alone and in person) that it's over and that this is not up for debate.

since she wasn't okay with him exploring or having sex with anyone else, he set it aside while they were together... and that he's done the same in other relationships... she doesn't know why he won't do it for me as well.

Not that it matters for your immediate situation, but you don't know that this is true at all. Maybe he's done exactly the same thing in every relationship, and only you (and the ex who sent you those emails, if that's what happened) caught him at it.
posted by Catseye at 5:16 AM on December 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


The relationship ended tonight... of course he tried to blame it all on me and refused to accept responsibility or acknowledge that his sneaky doings might have contributed to the relationship being doomed, but I'm okay with that.

We've decided to be roommates for a bit, as I plan to move out of state in a few months (shorter than any lease agreement I'm going to find). I have a couple of options to go sooner if needed, but in the final break up discussion he was mostly reasonable and sane enough for me to feel comfortable in holding the couch down while i make arrangements to move on.
posted by myShanon at 1:13 AM on January 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


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