What Is the Definition of Cheating? Is Sexting Cheating?

What Is the Definition of Cheating Is Sexting Cheating

2 years ago, I met a wonderful man with whom I share many interests, activities, and a similar outlook on life. We started out as friends and running partners, but 3 weeks after we started being “more than friends” he told me he loved me and we had the “exclusivity” talk.

Fast forward 1.5 years and everything was going great until we started having little disagreements about the sharing of pictures on social media. When we were first dating, he had no problem with me sharing whatever I wanted on social media. Then he started saying, “Do you have to post that?” The posts he objects to are those where I tag him with me doing something. We had an argument about this and he stonewalled me for a week despite me trying to reach out and discuss things. He broke the silence eventually and we talked it through and everything seemed hunky-dory. So I stopped posting anything about us; I just don’t want to deal with his selective censorship on my social media account.

About 2 months ago, I was using his computer and found text messages sent during the time we had been arguing – specifically sext messages– to his ex-girlfriend in which he was propositioning her for sex (I wish I could unsee the stuff he wrote) and she refused him so the booty call was never realized. I was livid. I asked him to explain himself and he said he was just frustrated and started talking to his ex while we were fighting (like meeting her for coffee and talking/texting to her on the phone) because he needed a “female perspective” on things when I was “frustrating” him. I made it clear that this is unacceptable and if he wanted to continue with me, he could not have his cake and eat it too. He maintains “nothing happened” because they did not have sex. However, I see this as cheating as do most of my friends. We talked it through and he said that he stopped contact with her and that it is “just us” now. In the time leading up to this post to you, he has been behaving just fine and even talking about future plans. We have plans to run all 6 marathon majors together and travel and see the world. However, I find it very hard to trust him. I continue to wonder what he does when he goes home. Does he need more female perspective?

Am I a fool for staying with him? Is this a deal breaker just because the cheating was not physically realized? This thing he did really kicked me off Relationship Cloud 9 and I now go on with the relationship with the expectation that we will complete our running goals together, but after that I may have to let him go.

Thanks,
Leanne

Dear Leanne,

I had a dream last night where I took a woman home and kissed her – whereupon I quickly realized that I was married and that the woman in my dreams had to leave my house. In my dreams, I cheated on my wife. We can debate whether a wife should dump her husband over one kiss or not, but to be clear, the kiss was cheating, even if it didn’t go any further.

Bewildered by my dream, I told my wife when I woke up this morning. She immediately lit up. “That is SO funny,” she said, “I had a dream that I almost cheated on YOU last night.” I laughed. I don’t remember all the details, but the situation was my wife proposing a threesome with another couple (on of whom is on a popular TV show) – and debating to herself (in her dreams) as to whether it counted as cheating if it was with a woman. She decided it was and remained faithful to me. Whew!

You can try to make meaning of it but it’s much easier to pay attention to how someone treats you in real life – instead of playing thought police to someone else’s fantasies.

I know that’s a little bit TMI, but it just happened this morning, and I thought it said a lot about my marriage. We have a relationship based on honesty and trust, not fear and suspicion, so neither of our dreams upset the other. Weird shit happens in dreams. You can try to make meaning of it but it’s much easier to pay attention to how someone treats you in real life – instead of playing thought police to someone else’s fantasies.

But enough about me. Now let me turn this to you, Leanne.

Before I rip your boyfriend a new one, I have to say, I’m always amused at how women manage to “find” texts from 2 years ago. I’m guessing your boyfriend must have taken a screenshot and turned them into his desktop background, so you just happened to stumble upon it when you were walking by his computer. Don’t get me wrong: I acknowledge that you actually caught your guy cheating. But I really do not get women who claim to trust their boyfriends (you called it Relationship Cloud 9!) and yet still snoop around looking for evidence to the contrary.

Moving on…

There is no one definition of cheating, no more than there is one definition of attractive or smart or funny. But, as you know, what I do is to attempt to impose some order and rationality on what is acceptable and unacceptable dating and relationship behavior. In other words: I make up rules that I think apply to the majority of people and then get yelled at by strangers who disagree with me. Fun!

So here’s my definition of cheating: it all starts with intent.

I can flirt with a woman at a party. Make her laugh. Charm her. It’s part of having a flirtatious personality. But that doesn’t veer into cheating unless I’m asking for her phone number with the intent to pursue a sexual relationship with her. We can debate how much flirtation is disrespectful. A good boyfriend will not have a strange woman sitting on his lap or make sexual advances, but he can still enjoy making that same woman smile. It’s all about intent.

That’s why there’s a big difference between watching online porn, and going on Ashley Madison to solicit sex from another woman. A big difference between having a dream about cheating and actually cheating. And, of course, a big difference between telling an ex on Facebook that she looks great and reaching out to her via text to see if she’s up for an illicit tryst.

He can try all he wants, but there’s no defense of it. His attempts to do so only make him seem less trustworthy. Think about how you might reconsider your stance if he owned his behavior, apologized profusely, admitted his fault, and promised that he loved you and it would never happen again.

Yes, this is cheating. Yes, you’re a fool for staying with him. Yes, you have to let him go.

By denying that cheating is cheating, your boyfriend has pretty much admitted that he is either selfish, clueless, unreasonable or amoral. Either way, it’s not the kind of guy you should feel comfortable as the foundation of your universe. You seemed to miss the earlier signs of his selfishness and stubbornness when he stopped talking to you for a week because he was upset at your tagging practices. That’s some childish bullshit right there. You may have missed it the first time, but now, it’s undeniable.

Yes, this is cheating. Yes, you’re a fool for staying with him. Yes, you have to let him go.

Thank god you happened to find those two-year old dirty texts on his computer. 

Next time, for your own sake, find a guy who doesn’t make you want to snoop on him, okay?

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Comments:

  1. 1
    Adrian

    This was one of the best post I’ve read on cheating in a long time-Flawless!

     

    No blaming or giving a free pass to all men, no blaming or giving a free pass to all women.

    …   …   …

    Evan your wife is Awesome. Every story involving her sets the bar a little higher for me each time.

  2. 2
    Skaramouche

    Not to split hairs as the gist of the advice doesn’t change but I think the texts were 2 – 3 months (ish) old, not 2 years based on the timeline.  2 years would mean that OP REALLY went digging but messages a few months old could conceivably have been happened upon fairly innocuously.  There possibly still was a click or two where there shouldn’t have been but one could attribute that to nosy curiosity rather than true snooping (to find something incriminating).

    1. 2.1
      Adrian

      They dated for 2 years

       

      1 1/2 years into the relationship he wanted to cheat

       

      2 months ago she found it, so the messages were about 6 months old at the time.

       

      For her to find something that old, I would venture that she was “probably” snooping.

      1. 2.1.1
        Skaramouche

        Your math doesn’t work.  Two years ago (presumably from now), she met him.  She says they “started as friends” which means there was a span of time before they started going out.  A few weeks?  A few months?  Let’s even leave that out.  She found the texts 2 months ago.  That puts us at 2 years minus 1.5 years minus 2 months.  That makes the text messages 4 months old at the oldest but more likely, 2 -3 months as I said.

        The debate was not whether she was snooping…it’s likely she was, at least lightly (which is what I said).  However, finding something that’s 2 years old requires a serious degree of snooping with the intention of digging to find something incriminating whereas it is plausible that general nosiness revealed a text a couple of months old.

        1. Adrian

          Sheesh Skaramouche,

           

          Read Dana Harris’s comment in #4.

           

          She said 4 months, I was just rounding (notice I said about). But like Dana said, that is not important, the guy should still be dumped.

