Is my boyfriend cheating?
September 7, 2016 2:03 AM   Subscribe

My (20sF) boyfriend (30sM) of 7 months has engaged in lying, gaslighting, and deflecting behavior for the entirety of our relationship. I found a headband and a pair of obviously feminine tweezers (heart on them and used for lashes) in our shared bathroom drawer. Should I leave him now? Please help me.

Hello, Metafilter.
I'm writing in a state of great distress, and I apologize in advance if any of this sounds jumbled or confusing. I'm doing my best, as this is my first serious relationship and I'm trying to handle myself in a composed and dignified manner. I will also preface everything by saying that I have borderline personality disorder, very low self esteem, a history of abuse, and a host of depression and codependent issues that make it hard for me to leave him.

We met online in February and I fell for him quickly but basically he lied about his name, age and profession; he told me he was 28 and an investment banker. I knew he was lying because a lot of stuff didn't add up, and I couldn't find a LinkedIn profile. In the four months we were long distance (February-mid June), I was temporarily disfigured due to some stupid plastic surgeon; the work was reversed but for a while I was hideous looking, and he stood by me through that and into my recovery journey. We had lots of fights and makeup sessions partly because I'm borderline and partly because he made insulting comments about my appearance and mentioned a few things about "getting girls" once he's "governor of the world." I dropped out of medical school to take up a degree program in his country after meeting him.

I relocated to his country in June and my spidey senses got out of control because I knew he was lying about his identity and wasn't sure if he was married. After I hired a PI to tail him (that he didn't know about), he told me in July he was lying to me because he works for an intelligence agency and met me on that particular site on an assignment. He then confessed his real name and his real age. I let it slide, as I told my share of lies (relating to plastic surgery on my nose and cheeks, etc.) and I loved him.

Things started to take a downward turn when we went out to restaurants and he kept checking out the waitresses or looking at other girls on the street, and I fell out of love with him. Whenever I tried/try to confront him in 39802938402348 different ways, he says it's all in my head. He told me a few months ago (pre-disfiguring plastic surgery I got to impress him) that he thought I had bad cheekbones, and I nearly died getting surgery to improve myself in his eyes. He also said he thought my photo was unattractive until he saw I was actually attractive on a video messaging platform.

I didn't leave him then because I had no friends and was in a new country, and also because he stood by me when I was disfigured. But I will be honest and say that I checked out emotionally. I didn't cheat on him, but I did stop dressing up around him and fantasize about what things would be like with someone else.

Not long afterward, I ran into a guy I used to have a crush on, who I'll call Q, and I went to a party where I knew he'd be. My boyfriend was not aware of this until I asked him to pick me up. BF was pretty offended that I was dressed to the nines and it wasn't for him, but didn't go off-the-charts livid until the next morning, where I accidentially (I promise--I'm still a virgin) called out the other guy's name while we were dry humping (the farthest we've ever gone due to our conservative cultural background and his interest in protecting my virginity until the wedding night). BF is pretty attached to the idea that I mentally and emotionally cheated on him.

Due to a series of events where I asked my friends for advice on whether he was legit/married or whatever, and issues with the particular PI I hired, he was recently forced to resign from his intelligence job and he lost all of his millions accrued during said job. This is not a problem to me. I'm not with him for money, I'm with him because I love him unconditionally.

What bothers me now is his behavior which has been very strange lately.

When I first landed in this new city, I noticed a toiletries bag that had Veet hair removal cream in it. I assumed it was an ex girlfriend's, and asked him, and he said it was his that he used on his temples. I could tell that that was a lie he made up on the spot though, and I'm not being a crazy borderline for saying that, I honestly have taken lie detection classes and am not as naive as he thinks I am. I let it slide. However, I got back from a trip last week, and upon my return to our apartment (well, his, but I'm over all the time), I found a headband and Nair sensitive hair removal cream in his drawer. I confronted him about it and he said that he's had it forever. Not true as I went through all of his things and he NEVER had a headband anywhere, and I know this in my gut. I also noticed that he cut all his chest hair--something he has NEVER done before and I know something is off. When I confronted him he said that it was ironic seeing as I "cheated on him" when all I did was go to a party where my former crush was. I never danced with him, touched him, or accepted his invitation to coffee. I just wanted validation that other people find me attractive seeing as my own boyfriend doesn't even notice or appreciate me 80% of the time when I put in effort to look good for him. But I let it slide, against most girl's better judgment.

