My Boyfriend Has Cheated on Me a Bunch of Times. Should I Marry Him?

Do You Want to Have Your Cake and Eat It, Too?
200 Shares

I am a 46-year-old, twice divorced, mother of 3, dating a man with whom I had a serious relationship in my 20’s.

Back then, I ended the relationship because I never trusted him (he was somewhat of a player, 8 years older, while I was a naive law student who had had one previous relationship) and although we were very compatible and I loved him very much, I did not see a future with him.

After my 2nd divorce, I reached out to him; we chatted for hours and made a date to meet up for dinner and drinks. That date lasted 7 hours, we both felt an immediate re-connection, and I had this amazing feeling that we had both grown up and were ready to be in a more mature relationship.

The first several months were great; we had many fun dates and became intimate within the first month. There were some red flags early on, like when I asked if he was seeing anyone else and he laughed it off — I thought he was saying my question was ridiculous — after all, he had already told me he loved me.

Turns out, I was wrong. Five months into the relationship, I learned that he had been dating someone very seriously immediately before we started dating, that he was not over her when we started dating, and in fact had tried to get back together with her nearly 3 months after we started dating (she said no).

Also, he had a female “friend” (the former best friend of the aforementioned serious girlfriend) who he spent an inordinate amount of time with (and actually lied to me about sleeping at her house) but insisted there was nothing going on with her.

It made me uneasy but he continued to spend time with her. He routinely didn’t answer his phone, claimed he didn’t hear it, or the phone was dead, or made some other excuse, and was extremely protective of his phone. All along, he insisted there was nothing going on and that I was insecure and pathetic for thinking otherwise. This went on for months.

Finally, 9 months into this relationship, things came to a head when I caught him in a lie. We had a big fight and nearly broke up but somehow ended up staying together. Things changed dramatically after that fight. He started to always answer the phone when I called. He no longer went out with friends without me. He called when he said he would, stopped drinking and partying, stopped spending time with the female friend, and really stepped up as a boyfriend.

I did not ask for any of this — he just did it.

Six months later, I did something I now regret. I looked at his phone records, and found out a few things: In the beginning, when I thought we were exclusive, he was still dating other people, and even took one of them out for Valentine’s Day. But that isn’t the worst part. He actually had another girlfriend — someone whose name I had never heard before — for at least 4 months prior to the “big fight”.

I found hundreds of phone calls and text messages between them, including a 275 minute call on the night of my son’s birthday, pictures of them together, and even spoke to her on the phone where she confirmed the relationship. He ended that relationship just prior to the “big fight”. He denied everything and has still never really apologized. I tried to break up with him but I just didn’t want to let him go. That was almost 2 years ago.

Now, he is doing everything right now, but I am having so much trouble forgetting what happened. I am tortured by it. I try my best to trust him but it is very difficult. He tells me that my “trust issues” are my issues and refuses to acknowledge his part in it.

We generally get along and only fight when my insecurities get the best of me. I love him and genuinely do not believe he is cheating on me now, but I am not sure whether to believe it will never happen in the future. He keeps hinting at getting married but I am hesitant since I was already divorced twice, there are kids involved, and I really don’t want to make another mistake.

My question is — do people really change? Did that big fight — where he almost lost me — make him realize how important I am to him so that he won’t put the relationship at risk again? Can I marry him even though I still feel some much pain from the things he did behind my back? Will I ever get over the pain his cheating caused? I have now given more than 3 years of my life to this guy (6 years total) and am really struggling to figure out if I should marry him or break up with him. Please help.

Jen

There are “rules” and there are “exceptions to rules. My job is to give the rules, even though I’m well aware that there are MILLIONS of exceptions to them.

There are “rules” and there are “exceptions to rules. My job is to give the rules, even though I’m well aware that there are MILLIONS of exceptions to them.

Ex. Man pays for first date. I know a guy who got married although he didn’t pay for their first date, however, that doesn’t mean that going dutch is a good strategy for a first date.

