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Will I ever trust him again?
August 24, 2012 12:01 PM   Subscribe

Can I get over this?

My boyfriend and I have been together a little over a year and have lived together for about 6 months. About 7 months ago, I stumbled upon (seriously, was not looking for anything the first time) some very inappropriate/sexually explicit facebook messages with multiple girls (5-6) that had been going on for most of our relationship. How badly he wanted to be with them, all the things he was going to do to them, and asking when he could get with them. I was devastated. I confronted him and he told me they didn't mean anything, he was just leading them on, and he never intended to or actually went through with anything. I wanted it to be true and we had already started the process of moving in together. I forgave him, but then (and still now) constantly was looking through his phone and facebook for more evidence (I know, this is so, so wrong of me). Twice more after this I found more conversations and he explained them away and I forgave him. The last time I found anything was about 5 months ago. Our relationship is great besides this and I WANT to ignore it and tell myself he has changed and would never cheat on me, but I still don't trust him. I want to tell myself this was early in our relationship and I should get over it now because he doesn't do it anymore. But I can't help thinking about it sometimes and it still hurts as badly as it did when I first found out. Can we move on from this? Can I trust him again? I tell myself all the time I'm going to stop snooping and I still keep doing it.
posted by sunshine37 to Human Relations (79 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
Rule #1 of Relationships is that you have to trust your partner. Also why do you want to be with someone who leads people on? That's deplorable behavior.
posted by sweetkid at 12:05 PM on August 24, 2012 [40 favorites]


Well, it depends on what you are willing to believe, I guess. I would have been gone the first time. The second and third time, forget about it.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:06 PM on August 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


From a first read, it sounds like he may have either changed or simply become better at hiding it.

Is there anything else that has changed (or not) that would lean you towards him having changed or him not changing, but hiding it better?

Have you spoken with him about the secrets you're keeping of snooping? Is it something you're willing to speak with him openly about, either in general, or with the aid of a counselor for you both?
posted by tilde at 12:06 PM on August 24, 2012


When someone shows you who they are, believe them.

Let me ask you this - you want to tell yourself he's changed. Why? What has he done to show he's changed? In barely over a year, he had *three* inappropriate exchanges with multiple other women.

What has he done to show you he's changed? How is he reassuring you? It sounds like he's not.

And - he was just leading them on?

This man has an ethics problem, and if you stay, I give it 99% odds he physically cheats on you (in addition to the emotional cheating that is likely still going on).
posted by dotgirl at 12:07 PM on August 24, 2012 [13 favorites]


In screenwriting, words are for lying, actions are for telling the truth. Also a good rule for the real world.

Without trust, there isn't any relationship. He lost yours and it doesn't sound like he wants it back.
posted by trinity8-director at 12:10 PM on August 24, 2012 [17 favorites]


Sorry, don't want to threadsit but one more point I forgot to make: I highly doubt he has physically cheated on me. Everywhere he goes, he always asks and wants me to come with him. He rarely goes out anywhere without and if he does, it's because I'm busy or don't want to go.
posted by sunshine37 at 12:10 PM on August 24, 2012


You don't know what he was really doing back at the start of this, but he was either leading women on, or lying to you about leading women on. Neither is good.
posted by jon1270 at 12:11 PM on August 24, 2012 [6 favorites]


So, monogamy is a set of relationship agreements that have to be negotiated, you know? I know it probably doesn't seem to you like you should have to explicitly say that you want relationship agreements around fidelity that include "no graphic sexual conversations over social media," but it sounds like if you stay with this guy, you do. And it's probably good for the two of you to talk about what other things you see as appropriate or inappropriate, and make explicit agreements that work for you both.

And then you have to decide whether or not you can trust him to keep them.

Honestly, I would ditch him, because his explanation for his own behavior is that he was toying with other people's emotions for shits and giggles, which to me seems objectively worse than actually fucking someone else, but that's me.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:15 PM on August 24, 2012 [14 favorites]


Wait, you found more of this behavior even after he got caught and apologized?

He sounds not only sleazy, but a bit stupid.
posted by xingcat at 12:16 PM on August 24, 2012 [20 favorites]


I know I was the one who made the decision so I don’t know that I have a right to feel so resentful

That's a crazy, crazy statement about someone you loaned tens of thousands of dollars to early on in your relationship. Crazy. "I don't have a right to feel" is a huge red flag. "I don't have a right to feel" + $20K on a credit card because of a guy with bad credit = LAWYER UP.

This is a guy who pushed you to do financially inappropriate things early in the relationship, and sounds like a charmer who is great! ... except for all the cheating. Keep in mind that he might actually be a literal conman, and this is just his MO. The girls he is leading on aren't flirtations or emotional affairs, they're the next potential mark.

