My (kinda) boyfriend and I are young--Iím in my early 20ís, heís just starting his late 20ís. Weíre in a long-distance relationship. Weíve ďbeen togetherĒ about a year. Weíve met in person once, for ten days.
Our situation is relatively complicated (as everyoneís is), but I think ours is a special breed of complexity. This makes it relatively difficult for me to find other people who really understand where Iím coming from. I think this group is going to be the closest I can get.
When we first met, I had a fiance. Things were totally on the rocks with the fiance, both of us had just about entirely emotionally checked out of the relationship and both of us were going through depression which left both of us totally unable to end it when we should have. The break up was in no way caused by my meeting BF, but it also didnít help the relationship.
BF and I met online, in a chat room associated with a forum I had been a long-time member of, and one he had just joined. He had posted a photo, some females thought he was cute, they linked him to the chat, and he showed up. There was a general air of flirting. Raunchy pictures were posted from a lot of different parties and the subject came around that at the time, I was doing a form of mild online sex work. It just so happened to be the same type of sex-work that he was into. As far as that subject went, he and I hit it off immediately. I was curious, so was he, etc. We spent the better part of the evening talking. At this point, I considered our relationship mostly business casual, I wasnít sure if heíd become a customer, etc.
After about a week, it became clear that there was no business side of the relationship, which was fine, because we were hitting it off amazingly. Had a ton in common, same sense of humor, similar interests, etc. We became really close friends and spent a crazy amount of time talking to each other. We were sharing really personal thoughts and feelings with each other, etc.
Soon, I realized that if I werenít attached, Iíd be really interested in seeing where this could go. And I was open and honest with my then-fiance, who pretty much knew at that point anyway. Pretty soon after that, the fiance and I broke up, and I moved back in to my parents house.
During the time I was still living with my fiance, I met in-person one of the members from the forum where BF and I met. It was exciting, somebody I got along with, and somebody I lived near and could seriously be a potential friend. She and I just hung out at a local Wal-Mart and then went to eat. Through this forum, all three of us (friend, BF and I) knew each other/talked together in the chat, etc.
When I got home, I had finally worked up enough courage to go sit in my car and call BF on the phone for the first time. All in all, this was a really awesome night for me.
It wasnít until I had broken up with then-fiance and moved back home, that I found out that BF had at least two sexual conversations with the friend. One of those conversations happened on the night I had met her for the first time, and furthermore, happened at the same time I was on the phone with him. So basically, I was totally crushed. I felt like I was betrayed by the friend, since it was SUPER clear that I was totally infatuated with BF and I felt betrayed by BF, since clearly, this girl is a newly made friend.
I was angry, sad, upset, and a ton of other emotions for awhile. Eventually, we were all able to talk, for the most part, and figure things out. The friend and I have never really talked since then, and I hold a bit of resentment that I lost a friend, essentially, due to this. (I feel like Iím the one being punished!) I decided to give the BF another chance. I felt like, he had a reason to feel like he wasnít obligated to not have sexual relationships with other people, since when this happened, I was engaged. Our relationship was so weird and undefined, that even though I was hurt by what happened, and I was angry about it, I didnít really have any claim on him.
At this point, we discussed things, and I felt like we laid down some basic ground rules, and worked to define our relationship and what that meant. During this period, we essentially decided that we were officially, but not publicly, going out. (We decided that it would be best to put a bit of time between my relationships since I was still dealing with ex-fiance at this point regarding possessions and whatnot and I didnít want anything to set him off. Furthermore, I didnít want to deal with friend/family criticism. We told some close friends, however. )
Maybe a month or so goes by and I find out, through his reluctant confession, that he has been having a pretty regular role-play relationship with a woman online. A small backstory to how I found out about this. I was aware that the two of them role-played online. I was, however, unaware of the *extent* of the sexual content of said role-playing. He was aware that I wanted to set boundaries within the relationship and essentially asked what I thought about him continuing the role-play online with the woman. I said I wasnít sure, but that it would probably help if I could talk to her. The three of us got together in a group chat where she all but urinated on him in what seemed, to me, like a display of ďmarking her territory.Ē Basically, I told her that I thought she was acting highly inappropriately and that the only reason we were talking was so that I could pass a judgment on whether this could continue between the two of them. I felt that in order for this to work, I not only needed to be kept in the loop, but I needed to feel like she understood that *I* was at the top of the hierarchy, and not her. She, unsurprisingly, took extreme offense to this, threw a giant fit, and refused to ever speak to me again. Essentially, she both caused the end of their role-playing by being a gigantic ass, and by leading me to inquire about their role-playing.
