My Boyfriend Sexted Another Woman. Should I Give Him Another Chance?

I’ve been dating my boyfriend for almost 2 years now, and recently I couldn’t shake this feeling that something was going on. I don’t know if it’s women’s intuition, or what, but I snooped. After 6 weeks of asking him if something was bothering him at work, if something was bothering him between the two of us, etc., I finally gave in as I knew something was just off.

I found pictures that he and a girl had been exchanging for the past 6 weeks, who is someone that he works with. I feel like I have been cheated on, and I unleashed hell on him last night. He told me that it all started with meaningless flirting, when he didn’t feel like either of us were happy. I could barely collect myself last night.

Though I definitely didn’t handle myself well, he’s now at the point where he feels that he’s done too much damage for us to recover. He thinks that he’s hurt me far too much, and doesn’t know if he can put in the effort to fix this.

I’ve suggested couples counseling, trying to move forward and overcome our issues, all of that. Is there a way forward for us? He was receptive at first, but now I think he’s had a chance to reflect on how much effort it’s going to take to repair this.

Danielle

You’re asking two different questions disguised as one.

Question #1: Can my relationship recover from this betrayal?

Question #2: Should my relationship recover from this betrayal?

Let’s dispense with the first one first.

Relationships can – and do – recover from infidelity.

It’s easy to say that all unfaithful behaviors are cause for a breakup.

But such blanket proclamations don’t reflect a more complex reality.

Forgiving infidelity is not the same as condoning infidelity or forgetting infidelity.

If a couple chooses to stay together because of years of a deep, emotional connection that neither of them want to sever, it’s not my place to judge their good-faith efforts to repair things.

There are plenty of couples that break-up and make-up – overlooking all forms of bad behavior – verbal abuse, emotional neglect, addiction, and yes, even cheating.

Forgiving infidelity is not the same as condoning infidelity or forgetting infidelity.

To me, the more important question is the second one:

Do you want to repair this relationship?

Do you want to continue to date a man who went behind your back for six weeks?

Do you want to put your faith in a man who systematically lied to your face?

Do you want to marry a man who deals with mixed emotions and uncertainty by sending photos to another woman instead of addressing his issues with you like an adult?

Do you want to give it the old college try with a man who is already backpedaling from the relationship?

If I screwed up with my wife, I would fight like hell to prove her wrong.

Certain relationships can – and should – overcome infidelity.

Your guy is saying, “Yeah, you’re pretty mad. Maybe we should just give this up.”

If it sounds like I’m coming down on one side of the fence, it’s because I am.

Certain relationships can – and should – overcome infidelity.

It doesn’t sound to me like your relationship is one of them.

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Comments:

  1. 1
    Gala

    Two words: Huma Abedin. Sexting is not just cheating, it’s a sign of poor judgement (with a coworker??) and more problems ahead. Dump this loser before he drags you down with him

  2. 2
    Emily, the original

    Though I definitely didn’t handle myself well, he’s now at the point where he feels that he’s done too much damage for us to recover. He thinks that he’s hurt me far too much, and doesn’t know if he can put in the effort to fix this.

    This sounds like an excuse. This guy wants out.

    1. 2.1
      Courtney

      Agreed!

  3. 3
    Ann

    I agree with Evan that is already over.  Unfortunately this guy can’t communicate like an adult so he chose to sabotage your relationship so you would do the dirty work and end the relationship for him.  From what you describe, he is not interested in mending things.  See it for what it is, and move on, the quicker the better. I know of what I speak 🙂

  4. 4
    Clare

    Sexting/emotional cheating with someone else is a partner’s passive-aggressive way of saying that they don’t want to or don’t know how to fix the problems in the relationship, but cannot make the difficult decision to end it either. It’s a sign of an immature person.

     

    Would I fight to hold onto a man I’d been married to for ten years with whom I had a deep and bonded relationship who had a slip-up and had a flirtation with a co-worker? Yes.

    Would I fight to hold onto a two year boyfriend who sexted with another woman behind my back and then said he didn’t know if he wanted to put in the “effort” to fix it when he was found out? Absolutely not.