Then, today, I find ladies Joyous tweezers. They had a heart on them. (Does anyone on here know of the brand Joyous? Can someone please tell me what country they're made in and if they're sold in any physical stores?) As a girl sort of into my appearance--I used to model professionally before he made me quit, and I was a beauty queen with a state title that I couldn't pursue nationally because he made me drop out of my pageant--I know what different types of tweezers are used for. These tweezers are used for lashes. I promise you guys that I'm not crazy even though he says I am. I asked him when he got them, where he got them, and what they were doing in the drawer because I'm over at his place every day except for few hour stretches when he's out or whatever and he started gaslighting me and deflecting onto me. I threatened to leave him and he said that was OK and he won't be chasing after me. I let it slide because he hugged me afterwards. But I know deep down that he was cheating.

I have no support system here. He told me I have to cut off my family and elope with him because my parents hate him and don't approve of him because of a variety of issues (i.e., they know from the PI report that he isn't who he originally said he was). They also have issues with the age difference. I have absolutely no friends because he's my only friend. I have two therapists and a DBT program I'm doing, but it's just difficult because I'm an ethnic minority in a very racially segregated country so making friends outside of my campus will be difficult. I need him but I don't trust him at all. Given my abusive background, I don't know how to handle being on my own, or what is right for me. I don't have enough money to pay for enough DBT therapy, as I've exhausted all the resources of my university CAPS and free clinics, and all I can afford is a DBT skills group class at the moment. My parents are both physicians, so they've suggested antidepressant medication, which I'm very in favor of, but BF isn't supportive of it. He's very pro-DBT and works with me on it everyday, so breaking up would be difficult given how much both of us have invested in the relationship.

Please help me sort all of this out. What is the best immediate next step? And should I stay with him/marry him in a few months? I'm sorry if that's two questions. I have no friends, no money, and nowhere else to go and I'm really hoping someone on here can help me because I really need some unbiased guidance.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (60 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I can't believe what I'm reading. Do not, not marry this person. Go home and activate all your support networks. Go no contact. Please explore in therapy why you would get dangerous facial surgery to please someone you barely knew.
posted by doornoise at 2:21 AM on September 7, 2016 [87 favorites]

I don't think you're crazy but I think you'd be crazy to stay with him. He is lying to you, he is cheating on you, you cannot trust him, he is VERY BAD for you. Very, very, very bad. He will change you for the worst. He probably already is. Leave him and go home. Go home and start over. This is a 7 month relationship, you have not invested so much when you probably have something like 792 more months to live.

The only positive thing you mentioned about him is that he stuck with you through bad plastic surgery. Your husband should love you for you, not for what you look like. Sticking with you through bad plastic surgery is something ANY partner who actually loved you would do. LEAVE IMMEDIATELY
posted by Polychrome at 2:25 AM on September 7, 2016 [27 favorites]

It doesn't matter if he's cheating. He's awful. Leave. Call your back-home support system, whoever they are (families, friends, DV hotline, whatever), and strategize how to get out and get home.

To be honest, this sounds so awful that I assumed MeFi was being catfished until I checked out your history.

This is literally the only time on MeFi that I have ever thought, "this is so awful it can't possibly be real." So, yeah. Get out, starting today.
posted by instamatic at 2:26 AM on September 7, 2016 [128 favorites]

This guy is a jerk. Definitely definitely leave.

breaking up would be difficult given how much both of us have invested in the relationship.

A bad relationship is a bad relationship. What you have "invested" in it is meaningless. It's not a bank account where you can withdraw the money. The time and energy you've spent are gone, you won't get it back if you stay.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:28 AM on September 7, 2016 [23 favorites]

Call your parents, ask them to pay for your plane ticket. Get out, go home immediately!
posted by moiraine at 2:36 AM on September 7, 2016 [28 favorites]

Call home and ask for help. Staying is not an option, there is no good from staying with this person. Check to see if your passport and other important belongings are in a safe place.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 2:41 AM on September 7, 2016 [9 favorites]

Your boyfriend is almost certainly cheating, is a fantasist and a massive liar, and does not have your best interests at heart. DTMFA with extreme prejudice and go home. There are people in the world who will treat you far better than this.
posted by Chairboy at 2:43 AM on September 7, 2016 [11 favorites]

RUN and don't look back.
posted by james33 at 3:16 AM on September 7, 2016 [5 favorites]

Holy hell, run and keep running. The provenance of the tweezers is the last thing you should be worried about here.

Also: he never had a job in intelligence, and he never accrued any millions during the job he didn't have.
posted by Catseye at 3:19 AM on September 7, 2016 [107 favorites]

Some of this doesn't make sense. He lost his job because of you and lost "millions"? People don't generally lose millions of dollars like this.

But overall, this guy and this relationship sound awful. Get out of there now.
posted by k8t at 3:22 AM on September 7, 2016 [8 favorites]

Don't talk yourself into staying in a 7-month relationship with someone who lies to you, makes you drop out of things you like doing, isolates you from your support networks, and interferes with your mental health because they don't believe in medication. Any one of those things is a red flag. Together, they add up to a big scary warning. Get out as soon as you can.
posted by gauche at 3:27 AM on September 7, 2016 [7 favorites]

I fear that you may be in the midst of a mental health crisis. Your behavior over the past six months has been extremely erratic and your thinking seems disordered. You need to get help ASAP. Tell your parents that you need them to fly you back home and send you to a psychiatrist immediately.
posted by mr_roboto at 3:29 AM on September 7, 2016 [140 favorites]

I couldn't read it all its so awful. He is a terrible person, you need to get out and omg he's so full of shit there is no way he is in intelligence. Please call your family or friends or someone and get the heck out of there.
posted by kitten magic at 3:34 AM on September 7, 2016 [6 favorites]

> he was recently forced to resign from his intelligence job and he lost all of his millions accrued during said job

If I wanted to twist the knife a little after I left, I'd insist I was so guilty about him losing his job that I could never forgive myself, and that's why I'd taken all my stuff and moved back to my parents. Yeah, yeah, I already know it's a terrible idea but man, it's the very least of what he deserves.
posted by Leon at 3:47 AM on September 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

> He's very pro-DBT and works with me on it everyday

Wait a sec, wait a sec, he's pretending to be your therapist too?

posted by Leon at 3:50 AM on September 7, 2016 [50 favorites]

Hey. Sweetheart. I don't think you're crazy, but you have enough self-awareness to know that you're in a vulnerable mental state right now, and you know you need to be on meds that will help you think more clearly.

This guy is a crazy, terrifying pathological liar. He is absolutely cheating on you, absolutely manipulating you, and absolutely never had any kind of intelligence job or lost millions. For what it's worth, lying about having had minor cosmetic surgeries is not the same kind of lie as presenting you with a fake identity, and it's more gaslighting if he's allowed you to believe that these things are remotely equivalent.

It is really frightening that a compulsive liar is working with you on any kind of therapy. Please listen to your instincts, which are correct-- he is gaslighting you and lying to you, you're smart and savvy enough to know these things. Listen to yourself. I know the idea of leaving him or being left is frightening right now, but I promise you're strong enough to do it. Please call your parents right now and ask them to fly you home. I promise things will be so much less overwhelming and awful once you're away from this guy.

Can I ask you to update us either way? I worry that you're honestly in danger with this guy. Please stay safe.
posted by moonlight on vermont at 3:55 AM on September 7, 2016 [50 favorites]

> My (20sF) boyfriend (30sM) of 7 months has engaged in lying, gaslighting, and deflecting behavior for the entirety of our relationship.

That's all anyone should need to read. Everything else is just serving to confuse you. There are no mitigating factors to cover lying and gaslightling, especially not in a 7 month relationship.
posted by cotterpin at 3:58 AM on September 7, 2016 [50 favorites]

First of all, tell your parents they were right about this guy and can they please get you a plane ticket home to them. Do not let him find out what you are doing.

Second, the reason you are right about ending this relationship is because of the way it began. You had evidence from the start that he was not who he said he was. You do not need more proof that he is not to be trusted, because you have it already.

Go home to your family ASAP and cut off all lines of communication with this guy. Listen to everything moonlight on vermont said.
posted by tel3path at 4:38 AM on September 7, 2016 [10 favorites]

I think your immediate step is to get out of wherever you are and go home. You don't need to think of it as a permanent big decision, you just need to get out of there for right now. You don't have to think about the long-term at the moment. You just need to get yourself somewhere safe, where you can have the space to sort this out without the presence of your boyfriend. I think you should call your parents, and fly home. As you have written that is hard to leave him, try not to think of it in that way. You are just leaving for now, for your own health. Once you have sorted that out, then you can make decisions regarding him.

Your health is your priority. It felt overwhelming to just read what has happened within seven months, so I cannot imagine how overwhelming it feels to be living it. If you need meds for your health, then that is what your immediate goal should be. Put yourself in a situation where you can get what you need for your mental health and right now that means leaving your boyfriend.

If you decide to leave, do not feel that you need to tell your boyfriend that you are leaving. Right now you are vulnerable, and he might overwhelm you, he might try and stop you. Just go. If you need to wait a few days, don't tell him of your plans to leave. If you feel the need to, when you leave you can write down an explanation but you do not owe him any explanation in person. Don't worry about any school/college arrangements - this can all be sorted afterwards to. Don't worry about stuff - take your important documents, and anything else of personal/financial value. Everything else can be replaced.