So, Jen, I’m going to point out how many Love U “rules” you went against in this one painfully written email. Let it be noted that I am really sorry this happened to you and deeply sympathetic to your pain. However, I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t point out to my readers how many things could have been played differently.

I’m dating a man with whom I had a serious relationship in my 20’s. Sure, someone goes back to their high school reunion and falls in love. Sure, someone reaches out to a recently divorced man on Facebook and tries to suss out if he’s available. Sure, someone rekindles things with an ex. But, in general, going back to the well is a bad idea for one obvious reason — you already tried dating and it didn’t work out! Instead of trying out all the other single available men in the world, you’re going to try AGAIN with a man who didn’t work out the first time around.

I never trusted him — Relationships are based on trust. If you didn’t trust him 20 years ago, why invest your time and faith in him now? Because you “loved him very much?” Not a good answer.

I had this amazing feeling that we had both grown up and were ready to be in a more mature relationship.   That’s a feeling, not a fact. It’s based on brain chemistry and wishful thinking, not based on any evidence that your boyfriend had developed a stronger character over time.

The first several months were great; we had many fun dates and became intimate within the first month. This describes the first several months of EVERY relationship. It doesn’t mean yours is special.

There were some red flags early on, like when I asked if he was seeing anyone else and he laughed it off. Believe the negatives, ignore the positives.

I learned that he had been dating someone very seriously immediately before we started dating, that he was not over her when we started dating, and in fact had tried to get back together with her nearly 3 months after we started dating (she said no).   And you stayed?

Also, he had a female “friend” (the former best friend of the aforementioned serious girlfriend) who he spent an inordinate amount of time with (and actually lied to me about sleeping at her house) but insisted there was nothing going on with her.   And you stayed?!

It made me uneasy but he continued to spend time with her. He routinely didn’t answer his phone, claimed he didn’t hear it, or the phone was dead, or made some other excuse, and was extremely protective of his phone. All along, he insisted there was nothing going on and that I was insecure and pathetic for thinking otherwise. This went on for months. And you stayed?!!

9 months into this relationship, things came to a head when I caught him in a lie.   And you stayed?!!!

He actually had another girlfriend — someone whose name I had never heard before — for at least 4 months prior to the “big fight”. I found hundreds of phone calls and text messages between them, including a 275 minute call on the night of my son’s birthday, pictures of them together, and even spoke to her on the phone where she confirmed the relationship. He ended that relationship just prior to the “big fight”. He denied everything and has still never really apologized. I tried to break up with him but I just didn’t want to let him go. That was almost 2 years ago. And you stayed?!!!!

Now, he is doing everything right now, but I am having so much trouble forgetting what happened. I am tortured by it. I try my best to trust him but it is very difficult. He tells me that my “trust issues” are my issues and refuses to acknowledge his part in it. This is called gaslighting. Run.

My question is — do people really change?

No!

Did that big fight — where he almost lost me — make him realize how important I am to him so that he won’t put the relationship at risk again?

No!

Can I marry him even though I still feel some much pain from the things he did behind my back?

No!!

What is painfully obvious to everybody except you, Jen, is that there is nothing confusing about your situation at all — apart from why you are still considering marrying a man you don’t trust who has lied to you and cheated on you repeatedly.

Please, get out and believe me when I tell you that virtually ANYBODY ON EARTH is a better husband candidate than your current “boyfriend.”

I know that’s not what you want to hear but there is honestly no other interpretation of your situation.

If you marry this guy and he cheats on you, don’t blame him. Blame yourself for willingly marrying a known cheater.

And I normally don’t do this, but your situation is exceptional: please click here to get yourself healthy and find yourself a better man soon.

You deserve much more than what you’re settling for right now.

 

Join our conversation (17 Comments).
Click Here To Leave Your Comment Below.

Comments:

  1. 1
    Donna

    Jen should find the phone number of the serious relationship that ended just before her, that he tried to get back to. Bet you money one of the reasons that woman broke up with him was because he was having a “thing” with her best friend. Now “former” best friend. This guy is bad news in so many ways.