     

    I know a couple who is in this situation. They have broken up and gotten back together (at least) four times in less than a year. He handles his ambivalence towards the relationship by texting and sexting with other women. She gets angry and pushes him away and then tries to fix things. It’s madness. He should go and either be single for a while or figure out why he feels the need to engage in this kind of attention-seeking behaviour, and she should go and try to figure out why she’s so desperate to make it work with a man who gives himself permission to sext other women.

    1. 4.1
      Emily, the original

      Clare,

      Sexting/emotional cheating with someone else is a partner’s passive-aggressive way of saying that they don’t want to or don’t know how to fix the problems in the relationship, but cannot make the difficult decision to end it either. It’s a sign of an immature person.

      I think the worst part of it was him denying anything was wrong for 6 weeks. She could feel something was different but instead of being honest with her, he watched as she probably grew increasingly more concerned and upset. That’s cruel and completely selfish. When all the while there was someone else and he wanted it be over. He didn’t have the backbone to end it. Weasel

  5. 5
    Clare

    Emily,

     

    Agree completely. This is where communication breaks down in a relationship. She tried to talk to him, tried to find out what was wrong, asked if there were work issues he was dealing with or whether something in the relationship was bothering him, and still he did not tell her. I’ve been in this situation before myself. And what irritates me is that some people still have the gall to reprimand the frantic girlfriend for snooping.

     

    I’m not defending snooping. I think it’s an awful, yucky thing to do, and a deplorable thing to do to a loving and trustworthy partner. However, I’ve had occasion to examine the issue over the last few years, and I’ve noticed that in a secure and happy relationship, the urge to snoop is almost non-existent (for me and I think for most healthy people). And few people jump straight to snooping without first trying to communicate with their partners. It’s only when efforts at communication have failed and one is desperate for answers and thinks one is going crazy that snooping becomes the last resort. And, as the LW pointed out, there’s a lot to be said for women’s intuition – if you feel like there’s something off, there usually is.

    1. 5.1
      Emily, the original

      Clare, 

      She tried to talk to him, tried to find out what was wrong, asked if there were work issues he was dealing with or whether something in the relationship was bothering him, and still he did not tell her.

      How long was he going to let that go on? I don’t condone snooping, either, but let’s say for the sake of argument that she didn’t snoop. What was he waiting for? For her to get so annoyed and upset that he had checked out and wouldn’t communicate with her that she finally walked?

      I had a friend who went on vacation with her long-term boyfriend and his family and he all but completely shut her out. Even his family was asking why he was treating her so badly. Turns out he had a “friend” he had been spending time with and wanted out. What’s ironic is the situation had played out exactly the same way for my friend two years earlier. She started hanging out with this guy when he had a girlfriend and then he ended it with the girlfriend. He had to secure a jump off before he extricated himself from his current situation.

      1. 5.1.1
        Clare

        Emily,

         

        That’s just awful and spineless. I have been in that situation before myself though. My boyfriend started acting off and distant, suddenly couldn’t find time to see me even though he lived five minutes down the road, slept on the opposite side of the bed without touching me, and was just generally uncommunicative and distant. Except he swore up and down that it was work stress. It turns out he had another “interest” and when I probed just a little too hard, he broke up with me. It should not have shocked me though; this kind of behaviour was part of his character. He told me when we got together that there was another girl he had been seeing, and when he realised he liked me, he cut her off dead without even so much as a text message. Just blocked her number and stopped talking to her. My jaw hung open when he told me that story, but I didn’t make the connections about what kind of person he was. You live and you learn.

         

        (Prologue to my story: It ended between him and the other girl, as it inevitably would, and suddenly I got a “hi, how are you doing” message from him out of the blue. My skin actually crawled.)

        1. Kenley

          Your story is such another good example of “when people show you who they are, believe them.”  There have been so many instances when people do show you very early on —either with actions or words — who they are, and we will ignore them.  I don’t do that anymore.   I just met a guy who told me he presents himself as polite, but he has a dark side.  I asked him to clarify when he met and he couldn’t — Next.   Then, I met another guy who constantly refers to himself as damaged goods.  I am done trying to fix grown ass men — Next.   While it may seem premature and even picky, I have just experienced too many times that things people tell you about themselves early on show up later and are deal breakers.