Once you are away, he might try and contact you to an overwhelming degree. If you can, switch your phone off/block him for a period of time, as you need space. If you can't do this, when he does contact you and you feel overwhelmed, but the phone down for half an hour and go for a walk before you feel you need to respond to him.

Should you stay and marry him? The answer to that question is no, and you know that. But I think right now, you don't need to ask long-term questions or think about long-term solutions.

I really hope that you are able to get somewhere safe. Do whatever you need to do to make that happen.
posted by Nilehorse at 4:43 AM on September 7, 2016 [11 favorites]

I'm inclined to believe that there's some utterly preposterous non-cheating reason for ladies' toiletries to be with his stuff. Maybe he's deliberately planting them to mess with your head. I mean, who brings tweezers over for a booty call and then forgets them?

But the tweezers are a red herring. Even without them, he is a poisonous disaster person and there ought to be a thousand-mile exclusion zone around him. Don't trust anything that comes out of him, not even a fart. He will hurt you and keep hurting you and then hurt you some more, and he just doesn't care.

Do whatever you can to get back home and get him out of your life forever. This should be your top priority.
posted by Metroid Baby at 4:46 AM on September 7, 2016 [21 favorites]

None of the things he has ever told you have been true, including the parts about him having a job in intelligence or having millions of dollars. Please go home to your home country, where you have a support system, and forget you ever met this lying liar who lies.
posted by jacquilynne at 4:47 AM on September 7, 2016 [17 favorites]

You have very low self esteem and he is the absolute worst person for you. He should not be your reference point for anything from how you should feel to how you look. At all. He is not intelligent or responsible enough to be doing that (even if he was - you should be in charge of you, not someone else). He should not be speaking to you or treating you the way he does. Abusive partners cut you off from those around you, your support system and anything that is giving you any sign of individuality and strength (the pageant, your parents, your country...).

FWIW - you can love someone unconditionally and not be in their life. If the person is in your life, there must absolutely be conditions. This is essential.

Go back to your parents. Don't consult him or try to get his approval. Find the safest way to get back home.

I am so glad you posted on here. I hope you listen.
posted by ihaveyourfoot at 4:59 AM on September 7, 2016 [8 favorites]

has engaged in lying, gaslighting, and deflecting behavior for the entirety of our relationship

Yes, you should leave him, irregardless of whether another woman left those items. You deserve better than this. Someone who engages in this kind of behavior does not deserve to be in a relationship with anyone, least of all you. DTMFA.
posted by Gelatin at 5:11 AM on September 7, 2016 [2 favorites]

What is the best immediate next step?

Call your parents and ask them to fly you home ASAP. If they need/you want to give them an explanation, tell them you've realized your boyfriend is a liar and you very much need their support. Staying with him any longer is dangerous. No need to panic – just, your gut is absolutely right and it's time to go.

And should I stay with him/marry him in a few months?

No. Imagine this dude in charge of your home and finances (because no matter what country you're in, you won't get citizenship immediately on marriage, which means he's likely to be the one who handles those things). Now imagine what happens if by chance you get pregnant and have a child. With this man.

There are better men in the world. Much, much better.
posted by fraula at 5:33 AM on September 7, 2016 [6 favorites]

Nthing, get out of there now! This guy is an ugly asshole, you're better off alone than with someone like this. If you were my daughter I'd be on the first plane to come and extricate you from this horrendous situation. And then I would find you the best therapist I could to help you strengthen your sense of self-worth.

You will meet someone some day who treats you properly, who loves you as you are.
posted by mareli at 5:35 AM on September 7, 2016 [2 favorites]

oh my god. chiming in to say leave this abusive, completely untrustworthy person immediately, cut off all contact with him, go home to your family, get into therapy and take your time returning to dating. be safe. i think that your family will be happy to help you get home if you reach out to them and ask them for support. stop thinking about any of this as "how much we've invested into this relationship." it's a lesson you learned: to trust your instincts. there is nothing worth salvaging here. get away from this guy.
posted by zdravo at 5:42 AM on September 7, 2016 [3 favorites]

Goodbye to this one, dear girl. Sorry.
posted by rmmcclay at 5:51 AM on September 7, 2016

You say you excused his lies about his identity because you didn't tell him about previous plastic surgery. But you know that's not at all the same kind of lies, right? I assume most people who get plastic surgery don't freely tell others, even people they're casually dating. He lied about his name and profession! And then he made up another series of lies to conceal it. Are you sure you even know his real name now? Of course you shouldn't marry him. Of course you should leave immediately. Don't tell him or give him any warning at all, because he sounds bizarre enough that he could also be dangerous. Staying at a school you don't seem to like in a country where you're not comfortable or happy is not an option. Just leave and find a new psychiatrist at home. Also, him pressuring you to get surgery on your cheekbones and then helping you while you recovered from the botched surgery was basically the bare minimum of care he could have given you in that situation. Any friend or acquaintance would help care for someone recovering from a bad surgery, that's just basic decency. I think if that's the example you have of his kindness to you, it's just a really terrible example. Please don't get any more plastic surgery.
posted by areaperson at 5:58 AM on September 7, 2016 [7 favorites]

He didn't "start" gaslighting you today when you found the tweezers: he's been gaslighting you since the moment you met online, and every single word that has ever come out of his mouth has been a lie --- for gods' sake, he lied about his name, he lied about his age, he lied about anything he ever told you about what he did for a living. Basically, he has lied every time he ever said anything. (He "lost millions" because of you?!? His pile of crap is so deep it's hard to see over it!) And oh heck yes he has multiple other women he is also stringing along --- it's pretty well guaranteed that you are far from the only woman in his life right now, and you never will be the only one.

This jerk has cut you off from your homeland, your dreams of medical school, your family and your friends. He has insulted your intelligence, your sanity, and your appearance, and bullied you into getting plastic surgery (which he also insulted you about!) just to placate him. He is a classic abuser --- he might not have physically hit you yet, but that's just a minor step from the massive emotional abuse he has been putting you through!

Call your parents and get the hell out of there now!
posted by easily confused at 6:19 AM on September 7, 2016 [19 favorites]

Oh god this guy is so horrible that not even saying "fuck this guy" is enough.

Sometimes it's important to piece out facts. As someone who worked in intelligence, this guy never worked in intelligence, he never had millions, he is a lying liar what lies. Please run. Your family will help you. Please run.
posted by corb at 6:29 AM on September 7, 2016 [20 favorites]

[He claims that] [d]ue to a series of events where I asked my friends for advice on whether he was legit/married or whatever, and issues with the particular PI I hired, he was recently forced to resign from his intelligence job and he lost all of his millions accrued during said job.

On its face, that makes no sense. Even if you think a private investigator might cause a secret agent to lose his job by blowing his cover, how could that cause him to lose millions of dollars in savings? It couldn't. He's just a liar.

He reminds me of those email scammers who claim to be connected to Nigerian royalty offering huge sums of money to a random person in another continent. Why do the scammers use such an implausible story that's so easily debunked? Because while almost everyone will see through it, a few people won't. And once the scammers get a positive response from those people, they'll figure they're looking at extraordinarily gullible people who are unusually easy to manipulate. If your bf sees that he can convince you of his implausible lies, he'll draw a similar conclusion.

breaking up would be difficult given how much both of us have invested in the relationship.

Staying with a liar would be even more difficult. Think about it.

I recommend reading up on two economics concepts, if you're not already familiar with them: sunk costs, and opportunity costs. Sunk costs are costs you've already incurred and can't get back, like "investing in a relationship," which shouldn't determine what you do in the future. Opportunity costs are missing out on the best alternative to what you have, such as staying in a relationship with a bad guy, when you could be spending that time with a good guy, but somehow you got the idea that there aren't any better guys available to you. There are.
posted by John Cohen at 6:59 AM on September 7, 2016 [13 favorites]

Answering despite my discomfort that this is too fantastic to be other than a stunt post or a book plot.

breaking up would be difficult given how much both of us have invested in the relationship.

All relationships have a lot invested in them. They are relationships, and you create them by investing emotionally etc. That doesn't, by ANY means, constitute a good reason to stay in it. Besides YOU have invested a lot in a total lie - nothing about his story here rings true, especially the utterly laughable claims of "wildly rich investment banker OH NO WAIT I am a super spy and made millions and a cheap PI was enough to shake my government foundations and I lost everything".

Spies do not make millions. At all. If YOU were enough to get past his cover, he wasn't any kind of intelligence person. Nor was he an investment banker, nor is he probably whatever he has claimed to be now. This guy is a pathological liar and nothing you have invested in (to go back to the lead point) should carry any weight, because it is all based on deep, deep lies.

Run. away. Today.
posted by Brockles at 7:57 AM on September 7, 2016 [7 favorites]

Please leave this crap excuse for a human being as soon as possible. He was not in intelligence and did not lose millions. That is just another thing to hang over your head. Go back to medical school in your country.

What is with all the hair removal products? A booty call does not bring Nair to the hook-up's apartment. You found Veet and then Nair and then tweezers and then his chest hair was trimmed. He may be using these things on himself. What you saw as trimmed chest hair may have been chest hair regrowing after using a depilatory. But he is still an asshole so.....the whole is he or isn't he cheating is just minor details.
posted by the webmistress at 7:57 AM on September 7, 2016 [8 favorites]

Don't believe a word out of this guy's mouth. Please move back home and please continue with your mental health treatment.
posted by amro at 8:01 AM on September 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

The first sentence alone was enough for me to say get the heck out of there, the rest of it made me want to call the police to get you out of there. Don't fall for the sunk cost fallacy of how much you have invested in the relationship, staying will only make leaving harder at a later time and you really really need to leave. Gaslighting alone is a huge red warning flag to me of abuse.
posted by wwax at 8:02 AM on September 7, 2016 [3 favorites]

In the unlikely event that this is not a hoax, yeah, run. Go home.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:04 AM on September 7, 2016 [4 favorites]

"I have no support system here. He told me I have to cut off my family and elope with him"

This... is textbook, abusive jackass 101, right here. Along with a bunch of other stuff. Who in their right mind lies about their name?????

Leave. Do not look back.
posted by Jacen at 8:06 AM on September 7, 2016 [4 favorites]

I also have borderline personality disorder. I live in the US, originally from the UK because I met and married a man I'd known for 3 months. He went on to abuse me.
I have, in the past, been with people who were terrible for me, and treated me terribly, because I was terrified of being alone and I was desperate for love. I had people abuse me and blamed my illness for our problems.
I finally at 28 years old started my first REAL relationship. It was rocky at first, I was still a mess, but I've gotten better and I'm a very good partner now. I'm extremely happy with my partner. He doesn't abuse me.
This man is abusive and totally fucked up. Get out of there, get in therapy with a qualified ethical person. Move home. If you need to talk, please memail me. I live in the US, originally from the UK because I met and married a man I'd known for 3 months. He went on to abuse me.
posted by shesbenevolent at 8:19 AM on September 7, 2016 [9 favorites]

The number-one flag for a false relationship is "I work for an intelligence agency". People say that because they can use it as an excuse for skeevy/inconsistent/bizarre/controlling behaviour.

Do not waste time trying to work out what is going on. Just get out of there now.
posted by Hogshead at 8:20 AM on September 7, 2016 [12 favorites]

"has engaged in lying, gaslighting, and deflecting behavior for the entirety of our relationship"

That's all I needed to read.

DTMFA. Don't even get into the weeds of whatever story he's telling you. His behavior is enough to go on: you deserve better, please get out of this relationship for you safety and mental/emotional health!

Call your support network, or a domestic violence organization.

good luck, OP!
posted by sazerac at 8:27 AM on September 7, 2016 [2 favorites]

Adding on, as someone else said, DO NOT TELL HIM YOU'RE LEAVING. Leave and never look back.
posted by shesbenevolent at 8:29 AM on September 7, 2016 [11 favorites]

posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:48 AM on September 7, 2016 [3 favorites]

I read the first two sentences of your more inside. Leave him.
posted by latkes at 8:50 AM on September 7, 2016 [2 favorites]

This is far, far past the point where dumping him qualifies as the right move. It is not a borderline case. Dumping him was the right move a long, long time ago. Late is better than never, but seriously: cut him off right now and never look back. You deserve better.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:50 AM on September 7, 2016 [3 favorites]

Assuming this is real...

First off, as everyone else has said, this guy is dangerous and you need to get away from him for your own safety. That's by far the most important thing.

Second, when you do get home, I would urge you to put a pause on your dating life. Abusers are very good at deceiving people initially and then manipulating them emotionally, so I'm not saying that you were wrong or stupid to fall for this guy, but something in your way of thinking is preventing you from recognizing and/or acting on even the most blatant of red flags when it comes to partners, or making good decisions relating to how you will accommodate them in your life (most people would not drop out of medical school to move to another country to be with someone they had met less than seven months previously). If you keep dating in your current mindset, only pure luck will save you from living through a string of these kinds of stories. If whatever therapist you find isn't interested in helping you learn to recognize and value actual affection and set bounds on intimacy, you need to find a new one. There are a lot of predators out there, and right now you are very vulnerable.
posted by praemunire at 9:03 AM on September 7, 2016 [8 favorites]