The way she acted set my gut-feeling off, and I requested chat transcripts between the two of them. He sent bits and pieces, and seemed so hesitant about it, that I was even more suspicious and demanded *everything*. Eventually, he sent the entire file to me. Almost everything was a non-issue for me except the last couple conversations. These conversations happened *after* we had decided we were exclusively a couple. And, they were decidedly outside the bounds of role-play.
Obviously I was once again very upset and felt very betrayed. He immediately stopped contact with her, deleted her as a contact, etc.
I felt satisfied with the situation. This was another ďwe donít know how to define this relationshipĒ type SNAFU, and we were communicating and getting past it. I felt good about our relationship.
Eventually it became clear to me that BF had more of a problem than I had initially realized. His real problem isnít lapses of judgment, or bad decisions based on hazy understanding.
BF has a kink, that actually kind of boarders on fetish. And not only that, but heís damn close to being considered a sex-addict, or porn addict, or however you want to define it. Basically, at the time, he hadnít had a relationship in four years, and spent most of his time unemployed, living at home, able to be in his room all day. And basically spent this time looking for new material for his ahem..collection (if you get my drift.) Things had gotten out of control with him. He wasnít able to talk to me about things due to shame and embarrassment about his habits, and he had gotten used to lying about the things he did. He spent a lot of time in the seedy-underbelly of the internet looking at porn/his version of porn [due to the fetish/kink, his ďpornĒ isnít traditional ďpornĒ].
I resolved to stick by him through this. Our relationship was fantastic. We got each other on a level that I had never been able to experience with somebody who I was also totally sexually interested in, etc. To me, this was, and is, a relationship worth saving, and one with potential.
Weíve had minor slips. These in and of itself are not really the problem. Itís that when he slips, he canít find it in himself to be able to tell me about them. So, really, the issue is lying about the slip-ups.
What itís down to now, is that heís on his last chance with me. We are officially broken up, at this point. I have an account on a dating site, and I am ďlooking.Ē I donít remotely want to go on a date with another guy, I donít *want* a relationship with another guy. But he needs to realize that this is serious. If he doesnít stop with the incessant porn, find a job, make a name for himself and be able to support himself, as well as get therapy, I just canít be in a relationship with him anymore.
I want more than anything to reconcile with him. I want to make this relationship work. He really seems like he wants it to work, too. Weíve met in person, things were great. Everything was incredibly natural and I felt like I had been there with him for years instead of having just met him in person. A lot of people would, and have, told me to just move on. But Iím finding even the thought of that to be heart wrenching. Itís just not what I want.
Iím not sure if we can do this. And if we canít, Iíll have spent over a year trying to make this relationship work. But if it DOES work, this relationship could be really wonderful for the both of us.
I guess what I am looking for is to see if anybody has a similar story. I tried to tell this story on a sex-addiction forum, but I was met with a lot of, essentially, scorned and hurt women who told me that since the relationship was so young and I had no serious ties to him, I should get out now, while I could. I understand where they were coming from, and maybe a smarter woman than me would have, but I chose to stick with him, and I am still choosing to stick with him.
Iím hoping for a better response here. How do I get over the feelings of betrayal? Because even these slips bring back allll the feelings of being cheated on (I guess thatís what Iíd call the earlier problems?).
Things still seem crappy from the immediate perspective, but if I look at the changes that have been made since we first started this journey, he has really made a lot of progress.
Always, tell the other BS! Always!
"It's hard to be in love when you can't tell lies"!
You both need serious therapy. You both need to deal with your issues. He does sound like a sex addict, but he's needs to see a professional to confirm that. You also need to research it and see exactly what you are dealing with. SA isn't cured. Just like alcoholism or drug addiction, you can't cure it. You can only manage it. Are you really prepared to have to deal with that? In your current dysfunctional state, I would say no. You aren't healthy enough to.