        2. Clare

          Aaarrggh! That should be “Epilogue to my story.” And I’m an English tutor! *face palm*

        3. Clare

          Kenley,

           

          That is so true. Once upon a time I would have regarded people as very judgmental for dismissing someone based on a “past mistake” or an admitted flaw. Now, however, I realise that some behaviours are part of a person’s character. And particularly if that person shows no remorse about them or desire to change or work on them, you should definitely beware.

           

          On a related note, I also think the LW should be very careful if her boyfriend only apologises to her or agrees to work on the relationship as a means to pull her back in or get her to stay with him. If he does not, on his own, see a problem with what he has done, that is a major red flag.

        4. Callie

          Kenley – Good for you! So many women think that they will be the one to fix the guy, but ultimately they don’t and it ends badly. I remember once talking with a guy (who I wasn’t interested in) and he said at one point something like, “Don’t date me, I’m a bad person and I’ll treat you badly.” And I said to him, “Okay good to know. Btw, you do know that just because you’ve admitted to that it does not excuse the behaviour right?” He just stared at me, literally speechless. He was not expecting that answer. And have no fear, I never dated him.

          When a guy tells you who he is, believe him. So many women think when a man says something like that he’s both a) exaggerating and b) being really honest and vulnerable. But really, the guys who tend to say that kind of thing do it as a fail safe, so they can use it later on in the relationship as an excuse: “I told you who I was before we got together. Not my fault I treat you badly, I warned you.”

        5. Emily, the original

          Clare,
          He told me when we got together that there was another girl he had been seeing, and when he realised he liked me, he cut her off dead without even so much as a text message. 
          That’s someone who doesn’t want to deal with anything or is just stone cold.
           It ended between him and the other girl, as it inevitably would, and suddenly I got a “hi, how are you doing” message from him out of the blue. 
          Ah, the act of recycling. I wonder if he thought you wouldn’t realize what he was doing and actually be glad to hear from him.

        6. Jeremy

          Very wise.  It’s like something I learned back in school – if a patient comes to you and tells you that they’ve been to many other doctors but none of them could help them, but they know that YOU will be the one who can save them because you are great and special…..know that that patient is a psychopath who will cause you nothing but trouble, and that one day your name will also feature on their list of failed experiences.

        7. Nissa

          If you don’t mind my asking, how long had you been together when that happened? You just described my ex’s behavior exactly, several years into our relationship. He also was critical of and difficult with, his family members in the first year I dated him. At the time, I thought it was related to the death of his father the year I met him. Note to self: don’t date guys who have had a recent family death, because all of their family dynamics are changing. But what bothers me about this is that it seems like it took almost a year for those behaviors to surface, by which time I was already having sex with him and bonded to him. So that makes me curious about how you think it takes to ‘know someone’. It doesn’t help that since I’m an empath, there are a lot of warm fuzzies that I feel, that make it harder to be objective about what that person is doing.

        8. Clare

          Nissa,

           

          We’d only been together a few months, which did make recovering from it and moving on from it simpler and easier. But he was also one of those guys who moved incredibly fast. We became official very fast. He was totally smitten at the beginning and told me he loved me a few weeks in, talked about us getting married in 6 months to a year and talked about the house he was going to build for us constantly. If it sounds like a lot, it was, but I was easily caught up in it at the time. Now I see that that kind of behaviour is often a warning sign. Someone trying to fill a gap, someone who needs a lot of validation.

           

          Like you, I’m deeply empathic. So I connect with people effortlessly and I see deeply into them, making it easy for me to see their good qualities, their hurts and vulnerabilities. It takes concerted, conscious effort on my part not to get too emotionally invested too quickly, and as you and I have noted on this blog before, break ups are much harder for empaths because of the depth to which we bond. However, I’ve come to see that taking it slow really does work better for me, as does constant reminders to myself to keep my boundaries.

           

          As far as a guy who’s experienced the recent death of a family member, I think what you say about the family dynamics has a ring of truth to it. I’ve also noticed that such guys might also be on the lookout for higher levels of validation, if that family member was someone they were close to. My recent ex lost both his parents and he needed very high levels of reassurance (and, not so coincidentally, could be found texting other women, albeit more harmlessly, when things weren’t good between us).