      2. 2.1.2
        Sue

        nope not  in the way you think, most likely she  got a gut feeling about something so went in search then, or something raised some flags then she went searching , or something innocent like being interested in husband life and then she finds that! usually one does not want to find stuff like that, so all the ones that think that the woman or men are snooping and distrustful from the start, cause they get a red flag and gut feeling about something that is proven true,  is wrong there is all kinds of finding stuff out from long ago without it being distrustful from the start its only after getting big red flags on something that does not sit right that you go thr stuff hoping to prove yourself wrong,  and crazy for feeling like that but then you find it stuff that been going on for long time while you think everything is good, behind your back they been looking for others , and yes it hurts so much , now if she did not come across any red flags like something he said back then and now says something different, sorry just hate it when people assume a woman is distrustful from the start before she finds anything , nope usually its a big red flag that puts her on the road to hurting

    2. 2.2
      Karmic Equation

      OP wrote:

      “About 2 months ago, I was using his computer and found text messages sent during the time we had been arguing”

      Not sure if it matters, but she wasn’t snooping on his PHONE, but on his COMPUTER.

      These were probably FaceBook, IM messages, or email messages.

      So this probably WAS deliberate snooping, because one doesn’t “accidentally” end up in those places on a COMPUTER.

      Her snooping doesn’t absolve him from his cheating behavior. He would have cheated had his ex said “yes”. This was 6 months ago.

      I think she should dump the dude, particularly if she cannot forget he did this (and I think most people would find it difficult to forget such behavior). Because we women know eventually, this is going to come out when we have an argument with him about something else that is totally unrelated, leading him to call her “crazy” or “unreasonable”.

      Some things, once seen, cannot be unseen, forgotten, or forgiven, particularly if it is indication of a poor character.

      Oh yeah, and his not wanting to be tagged in social media, big clue that he doesn’t want prospective women to know he has a girlfriend.

      OP should dump him. He’s not honoring his commitment to the relationship.

      1. 2.2.1
        MikeTO

        Her snooping doesn’t absolve him from his cheating behavior. He would have cheated had his ex said “yes”. This was 6 months ago.

        Considering you haven’t even communicated with him you really don’t know that. He could have changed his mind. i am not saying he wouldn’t have cheated but to claim he would have is an educated guess not a fact. This is hardly logical.

      2. 2.2.2
        GoWiththeFlow

        KE,

        If the boyfriend has an iPhone and a Mac computer, the phone and laptop can be linked.  I can send and recieve texts on my laptop (that are routed through my phone) while I’m checking email or surfing the web.

        It is conceivable that the OP opened up the laptop and the message window was already open and displayed on the screen.

        1. Leanne

          This is Leanne — yes, this is the case…. synced messages.  See comment #24 for my clarification of this matter.

  3. 3
    KK

    I think he was already talking to his ex (before the arguing) and only got angry with his girlfriend for tagging him because he didn’t want her existence to be known.

    1. 3.1
      Lisa

      No doubt!   Had this happen to me as well.  No don’t tag me don’t post anything. I’m a private person. Oh really, you post daily with your best friends and there are 100s of pictures with your exes?    I could understand if they had been together or a few months but over a year no way!  And he was fine with it before and all the sudden he’s not.  No freaking way. Liar liar pants on fire.

  4. 4
    Dana Harris

    Great advice, although I think you may have misread the timeline… As I read it, they started dating 2 years ago. The fight over FB tagging happened 6 mos. ago. He texted the ex around that time, and she found the text 2 mos. ago. Still a little odd to stumble over texts that are 4 mos. old, but a lot more plausible than 2 years.

    In any case, the timing is a quibble. He’s got to go.

    1. 4.1
      Josie

      i would have ended it at the point where Mr. Dbag refused to allow himself to be tagged on FB by a girlfriend of over a year.

  5. 5
    Lisa

    This is definitely cheating because the only reason it did not happen was because she turned him down.  If she would have said yes chances are he would have cheated.   Like Evan said he wanted to.  And cheating or not, the fact that he deals with issues in the relationship by sexting other women is concerning in itself, leave him.   I further surmise that a man that was perfectly fine with you posting things on social media with the two of you and then all of the sudden was not, is up to no good.   I am a firm believer that men that do not want to openly post things on social media about their girlfriends are cheaters.  There are a few exceptions to this rule of course.  The first being he is not on social media and never was before.  Two he is but genuinely never posts with anyone or he has a job such as law enforcement where he really cannot post personal things and does not with anyone else.  But if he is posting with friends and better yet has postings of exes and won’t with you this is an issue. I don’t expect it after three months but at a year, I do!   I have been this ex I should tell you. I had one of my exes repeatedly trying to sex to meet up with me, and I turned him down.  Only to find out he had a very serious gf. I found out when she texted me.   I also have caught several of my bfs who refused to post on social media with me cheating.   So this is a huge red flag and it is cheating.

    1. 5.1
      Adrian

      Hi Lisa,

      I agree with 99.9% of everything you said except for saying that he “did the action” of cheating.

       

      I would say he has the heart of a cheater but since he did not do it, he did not cheat on her. Since he was only sexting, I wouldn’t even call him an emotional cheater.

      1. 5.1.1
        Stacy

        So you’re saying that sexting someone else while you’re in a relationship isn’t cheating? Like, seriously?

        And let’s put it another way, are you saying that asking another person to have sex while in a relationship is also not cheating?

        When I think I can’t be more surprised…

        1. SQ

          Let me throw out a radical thought — is it up to the individual to decide what is cheating or, more accurately, what they are OK with and what they are not?

           

          I would say that if one has to write to a stranger and ask them what to do, it bothers them enough to end the relationship over it, so I don’t think the advice to OP was wrong.

          So taking OP’s situtaion out of the equation, sexting is just a sexually explicit conversation by text (not necessarily a proposition for live sex). So what if sexting doesn’t bother Adrian or his SO (this is hypothetical of course…)? Is it still cheating?  What if it wasn’t someone he knew but a stranger in a sex chat room he’s never going to see again? Would it be different?

        2. Karmic Equation

          SQ,

          If both couples agree on what is considered cheating or not cheating, then it’s whatever the couple agrees on.

          If a couple agrees to an open relationship, then having sex with someone else is not cheating.

          However, the couple needs to discuss <it> (whatever it is, sexting, open relationship, etc.) and agree to the “rules” BEFORE it is done.

          One person in a relationship cannot decide what is NOT cheating. Both people in the relationship have to agree on what is NOT cheating.

          So if the couple is in an exclusive relationship, sexual chatting with anyone else IS cheating UNLESS the couple has agreed in advance that is NOT considered cheating.

        3. SQ

          Then is watching porn cheating if his SO doesn’t like it? Is looking at another woman across a crowded restaurant cheating because she doesn’t like it? Is having dinner with a female co-worker while on a business trip cheating because she says it is? How far does it go?

          And yeah I know this isn’t solving OP’s problem, so if this is too off topic, don’t post.

        4. Adrian

          Thanks SQ,

          but both Stacy 1 and Stacy 2 have more of an argumentative, attack style then a learning style.

           

          I said, I agrees with every point Lisa (as well as every commenters point). She didn’t acknowledge that because it is against her nature. From past post, it is clear that her style  is more of the find the “one thing she doesn’t agree on and focus on that” then the look at things from other perspectives.

           

          I acknowledge that the guy is a bad boyfriend, and he was wrong, all I said was that to me, the lack of action (having sex with another woman) is not cheating.

           

          Am I right? Who cares about being right or wrong with this definition, it’s such a petty argument.

           

          My first comment, was about Evan’s advice being flawless, again Stacy doesn’t care about that.

           

          Stacy you can have the word cheat, take it, now everyone agrees with your definition.

        5. Karmic Equation

          SQ,

          Which part of the phrase “agreed in advance” are you having trouble with understanding?

          If you both can’t reach agreement on what is considered cheating or not cheating in your relationship, the next question to ask is “Should we be in this relationship if we cannot agree on what is important to both of us?”

          If your gf considers your having lunch or dinner or breakfast with a colleague for business reasons “cheating”, you should dump her.