Also, snooping is bad, but that's why you break up with people when they repeatedly dupe you in ways that indicate snooping on them is more likely to provide you with the truth about their behavior than just asking them. You don't ignore the evidence because it was obtained "illegally". Your relationships are not a court of law.
posted by The Master and Margarita Mix at 12:16 PM on August 24, 2012 [37 favorites]


"I confronted him and he told me they didn't mean anything, he was just leading them on, and he never intended to or actually went through with anything."

You know, cheating on you is bad, but fucking with other people's heads for fun is also bad.

He does not sound like a very nice person, or one who respects other people.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 12:17 PM on August 24, 2012 [14 favorites]


The last time I found anything was about 5 months ago.

So, if I understand your timeline, he kept doing this after you two moved in together?

Unless you want the basis your relationship to revolve around forgiving him and learning to trust him again, you're better off not even bothering.
posted by griphus at 12:18 PM on August 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


This, combined with your earlier worry that you resent him for all the money you've sunk into his business, leads me to think that this doesn't have much further to go. You don't trust him and you're supporting his business to your own personal detriment. Either one of those things is grounds enough to move on.
posted by inturnaround at 12:18 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


You won't ever trust him again because he is inherently untrustworthy. Why are you doing this to yourself?
posted by crankylex at 12:18 PM on August 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


Wait is this the same dude from your previous question who "borrowed" all that money from you?

There is a pattern of behavior here, and that pattern is taking emotional and financial advantage of your inability to kick his ass out onto the curb.
posted by griphus at 12:19 PM on August 24, 2012 [29 favorites]


You've been together a little over a year. You've caught him doing this three times. Right now you're telling yourself he doesn't do it anymore - but I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that there's a pretty good chance you're mistaking "It doesn't occur anymore" for "We are in a space between occurrences."

Can you learn to trust him? Probably, but...why would you? He's a shitty, manipulative guy. I'd call it a huge red flag if this behavior happened once, but it's happened three times so far. It's not going to stop.

I highly doubt he has physically cheated on me.

This is completely irrelevant. The fact that you're in the mindset where this seemed worth bringing up suggests that you have gotten accustomed to a very fucked-up dynamic in this relationship and if I were in your situation I would do whatever was necessary to walk away.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 12:22 PM on August 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


" I forgave him, but then (and still now) constantly was looking through his phone and facebook for more evidence (I know, this is so, so wrong of me)"

Emphasis mine.

Hon. The only thing wrong here is that you are living with someone so dishonest, you feel you must snoop.

Don't live and share a bed with anyone you can't trust. What's wrong is that you got it into your head that giving him the benefit of the doubt was ever remotely possible.


And I agree that the behavior itself is giant red flag territory, and says this man is of poor poor character. Frankly, what he is doing is creepy creepster. RUN.
posted by jbenben at 12:24 PM on August 24, 2012 [6 favorites]


It doesn't sound like this person is worthy of your trust. You've caught him engaging in acts that threaten your relationship three times already and each time he gave a lame excuse and went back to doing it behind your back. Also, three instances of confrontation over the same issue in less than 7 months is a good sign you aren't going to get what you need from this relationship. Unless you have extremely compelling evidence that he's changed, don't assume he has.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 12:24 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sadly, the answer seems pretty straightforward here. You don't trust him, and he hasn't acted like he deserves to be trusted.

I'm wagering, based on my own experience, that you're only still in the relationship because the upheaval caused by breaking up seems so much more daunting than muddling through. Except that the longer you stay, the more damage you're going to do to your ability to trust future partners.

DTMFA
posted by dry white toast at 12:25 PM on August 24, 2012 [7 favorites]


This dude is bad news. Period.

Get out now. He doesn't respect you, uses you, doesn't respect other people/women and uses and plays games with other women. Why do you want to be with someone like that? There are tons of guys that aren't like that, you know. You don't have to put up with his crap.

I am not seeing anything worth saving or working on. Especially not at a year in. Even if you had a laundry list of his amazing qualities, I kind of doubt any of them would make up for his behavior in this relationship and how he treats other people.
posted by peacrow at 12:25 PM on August 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


Holy fuck, this is the same guy who is into you for tens of thousands of dollars?

My friend, this man is a user. He was using those girls for his ego gratification, and he is using you as an ATM.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:26 PM on August 24, 2012 [27 favorites]


I wanted it to be true and

Incorrect! Wishful thinking does not equal reality.

constantly was looking through his phone and facebook for more evidence (I know, this is so, so wrong of me)

Incorrect! If somebody demonstrates untrustworthy behavior, you are justified in not trusting them.

Twice more after this I found more conversations and he explained them away and I forgave him.

Incorrect! By not punishing his behavior, you are tacitly endorsing it.

Our relationship is great besides this

Incorrect! No, seriously, it totally isn't and you're completely lying to yourself.

and I WANT to ignore it and tell myself he has changed and would never cheat on me, but I still don't trust him.

I wonder why. Could it be because he would cheat on you in a heartbeat, assuming that he hasn't done so already?

Look, I don't normally advise DTMFA without serious justification or multiple qualifiers, but this relationship is so screwed up, you need to pour gasoline on it and light it on fire. The fact that you're framing this as your problem indicates that this guy has done such a number on your self-esteem already that not only should you not date him, you should probably take a break from dating anybody until you've managed to gain some self-confidence and fixed some of the massive damage he's wrought.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 12:27 PM on August 24, 2012 [9 favorites]


And you are classic codependent in your responses to his fuckery. You feel bad because you resent him for wasting your money? You feel guilty for uncovering his mindfucking with other girls? You explain it away as all right because he means to pay you back and he didn't actually fuck those girls?

As long as you have "WELCOME" on your back, people are going to walk all over you. You really need to learn some appropriate boundaries.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:30 PM on August 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


Can I get over this?

Why would you want to?!
posted by infinitywaltz at 12:33 PM on August 24, 2012 [21 favorites]


You keep talking about your responsibilities here. Can you trust him again? Can you stop snooping? You forgave him.

What about this guy? The guy who tells you, when you catch him messing around online, "Oh, I wasn't going to touch these girls, I was just manipulating their emotions for fun."

1) He's probably lying about this.

2) This is shitty behavior even if he's not, and the sort of thing that should destroy your trust in a person.

You should never put yourself in the situation where you have to think to yourself, "Well, there's like a 30% chance I'm living with and dating a sociopath. Maybe I will enter into a legally solemnized relationship with a sociopath that gives him great power over me. Maybe the father of my children will be a sociopath." Get rid of this guy and block his phone number. When you get really close to someone with no scruples, you are giving them huge power over you -- almost like a loaded gun. You are setting yourself up to get fucked over. You should make a hard break.
posted by grobstein at 12:34 PM on August 24, 2012 [10 favorites]


You could probably get over it, but you're probably better off if you don't.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 12:36 PM on August 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


http://ask.metafilter.com/220970/I-love-you-now-here-is-all-my-money

THIS GUY?? really. oh dear.

You need need need need need to leave this man.
posted by French Fry at 12:36 PM on August 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


You seem to be using physical fidelity as the sole barometer of your relationship's survival. The sense I get from your question is that you think it's probably worth sticking around as long as he did not have sex with any of these women, and that anything short of that is not legitimate grounds for ending this relationship.

This idea is deeply, deeply misguided, but you shouldn't feel too bad about holding it, because it's all over the place in our culture. But there are many other reasons to pull the plug on a relationship. Here's one: finding out that your partner is a lying, manipulative person.

Think about it this way. When you caught your partner sneaking around behind your back, his excuse was that he was lying to and manipulating these other women. That's not the thing you're accusing him of, that's his explanation of why his behavior is ok. I would submit to you that if he thinks that this kind of borderline sociopathic behavior is not only ok, but actually can be used as an excuse, then you are much, much better off without him. Would you stick around if he said, "I can't possibly have cheated on you, because I was robbing a bank at the time."?
posted by Ragged Richard at 12:38 PM on August 24, 2012 [25 favorites]


Even if his version of events is true, is this really the sort of man you want to be with? The kind who would toy with strange woman just to make himself feel better? I think you really need to think about this, because the sort of person who, by default, thinks that people aren't worth treating well is inevitably going to do you wrong as well.
posted by snickerdoodle at 12:40 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I remember your old question. You need to get out of this relationship like yesterday!

Hes takin your money, takin your sanity and causing you grief.

DTMFA.... as in today!
posted by handbanana at 12:42 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


When someone shows you who they are, believe them.

He doesn't respect you, uses you, doesn't respect other people/women and uses and plays games with other women.

QFT!!! Been there, done that, cried into the T-shirt. My guy used to tell me "I like to mess with people's heads." Unfortunately I did not realize he meant mine as well. He does seem to have stayed with his fourth and current wife for 8 years now.

DTMFA.
posted by jgirl at 12:42 PM on August 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


But I can't help thinking about it sometimes and it still hurts as badly as it did when I first found out. Can we move on from this? Can I trust him again? I tell myself all the time I'm going to stop snooping and I still keep doing it.

Your gut is telling you that you can't trust him. He hasn't truly made amends and done the sorts of things that would make you feel like he values your feelings. You wouldn't be here asking this question if he actually made you feel loved and safe. Please don't doubt yourself so much. Please don't cling to an idealized vision of what your relationship could be if you just tried hard enough to believe in him. He unfortunately does not deserve the faith you're giving him. It's been several months since the last incident and you're still uneasy. Enough time has passed that it's safe to conclude that you are unable to move on and that you are unable to trust him again. This is not because of your insecurities, but because he does not deserve to be trusted. It is okay to give up on him. Please take care of yourself and break up with him.
posted by rhythm and booze at 12:46 PM on August 24, 2012


he told me they didn't mean anything, he was just leading them on, and he never intended to or actually went through with anything.

Even if that's true, what does it say about him as a person?

I think you are right not to trust this guy. Break up with him. Move on in that way.
posted by Area Man at 12:49 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


No, you can't get over this. You can stay in this relationship and pretend that everything is okay while your justified mistrust for him grows and consumes you until you're even more miserable than you already are. But you can't get over this and trust him, because he's not trustworthy, and the things he's doing that break your trust are ongoing with no end in sight. So your choices are to end the relationship now, or end it later with a lot more heartbreak.
posted by decathecting at 12:49 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Forget the money you lent him. it's gone. Don't focus on it. Money is not as important as your time, love, and energy in this situation.


Quietly start making plans to leave him. Make sure all of your ducks are in a row, no loose ends. And then LEAVE HIM.

Keep a close eye on your credit after breaking up. Block this dude on social media. Put a lock down on your privacy.

This man has been using you. He is a bad man. Anyone that would allow you to take out $20,000 on credit cards for them in your name and on your credit is a bad man. Anyone who fucks with, or fucks, random women behind his girlfriend's back is a bad man.

He is not who you thought he was. For the moment, do not let on to him that you have figured him out.

Quietly make your plans, and then head for the exit. This is not salveagable, he won't morph into a nicer person with reasoning or understanding. Ever.

Right now I know you don't understand what I am saying, and likely you don't believe me. There is a disconnect between your heart and mind. Disbelief. It has happened to all of us, we've all been taken advantage of, been mislead, loved the wrong person. It happens. Please don't feel ashamed.

Please do follow the good advice in this thread.
posted by jbenben at 12:54 PM on August 24, 2012 [31 favorites]


This guy is a huge fucking dirtbag and he will continue being one and using you for everything he can take you for, which seems to be a whole lot, until you kick his fucking ass to the curb. Jesus wept, please separate your finances immediately. I can't imagine you will ever get anything back from him without an exhausting and expensive fight, but at least he won't take anything else.
posted by elizardbits at 12:54 PM on August 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


There is no basis for trust here, it will not improve but it could get worse.
posted by epo at 12:56 PM on August 24, 2012


You keep snooping because you know in your heart that he is a con-man, who sees other people as targets to be exploited.

Surely you deserve more than this, and better than him. Leave him. And do it without a preamble. The only contact I think you should consider in future is via legal action to collect his remaining debt to you.

Also, change all your passwords and usernames, close the credit card accounts, and think hard about whether he has any knowledge or ability to access any other financial sources of yours like your bank accounts or other credit cards. If so, change those up too.
posted by bearwife at 1:03 PM on August 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Certainly put a freeze on your credit so no new cards can be opened without your knowledge/permission.
posted by elizardbits at 1:04 PM on August 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


he told me they didn't mean anything, he was just leading them on,

The way your significant other treats other people is the way he will eventually treat you. Is that what you want?
posted by deanc at 1:06 PM on August 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


I've been you. Your feelings of insecurity are perfectly reasonable because he has proven himself untrustworthy. People don't fundamentally change unless they *really* work on themselves, and this often involves some form of therapy because most people aren't self aware enough to know what's wrong and how to fix it. Have you seen any evidence that he's really working on his problem? If not, then you should assume that it will just continue.
posted by timsneezed at 1:08 PM on August 24, 2012


Tell this boy to hit the road.
posted by jquinby at 1:25 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Thank you all for your great advice. I think I knew the answer before I asked, I just didn't want to admit it. The thing is, he has worked so hard to change. He's become much more loving, attentive, better with money, etc. over the last few months that I feel like ditching him now would be cruel since he has worked so hard to change. And in our day-to-day lives, he's very loving and sweet and we get along really well. But, I know you're right.
posted by sunshine37 at 1:32 PM on August 24, 2012


Then you'd be wise to use next week's question to ask how to extricate yourself from this situation.
posted by griphus at 1:43 PM on August 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


The thing is, he has worked so hard to change. He's become much more loving, attentive, better with money, etc. over the last few months that I feel like ditching him now would be cruel since he has worked so hard to change.

Stop kidding yourself. He is not working to change; he's working on keeping you around so he can keep on using you.
posted by Wordwoman at 1:49 PM on August 24, 2012 [21 favorites]


He's become much more loving, attentive, better with money, etc. over the last few months that I feel like ditching him now would be cruel since he has worked so hard to change.

No, honey, he hasn't. He's worked hard to convince you that he's changed, and to get you to feel this completely unfounded sense of guilt and obligation to him. He may not be doing it consciously, he may just be a messed up person and not a deliberate con artist, but he's not been working to change, because he hasn't changed. He's been working on you. Being loving and attentive doesn't have any connection to whether or not he's cheating, but working hard on being loving and attentive does have a purpose in keeping in your good graces.
posted by The Master and Margarita Mix at 1:49 PM on August 24, 2012 [7 favorites]


But is he working on identifying why he was being unfaithful and how to avoid that behavior when the urge inevitably returns?
posted by timsneezed at 1:54 PM on August 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


I am a guy like him. He got better at hiding his behavior, that's all. I didn't actually *change* until I was good and ready, and I didn't care how it affected my wife. I lied and told her things had stopped, but I was still secretly acting skeevy online.

That makes me a crappy person, but it's true.
posted by tacodave at 1:54 PM on August 24, 2012 [9 favorites]


He hasn't worked on anything except on how to better trick you into keeping his sorry ass around.
posted by elizardbits at 1:55 PM on August 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


> He's become much more loving, attentive, better with money, etc. over the last few months that I feel like ditching him now would be cruel since he has worked so hard to change

Even if that's true, and for non-manipulative reasons, so what? It's not your responsibility to make him into a better person.
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:06 PM on August 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


"I confronted him and he told me they didn't mean anything, he was just leading them on, and he never intended to or actually went through with anything."

why on earth would you want to be with someone who thinks this is an acceptable thing to do to other ppl, in or out of a relationship? he's a sleaze.
posted by violetk at 2:17 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


The thing is, he has worked so hard to change.

I profoundly doubt this. (I don't doubt that you half believe it.)

First, you know you don't trust him. Your instincts are rightly telling you he is the same person he has been all along.

Secondly, people don't change much. People who lack empathy and see others as means to their own ends really don't change. That is to say, people may be able to change lifestyles and habits, but not their basic characters and sense of morality.

Third, this is a classic manipulative ploy. People who are really working hard to change don't need you to do anything -- they know they have to do the work. What is going on here is that you are again being asked to take responsibility for his needs, never mind your own.

This man is fundmentally flawed and you deserve better. You truly need to make (private) plans to leave, and to protect your remaining financial assets on the way out the door.
posted by bearwife at 2:32 PM on August 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


He's become much more loving, attentive, better with money, etc. over the last few months that I feel like ditching him now would be cruel since he has worked so hard to change.

Excellent! He's willing to make changes sufficient to keep you in the short term, so you can leverage that. Start taking the steps outlined in the last question you posted to get your money separate again and start having him pay you back, and as you collect that money (that is, of course, your money) you can quietly make the preparations to move out.

Note that I'm not suggesting that you leverage this to get more money than he borrowed from you or anything like that; just to take advantage of this short-term "look at all I'm doing to keep you" effort to insist he do even more of what he should have been doing all along, first and foremost getting your money back. Then, when you've gotten as much money back as you think you can get, and you're all ready to pull the trigger on moving out, you will also be better prepared when you wake up one day and realize "oh, man, I actually have no reason to be with this guy any more, and how did I not realize that before this morning?"
posted by davejay at 2:59 PM on August 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


oh, and if it makes you feel better, you can believe that you're taking these steps to make things better, rather than to end the relationship having gotten more of your money back -- I mean, you always COULD decide at the end not to leave, right? -- but really, you need to get out so that you have the perspective of what's really been going on.
posted by davejay at 3:00 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Data point: someone I know went for a couple of years being mistreated by their significant other, an endless stream of really bad behavior and treatment interrupted by the occasional hiccup of positive behavior every time my friend tried to kick 'em out. The last time around, my friend was so committed to kicking the significant other out that the significant other asked my friend to marry 'em, and my friend said yes, and now says things like "we are tighter than ever." Meanwhile, the significant other has backslid right into the same terrible behavior, which my friend is excusing this time around because they are getting married. Some people, no matter how intelligent they may be, never learn. Do not be one of those people.
posted by davejay at 3:06 PM on August 24, 2012 [6 favorites]


Note that I'm not suggesting that you leverage this to get more money than he borrowed from you or anything like that; just to take advantage of this short-term "look at all I'm doing to keep you" effort to insist he do even more of what he should have been doing all along

That won't work. He's the experienced "professional" here. He knows how to run a con like this and do the minimum amount necessary, and if he's convinced her to give him money, then feel bad about regretting giving him money, then feel bad about wanting to dump him after the three seperate times she's found him cheating, what do you think is going to happen when she doubles down on her bad investment? The OP needs to cut her losses as best she can (by getting a lawyer!), and slam the door shut. Any hope of recouping the money is just another string he will pull on to manipulate her. She needs to cut it.

Then, if she miraculously does get some of the money back, hey, it's a bonus.
posted by The Master and Margarita Mix at 3:08 PM on August 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


Um, well, everyone else said it all, but I had to say SOMETHING, so may I just reaffirm everyone else's comments to the power of 1000.

As has been said, there is no moral duty for you to keep him around just because some extremely heinous behaviour appears to be gradually improving. It's as if you'd said he used to murder 10 people a week and now he's cut it down to 1 or 2, you're pretty sure. As has been pointed out, this is great if you want the focus of the relationship to be him not murdering people, instead of on the usual things that relationships are supposed to be about...

What do you think those usual things are? Are these the sugarplums that were dancing in your head at the beginning? Will I be pretty, will I be rich? Will there be rainbows, day after day? Did you say to yourself, I want a man who has a business that he can get me to pay for using massive personal debt that I have full legal responsibility for, so I can watch him gradually improve his business and money management in a long slow climb to zero and average? I want a man who's really popular with the ladies, so much so that half a dozen of them erroneously think they're having an affair with him even though actually, that's just his little joke?

He must have been really desirable and persuasive, right? Is this what he tempted you with? Is this what he promised was in store for you when he swept you off your feet? Because, I bet it wasn't.

I don't think you're stupid for moving in after a few months and borrowing a five-figure sum for him, though I agree that those were not good decisions. But, you wouldn't have done those things unless you really, really wanted him. And you got him. Please try to take a good look at what he is actually offering, and compare it to where you thought you'd be this time last year.
posted by tel3path at 3:13 PM on August 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


Take a lesson from "A Bronx Tale": He owes you several thousands of dollars? Consider it the price you pay for getting rid of him FOREVER. He is a liar. He is a manipulator. He is a lout. He is not going to change. Please, please, please dump him.
posted by nubianinthedesert at 3:13 PM on August 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


You don't think he physically cheated on you? Well, he has a job, you have a job. He also has a "side gig". I would actually bet that any money coming in from his "side gig"? There's a decent chance it's coming from some other woman that he's fucking. I'm not kidding or being mean. I know people like this, they always need a backup plan or ten in order to feel secure.

I bet there are multiple sex backup plans, multiple emotional support backup plans, and multiple $$ backup plans. And by "plans" I mean people.

Good luck.
posted by the young rope-rider at 3:37 PM on August 24, 2012 [8 favorites]


Just to be clear, I mean that if he and you both have a job, it's laughably easy for him to cheat. Long lunch, take a day off, whatever. If he has his own business, even easier. The thing where he asks you to come everywhere is classic cheater overcompensation.
posted by the young rope-rider at 3:39 PM on August 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


The thing is, he has worked so hard to change. He's become much more loving, attentive, better with money, etc. over the last few months that I feel like ditching him now would be cruel since he has worked so hard to change.

This doesn't matter. Even if he has really changed and become a better person, it's not enough for you. You can't stuff the toothpaste back in the tube. If you are just as suspicious of him five months after the last incident, even after he's made these changes, I doubt you'll ever fully trust him again. And that's okay.

Right now you are being far more cruel to yourself than you would be to him if you walked away.
posted by sm1tten at 4:14 PM on August 24, 2012 [7 favorites]


Can I trust him again?

Yeah, I bet you probably can, strictly in the literal sense that you are probably capable of it. I think it's even the most common outcome, that the non-sociopath trusts again and again. That is not actually the issue here. The issue is, is it a good idea to trust him? The issue is, once you trust him again, what will happen to you?

I got involved with someone where the EXACT same thing happened in the beginning. This is exactly what I found: messages with multiple girls that had been going on for most of our relationship.

This is EXACTLY what the messages said: How badly he wanted to be with them, all the things he was going to do to them, and asking when he could get with them.

This is almost verbatim what the guy said to me too: he told me they didn't mean anything, he was just leading them on, and he never intended to or actually went through with anything.

And hey, what do you know? This was my situation as well: I wanted it to be true and we had already started the process of moving in together.

So just so you know, here's what happened to me. All of the stuff with all of the women was just the tip of the iceberg. I mean, yes, that continued through the whole relationship. But the really scary thing was all the other ways that the complete lack of conscience and focus on his own desires manifested themselves. Constant pathological lying about everything. Verbal and other abuse. This chilling vindictiveness and deliberate attempts to get me fired and destroy my life in a rainbow of ways. Putting me in incredibly dangerous situations repeatedly and just absolutely not caring.

You would never, ever, ever know, if you were to meet this guy. He comes off as normal, smart, funny, nice, laid back, everything. I was head over heels in the beginning and he was incredibly loving, caring, etc. But my lesson learned is that once you notice those really chilling behaviors that reveal that level of mendacity and lack of conscience, you really need to pay attention to those to the exclusion of everything that makes you think, "well these were just some silly FB messages, I am overreacting and he would never do anything THAT bad."
posted by cairdeas at 4:31 PM on August 24, 2012 [13 favorites]


I dated this guy too and dtmfa as one of the best decisions I've ever made - in part because I later found out, like the others in this thread, that the messages were just the tip of the iceberg, and in part because godamn right I can do better than someone who disrespects me like that and uses other people to feed his sensitive little ego - and so do you! What you need to work on is figuring out why you feel like you need to make his behaviour ok, and why you feel like you couldn't find someone who treats you way better - hint: this guy is probably scratching away at your already not great self esteem when if he was actually an amazing partner, he'd be reminding you of how awesome you really are and showing you how well you deserve to be treated. Instead of wanting the best for him cos he's "trying so hard", start wanting the best for yourself. If you make this ok you're going down a slippery slope of how badly you're willing to be treated and what level of disrespect you will tolerate. It's up to you to raise your own bar cos he's just going to try to keep lowering it. Break up with him and start treating yourself so well and surrounding yourself with friends who treat you so well that anyone who treats you any less well becomes completely unappealing. Its possible, I promise.
posted by lifethatihavenotlivedyet at 5:09 PM on August 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


Actually, I go to most of his side gigs with him, they are legitimate. I think you all are imagining him much slicker than he is, but that doesn't mean you're not mostly right.
posted by sunshine37 at 5:58 PM on August 24, 2012


He's slick enough to repeatedly either attempt to find women to cheat with or he's messed up enough to seek these women out with the intention of leading them on. I don't know which one is worse.
posted by crankylex at 6:32 PM on August 24, 2012


People are defined by what they do. Dump this user and move on. You deserve better.
posted by deborah at 6:57 PM on August 24, 2012


Actually, I go to most of his side gigs with him, they are legitimate.

So you found one thing he isn't lying about. Hooray!

Seriously, you are being shucked. I wish this Saturday Night Live sketch was on the Internet as video, because both Morris and Gould are fantastic, but read this transcript for your problem elucidated in comedy form.

"Mr. Russo, man, he is busting your chops!"
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:32 PM on August 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


You deserve better than this.
posted by 4ster at 7:45 PM on August 24, 2012


He has already cheated on you--emotionally. I know it may not seem like it right now, but there are SO many other people out there who will not do any of this crap.
posted by sb3 at 7:49 PM on August 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


Can we move on from this? No. There is nothing to move on to. Can I trust him again? No. He has proved himself unworthy of your trust and your respect. I tell myself all the time I'm going to stop snooping and I still keep doing it. Because you know it's just a matter of time before you see some new betrayal of your trust and respect.

In your other question you wrote that this was your first serious relationship. This is not what a good (healthy, strong) relationship looks like. I'm sorry.

This man does not respect you. You need to be with someone who respects you.

I really think that you need to start forming an exit strategy. It's going to be difficult because of your financial entanglements. Can you get a lawyer or meet with someone else who is qualified to advise you on how to proceed with financial disentanglement?

You guys live together, so obviously one (or both) of you are going to have to move. I think this should be him.

You don’t have to bounce tomorrow, but you’ve got to slowly and very carefully back away.

You will find someone better. I promise. And you will look back on this and shudder and think, “How could I have ever let someone disrespect me like that?”
posted by OsoMeaty at 7:57 PM on August 24, 2012


ohhhhh, yours was that money loaning question. well, of course he would want to keep you around. so of course he'll pretend to do what it takes to keep you around. he's still a sleaze. he was contacting other women for shits and giggles and he took advantage of your kindness by taking your money, when he really shouldn't have. get your finances together and leave.
posted by violetk at 9:36 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, reinforcing the general consensus. I don't know your boyfriend, but my mom's POS husband used to do this all the time, until he started getting caught-- then he found sneakier ways to do it, and does it to this day (and their relationship is awful). It made her into a jealous, angry person, and I'm 100% convinced that if she just dumped his ass she'd snap back to herself in a second. The same thing will happen for you once you accept that he is too immature for a healthy relationship right now.

I will say from various past experiences that it's REALLY easy to stay sweet in order to keep someone you like (for their personality but also for sex and for money) around, even while you sneak all around behind their back. Incredibly easy!
posted by stoneandstar at 9:39 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sorry, don't want to threadsit but one more point I forgot to make: I highly doubt he has physically cheated on me. Everywhere he goes, he always asks and wants me to come with him. He rarely goes out anywhere without and if he does, it's because I'm busy or don't want to go.

Like addicts, cheaters are mind-bogglingly sneaky when it suits their "need." I hope that you DTMFA and call Judge Judy, or her non-televised equivalent. You deserve better than this.
posted by gentian at 10:06 PM on August 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


sunshine37, your followups have been making sure you're not painting an unfair picture of your SO - but please don't feel you have to do that, because your SO's actions themselves stand out loud & clear.

Breakups are crazy scary, and sad. But so is your SO's behavior - and at least with a breakup, you're opening the door to better things. Which you TOTALLY deserve.
posted by wheek wheek wheek at 5:51 AM on August 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


You guys live together, so obviously one (or both) of you are going to have to move. I think this should be him.

In a more just world he would be the one to move out. But you could actually save yourself a whole lot of time, trouble (and even money), if you make sure that you are prepared and willing to move out. Possibly without leaving a forwarding address.

I might have given him the benefit of the doubt in your money thread, but he sounds like a real asshole, and the more completely you can disentangle from him the better.

One of the best things said in this thread was what deanc said: The way your significant other treats other people is the way he will eventually treat you.
posted by Salamandrous at 8:01 AM on August 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


He makes a habit of leading people on, and lying about it. Ask yourself what that says about him. You won't change him. It doesn't work that way. Guys like him eat people like you for snacks.
posted by mule98J at 10:31 AM on August 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


I feel like ditching him now would be cruel since he has worked so hard to change.

His poor behavior in the past (and probably still going on now, just on a different site, or under a different Facebook account) isn't your fault or your doing. Your feelings are your feelings, and if you still don't trust him and are still checking in on his behavior, just GET OUT. You don't have kids, you're not married - just LEAVE.
posted by getawaysticks at 6:14 PM on August 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


Usually, at some point, someone comes along to point out that the comments are unanimously in favour of "this is bad" and that such unanimity is very unusual.

I would say that this kind of near-unanimity is pretty unusual. You have only one comment arguing that it's possible he's improving (if he's not faking improvement) and that couples counselling might help. All the other comments are telling you he's basically a crook - that's more than obvious, even if nothing he's done turns out to be legally actionable. His relationship with you is about lying, cheating, and stealing.

I don't think that going to couples counselling to ask him not to lie, cheat, and steal and/or to train you to be happier about being lied to, cheated, and stolen from, is going to do much for you - if you can get him to go, and if the counsellor doesn't tell you they can't help you because the problem is that he's a crook.

I'm sorry to have to tell you this. It feels pretty terrible when first you think you are loved for yourself, then you have him treating you like your only real value to him is not you, and then you have all of us screaming at you that he only wants you because he's a deviant. The priority in our eyes is to get you out, but there's not always acknowledgement of part of what hurts about facing the truth is that it seems like you have to accept a lot of very bad implicit messages that what you thought about your own loveability and desirability are wrong. [1]

But that's not what we mean, because oh so many of us speak from experience and we know for a fact that IT IS HIM. IT IS NOT YOU. We're screaming because you fell into the open manhole (actually that's a good description for him - an open manhole) and we want to get you out. People like this are like natural disasters or gravity - just something that happens, usually to the best of us.

It is him, it is not you. Please get away from him.



[1] And I wish there were more material about coping with how it feels after you get out, but that's another story.
posted by tel3path at 4:51 AM on August 26, 2012 [11 favorites]


I went through the same thing with a guy, but we had never lived together in our own place.Much worse was my mother thought he was a great guy and a keeper so she let him live with us and not pay rent, though we always went out to eat so he never really ate our food. But I caught him several times talking to other girls and flirting with them, but they lived far away so there was no way he could meet up with them. We were together every day for a year and four months. One day I just had enough. He treated me right in all aspects except for talking to other girls on dating sites..I thought it was me but he is now living with a different girl and her family..wow sounds familiar right? well he is on a dating site. and is online a lot!
posted by Autumn89 at 2:40 PM on October 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


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