Regardless of what he is willing to do, you need to seek counseling now. Otherwise, you will keep repeating this cycle again and again.
Doesn't seem like much of a future to have a relationship with a guy you cheated on your fiance with. JMO. I would suggest you spend some time in counseling so that you can enter your next relationship with less baggage.
And your "relationship" with your AP (or BF as you call him) doesn't seem very promising. Sexual addiction is very hard to break. And he was willing to start a relationship with an engaged woman, which isn't very reassuring either. I don't think the fetish factors into this at all, frankly. It doesn't give one a pass to be a sex addict, and a potential partner with a fetish should be treated the same and held to the same standards of fidelity and loyalty as any other potential partner.
I would really encourge you to move on and fix yourself before your next relationship. Sometimes it's good to stay away from relationships for a time to gain some perspective, and to learn that you don't have to always be in a relationship to be happy.
IIf he doesnít stop with the incessant porn, find a job, make a name for himself and be able to support himself, as well as get therapy, I just canít be in a relationship with him anymore.
These are your boundaries and requirements. If he doesn't get a job, or get into therapy, you must move on. Submitting resumes or looking for a therapist isn't actually doing anything. You must wait for the action.
I have some experience with what you're talking about (as in online, long-distance relationships), and the only thing that I can say is that you are in for a huge world of hurt if you pursue this. How do I know? Because I wasted six YEARS of my life on someone just like your (kinda) boyfriend. He had the same problem(s), same issues - couldn't form real relationships with real people, stayed in his bedroom all the time, was completely antisocial, and yes - had weird "kinks".
You want to know what happened to me? I ended up in a severe depression (partially because of how he treated me) for years, cut off portions of MY life to suit his needs, and the whole thing crashed and burned in an explosive end that wouldn't be out of place in a Bruce Willis "Die Hard" movie. It remains one of my biggest embarrassments of my life.
This is what you're in for if you continue this. I am begging you, do NOT think you can change this guy. You can't trust him. For one thing, you're in an LD relationship - how do you really know that anything he's telling you is the truth? He could manufacture ANYTHING and make you believe it - that's what mine did. All the time that he was talking about how he missed me, couldn't wait to see me, etc., he was online chatting it up on forums and sex sites and God knows what else. How do you really know that he's who he says he is?
Trust me, 10 days isn't enough to find out. In my case, six YEARS wasn't enough to find out.
You're young. You have plenty of time to find a REAL relationship - someone that you can see and talk to and touch every single day. You don't have to settle for words on a screen.
My therapist finally told me, "You have the potential to have a real relationship - but the person you're involved with doesn't. He is battling his own sickness. Are you going to let him make you ill as well?"
I implore you to think about that. In time, you may find out, as I did, that you were 'in love' with what you WANTED him to be and not what he actually is.
I wish you the very best of luck.
you were 'in love' with what you WANTED him to be and not what he actually is.
think about that for awhile.
the reality is, right now you are trying to manipulate a manipulator into not manipulating you any more.
[This message edited by stilllovingher at 10:23 AM, June 3rd (Monday)]
Here's what I'd tell my 20-year-old self: get therapy. There are probably free or inexpensive counseling services you could use.
Stop trading one fucked-up relationship for another, and figure out "why" you do what you do. It could save you a lifetime of heartache.
I understand that you all can only go by what has been posted, so if anything is left misunderstood, that's my fault for poor communication.
While I completely acknowledge my mistakes made in my prior relationship, and have had to come to terms with my own choices, I don't feel like that makes me dysfunctional. What it means is that in a bad situation, I made bad decisions. I own that. I've learned more about myself, my mindset, my issues, and I've gained the growth to be confident in myself.
In regards to the current situation, I'm not looking to defend his actions. Both of us know that he made bad decisions along the way. I'm sure to some of you, I come across as being in a bubble of emotional attachment and am blinded from reality. I am here to tell you that it's not the case.
I'm familiar with what I (we) are up against, and I have done (and continue to do) my own research.