          If you consider sexting up a stranger on the internet not cheating, then tell her that’s what you like to do whenever the mood strikes you. Obviously if you feel that is ok to sext up strangers while in a relationship, you will feel neither shame nor guilt and can tell her up front that’s what you like to do when you have spare time. If you think it’s ok, and she doesn’t, then she should dump you…or you should dump her.

          Behavior which you think is “ok to do while in a relationship” but will not disclose to your significant other should clue you in that you’re not behaving in a way that honors either her or the relationship.

          And if you don’t wish to honor your woman or your relationship with her, you need to ask yourself “Why not?” If the answer is that you don’t love her or you no longer want to be in a relationship with you, then break up with her before you dishonor her or the relationship.

          That is what people with integrity do.

        6. Adrian

          Hi again SQ,

           

          Read enough comments on this site and you will notice that many men AND women consider everything you said cheating. There feelings are more important than their partners intentions.

           

          *Watching occasional Porn

           

          *Having an innocent unplanned lunch with an attractive co-worker of the opposite sex and not telling their partner because they didn’t see it being important or special,

           

          *Staying friends with ex’s (even if you knew them several years before they met their current partner)

           

          Going to bachelor parties (even if the naughtiest thing you do at that party is spill your drink on the expensive carpet)

           

          The list goes on, and on. I do agree with Karmic Equation that if it is something that really bothers you, communication is best, yet like you said, where does it end and trust begins?

           

          Why be with someone if you can’t trust them?

          …   …   …

          Oh and though I personally don’t consider sexting another person outside your relationship cheating, I also don’t consider it an acceptable action of a person in a relationship. Just because sex with another is cheating to me, doesn’t mean that all bad behavior gets a free pass.

           

        7. SQ

          Excuse me, Karmic? You can make a point without the snarky insults.

          Nothing more to say. Have a nice day.

        8. SQ

          By the way, I am not a man who cheats on his gf — I’m not even a man — so your whole rant presumably directed at me was pointless.

        9. Karmic Equation

          SQ,

          I wasn’t being snarky and you know it.

          When people resort to ad hominem attacks to my posts, it just shows that they cannot refute my points logically. Instead of continuing to debate the topic, they debate the debater instead.

          And the points while addressed to you, assuming you were a man, were not pointless just because you’re actually a woman.

          Change the pronouns and gf to bf and the points are still valid.

        10. SQ

          There feelings are more important than their partners intentions.” Yes Adrian that’s what I was getting at with the hypothetical examples and hoping for an interesting exchange among the posters here (since the topic was in fact What is cheating?), as everyone has differing opinions. 

        11. SQ

          Karmic, you’ve come out of nowhere before with nasty comments directed specifically at me, even when the comment wasn’t to you. I’m not sure why, but honestly it really doesn’t matter. Whatevs.

        12. MikeTO

          Karmic, “One person in a relationship cannot decide what is NOT cheating. Both people in the relationship have to agree on what is NOT cheating.

          So if the couple is in an exclusive relationship, sexual chatting with anyone else IS cheating UNLESS the couple has agreed in advance that is NOT considered cheating.”

          You are assuming that’s the major rule. However unless people define what the rules are you can not say what is cheating or not cheating. Some people considered flirting cheating other’s don’t. Two people have to make an agreement once they want to be in a serious relationship.

        13. Leanne

          This is Leanne — the person who posted the question to Evan.  It was an outright proposition for sex.  Thinking about it still makes me fume.

      2. 5.1.2
        Karmic Equation

        Hi Adrian,

        Since the reason he didn’t *physically* cheat on his gf was because the ex said no, I think it’s safe to conclude that if she had sex yes, he would have cheated.

        So he, himself, did not stop himself from cheating. His ex stopped him.

        Therefore, he’s a cheater.

        Trying to negotiate sex with someone else while in an exclusive relationship, whether consummated or not, is cheating.

        The intent is there.

        It’s like  murder. If one tries to stab someone to death, but the victim survives, it’s still attempted murder. The only reason it’s not actual murder is because the victim survived in spite of the murder attempt, because the murderer had a change of heart. So he doesn’t get a mulligan.

        He’s still guilty of cheating. He just didn’t have the opportunity to carry through with it because of someone else’s intervention.

        If the ex had said yes and THEN he changed his mind and never followed, there’s some wiggle room.

        1. Karmic Equation

           

          Typo. This sentence should read:

          The only reason it’s not actual murder is because the victim survived in spite of the murder attempt, NOT because the murderer had a change of heart (which would be a mitigating factor).

        2. Adrian

          Hi Karmic Equation,

          My first comment was praising Evan’s advice as being flawless. I see cheating as having sex physically, but I never said this guy was right or justified.

           

          This argument reminds me of a time I heard to older men talking about the 10 commandments. One guy said if you break any of them god said you are a sinner and should die. Then the other guy said, wait, the 10th one is  about your thoughts… so I am suppose to die even if I just thought it but never did it? The other guy said… Yes!

           

          Your murder analogy is a bad example, because he still did the action of stabbing, the guy wanted to but did not have sex with another woman. I am not defending this guy, nor am I saying that he would not have cheated, I just said that to me it is not cheating without the act of sex.

           

          But like I told Stacy 1, it’s such a petty thing arguing over semantics. You can have the word cheater.

        3. Karmic Equation

          Hi Adrian,

          We’re arguing nuance here. Is it cheating only if there is touching of another person involved?

          Context is important.

          Probably a lot of men watch porn or go to strip clubs and have some fantasies of touching/having sex with those women. That’s fantasy. Everyone is entitled to their fantasies.

          What crosses the line from “fantasy” to “intent” is if the guy asks for the stripper’s telephone number or hunts down the email address of the porn star. If he gets the number or email address and then throws them away without ever making any contact, then he hasn’t cheated. He acted on impulse, but then thought better of it. Good for him.

          However, if he initiates contact, he’s wandered into the “gray” side of cheating territory; “black” side would be having sex.

          I would say that “gray” behavior is behavior that’s usually tough for someone else to discover. But gray behavior can cause guilt in some people. My take on it is that if someone engages in gray behavior and feels guilty, that person should NEVER EVER disclose it to their partners. The punishment for that “gray” transgression is to live with guilt for the rest of his/her life. Disclosing gray behavior, paradoxically, imo, is SELFISH behavior and not a reflection of that person’s honesty, because disclosing the guilty behavior shifts the emotional burden from the offender to the victim. In other words, the guilty offender relieves him/herself of guilt and places the burden of tolerance or acceptance on his/her partner.

          If the guilty partner truly loves their mate, s/he should live with the burden of the guilt for the rest of their lives and allow their mate to live in ignorant bliss.

          This assumes a one-off guilty experience. If there is a repeat, then this person needs to break up with his/her partner, and in the breakup confess the gray (or black) behaviors. The break up is their self-punishment for the repeat and the confession is to free the partner from their emotional bond to them. What woman or man would hold a torch for someone who admits to cheating on them.

          In other words, when guilty disclosures are made during a breakup, the disclosure is punishment to the offender. When guilty disclosures are made without a breakup, then the offender is being selfish, because the partner has to pay the price, either in doing the breakup or being forced to accept the transgression. YMMV.

      3. 5.1.3
        Karl S

        I would say he has the heart of a cheater but since he did not do it, he did not cheat on her.

        There’s a reason why people can be charged with “attempted murder” you know. 😛

        He committed the action of reaching out to his ex with the intent to cheat. Whether it was implicit or explicit, the ex understood what it meant. The action was in this communication as much as any physical contact that may or may not have occurred afterward.

        1. Karl S

          Oh man. I should really do more than skim the comments above me. You guys already brought up the murder comparison. Bah.

  6. 6
    SQ

    I think the question is, is intent to cheat equal to actually cheating?