  6. 6
    CaliforniaGirl

    The reason in dating for the first few years before deciding on moving in together or marriage is exactly to see what kind of a person your partner is.  He showed what he is capable of and you should thank him that it happened so soon and you didn’t waste more years on him. Love yourself more, you want a partner that will tell you what the problem is and won’t go behind your back and cheat on you. He was probably doing it for validation because he was lacking it in the relationship or he is just like that and one woman is not enough. You never know and you shouldn’t care, it doesn’t work for you and that’s it.

  7. 7
    SteelSoul

    I disagree with everyone. I thin men just like the chase and it makes them feel like men. Maybe they are too young or not into being monogamous.

    1. 7.1
      SteelSoul

      Think

    2. 7.2
      Yet Another Guy

      @SteelSoul

      I disagree with the ladies as well, but not for the reason you stated.  Put plainly, if a guy is sexting another woman, then a woman can be assured that there is something wrong in the bedroom because he has lost his bond. Men who are sexually satisfied do not look elsewhere because the oxytocin that is released during good sex keeps a man faithful (https://www.uni-bonn.de/Press-releases/oxytocin-leads-to-monogamy).  Men rely on sex to bond.  That is why Jeremy writes about giving your man oral sex when he is upset.  Talking to him when he is feeling this way does not result in him bonding you more deeply.  It results in him wanting to get away from you (the flight portion of the fight-or-flight response).  Men lack the tend-and-befriend hormonal response that results in a woman receiving a hit of oxytocin when she is heard by an empathetic listener.  Men do not bond via communication.  It is not in our biology.

      Here is an interesting article about that covers the psychology around this need without going into the biology as to why it occurs: http://www.drlindsaygibson.com/articles/what-sex-means-to-a-man

      1. 7.2.1
        Jeremy

        YAG, I liked the article, but I believe your conclusion to be erroneous.  Men might cheat for all sorts of reasons:

        – a need for novelty

        – a need for validation from multiple sources

        – a need for emotional connection that might exist in spite of being sexually satisfied

        – an opportunity presented

        – a need to escape from the person he is, or the situation in which he finds himself

        – an exit strategy from a relationship
        And others.  Orgasm does result in oxytocin release in men’s brains, but it only seems to bond men who want to be bonded.

        1. Yet Another Guy

          @Jeremy

          The LW has been with this man for two years.  I would say that he was bonded at some point.  I have yet to see a normal man cheat who still had a deep emotional connection to his wife or girlfriend.

          Sadly, I have known my fair share of cheaters.  Most cheated because sex had become transactional, a quid pro quo arrangement, so to speak.

          Lack of orgasm via sexual intercourse guarantees that even men who want to be bonded do not remain so.  They call oxytocin the cuddle hormone a reason.  I stand by my assertion that a man needs good sex to remain emotionally bonded to a woman.  Without it, it is only a matter of time before he cheats.  Men who are not satisfied at home will seek the comfort of another woman if the cost is not too high.

      2. 7.2.2
        Emily, the original

        YAG,

        What most women don’t understand is that for many men, sex is the deepest level of intimacy. This is not an inferior type of intimacy; it is a male type of intimacy. 

        Is this true? I’m quoting from the article your link provided. Kind of ironic in that society tells us it’s women who make a big deal out of sex. (And, yes, I read the whole article. I get that men can experience this intimacy without love.)

        1. SteelSoul

          Also, within three separate relationships my men’s sex drives are lower than mine. I’ve had them withold sex as a weapon or laziness.

      3. 7.2.3
        Stacy

        YAG

        You are way too experienced and mature to be this naïve. Men do not cheat ONLY because they aren’t satisfied at home.  One of my (used to be) closest friends admitted to cheating on his wife because another woman was simply available that he could not have gotten in high school and he wanted to conquer the new.

        People cheat for a myriad of reasons. As Chris Rock said, ‘men are as faithful as their options’. And while I don’t entirely believe that, there is a reason why more powerful and affluent men cheat – not necessarily because they aren’t getting good sex at home, but when tons of beautiful women are throwing themselves at you, it’s difficult to give that up period.

        Many many people like the high of novelty. Saying it’s someone else’s fault you cheat is just a way of blaming the victim. Also, some people just aren’t faithful minded even if you were turning the best tricks in bed.

        1. Yet Another Guy

          @Stacy

          I am not talking about philanderers.  I am talking about your basic Joe Average guy.  Normal guys cheat because they are no longer satisfied with what they have at home.  The desire for novelty is the result of sex becoming the equivalent of masturbating with someone else in the room.

      4. 7.2.4
        SteelSoul

        So then what happiness when men get older and their estrogen is higher than their 50 year old wives? how does less sex bond? drives slow…does this mean that bonding does too?

      5. 7.2.5
        Marika

        How can you speak with such authority on the subject, YAG? Is it because you cheated and you’re trying to justify it? Otherwise you’re either hearing it second hand from a friend telling you one side of the story (and oddly personal and detailed information about their sex life) or again overrelying on studies to try to explain the complexities of human psychology.

        You do know for every study on a given human psychology topic, there’s at least one to refute it.

        You also know that some men go to prostitutes just to talk (or to dress up as a baby, be spanked, etc etc). It’s not all so black & white.

      6. 7.2.6
        Brit

        I was a newlywed having wild monkey sex ~3 times a day when I discovered my ex husband was regularly cheating on me with many women.

         

      7. 7.2.7
        Stacy

        YAG said,

        ‘if a guy is sexting another woman, then a woman can be assured that there is something wrong in the bedroom because he has lost his bond. ‘

        I call bullshit. A person cheats because it is a character flaw. An appropriate response to not being satisfied is either to try to work it out with your spouse or leave. Cheating is the weak man option because the betrayal is deep reaching and extremely disrespectful. You don’t get to bang more than one woman without consequences (unless your spouse is okay with this).

        Like I said, most people I know who cheated clearly had self esteem issues and/or needed to be validated. It went beyond not being satisfied with their spouse in bed (and yes, I am talking about the average Joe).And I know a lotttt of people who cheated (grew up as a tomboy originally so just knew a lot of men throughout my life who did this).  And while some people aren’t satisfied in bed, there are just as many people who cheat (especially men) simply for variety purposes or because the opportunity is available.

         

        1. Yet Another Guy

          @Stacy

          That is complete and utter BS.  I have been a man my entire life.  I have male friends that I have known since elementary school.  None of my friends who cheated did so simply because of an opportunity to cheat.   All of us have been propositioned several times during our marriages.  There is a difference between a born cheater (a.k.a. a philanderer) and an every day man who cheats.  All of my married friends who cheated did so because the primary relationship in the home was no longer between the husband and the wife.  It was between the mother and her children.  They could not leave because doing so would have been a financial disaster.

          In my humble opinion, any woman who shifts the primary relationship away from her husband after children arrive should not be surprised if her husband seeks the comfort of another woman.  No husband signs up for that deal.  A marriage should be marriage-centric, not child-centric.  The same goes for women with children who are dating.  A woman who fails to make loving the man in her life a priority does so at her own risk.  It is either love him or lose him to another woman.

        2. KK

          “I call bullshit. A person cheats because it is a character flaw”.

          I agree, Stacy. Cheaters cheat. Liars lie. Thieves steal. Murderers murder. It’s not that deep. Anyone that is capable of that kind of betrayal has deep seated character issues. YAG appears to be a cheater apologist. Using the miserable trapped marriage logic is a pitiful excuse. Are these people unable to realize that it’s better to leave a marriage honestly with your pride and dignity in tact?

  8. 8
    Marika

    Emily & Californian,

    I think you’re both spot on. My ex-husband was a validation whore. And, Emily, you’re right, they’ll continue to keep both women on the hook indefinitely, until and unless one of them ends it. My ex was at the very least secretly hanging out with, wining & dining and (let’s be honest, very likely sleeping with) a female colleague. He would’ve continued on getting his validation fix at home with me and with her and work and in hotels, if I hadn’t had a sense something wasn’t right, checked the credit card statements and caught him in a lie.

    I wouldn’t get so worried about the ‘snooping’ bit. I’m not sure what lengths the LW went to, but it sounds like she snooped only as a last resort because he wouldn’t talk to her about it and she knew something wasn’t right. I know the fact that I checked my ex’s credit card bills (even though we were married!!) became the focus of the ensuring argument prior to ending things, but that’s a smoke screen. The more you focus on that, the less responsibility he has to take for the emotional cheating. As much as it’s important to have trust, I feel like she needed to know about this so she could recognise the type of man he is and make an informed decision about how to proceed. Otherwise you walk around feeling sick for how ever long it takes him to either admit it, or for it to come out some other way, which is a far worse path, IMO.

    1. 8.1
      Emily, the original

      Marika,
      My ex-husband was a validation whore. And, Emily, you’re right, they’ll continue to keep both women on the hook indefinitely, until and unless one of them ends it.
      I just don’t get that. How much validation does one person need, and who has the energy to maintain two situations? Also, as a woman, I have a hard time  imagining a scenario in which I have two equally great options in front of me.
      I wouldn’t get so worried about the ‘snooping’ bit. …  As much as it’s important to have trust, I feel like she needed to know about this so she could recognise the type of man he is and make an informed decision about how to proceed. 
      I agree.

      1. 8.1.1
        Marika

        My ex had a traumatic childhood experience. There’s research to support the idea (not sure where, but I have read it in the past) that people who go through very traumatic experiences in their formative years (without appropriate treatment) can get emotionally ‘stuck’ at that age. So he was essentially like an 8 year old in a middle age man’s body looking for love, validation & constant, undying support. He wanted unconditional love and acceptance without giving much in return. Like most 8 year olds 🙂

        So he (unconsciously) targetted women most likely to give it to him. Bleeding hearts (me), women who would look up to him & be reliant on him for his intelligence and money (his ex-wife before me), and – I read an email the woman he cheated on me with and she was – unashamedly, over the top, put him on a pedestal into him.

        You can be really into someone for 1, 2, 3 years, but eventually it wears off to a more ‘realistic’ type love, and even if you remain deeply in love/lust forever there will be days that you will be angry at each other. He couldn’t handle that. So, he was constantly on the lookout for people to make him feel good about himself. If I was angry, upset, or even just normal human busy, doing my own thing, having a hard time myself.

        He had no problem attracting women. He was no supermodel, but he had confidence, charm, charisma, a wonderful sense of humour and fun, intelligence and good-enough looks to go with it.

        From what I’ve gathered, you will never be a target for such a person, Emily, so I wouldn’t worry too much. But signs are things like:

        Needing excessive praise

        Having a short fuse (imagine an 8 year old overreacting or having a tantrum)

        Focusing in on how hardly done by they are (no matter what they’ve done in the situation)

        Struggling greatly to apologise for anything

        Complaining about their previous partners (eventually, that will be you!)

        Putting you up on a pedestal (which you’ll eventually fall off)

        Accusing you of being unempathetic (even when you’re being exceedingly empathetic)

        Addictions, or excessive use of (alcohol, gambling, porn)

        Not being able to get over things that happened in the past

        etc etc

        1. Emily, the original

          Marika,

          You can be really into someone for 1, 2, 3 years, but eventually it wears off to a more ‘realistic’ type love, 

          Thanks for answering. This is what I worry about. Not maybe a year into it but about 6 months. Coming down off that high and finally being able to see the person clearly and thinking (to borrow Gertrude Stein’s phrase): There isn’t any there there. Either in that there isn’t any real connection or he turns out to be emotionally shallow or vacant. Or someone who would grab just about anything in front of him for the validation.

        2. Theodora

          I think the description of this monster of an ex-husband fits about 99% of human beings. The other 1% are what we call saints.

        3. Nissa

          Theodora, the description of this ex-husband fits a small percentage of the population, which most normal people call “ex’s”. The remaining 80% we call “people who aren’t assholes”.

        4. Theodora

          Nissa,

          my favorite part of her description of how to recognize a “validation whore” (not my words) is that one of the signs is if he complains about previous partners, as a part of long post in which she complains about and badmouthes a previous partner.

          So, I stand by my assertion that most humans would fit the description of the validation-seeking “attention whore”. It’s just easier to recognize the signs in others than to admit them for ourselves.

      2. 8.1.2
        Brit

        Some people love to triangulate so as to get the two other corners to fight over them. They get a wonderful ego boost in the process.

    2. 8.2
      Emily, the original

      Hi Marika,

      In reading your comment, I had one final thought: How can you tell if someone is a validation whore? What are the signs? Of course, the ideal is a quality person who is confident, has options and picks you. Someone with a bit of discretion. I’m remembering the post about women who have sex earlier in the dating process with a previous partner. I’m guessing that concern exists for women, too. I mean that they don’t want to date a man who’s hooked up with whoever’s in front of him.

      1. 8.2.1
        Gala

        Somebody who speaks with a lot of “ex-es” or has a lot of female “friends” but very few male friends is likely in that category.

        1. Emily, the original

          Gala,

          Somebody who speaks with a lot of “ex-es” or has a lot of female “friends” but very few male friends is likely in that category.

          Good point. They don’t want the finality of a clean break because they are still want attention from the ex.

      2. 8.2.2
        Stacy

        Emily, the original,

        Validation whores will be obvious to you over time.  Time reveals people (if you observe them long enough). People who seek validation constantly are highly insecure and they stick out like a sore thumb.

        1. Emily, the original

          Stacy,

          People who seek validation constantly are highly insecure and they stick out like a sore thumb.

          I’ll be on the lookout! I’m probably overly sensitive to it as the last person I spent time with needed a lot of validation (too much, at least IMO) and his behavior turned me off and made me lost respect for him.

        2. Marika

          Well, as long as you’re not blinded by chemistry it does…

        3. Emily, the original

          Malika,

          I still think, white-hot chemistry or not, now that I’m thinking about it, the validation-seeker makes himself known pretty quickly. This guy’s stories about women had the same theme: how other women wanted him. I think he was trying to get a response out of me or increase his value in my eyes. That behavior did the opposite because I’d have been able to tell if other women were responding to him.

  9. 9
    Marika

    How good is hindsight??

    I personally think if these people were that easy to identify they’d be avoided like the plague add we wouldn’t even be having this conversation.

    1. 9.1
      Emily, the original

      Marika,

      I personally think if these people were that easy to identify they’d be avoided like the plague add we wouldn’t even be having this conversation.

      The guy I was referring to was actually easy to figure out–asking before every sex session what he should do screamed “I needed a of validation/input/hand holding”– but I was certainly not blinded by chemistry.

      With the one before that, I noticed some red flags (not of validation-seeking but other things) but I chose to ignore them … because of the chemistry.

    2. 9.2
      Nissa

      I love that you are asking this question. I personally believe that hindsight is what you make it. Meaning, the lessons are there to be learned, if you choose to learn them, but the wisdom isn’t automatic. For myself, it meant learning that when someone acted badly, I needed to accept that as that person’s real self, instead of justifying it as “having a bad day” or “it was a one time thing”. One can have compassion for the emotions behind the behavior, while realizing that this is a person who makes a choice to act badly, that I acknowledge I won’t want in my life if they act that way. The hidden blessing is that it reveals a pattern of what we are willing to accept. Figuring out why we are willing to accept it, and doing the work to let go of those old negative patterns is OUR work.

      1. 9.2.1
        Marika

        Excellent point, Nissa. Definitely something I need to work on. Thanks for the reminder.

  10. 10
    Mr.Goose

    I appreciate that it takes all-sorts to make a world. Nevertheless, I think it is fairly safe to say that people who indulge in “sexting” are generally best avoided.

    Obviously we don’t know all the ins-and-outs of the O/P’s relationship with her boyfriend. However, based on prima facie evidence, it seems to me that the most appropriate course of action would be to dump him. I might also be tempted ‘accidentally’ to dump his phone in a suitable garbage compactor – making sure one sticks around for long enough to hear the reassuring crunch of mangled electronics… 😉

  11. 11
    Marika

    Theodora

    Have you got a crush on me? You seem to seek me out a LOT on this blog…

    There’s a world of difference between discussing someone in context, on a blog on a topic to illustrate a point, and complaining endlessly about previous partners to a current partner (which I’ve never done).

    That being said, I think you think his behaviour is ‘normal’ as you appear to shate some of his negative traits.

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