The title of your question is: "is my boyfriend cheating"? Are you serious? As if that is the worst thing he could do. Is proof of him cheating what it would take for you to realize that he is an awful, lying, manipulative person and that you should absolutely leave him? Because, even if you never find out whether he cheated or not, he is an awful, lying, manipulative person and you should absolutely leave him. That is, if this is true to begin with.
posted by crunchy_cereals at 9:07 AM on September 7, 2016 [5 favorites]

Is this story true? If so... You sound seriously confused and unwell. Fix that first.
posted by Kwadeng at 9:26 AM on September 7, 2016 [21 favorites]

Yes, your boyfriend is cheating. You are so young and you have your entire life to rebuild and meet someone honest and worthy of you. Nthing the other responders though, please leave right away --without telling him -- and get the help you need.
posted by sideofwry at 9:30 AM on September 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

What bothers me now is his behavior which has been very strange lately.

It sounds like his behavior has always been what I'd call strange, from the very beginning where he couldn't be honest about his name or age. I'm not sure why you didn't run then, but you should run now.
posted by cabingirl at 9:31 AM on September 7, 2016 [9 favorites]

Assuming this is real at all: Go home, be with your family, and begin seeking professional help so that you can protect yourself and build a life beyond chasing for a significant other. BDP has a lot more treatment options these days, it's not the hopeless diagnosis it used to be seen as. There's no reason to stay with this guy, even the "I have no one" excuse, because a paragraph up you mention your parents wanting to help. Leave all this and get yourself some mental health care and support.
posted by InkDrinker at 10:28 AM on September 7, 2016 [4 favorites]

You met him in February. He apparently made you stop competing in beauty pageants.
In June, you dropped out of med school and moved to another country to be with him.
By July you had fallen out of love with him after you both had discovered multitudes of lies about each other.
July/August, you're already interested in another man, and call out his name in passion.
Sometime in there you hire a Private Investigator to check up on your boyfriend who you don't even love anymore.
You know he's cheating on you, but you let it slide because he gave you a hug?!

Why in the world would you choose to marry him? There is nothing that says this is a good idea.

That being said, this reads like a horribly written trashy romance novel, where all the characters are just too unbelievable. I don't know if this is part of Borderline Personality, but whether you're making this up, or exaggerating the truth, I'd strongly recommend lots of therapy and finding a new city to live in, far away from all this ridiculous drama. Good luck.
posted by hydra77 at 11:19 AM on September 7, 2016 [25 favorites]

Soooo, if this all actually happened, I agree completely with mr roboto. This is a pile of bizarre behaviour on your part and I'm wondering if the story isn't raising 'this is...true?' red flags for so many because this dude put you through such a wringer you are no longer able to coherently summarize what has happened. I feel like there is a thing going on here where some of this is not a deliberate lie, and it is, in your mind, truth, but also very distorted from the reality of what happened.

Your physician parents should not be suggesting medications for you. They should be helping you access medical help, but they should not even consider treating you.

Here in Canada, for example:

In order to meet their professional obligations to practise medicine safely and effectively, physicians must only provide treatment for themselves and family members in limited circumstances, as set out below. These are circumstances where the risks associated with treatment in this context are either minimal or are outweighed by the benefits of providing the treatment.

Physicians must not provide treatment for themselves or family members except:

For a minor condition or in an emergency situation,
When another qualified health-care professional is not readily available

via. The only treatment I ever received from doctors in my family was strictly limited to stuff like sorting out pink eye at the cottage; it is very inappropriate for your parents to attempt to make a diagnosis and suggest a medication, and makes me question whether or not there have been some misinterpretations/bad reporting there.
posted by kmennie at 11:27 AM on September 7, 2016 [7 favorites]

What? No. DTMFA.

Why would you stay in a relationship of seven months (four months of which were long distance) with someone who lies to you and gaslights you? Why does it even matter if he's cheating?

I get that you might be falling for the sunk cost fallacy here. You dropped out of medical school and moved to a different country to be with this guy! And now just a couple months later, it turns out that he's a gigantic turd? How embarrassing for you to have uprooted your life like this! But, seriously, I have been in your shoes before and the best way out is NOT through. You need to get out of this situation, even if it means hearing a lot of "I told you so" and starting over from zero again so soon. I promise you that there are people in your life who love you, and they are going to stand by you even after something like this. This is what support networks are for. Go home, girl.
posted by Sara C. at 11:33 AM on September 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

In addition to the pile-on telling you that you need to get home to your parents ASAP, you might find it useful to listen to the whole of this Jon Ronson podcast, (ignore the terrible title) which features the extraordinary true story of a woman who dated, then married, a man who claimed to work in intelligence but turned out to be a liar and a sociopath. Listening to it will prove to you:
* That there are a small number of people in the world capable of telling such vast lies over such a long period of time that they are utterly breathtaking to normal people.
* That these people are often very plausible and likeable. Smart, competent people can be taken in by them and there is no shame in falling victim to them, but the smart thing to do once you realise the situation is to work out ASAP how to remove yourself safely from their lives forever.
* That it is possible to leave a relationship with someone who tells these kinds of breathtaking lies, and to have a happy life afterwards.
posted by penguin pie at 11:37 AM on September 7, 2016 [11 favorites]

So, if I'm reading this right, when you met your boyfriend in February, you were a med student who had studied lie detection and who modelled professionally as well as a state beauty queen who was preparing to compete for the national title. You quit med school and modelling and the beauty competition at this man's insistence, and also had plastic surgery for him. In mid-June you moved to your boyfriend's country. You went through all of your boyfriend's stuff though you don't live with him, and hired a PI to investigate him. Very soon after that you somehow ran into a guy you "used to have a crush on" in this new country. You also somehow knew there was going to be a party near you that the guy you had a crush on would be at. Sometime between mid-June and now you began a new course of study at a university. Though the new school year (probably?) just began this week, you've already "exhausted" your university's mental health care options.

Troubling as your account of your boyfriend's behaviour is, your account of your own is also very questionable, and if you'll forgive me, not all that plausible.

Whatever is or isn't true about this question, if you're really in a relationship that in any way resembles your description, please end it. Move back to the U.S., which from your description of yourself as a "state beauty queen", I surmise you must be from. Borrow the money for the flight if you have to. If you can get funding for the initial out-of-country move, plastic surgery, a place of your own, med school/a brand new university program, hiring a PI, and the trip that you mention taking, perhaps you can raise money for the trip home as well. If you're in university, the academic year must have just begun, so maybe you can get a refund on your tuition. Once you're home, surround yourself with people who know you and care about you and get professional help from a qualified psychiatrist who is a non-family member, and try not to make any major decisions or begin any new relationships for awhile. Concentrate on becoming stable and healthy and responsible first.

Best of luck to you.
posted by orange swan at 1:03 PM on September 7, 2016 [87 favorites]

Definitely nthing everything said above. And tucked in amongst all those red flashing lights is the most worrying part - he told you you were responsible for him losing his job " and he lost all of his millions accrued during said job. "

If you didn't fall over laughing at the level of bullshit involved when he told you this, you really need to get some professional help once you're back home dealing with this and the plastic surgery fiasco.

Don't say one more word to him, it will only harm you. Get out right now, this minute, and back home, and start getting your life back. I wish you all the best.
posted by tillsbury at 1:35 PM on September 7, 2016 [4 favorites]

He's lying to you about being in an intelligence agency. If he were, he wouldn't be allowed to tell you, and he wouldn't tell you.

The bigger pattern, though, is that this guy is bad news and this relationship is bad news. None of this is good for you. You need to find a way to leave him. Then do it.
posted by J. Wilson at 6:06 PM on September 7, 2016 [7 favorites]

Holy crap, this is awful. Get out. Get out now.
posted by SisterHavana at 12:35 AM on September 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

It's hard to tell where the lies and fantasies end and the truth begins but I am responding to what seems to be real pain and confusion here.

None of what he says--or really, what you say--stands up to even mild inquiry. The hair-removal obsessed millionaire spy and the virgin beauty queen doctor?

If this is a true depiction of :
a) something that is actually happening;
b) something that you genuinely THINK is happening but in reality is not;
c) something you made up because it represents some truth about how you are feeling;

my advice is the same: romantic relationships should be the last thing you are focusing on at the moment, nor should you be isolated away from support systems. Priority number one is getting yourself into the environment of family and professionals who have your back.

(And if you're simply trolling, my advice is basically the same. Compassion to you as you sort out what's bothering you.)
posted by kapers at 9:49 AM on September 8, 2016 [19 favorites]

I know someone who dated a man like this. It did NOT end well. He was grandiose, colorful, exciting, and so incredibly attentive... when things were working out well for them. She used to feel sorry for those of us who dated "ordinary" guys or "boring ones" or didn't date at all. Until the glamour wore off, and she realized he was a compulsive liar and a complete asshole. Also, way controlling and very, very, very needy and ego-driven.

She got out - eventually - but the emotional costs were tremendous.

Please go home and get your life back. You are still young with your future all ahead of you. Don't squander a second more on this person.
posted by dancing_angel at 6:36 PM on September 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

« Older Automate sending an IRC message on Android   |   Help me email Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.