    It’s interesting that you bring up Ashley Madison. As everyone knows by know, over 95% of the female profiles on the site were fake. So it’s highly unlikely too many men who registered accounts on AM ever had affairs (at least not with women they met there).

    But was the intent to do so — or even just entertaining the possibility — bad enough? And what level of intent is the trigger: thinking I’d sleep with her/him if I could get away with it but never actually doing anything to make it happen, or actually planning an tryst that never came to be, as OP’s BF did.

    This is just me, but personally, I would be very hurt if found out my husband was thinking about haivng an affair (but not actually taking any action on those thoughts) but would I leave him? I can’t say I would. Maybe it would be better to see it as a warning sign that there are some issues we need to come clean about and work through.

    If he was pursuing a woman with the intent of cheating but it hadn’t happened yet? As I type this, my emotional brain says, yes that’s cheating and no way would I tolerate that, but my rational brain says I just can’t say that there’s aboslutely no way the marriage could never be saved. If we were not married and just dating maybe I’d automatically say I’m done with him, IDK.

    At the end of the day my take is that we can’t control what we think about but we can control what we do.

  7. 7
    Joe

    Which is worse–a cheater or a snoop?

    1. 7.1
      KK

      Snoopy cheaters.

    2. 7.2
      Evan Marc Katz

      A cheater. A snoop doubts the truthfulness of her partner. A cheater has actually broken the bonds of trust and is worthy of being snooped upon.

      1. 7.2.1
        KK

        Agreed, Evan. My comment was a failed attempt at humor. 😀

        By the way, glad to see your comments highlighted in blue again. Makes it so much easier to find your comments.

      2. 7.2.2
        MikeTO

        That’s not always the case. It depends on past relationships some times. For example if a person got cheated by their partners several times this person might snoop.

        Snooping isn’t a good thing.

      3. 7.2.3
        Leanne

        See comment 24 for my clarification of the situation.  I did not intentionally snoop.  He has often left his email logged in on my computer and I always closed it out and did not go searching for emails to his exes and the such.  I trusted him completely (I am a little naive, because there is much less water under my bridge) even though we argued — arguments happen in relationships, if you never argue about anything there is probably something wrong.  The timeline in Evan’s post is wrong. Comment 24 clears it up.  Evan, I do appreciate your insight however.  As yet, I am undecided what I should do so I welcome everyone’s insight.

    3. 7.3
      Adrian

      I actually think the snooper is worse.

       

      Cheating I can live with, but someone going through my private things behind my back.

      1. 7.3.1
        KK

        I see both as violations of trust and privacy. But if I had to choose the least worse option, I’d pick snooper.

        1. GoWiththeFlow

          KK,

          Me too.  A snoop won’t drag home an STD or announce one day that a baby has been conceived outside of the relationship.

      2. 7.3.2
        Henriette

        You can live with cheating, @Adrian?  Awww… no way, man.  You are too good a guy to ever accept such shoddy treatment.

    4. 7.4
      KinkyBoots

      A cheater. Hands down. Every time.

  8. 8
    Malika

    He would have cheated if given the opportunity, so hell yes! If cheating is a deal breaker for you, then there is no other option other than the thanks for the memories talk. Even if he is treating you like gold now, who is to say he won’t proposition someone else when you have another challenging time within your relationship?

    But more importantly, who wants a boyfriend who doesn’t want your presence to be known on his social media page (assuming that he is not the type that dislikes having any kind of photos on there)? That’s like the date that doesn want to be seen with you in public, lest he runs into someone who would have a problem with that.  This red flag is waving just as crazily as the text messages.

    One last thing: It’s not cool to snoop, I would be livid if someone did that with my phone. Obviously you felt it was necessary though, otherwise you wouldn’t have done it. I hope you get a boyfriend whereby you feel so safe that you don’t ever feel the need to rummage around his texts.

    1. 8.1
      Leanne

      See comment #24

  9. 9
    Suzanne Hendricks Poole

    I totally support Evan’s perspective.  Intent.  And I’d be done with this fella asap.

    Forget hanging in there while you meet your mutual running goals this next year.  Every day spent with the wrong man is wasted when you could just be your best self and available for the right partner.

    I know snooping is wrong and actually only did that with an ex fiance who had cheated and regardless of sworn promises, therapy together, etc. he continued to cheat.  And that just drives an otherwise sane woman right off the crazy cliffs.

    The first time I found out he was cheating was a complete accident.  We have the same exact phone and they were charging side by side after returning from a long trip for his daughter’s college graduation.  I had been texting with her all day on his phoneto update her on road conditions as it was heavy winter interstate travel and she was about an hour behind us with her mother.  And they were all coming to our house for the night and then traveling on.

    When the phone chirped, I assumed it was them, looking for directions.  But no.  It was an ex of his setting up a sex date for the next day…Christmas Eve!  The very same ex that he cheated with a couple years prior….that had led to so many promises, counseling, ring, house, etc.

    I had tried to take such a mature perspective that time.  Because the entire relationship was so perfect except that incident.  Right.  The reality is he had never stopped cheating, just got more clever.  Like making phony guy names on caller ID so if I saw the phone ringing John or Bill I wouldn’t give it a thought.  “Bill called and needs a hand loading some wood.  Be back in a couple hours.

    I now am now in the “once a cheater, always a cheater” mindset.  It’s a character defect.  And unfortunately, men and women who have this defect still want love and relationships and all the goodies under that umbrella.  So a cheater will deny, lie and say whatever they think will keep you providing.

    I actually ask men early on, like second or third date about cheating.  And they are surprisingly honest.  I think.  Who knows.  But I do know it’s a very selfish trait and will never suffer the he’ll of a cheater again.

    1. 9.1
      KK

      “I now am now in the “once a cheater, always a cheater” mindset.  It’s a character defect.  And unfortunately, men and women who have this defect still want love and relationships and all the goodies under that umbrella.  So a cheater will deny, lie and say whatever they think will keep you providing”.

      Spot on.

      1. 9.1.1
        Joe

        Once a snoop, always a snoop!

  10. 10
    Emily, the original

    What’s that Chris Rock joke? A man is only as faithful as his options. The OP’s boyfriend proved that to be true.

    1. 10.1
      Karmic Equation

      Agree.

    2. 10.2
      KK

      I guess all men are cheaters according to Chris Rock…

      1. 10.2.1
        CaliforniaGirl

        Yes they are, given the options.

        1. KK

          So, men, all men, are only faithful if they don’t have the option to cheat?

        2. Evan Marc Katz

          Ridiculous. The implication that every happily married ethical man wouLd cheat is so absurd as to not require further explanation.

    3. 10.3
      Adreana

      “a man is only faithful as his options”.

      I don’t necessarily agree but a lot of men perpetuate this belief.  I’ve seen countless of comments from men saying women should forgo the confident “alpha” types because they will cheat since they have the options. I think it all comes down the personality/ethics of the individual and how ready they are to have a relationship.

       

      1. 10.3.1
        Emily, the original

        “I think it all comes down the personality/ethics of the individual and how ready they are to have a relationship.”

        Of course. The Chris Rock statement was a joke, but like every good joke, there is a shred of truth in it that makes us uncomfortable. I was once watching Bill Maher doing stand-up with a girlfriend and he said when it comes to women there is not old or young, fat or thin, small-chested or busty … just new. My friend and I turned to each other with pained looks on our faces, because you can’t compete with that. You can’t be new forever.

        1. Adrian

          Hi Emily,

           

          I love both Bill Maher’s and John Oliver’s shows, but their stand up is not funny to me.

           

          Chris Rock’s stand-up is funny, but I don’t like most of his movies.

          …   …   …

          Comedy aside, I once read somewhere that young people should date around a lot to get it out of their system; so when they do settle down, they won’t feel the need to go out and cheat searching for what they could be missing.

           

          I don’t know if that is true or not. But I have seen plenty of attractive men date women who were not attractive (to me).