  2. 2
    Shelly

    Let’s jeep this simple -Marry him and you will be creating a world of problems for yourself. You have every warning signal and red flag waving at you like crazy. Listen to your gut, do not discredit it.    He is a cheat and a liar and has no respect for you no matter which way you try to spin things and try to   justify his pathetic attempts at a repair job.   You are desperate to salvage something but there is not point.

    Dump his butt and don’t look back. Don’t second guess your decision.   Don’t after, don’t call, don’t answer his calls.   It’s a game to him if he calls, you are a challenge to win back, once he wins you, he will play games again.

    Think of   dumping him as the best gift you ever gave yourself, the bullet you dodged.    You deserve better.

    Ps- never ever chase a man.

  3. 3
    No Name To Give

    Evan, did you do this as an April Fools joke?

    1. 3.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      No.

      1. 3.1.1
        No Name To Give

        Wow. I really thought this was an April Fools joke. Because the answer here seems so obvious that I didn’t think this could possibly be serious.

  4. 4
    Jess

    Stop putting this man on a pedestal! Just cut your loss and delete his phone number.   You deserve better!

  5. 5
    Cathalei

    I didn’t even read the letter and I just said “no” just by the title. Reading it simply turned it into a “NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!”. Wondered if that was intended as an April’s Fool too. This is just about sunk costs and really, the cost isn’t even really that much.

  6. 6
    Suzanna

    No. No. No. No.

    As painful as ending this is for you. End it and save yourself. I did a similar thing and truly wanted to believe.

    But this behavior never changes.   He just gets smarter with deceit.   Two phones.   Excuses.   Stories.   And coconspirators.

    I got to the point where I knew he was lying by the degree of how complicated the work late,   stop here, etc story.

    I chose not to live that way. And once I made the decision,   it was easy.   And it was a little more than a month before a very expensive wedding.

    And I have never regretted it.

    You deserve better and that is no way to live.

     

  7. 7
    Antonella Thompson

    No need to marry such a cheater.
    You should look forward or move on..

  8. 8
    Michelle

    You got confirmation a few months into dating he didn’t change; and you stayed and therefore sent him the message “that was ok by you.”   You continued to stay after more transgression and continued to confirm the message “this is ok by me, I will stay” until you got so entrenched you lost all perspective and a good chunk of your self esteem in the process.     “The Big Fight” is the last thread you are holding onto to rationalize away who this man is and deny to yourself you made a bad decision.   You have some awareness now, make the decision you should have made immediately after reconciling with this guy.   You deserve better.   He doesn’t love you and he doesn’t respect you.

  9. 9
    Susan McCord

    Red flags are there for a reason but so many people ignore them! This guy has lied about everything from day one and isn’t changing anytime soon! Take a big time out from your relationship choices/patterns and concentrate on the children. They should be your priority,  not some cheating guy who’s full of BS. Evan your answer was great and I totally agree with you. <3

  10. 10
    Noone45

    Some people are really frightened of being alone. This fear leads them to put up with garbage beahvior.   There are worse things than being single and this LW exemplifies it.

  11. 11
    Flgal

    You already have two failed marriages and are gung-ho on pursuing marriage #3 to someone who has more red flags than a bullfight. Me thinks you need to work on yourself first before you even consider entering into another long-term relationship, especially when kids are involved.

  12. 12
    Lynn Molitor

    NO!! I married a man who cheated on me after 21 years of marriage. The heartache has been unbelievable. Save yourself the trouble.

  13. 13
    Marie

    Facepalm emojii.

  14. 14
    e

    and the odds that dozens of truly quality men with a lot to offer have approached this woman through her life and she has rejected them outright is rather high. Yet she is dating and about to marry someone who is like this? I can start to understand (not agree, but understand) why men are starting to believe that treating women poorly is the answer to their dating woes. This is the textbook example.

  15. 15
    No Name To Give

    E, 

    Have you met the OP? Do you know her so well that you are intimately acquainted with her dating life?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *