How to evaluate news from acquaintance that partner is cheating&on drugs
June 18, 2014 4:04 PM   Subscribe

I have a relationship and thought it was solid. Today my partner's former best friend and current room-mate contacted me to advise my partner has been cheating from the start of the relationship with random people met online. Also, partner has a $100 a day drug habit and is stealing from the elderly mother. Details and specific questions inside.

I have (had?) a relationship with someone for many years and thought it was solid (close to a decade). Let's call my partner Squiggles. I am in my early 30s, the others in this question are nearly 40. Today my partner's former best friend since childhood and current room-mate contacted me to advise Squiggles has been cheating from the start of the relationship with random people met online who are brought into the shared home. Also, that Squiggles has had a $80 -$100 a day hard drug habit for many years (I knew he had a former drug habit but believed he was sober for the last 6 years). I have lent Squiggles money over the years thinking it was for "gas" or "groceries". Friend says he knows about the drugs as they share the same dealer. I do not use drugs - never had never will - it is not a world I understand very well.

I know their friendship broke up last year despite still living together due to what I thought was room-mate related disputes - so I know there is some drama going on with them. I always tried to defend friend because I thought the "break-up" was very bizarre and unfair to friend. Friend wanted to contact me because Squiggles was eager for a child and was planning to live with me - we had decided on next month as the "move in and make a baby" date. Friend didn't know me well and said it would cause problems to tell me but said he had a guilty conscience and felt I should know because everyone else knew and didn't want to say anything.

Should I trust the friend? I am inclined to believe the friend. His story makes sense with questions in the back of my mind. But friend and Squiggles really hate each other right now. Also, I love Squiggles with all my heart. I thought I knew him inside out and he was just a lazy but loveable stoner. I love his parents, I love his siblings... I feel very shocked. I am also scared because I have a good job, gorgeous apartment, and nice savings. I don't mind supporting a partner but I don't want to be used. How do I confront Squiggles and protect the friend? Should I trust the friend knowing they despise each other? I am utterly shocked - I would have laid down my life for Squiggles in a heartbeat and never in a million years imagined he could cheat. It isn't the drugs and stealing that hurts - shame to say it but I love him and was completely fine with supporting him financially. It is the random women online that break my heart. At least if it was someone he knew I could understand the motivation and weakness. But a stranger? We never even used protection all these years. I cannot bring an innocent child into this mess. I still want to forgive Squiggles. I could leave and easily find a good man if I wanted to - but how do I let go of the love of my life?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (32 answers total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: Poster's request -- taz

It sounds to me like you already believe the friend, without even talking to your partner about it. This says loads to me about whether you might already have known about this deep down.

Nonetheless, I would talk to your partner before throwing in the towel - but maybe push out the move-in date until this is resolved.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 4:21 PM on June 18, 2014 [5 favorites]

You could ask for tangible evidence or try to confirm the story with the "everyone else" who knows, but true or not, you're gonna have to talk to your partner about this. How he reacts should provide you with a lot of information you can use to decide whether to believe the claims and what to do at this point.

I am inclined to believe the friend.

I feel like that kinda says a lot.

Change your passwords before you have this discussion with him, and maybe don't have it inside your gorgeous apartment.
posted by prize bull octorok at 4:25 PM on June 18, 2014 [23 favorites]

You have questions in the back of your head. Someone confirms these suspicions. Now, of course, he may want to hurt his ex-friend, but it does seem weird that he'd wait so long to pull the trigger on telling you if it wasn't true. And you're inclined to believe him...despite never having suspected it to begin with before. That's telling me a lot.

I think you're blind when it comes to your partner. Do NOT have a baby with this man. Tell him in a safe place that you know about the drugs and the other people. See how he reacts. Go from there.
posted by inturnaround at 4:30 PM on June 18, 2014 [4 favorites]

Go see your doctor ASAP in case Squiggles has given you an STD via his alleged transgressions.

If your gut says to trust the friend (and, frankly, it sounds believable enough to me), put the move-in and baby planning on hold immediately. Getting him back out of your apartment will be hard enough if you let him stay with you. Having children with him is very ill-advised given the possibility that he [still] has a major drug habit.

Can you ask friend more about where on the internet Squiggles is meeting women? I'd want to do some investigations myself. Or, can you have friend alert you when one of the dates is happening so you can pop in? I ask because I don't think that Squiggles will fess up if confronted. He's about to move into a gorgeous place with a financially well-appointed girlfriend and is eager to be a father ASAP. He really has no reason to tell you the truth when he has so much to lose. He's (supposedly) duped you pretty thoroughly so far - I think he'll stick to that strategy.
posted by quince at 4:42 PM on June 18, 2014 [15 favorites]

Friend says he knows about the drugs as they share the same dealer.

wow. for some reason this strikes me as the kind of detail someone not full of shit would say. i mean this could just be some petty backstabbing stuff, and it seems like they are implicitly admitting they do drugs there, but...

the tough thing is, this is in "trust, but verify" territory. i agree with quince that some sort of caught red handed thing will be needed here, because it would shock me if he'd admit to any of this.

This is the kind of accusation that would likely drive me to snoop. Some would say that means the relationship is already "broken", but it's the kind of thing i'd want to know either way even if it was. I definitely wouldn't just take this accusation at face value, but i wouldn't dismiss it either. If it's not true, it should be pretty obvious. Especially if the friend isn't willing to give you any more details.
posted by emptythought at 5:00 PM on June 18, 2014 [3 favorites]

I'm so sorry. If you don't feel up to a confrontation right now tell him you are very busy at work, need to hold off on the moving-in and just won't be as available for the next week. I would also want to walk into him having visitors because I think you need to actually see it to believe his betrayal. There are so many good, employed men out there; now you need to focus on yourself and being available to meet someone that will bring something positive to your life.
posted by saucysault at 5:01 PM on June 18, 2014 [3 favorites]

Also, I think you are in Canada, right? Be very, very careful as common-law marriage may mean you are responsible for his debts, spousal support, and sharing your assets with him when this all hits the fan a couple years down the road if you let him move in. Being a parent is REALLY hard; being a parent simultainously to an infant and a philandering, unemployed, overgrown stoner man-child is unfair in so many ways to the child you are considering having.
posted by saucysault at 5:07 PM on June 18, 2014 [14 favorites]

Should I trust the friend?

No. But you shouldn't trust your boyfriend either.

how do I let go of the love of my life?

You might focus on the disadvantages of having a child with a lazy broke stoner, however lovable he and his relations are.
posted by nicwolff at 5:38 PM on June 18, 2014 [14 favorites]

His story makes sense with questions in the back of my mind.

Before you move in together, and definitely before you have a child together, get the questions in the back of your mind answered. Get counselling, ask him to get a drug test, drop in on him at the times he might be using or seeing people, whatever you need to do to address that voice that is telling you something important here. Even if it doesn't line up with his friend's version exactly, I think this is your red flag.
posted by warriorqueen at 5:39 PM on June 18, 2014 [3 favorites]

A $100/day hard drug habit + pot smoking means you have rarely seen him sober, if ever - you don't know this person. You have no idea what they are like off drugs.

Something to really think about.
posted by zug at 5:46 PM on June 18, 2014 [47 favorites]

I'm so sorry this is happening to you. It sucks really bad to find out the person you think you know is not who you think that are. Good luck with all of this, but take a step back and see what he's bringing to the table in terms of the relationship. Is he really that great of a boyfriend to ignore your doubts and these red flags? *hugs*
posted by lunastellasol at 6:19 PM on June 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

Also, all else aside, "a lazy but loveable stoner" doesn't sound like quite the right man (and baby daddy) for a woman who values her good job, gorgeous apartment, and nice savings.
posted by zadcat at 7:57 PM on June 18, 2014 [24 favorites]

I think this crack/cheating/theft story is causing you to take a hard look at what you already know about Squiggles and his drug use and lifestyle. You say he is a "lazy stoner," that you've expected that you're going to be financially supporting him in your marriage, and that you're not surprised at the idea of him stealing money to support a drug habit. The best friend he's living with is a crackhead and they're getting into huge fights and other druggie drama. You are inclined to believe his crackhead friend about the stealing, relapse, and accusations of constant cheating-- it says a lot to me that your first reaction is to believe this friend rather than assume that he is on drugs and talking shit about his ex-druggie ex-bff who's managed to break the hard drug culture orbit. Regardless of whether or not Squiggles has fallen off the wagon and is using again, or any of the specific accusations his friend made, all of your instincts are telling you that you cannot trust him on a primal level.

nthing trust but verify. Please go get yourself tested for STIs. I'm so sorry this is happening.
posted by moonlight on vermont at 8:04 PM on June 18, 2014 [3 favorites]

It sounds like you are aware that he was smoking pot, so that isn't a huge a deal to you - correct? You can't really take the cheating on face value from the friend as that's one of the ultimate balls-to-the-walls accusations. Here's what I would do, depending on your financial situation, either take him to a hair follicle testing site (preferred as any drugs would show up) or have him piss in a cup using one of those all drug kits from Walgreens and see what comes up. If he tests positive for anything more then pot, then you know you need to have a very serious conversation and if he's clean, well, you still need to have a serious conversation but at least you can take his word.

Also, seriously? You state you have a great life - why are you with a stoner who can't get his shit together? There are plenty of stoners who hold 9-5s and wouldn't be considered "lazy". The fact you are questioning him is reason even to bounce from the whole baby situation. Put it this way, if shit hits the fan and you are no longer together - would you want him as a role model to your child? He might be lovable but I wouldn't want a lazy, stoned out junkie being a role model for my kid and I don't even care about pot. Please don't have a kid just because you feel your biological clock ticking, I guarantee you you'll regret it, so will your savings but most importantly, your (future) kid will grow up knowing that their dad is a junkie (regardless of it's only pot, they will only know the stereotypical, can't get shit together pot head which isn't fair to anyone who smokes pot and holds their shit together).
posted by lpcxa0 at 8:18 PM on June 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'm so confused by this question. I think I know how you feel.

Here's the thing... Does the "everyone who knows" include his siblings or parents?

I think you need to get a break from ALL of these people, asap.

You need someone solely in your corner to talk all of this over with.

From a practical stand point, I can tell you this sort of thing happens. Last year it happened to a friend of mine. Her fiancé got the person he was cheating with pregnant. He was on meth. EVERYONE KNEW, except her. They were engaged and living together. He was high as a kite all the damn time, and she doesn't even like pot, so she did not pick up on it.

Do you have a hair sample from a comb or brush? Can you legally get that tested??


You should hire a Private Investigator to follow him for 3 days before you say anything to anybody about anything.


In general, I think you've been trusting the wrong people for too long and I am begging you not to have a child with this man if his drug test comes back positive.

I'm so worried he and his family will pull the wool back over your eyes. I hope you invest in a PI for a few days, and confide in a wise old friend or good therapist far far removed from these people.

You need to retreat to people who are ONLY on your side, even if you must hire professionals.

This is too big to handle alone.

My heart goes out to you.
posted by jbenben at 10:07 PM on June 18, 2014 [10 favorites]

BTW, I'm not saying this guy's ex friend is telling the truth!!

I am saying I am disappointed you have to question it. You have been selling yourself short if this info plugs up a lot of holes in the back of your mind.

Even if there is no cheating or drugs (drugs or cheating = lying) you've been with someone who does not pull his weight. I know you love him. Once you have a child, loving him will not be enough.

You need a partner, and this man doesn't sound like your partner.

He sounds like your dependent.

If that's what you want - fine. Frankly, I think his family is crossing their fingers that you can fix him or take on the responsibility of his upkeep permanently.

This is not good enough for your future child. It's not good enough for you.
posted by jbenben at 10:19 PM on June 18, 2014 [5 favorites]

I am really sorry for your situation. Having been in a similar position with a partner who claimed to have cleaned up his crack addiction before we met, I was completely in the dark about the fact that he was still using. Conveniently spending a lot of time with his buddy, who conveniently was the dealer to the whole area. Little did I know... I paid gas, groceries, and the full monthly rent for his apt more than a few times.

Please, change the passwords on all social media accounts, and all financial situations: your online banking accounts, debit card pins, online utilities payment, etc. Change your computer passwords as well. If he has his name on a credit card through you, take him off as a cardholder.

Well hidden steel security lock box for any sensitive documents/stocks/ expensive jewellery, or take it in to the bank. Lock up any random valuable gadgets.

Change the door/house/apt locks, regardless whether he has a key or not. If he asks, "Oooh, landlord needed it changed/lock broke/whatever"... conveniently don't re-cut a key.

Junkies need money keep their habit going, and if they can't get it by hooking your love for them, they'll get it by crook. My fiance had a similar closet-junkie girlfriend for many years... he didn't know until he came home from work one day, and found all of his furniture sold for a pittance... guys were just moving the last of it out when he arrived. He managed to pay for and save only a single heirloom piece.

You can't afford to trust this man at this point. He's got no regard for your bodily safety, nevermind general honesty.
"Hey guy, it's not personal"- you simply don't know what to trust. It'd be delightful if this was a huge misunderstanding, but if it isn't... why tempt fate?
Please, protect yourself and your assets going forward, but especially yourself.
posted by NorthernAutumn at 10:48 PM on June 18, 2014 [9 favorites]

P.S. Lock up the checkbook... your signature is easily forged. My partner's junkie ex-girlfriend used to pull cheques from the middle of the book, so they wouldn't be missed.
Until you know what is going on 100% and this is resolved, you have this internet stranger's (and her fiance's) permission to be paranoid and protective.
posted by NorthernAutumn at 11:02 PM on June 18, 2014 [2 favorites]

Is there a mutual acquaintance who could verify or debunk this story? I would try that route first.
posted by annsunny at 11:22 PM on June 18, 2014 [2 favorites]

I'd suggest that it's hard for us to help you evaluate your next move unless you provide more detail about the questions you've been harboring. However, even asking who you should believe indicates that you need to put the brakes on any next moves with this guy until you get things sorted out.
posted by OmieWise at 4:57 AM on June 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

Also, given your previous questions, it's not all that clear to this outside observer that this relationship (including with his family) is really all that idyllic.
posted by OmieWise at 5:00 AM on June 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

I don't mind supporting a partner but I don't want to be used.

Going by what you already knew--that Squiggles was a stoner, lazy, and borrows money from you for "groceries" and "gas" while still somehow managing to support at the very least a pot habit--you're already being used.

I can't imagine the pain you must be in that the thought of him being a daily drug user and stealing from his family doesn't even bother you. Even if nothing his ex-friend says is true, you are being used in this situation.

You can forgive him without continuing to be in a relationship with him.
posted by inertia at 8:51 AM on June 19, 2014 [9 favorites]

Even if nothing of what former BFF says is true, parenthood is not a great gig for the lazy, nor someone whose relationship with pot is such that you would describe them as "a stoner." It would also be a horrible idea, IMHO, to plan on getting pregnant right away with someone you AREN'T EVEN LIVING WITH YET. Even if you're willing to throw your own self-interest under the bus for this guy (you'd be willing to forgive him if he were merely a thief and an addict?), don't do that to some innocent child.
posted by drlith at 10:37 AM on June 19, 2014 [3 favorites]

So, like drlith, I'm really worried that the one and only thing that seems to be a deal breaker for you is if he really has been cheating on you with "random women." You say you could handle the drug addiction, the stealing, and even cheating with someone he knew well, just not a stranger (or multiple strangers). But it worries me that the other things would NOT be deal breakers for you, especially since you are contemplating having a child with him. It makes me wonder if you really have a good sense of what is normal and healthy in a loving relationship.

It also worries me that you acknowledge he's a "lazy, lovable stoner" and are ok with someone of that description being the father of your child. In no way do I think pot is the tool of the devil, but I sure as heck wouldn't want an actual stoner, especially a lazy one, to be co-parenting my child. What would actually happen is you'd now effectively be looking after two children, except one of them would have fathered your other one. I remember your previous question about your fears around having a child and a career at the same time--well, if you went ahead with this "lazy, lovable stoner" as the dad, yes, it would make your career suffer.

If all these allegations turn out to be true, it means you don't really know the person you've been with all this time, and you don't have a partner. You have a dependent mooch. If this is the case, please break up with him. You deserve better.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 3:07 PM on June 19, 2014 [4 favorites]

You deserve so much more. Even if it all turns out not to be true, you still deserve more. How do I know? Because you believed the ex-friend enough to even consider it. That means you're not with a standup guy. That's not a guy to start a family with. You need someone you trust 100% completely and that no one could possibly shake your faith in. Because your back is going to be against the wall in life, and you don't want to be wondering if that guy is going to stop being lazy long enough to stand by you during those times.
posted by stoneweaver at 3:52 PM on June 19, 2014 [5 favorites]

From my observations: it is far easier to be a single parent than to be a parent with your spouse as a Big Kid instead of a partner. And single parenting is hard!

Not only does it make your life about a thousand times tougher than it need be if you have a "lazy, loveable stoner" who is a drain instead of a support - when you have a child with someone, you are giving that child a parent. And while adults can walk away from one another, that child is stuck until he or she is of age. If you were this man's daughter, would you want him for a father? Don't burden your child with a biological and social commitment to someone who can't be a good dad. Adults can choose their spouses; children can't choose their parents.

If you really want a child, single motherhood is an option. You live in a country with universal health care and (for the most part) liberal social attitudes. Please don't settle for a man-child who treats you badly and can't even care for himself. You, and any children you have, deserve better.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 5:33 PM on June 19, 2014 [4 favorites]

Coming to this late, and having read your other questions, it seems that just as you have become financially stable and independently successful, the familiar sirens of poverty, chaos and instability are calling to you and begging you to come back home.

I think this is a test. At times like this in our lives, a test always comes to us. If you want to go back to poverty and chaos and instability, let your partner move in and make a baby with you. If you like the life you have begun to build for yourself, turn him down.

I say this not even knowing if the story you've been told is true.

But what if he's the right man? Well, if he is, maybe being without you *and having no contact with you* will give him an incentive to start living more independently in order to become a better match for you. That's the kind of thing that would take years, and you couldn't be around while he did it. I'm just saying. If you could get yourself to a place of independence, then in theory he could too.
posted by tel3path at 4:39 AM on June 20, 2014 [9 favorites]

I don't know if what the friend is saying is true or not.

One simple, albeit potentially dangerous (show up with a friend, preferably a large one) way to deal with this is to have the friend call/text you when he knows the dealer is showing up. Get there a few minutes after the dealer leaves... if it's $100/day habit, he is, I guarantee, not smoking $100 worth of pot. It's something harder, potentially much harder, and once you're spending that kind of cash you're lighting the glass pipe/laying out lines often before the dealer is out the door.

Addicts are very good at hiding/rationalizing away their behaviour, especially to their loved ones, which is why I'm suggesting you need to catch him in the actual act.

And then walk the fuck away because you deserve a partner that tells you the truth, even when--especially when--it's ugly. The fact that you're inclined to believe the friend really suggests to me that you had suspicions, instincts, beforehand. Don't let Squiggles bamboozle you.

nthing: change your locks, change your passwords, he's not allowed in your apartment until this is resolved one way or the other--which I think means he's not allowed in your apartment ever again.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:53 AM on June 20, 2014

If you need to satisfy your curiosity, I would follow the advice to hire a private detective. I wouldn't try to look into it yourself. It could be dangerous, and it would be too easy for him to cover his tracks.
posted by tel3path at 9:44 AM on June 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

1) You are not stupid. Addicts get controlled by their addictions and act in irrational--but rationalizable--ways.

2) He has been trying to control and isolate you for years.

3) DTMFA. You deserve better.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:08 PM on June 20, 2014 [2 favorites]

You haven't done anything wrong and certainly don't need to have sense slapped into you! All you did was misread your situation, which is not a sin.

I agree from your update, you don't need any further information to know that this is a wrong guy.

Have a great life, you've earned it.
posted by tel3path at 3:00 AM on June 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

I get that this guy was extremely charismatic, and especially good at manipulating you, because you care for him. I get it.

I'm just telling you that when there are children involved, you can not afford that sort of benefit of the doubt. It's a whole different level of maturity and discernment you have to apply to every person and situation.

You sorta failed to grok this as you made plans around this man. You decided it would be OK to have a child with a 40's aged stoner that doesn't work. How was that going to work for your child or you when everything revolves around this man's deficiencies as an adult? His failings would naturally drag down your family, because that's how it works.

I'm so grateful you dodged this bullet!

I'm a little worried that you are making excuses, and that he'll use this sliver of an opening to further manipulate you.

Please do update.

Don't be afraid to ask for more help.

A highly skillful manipulator has his hooks into you, but deep. It might take professional level tools and support to remove those hooks. Don't hesitate to find that support if you need to!!
posted by jbenben at 9:59 AM on June 21, 2014 [3 favorites]

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