           

          Each set of couples had men that were much better looking and clearly had options, but they were not only faithful, they were happy. I have seen younger, and much better looking women than their wives, approach these guys; yet each time they turned those women down, saying they were happily married.

        2. Adreana

          “there is not old or young, fat or thin, small-chested or busty … just new”. LOL!

          I agree there is some truth to it, even if it doesn’t apply to all.

          That’s one of the reasons I’m hesitant to date guys who are younger or haven’t dated much. Even if they think you’re great, they will always wonder what it would’ve been like to date other women.

        3. Emily, the original

          Hi Adrian,

          You mentioned the couples you know in which the man is much more attractive than the woman. He has other options but turns them down. When I think about the two most attractive guys I work with, neither is particularly flirtatious. That could be their personalities, and I don’t know what their wives look like, but maybe an attractive, confident man who is happy with himself and what he has at home doesn’t feel the need to validate himself by heavy flirting or putting out the cheating feelers …  ?

        4. Emily, the original

          Adreana,

          That’s one of the reasons I’m hesitant to date guys who are younger or haven’t dated much.

          I don’t think Bill Maher’s comment was exclusive to young men who need to sow their oats, so to speak. It’s about men at any age who like the novelty of a new partner.

        5. GoWiththeFlow

          Emily, to & Adrian,

          I think there are men who make a conscious choice to be faithful and they manage their attraction to other women, and other women’s attraction to them.  For instance, if they travel for work, they don’t hang out late in bars or nightclubs.  They don’t get drunk.  They don’t invite women colleagues to their hotel room or go to their’s.  They make a point to call their spouse and check in, etc.

          Then I think there are men who may initially, in the heat of new love say and feel like they will be faithful.  But then the fire burns down, or stress happens, they’re bored and they don’t take measures to avoid high risk situations, or actively seek them (like the OP’s BF) and, boom!  It could be  they have poor boundaries, or a sense of entitlement and if so, the likelihood of a repeat is high because the problem is with them and not their spouse. Unfortunately, the cheated on wife usually blames herself.

          P.S.  I love Bill Maher, John Oliver, and Chris Rock, too.  But all three of them do say things that make me uncomfortable when their material involves our darker natures.

        6. Adrian

          Emily and GoWithTheFlow,

           

          I completely agree with GoWithTheFlow’s point, and as Emily said, some men get it out of their system some don’t. But honestly, I don’t know why some people cheat and why some don’t in “Happy” relationships.

           

          My little brother’s girlfriend moved to NYC to pursue a modeling career, my best friend’s wife was one of the prettiest girls in our high school plus, she was the cheerleader captain.

           

          Both are good guys with good women, but both cheat.

           

          I can kind of understand my little brother because he is really young, but my friend I don’t understand.

           

          I have met a few of his side women, and to be completely honest… they are younger and drop dead gorgeous compared to his wife; but that doesn’t matter. If that is what he wanted, then why even get married in the first place?

           

          He has told me of times when she has went through his phone and she even once tried to probe me (but I’m not getting in that, I made that mistake 3 times in the past with other friends and they stayed together, but distanced themselves from me as if I was the bad guy).

           

          My friend is very skilled, going through his phone or his computer would be like trying to read a blank page (which is why he lets her do it), some of the ideas he’s come up with to cheat are very ingenious.

           

          It was hard, but I had to distance myself from him, because that is not the type of person I want to be… or maybe it was because I envied him; because man of man he had some great stories to tell.

        7. Emily, the original

          Adrian and GoWithTheFlow,

          Have you ever read Esther Perel’s stuff? She wrote “Mating in Captivity.” It details why people cheat. It’s not to get away from the person they are with. It’s to get away from the person they have become. And an affair is a very erotic experience that either reintroduces the person to a part of himself he hadn’t experienced in while or a part he never know existed.

        8. GoWiththeFlow

          Emily,

          Yes I have the book on my kindle but haven’t finished it yet (got sidelined by an out of state move).  I think I’ll read it this weekend.

           

          With people who are serial cheaters, I think there are many dynamics that could be in play.  Some guys may cheat in a moment of weakness–drunk, away from home, a willing body–find out that they’ve gotten away with it, then keep cheating to keep getting the adrenaline high and ego stroke.  In the meantime, they are receiving enough comfort, security, and ego reinforcement from their spouse, that they don’t want to leave the marriage.

          Then I think there are people that just don’t have boundaries.  Maybe dad or mom had affairs that were known and the person deep down has the idea that if they are unhappy in any way, an affair is okay.  They may have base ego needs that no one person will ever be able to satisfy.  Or they may be narcissists or sociopaths that aren’t concerned with anyone’s needs or feelings but their own.

           

          Adrian,

          That really stinks that your friend like to brag about his infidelities to you when you knew his wife.  He put you in a real icky situation.  He sounds like every woman’s nightmare:  A guy who covers his tracks so well, the way you find out about his cheating is when you get herpes or HPV induced cervical or throat cancer.  It sounds as if he wants the comforts of a spouse, but wants the thrill of bedding multiple women as well.  I wonder if he went into his marriage never intending to be faithful.

           

          Your brother may just be too young to be in a committed relationship.  But he is getting enough positive out of the relationship that he won’t give that up to stick with honestly playing the field.  And he hasn’t been caught and felt the negative consequences that can come from it.  That may be a lesson he will learn.  Then when he’s older and wants a wife and a family, he will know exactly what he can lose, and that will keep him on the straight and narrow.

           

        9. Emily, the original

          Adrian,

          ” … or maybe it was because I envied him; because man of man he had some great stories to tell.”

          You’re a young, unmarried, untethered guy. You should have stories that your former best friend envies!   🙂

        10. Emily, the original

          GoWithTheFlow,

          With people who are serial cheaters, I think there are many dynamics that could be in play.

          Yes, I agree with you.

          I am a woman, so the temptation to cheat makes little sense to me. I rarely meet someone I am attracted to, and if that person is actually available and interested in me, I’ve hit the lottery. I can’t imagine being seriously involved with someone I really liked and meeting another person I was really attracted to who also found me appealing. Statistically, I can’t see it happening.

        11. Adrian

          GoWithTheFlow and Emily,

           

          GoWithTheFlow, honestly… you gave me something new to think about.

           

          Adrenaline highs, ego stroking (and stoking), or boredom; those are all good reasons people in “happy” relationships could cheat. Or he got accidently caught up in the moment like you said.

           

          I especially like the part about consequences. Maybe those who have felt the burn of getting caught and losing a great women will be cured from cheating.

           

          But I am curious, do you think their are serial female cheaters in happy relationships? If so, are their motivations the same as for men? Because I never hear about female serial cheaters.

          …   …   …

          Emily,

          I struggle trying to get into the whole one-night-stand thing or friends with benefits. So all my sex has been within a committed relationship; if I’m single, I’m sexless.

           

          Besides being afraid of catching something venereal, I just can’t bare the thought of using another human “just” for sex; which is why I would never approach someone asking only for it. I’ve had various women approach me about it, but they were always married.

           

          This may sound wierd, but what I actually envy about people like my friend (as well as a few of the married co-workers from my old job), and my little brother is their lack of concern for the feelings of others.

           

          They put their own pleasure before others which I know is bad, but at the same time, they seem like they are swimming in hot women, sex and adventure.

          …   …   …

          Anyway, I don’t want to make this about me, cheating is wrong, I personally don’t care about sexting, and I would never do it, but if the woman I am dating does it with someone else, I would dump her -though she never cheated on me (^_^).

        12. Emily, the original

          Adrian,

          ” … or maybe it was because I envied him; because man of man he had some great stories to tell.”

          “They put their own pleasure before others which I know is bad, but at the same time, they seem like they are swimming in hot women, sex and adventure.”

          You mentioned you weren’t into casual sex and friends-with-benefits situations, and if that’s not your thing, don’t do it. But I do get a sense from your posts that you are teetering on the fence about trying something new. I sense you want something more. You just need a bold woman who will kick you over the edge!   🙂

        13. GoWiththeFlow

          Adrian,

          I do know two women who are serial cheaters.  I would say that both of them have such a great need for affirmation from men that no one man will ever be able to meet their needs because they cannot ever be met.  Like your guy friends, these two ladies acted on their impulses and desires and shoved aside any concern for others’ feelings. Not to mention considering potential consequences!  Both women had their behavior blow up in their faces and they both lost marriages.

           

          One thought about the guys you know who cheat.  Unless you see it for yourself, they may be exaggerating or lying about their conquests.  I would have to borrow other peoples’ fingers and toes to count the guys I know who spun tall tales about the numbers of women they had or their respective hotness.  😉

    4. 10.4
      Just Saying

      I would add…..as faithful as his options  AND levels of energy.  Some men are just to lazy to pursue their options.

  11. 11
    CaliforniaGirl

    He just didn’t want his ex or other potential prospects to see you two together on social media. He might even tell her that it’s not serious or something along the lines. Because if there are no happy posts then he can tell whatever he wants to them.

    If a guy I am dating doesn’t want to be tagged on social media with me and the reason is not work/business related and there are pictures of his exes or other people, it’s a huge red flag and it means he doesn’t want to be associated with you.

    Sending his ex intimate messages while you have a rough patch is just disgusting. Dump him and never look back.

     

  12. 12
    KinkyBoots

    OP – for every rat you see, there’s 50 you don’t. Finish with him now. I guarantee there are other propositions in his past.

  13. 13
    Noquay

    Yep, she snooped: why? Her gut was telling her something is up.  Yes, he cheated. This probably stemmed from his reluctance to have anything with them together on social media. He wanted to hide their status as a couple; unless he is in a witness protection program, or they’re inappropriate pics, a humungous red flag. True, many folk are private, yep, social media to many, myself included, is a vacuous waste of time. The solution is to stay off it, not throw a fit. When you are honestly committed to someone, you proudly own their presence in your life.

  14. 14
    GoWiththeFlow

    Okay, I read through the OP and everyone’s responses.  Instead of leaving around 20 comments on other sub-threads, I’ll put all of my thoughts down in one post.

    1)  The timeline isn’t exactly clear.  To me it looks like they were friends for some time, then became something more.  Three weeks after the “something more event/talk” he told her he loved her and they became exclusive.  One and a half years after that, they had the disagreement about her tagging him in photos of the two of them that she posted on her “social media” account–sounds like Facebook.  He gave her the silent treatment and the issue was resolved when she promised not to tag him in photos anymore.  (More on that later)  My understanding is that this photo tagging disagreement happened between 2-6 months ago.  Then she discovered his texts 2 months ago.

    2)  The “sexting” included her boyfriend propositioning his ex-girlfriend for sex.  The ex-GF said no.  A lot of things can fall under the umbrella descriptor of “sexting” depending upon how an individual defines it.  IMO the important item is that the boyfriend ASKED ANOTHER WOMAN TO HAVE SEX WITH HIM.  He wasn’t having just a sexy exchange with another woman (that would have been bad enough) he was texting her with the goal of having actual sex with her.  The excuse he gave?  Because he was “frustrated” with his girlfriend over her tagging him in photos she posted on her social media account.  Makes me wonder what this guy would do down the road if there were really big problems between the two of them, like a job loss, financial problems, or if Leanne became ill.  Seriously, he gets frustrated with her over Facebook so he propositions another woman for sex???

    3)  She found the texts while she was “using his computer.”  I wonder if she had his permission to use it.  That makes a huge difference in whether she was snooping or not, or at least the degree to which she was doing it.  If she did use his computer with his knowledge/permission, this guy may have subconsciously wanted to be caught.  I’ve heard of it happening enough.  Phones and laptops left open, unlocked (most people I know have a passcode that will close down the screen within a few minutes of it being unattended) and out in a conspicuous place.  Yep the person who picks it up and starts scrolling through is snooping.  But I wonder why people with something to hide seem to be so incompetent when it comes to covering their tracks.

    4)  Now look a little closer at what their disagreement was about.  Essentially, when Leanne posts a photo of the two of them on her FB wall, then tags him, the photo of the two of them together shows up on his FB wall.  To resolve the problem, Leanne stopped tagging him when she posted a photo of the two of them together, and it wouldn’t show up on his wall.  The guy doesn’t want photos of him and his girlfriend together showing up on his wall.  Um, why the change of heart?  As Leanne stated, “When we were first dating, he had no problem with me sharing whatever I wanted on social media.”  Given that this guy was sexting his ex and trying to set up a tryst, his all of a sudden becoming averse to people seeing photos of him with his girlfriend on his Facebook wall is very suspicious.  Sounds like he may want his Facebook friends to think he’s unattached.

    In the past two weeks, I have had late night heart-to-hearts with two people that are very dear to me who’s spouses cheated on them.  One big thing they both needed to contemplate was whether this was a onetime failure in judgement, or was there something in their spouse’s personality and character that meant infidelity was going to be an ongoing issue.  Given that it took so little for Leanne’s boyfriend to look for sex somewhere else–I’m frustrated with you for posting couples pics on my Facebook wall!–and the fact that he apparently hasn’t accepted responsibility for his actions, this may be a character issue and not a one time thing.

    I’m so sorry Leanne :’-(

  15. 15
    Expat

    This case is clear cut for me and comes down like Evan said.

    Her’es a crazy-making story: Like other posters, I also had an ex who was very strange about posting anything about us on social media, but when I brought it up he just got smarter and created a special list on Facebook that included only our mutual friends. After that he restricted any post involving me (and our relationship status as a couple together) so that it could only be seen by this special list of friends. To everyone else, he appeared single. All this came out when he fessed up to cheating on me for years, and yes he had used Facebook to arrange dalliances. Not much you can learn from a guy like that other than to be glad he came clean, trust your gut, walk away and try not to take it personally. The problem is an experience like that does tend to mess with your gut.

    I’m now in a relationship for five months with a man who I do believe is very trustworthy. But he also is very private on social media, and it does sometimes make me nervous given my past. In his case, he’s private in general – there are no posts of him with past girlfriends and he rarely posts anything. I think much of this comes down to the fact that he is from a very conservative family that would not approve of him openly dating before marriage (we live in one of the most conservative regions of the world), so he couldn’t really tell his family about me unless he was at a very serious level. When we had a discussion about it, he says he’s just a private person and that’s just the way he is, but I’m free to post anything I like.

    My ex used to say the same line, “I’m just private.” This new guy is otherwise a good boyfriend so I’m trying to let this go and I hope it’s not a red flag I’m missing. He’s never asked me not to post photos of us. I’ve done it a few times, but I tend not to out of respect for his family situation.

  16. 16
    Just Saying

    To me, the BIG MASSIVE red flag is the sudden change in behaviour and attitude by the boyfriend. OP says boyfriend was OK with her social media postings when they first started dating, but suddenly changed his position a little over a year into their relationship.  I have found out from bitter experience that any such sudden changes in your better half almost always means they are cheating, or that they have mentally checked out of the relationship and it is only a matter of time before they checked out physically as well.

  17. 17
    Sparkxx

    Pardon my puritanical approach, but I get dismayed by the use of words like “snooping” when two people are already in an exclusive relationship. The OP says they have already had the exclusivity talk and that there is the line.

    Two become one is not just some religious baloney. It cuts across the board. When you become exclusive, your S/O has every right to know all the nitty gritty of each aspect of your life.
    Now, am not saying that you can no longer enjoy activities and your hobbies alone every once in a while, NO!
    Am not saying that you have to be joined at the hip just because you are exclusive, NO!

    Am not necessarily saying that you should check your partner’s phone…

    But Am saying, you have earned the right to do so by virtue of the status of your relationship. The same way a mother has the right to know where their teenage daughter is stashing the pot!

    Am saying you are now sharing pretty much everything with your partner. Let’s see, stale morning breath, dirty socks on the floor, snoring, toilet seats…(take your pick here).  I mean this person probably knows the colour of the underwear you are wearing today (not to mention all that’s beneath it). At the level where you share THAT MUCH with someone, when does it become wrong to see what’s on their phone. SUCH DOUBLE STANDARDS!!!

    If you check your casual bf/gf’s phone, that’s snooping.  The moment you say you are exclusive, there is no more sneaking around. Your S/O has every right to know who is calling at 3:00 am, what is on your account, and “Honey who is Heather from College?”
    That is not snooping. You would also want to know these things if the tables were turned.

    So the moment you reach for that phone or computer to text (much worse “sext”) your ex, you have already cheated. This is premeditated.
    To use Karmic’s murder analogy, it means that the one who hired the hitman and the hitman who pulled the trigger all get put away for murderONE!

    No one accidentally slips and their tongue accidentally ends up in their ex’s mouth (slip of the tongue HA!) or accidentally sexts their ex asking them for sex! (And NO drunk texting ever!)  This is something you think about, plan, execute and conceal from your partner, because you know you are cheating. Otherwise the next time one is asking their ex for sex (why does it rhyme, hahaha) they would let their significant other in on the convo…right?
    I didn’t think so. Because at that point, there is cheating. Damn straight.

    You would think that Love makes the world go round? NO!

    Trust does. Every single relationship (and again across the board-man/woman, boss/employee, man/God, even that between you and the waiter bringing your latte)…is predicated on Trust.

    That trust that this person (or people) is not really going to intentionally go out to hurt you. The moment that trust is betrayed (even once) it is all OVER!

    To quote the OP…

    “About 2 months ago, I was using his computer and found text messages sent during the time we had been arguing – specifically sext messages– to his ex-girlfriend in which he was propositioning her for sex (I wish I could unsee the stuff he wrote)”

    That pretty much sums it up. He doesn’t even have to have actually had the sex.
    What ruins relationships is not even the actual act of adultery, but the secrets and the betrayal of trust.

    So dear OP, heed Evan’s advice. Do not stick around waiting for the carpet to be pulled from under your feet.

    Run your marathons alright. But make sure you are running in opposite directions and as far away from your current boyfriend as possible.

    1. 17.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Am not necessarily saying that you should check your partner’s phone…But Am saying, you have earned the right to do so by virtue of the status of your relationship. The same way a mother has the right to know where their teenage daughter is stashing the pot!

      Actually, what you are saying is that you are willing to contradict yourself in two consecutive sentences. And that you should manage your adult boyfriend the way you manage an untrustworthy teen who may be smoking pot. Your lack of logic and awareness about this, and justification for your hypothetical behaviors speaks for itself. I only ask you to imagine what you’d feel like if your partner snooped through your phone regularly if you did something wrong. Evidently, by your logic, he’s earned the right to do so. Not by mine.

      1. 17.1.1
        Christine

        I would seriously leave any guy I didn’t trust before I snooped on him.  If you feel an urge to snoop, that shows you don’t trust him and probably shouldn’t be with him anyway…so why delay the inevitable?  Just leave and save yourself the time and effort of playing detective.

        I once dated someone who I really didn’t trust and who I did suspect was cheating on me.  But, rather than snoop around looking for proof of my suspicions, I just left him, since I can’t be with someone I can’t trust (and that wasn’t the only reason I left, but it was a large part of it).  I don’t have the time or resources to monitor my significant other 24/7.  Not to mention,  I don’t think I’d want to, even if I could.  There are other ways I’d rather spend my time.  I’m much happier now with a guy who I really do trust and don’t have to snoop on.

        1. GoWiththeFlow

          Christine,

          I’ve been in a few similar situations!  When you realize your anxiety is turning into paranoia, and you don’t like what you’re on the verge of becoming, it’s time to walk away. Being alone is better than being a nervous, jealous wreck!

        2. Christine

          Absolutely!  I know from personal experience that it’s better to leave the crazy-making, rather than try to figure it out!  I hated the suspicious and nervous person I was becoming.  The only thing that truly made me feel better was leaving, and finding someone else who never gives me that suspicious feeling.

          My guy has let me use his laptop before, when mine wasn’t working.  I knew that I trusted him when I didn’t feel the need or inclination to spy on him–even when I had access to his personal information.  In fact, when my laptop couldn’t be fixed, I got a new one of my own, so I don’t have to keep using his.

  18. 18
    Sparkxx

    Yes by virtue of the relationship status. That’s my outlook on the implications of exclusivity. Your partner ought to assume you have nothing to hide, and you shouldn’t if it is a healthy relationship.
    Having the right to do something and getting satisfied by that right does not necessarily mean you do it everyday. You are free to go out partying every night, you just have to exercise discretion.
    its hardly a contradiction. I have no password on my phone and I can leave it anywhere in the house. It does not mean that my partner should go checking it. it means however that its a situation of healthy boundaries.

    the mother daughter example is simply a demonstration that the nature and stage of a relationship gives the people involved certain liberties.
    pure and simple.

  19. 19
    Clare

    I wonder if the OP missed the link, which was immediately apparent to me, that her boyfriend did not want her tagging him on social media in all these places they were going to, because he wanted to be able to give the impression of being at least somewhat unattached to certain other women.

     

    I have seen this time and time again with a man who is less than trustworthy. Things start going south in your relationship and suddenly he, or evidence of your relationship, disappears off social media. Trust me ladies, it’s a cause for concern.

     

    By the way, I completely agree with Evan, the idea that any man who has the option to cheat will is both ludicrous and deeply offensive. There are many wonderful, faithful men out there. My boyfriend at the moment for example is very good looking and I trust him absolutely completely. He finds the very idea of cheating to be disgusting and abhorrent, and as I say I find that entire notion expressed by some in this thread to be both very offensive and very sad at the same time.

    1. 19.1
      Christine

      I’ve never seen that disappearance on social media as a good sign either.  I was always suspicious of one guy I dated, partly for that reason.  From the beginning, he didn’t even want to be friends with me on social media.  Yet he would friend anyone and everyone else (including casual acquaintances he barely seems to know).

      In hindsight, he just wanted to appear unattached so that if and when a “better” option came along, he could grab it.  So I left him and gave us both what we wanted…he got the freedom to pursue greener pastures, and I found another guy who saw me as the greener pasture!

      The guy I’m with now isn’t that into social media in general.  In fact, before he met me, his last update to his page was made years ago!  But when he met me, he brushed the dust off to add me to his friends list, tag me and check in with me at the places we go out. That’s so much better than being treated like a dirty little secret!  In fact, I don’t know any guy in a serious relationship who doesn’t have some evidence of it on his social media.

  20. 20
    Clare

    Christine,

     

    I have personally seen it both with myself and two other women that I know where men disappeared off social media, and it was right before the end of the relationship. Coincidence? I think not. I would bet dollars to donuts these men were paving their exit plan.

     

    Personally I am a bit of a private person, I don’t like everyone knowing my personal business, so I don’t put all my relationship details on Facebook, and I am hesitant before tagging my boyfriend in things or posting stuff on their wall etc. That is just my personality. However * some * evidence of your relationship on social media is both welcome and encouraged and if a guy I was dating had a big problem with it I would definitely take it as not a good sign.

    1. 20.1
      Christine

      Clare, that probably isn’t a coincidence!  Of course, I’m not saying to post everything about your relationship on social media either–but if a guy posts nothing, I wouldn’t think it’s a good sign.  What got to me about the other guy is that he’s not a private person in general with social media, yet seemed to single me out as some secret thing.  I’m so glad this is behind me and just want to warn other people to carefully observe this sort of thing.

      1. 20.1.1
        Clare

        Christine,

         

        Yes! Exactly what you’ve said. I dated a guy who was on Facebook every second minute and yet would not publish the smallest hint that we were together. Not surprisingly he said that getting in a relationship would be a “really big step” for him and it didn’t last. My current boyfriend, on the other hand, who is wonderful and whom I just adore, was the first to put our relationship on Facebook and he openly says he loves me on there too 🙂 Nice 🙂

        1. Tom10

           
          @ Christine/Clare
           
           
           
          Your discussion reminds me of why I don’t have a Facebook account, or indeed any social media accounts: life is so much easier not having to carefully navigate all these tricky issues!
           
           
          *Note to all ladies: if a guy has no social media accounts whatsoever take it as a yellow flag. He might be a Luddite, or more sinisterly, he might have something to hide (this doesn’t apply to me of course haha).

        2. Christine

          Clare, I’m glad you have someone like that now!  I don’t think that secrecy on social media is necessarily a cause of a relationship problem–but I think that it can be a symptom of some deeper underlying issue.  In my case, I also had a guy who would post each and every time he sneezed–yet couldn’t find one second to post anything about me?  I wasn’t expecting a Shakespearean sonnet, just wanted some acknowledgment. In my case as well, the guy just didn’t want to commit to me.

          If someone just doesn’t have social media at all or doesn’t like to indulge in it much in general, then I can understand–but I say, beware of inconsistency like that.  If they post about anything and everything but you, I would want to know why.

          Tom, you may be better off not messing with all this LOL!

           

        3. GoWiththeFlow

          Tom10,

          Lol!  Alot of men beyond the age of 30 don’t participate on facebook.  That being said, I had a fb account gor 18 months before I realky started 6sing it, and it was a 40 something  male colleague eho got me into it.

          I cringe at some of tye oversharing that happens.  I use it mostly to see and share photos of kids, new pets, vacations, etc.  I have also gotten several great recipes off fb.  My privacy settings are set pretty tightly, and I have the parameters set to filter out a lot of the political stuff.

          It’s like managing friendships where you talk in person, you have to decide what your privacy boundries

        4. Clare

          Yeah I must say, a lot of the sharing that goes on on Facebook is pretty cringeworthy. I have a friend in a relatively new relationship who literally posts every single place she and her boyfriend go together, along with a posed picture, along with lots of posts with trite truisms about relationships which she tags him in. Parties will get about 100 photos of them together. Maybe he doesn’t mind, in fact if he’s the man for her he probably doesn’t mind, but this would absolutely do my head in. My boyfriend and I each only post occasionally, and occasionally acknowledge each other when we do, and this is more than enough for me. It’s not too much, not too little.

           

          We sync up in other areas too, like amount of contact, amount of time we spend with each other, relationship goals, etc.

           

          All the more reason why it’s important to be with someone compatible with you! There’s nothing worse than always feeling out of sync with your partner.

  21. 21
    Nicole J. Fortune

    I totally agree!  When a man or woman’s mind or thoughts and desires are for someone else then you have stepped out of your relationship.  Cheating is not just the act it is the intent as you stated.  You don’t have to lay a finger on anyone to have had a sexual encounter in your mind.  I just wish people would be honest with their spouse and if they want someone else let the spouse know.  That way he or she can make the decision whether or not to stay.  It just seems a little selfish to me.

  22. 22
    Clare

    Tom,

     

    Lol! Yes you may be better off avoiding it altogether 🙂

     

    Christine’s point still applies though. If he posts about every time he has a cup of coffee but nothing about you, it’s something to be uneasy about, quite frankly.

  23. 23
    chuck

    He needs to be mastered b y you I would say whip that boy in shape literally and I’m a guy

  24. 24
    Leanne

    Hi I am Leanne, the woman who sent the question to Evan.  I wanted to clarify a few things.  The argument we had where he stonewalled me occurred near the end of January 2016.  I found the text messages about 2 weeks later, right before Valentine’s Day.  I don’t remember when I emailed Evan, but it was a couple months after the incident, when I was sitting at home and randomly thinking about stuff and it bugged me.

    I was not intentionally snooping on his computer no matter what people think.  Just to give a little background info, we are both very free with our computers and we both have MacBooks linked to our Iphones.  Both of us have each other’s logins and registered fingerprints on each other’s phones. The situation in question occurred when I arrived at his place while he was at work (he knew I was going to be there — it was a pre-planned visit) and I was texting him to tell him that I had arrived at his condo and made some jokes via text about how I was going to defile it before he got home (he is very neat and keeps his place in immaculate shape).  I heard the messages *ping* on his MacBook because they automatically sync with his computer so I looked on the Messages App on the MacBook to clear the notifications my messages made so he would not think he had new text messages when he got home.  When I went to clear the notifications from my text by opening the app, I happened to notice other uncleared notifications from someone else (I didn’t even know the name of his ex — I found out after this incident) and clicked on that text too to clear it.  When I clicked on that text, I was dismayed to see that it was a sext inviting the person over and detailing what he wanted to do to her once she arrived.  I figured it was an old text from the past and didn’t think much about it until I saw the year “2016” on the time stamp.  Then I read it in more detail.  That is when I realized what he had done.  So, Evan was probably reading my email quickly because he probably gets a ton of email and missed the actual timing of the events.

    Does this clarify things a bit?  So, no I was not digging up old stuff from his past relationships.  We all have water under the bridge, but I think it important to start with a clean slate with each relationship we attempt.

    Yes, we are still together.  Yes, I am still angry about this.  No, I do not trust him completely.  How is he behaving?  Well, since the blowout over this, he has been behaving just fine and has been treating me very well in all respects.  Of course, I feel like he has used up all his strikes and I am on the lookout for anything suspicious.  We still have free access to all our electronic devices, but of course he could just be more diligent about hiding stuff.  Who knows.  2 more marathon majors to go…

    1. 24.1
      GoWiththeFlow

      Leanne,

      Thank you for thr update.  At this point you are the only person who knowsif you will be able to completely forgive, let go of the anger and move forward–assuming your boyfriend keeos to the straight and narrow

      Good luck!

  25. 25
    Tanja Maria

    Its not about you.  Its funny how we make it about us.  If you were just friends would you understand his need to have other friends. female or male.  ex or not.  if he still needs contact with his ex.  you have two choices.  deal with it.  or move on.  As a friend you wouldnt have a problem with it. Its only when you are in a relationship that you do because you make it personal.  You make it about you being or not being enough for him.  In the future go back to friendship.  Its your choice to say hey.  i love you and want the best for you and most of all I want you to be happy.  Go back to the friendship.  Don’t sleep with him if you think he is sleeping with someone else and do what you need to do to take care of you.  Doesn’t mean you have to hate him or dislike him because he has needs you thought he no longer had.  This could also be a case of insecurity.  Am i making the wrong choice here.  Give him time to figure that out.  But don’t sleep with him while he is figuring it out.  Just put some time and space there to protect yourself while the person you care about figures out what is important to him.  In the meantime I am not saying that your life needs to be on hold.  This might be a good time for you to go out and maybe try dating again for a while to see it its what you want.  Hey maybe you will meet someone else and find out that he wasn’t what  you needed after all.

  26. 26
    Cathryn

    Don’t do it. Do not marry him. If you can’t trust him now, you never will. Here I am more than 20 years later giving him another chance to gain my trust. Every time he starts to regain it he does something to eff it up again. It will never happen. Don’t wait til after you’ve built a life together with kids and a house and a 20 year anniversary to find out he’s still a bum.  Run while you can.

  27. 27
    Alex

    I like what you said about internet Evan.   Cheating is about intent.  Furthermore , many men don’t want their photos up because fir many men – appearing single is their goal in case they ever want a quick one nighter here or there.   You can easily tell if your man is into

    you 100 percent or

    just 50 –

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