Like I mentioned in my first post, he has made good progress. We are struggling with making logical, reasonable boundaries, but we are communicating about them on a daily basis. Things that he has done before--visiting certain websites, interacting with people, etc--he no longer does. He's made major purges of people and contacts, stopped using certain sites, deactivated accounts, etc. These things he's done because he recognizes that he has a self-control issue. He's done them because he doesn't want to allow himself the possibility of temptation.
Moreover, he's joined his own forum, formed his own support groups, and has made himself a plan.
How can I know what he's doing when he's so far away? I can't. But as I've read here, sometimes things happen in the same room as you and you don't really know what's going on. So distance isn't the issue here, honesty is.
I'm aware of what the odds are, I'm aware of the battle this is going to be. I haven't sugar-coated anything that I know I will have to face, nor anything I know we will have to face as a couple. Being in a long-distance relationship makes this harder, I know. We have plans in place to make that less of an issue. Namely, him moving here at some point. I can't know if it will help, I can't know if it will be a waste of time.
I DO know that this is something I am willing to take a chance on. Regardless of whether other people think it's a bad choice or not. I'm aware that either of us can get out at any time, and if things don't change, I am both ready and able to pull the plug on the whole thing.
I'm not even really sure what else to say. Honestly, I am really disappointed that I came here basically saying, "I know what the general advice is, which is to leave. I'm telling you now, I'm not doing that at this point. I'm looking for support." and I was met with pretty much exactly what I said I already knew and didn't want.
You all are entitled to your opinions, and I don't necessarily disagree--if I were an outside prospective from this, I would agree--but at the same time, the whole point of this sub-forum is reconciliation. That's what I am here for.
While my situation is different than yours, I too have a "unique" situation. Basically my WW and I were swingers but I was cheated on. I have learned a lot here and it has helped me tremendously. While I don't often see many situations that can relate to my own on here, many of the techniques and advise are still useful. You just need to find the information on here that works for you.
I have also found some benifit to having a more unusual situation to deal with and that is for me it is all about the lying. Others dealing with these A's struggle with the sex part and the mind movies. In reading your post, I see that the lying is your most important issue.
Don't get discouraged, not everyone can relate to everyone's situation but everyone on here is giving you the best advise they can from their viewpoint.
Hind sight is usually 20/20. What he has told me about his EA/PA is that it was all based on a fantasy. She was not happy. Her husband had left her/3 kids for his OW. He had convinced himself that he was not happy with me for years - hence the porn and 3 ONSs. He left me after 3 months of the EA. It was his escape from real life. Kids, bills, housework, dogs, whatever. They met for 4 days in real life. The sex was not that great. It wasn't what he thought it would be like after all of the build-up. They continued to say "I love you" until September, when he figured out that their "relationship was not sustainable".
My husband almost lost his family forever over an internet/sext affair. Apparently she never really took it that seriously - she moved on rather quickly with someone local.
You can see in my signature that he's had 3 ONSs. Numbers 1 and 3 were also "internet friends" he met in chat rooms. In 2006, OW #1 convinced him that he could still love me AND have sex outside the marriage. The next 6.5 years were aweful for him - and for me. He tells me that leading a double life is not worth the effort. Now, he welcomes his real true life.
My advice, based on his experience, is to run. You don't really know this man. People say whatever they want - lead their fantasy life - in those types of chat rooms. Work on yourself. When you're comfortable on your own, find someone in real life to form a relationship with. Don't sit in front of a computer typing what you wish your dates were like. Go on real dates with real people, not a keyboard and mouse.
You deserve so much more than you are settling for right now!
What would that support look like?
I don't really want to come off as defensive as I'm sure seem. I guess it's kind of hard not to be defensive when it feels like the majority thought is, "Whatever you think this relationship can be, you're wrong." I get that all of you aren't trying to say that, and I know you're all coming from a place inside your own perspectives, so I'm trying to take it all with a grain of salt.
Let me see if I can try to explain the current situation a little better. Most of what I gave in my first post was backstory, how we met, what the issues were, etc.
Currently, the most recent "slip" was small. He read a story or two, looked at porn, and masturbated. This is really not abnormal for a male, the actions themselves are not alarming. He didn't make it into a marathon session of "down the rabbit hole" like he would have months ago. The actual problem is that 1) He didn't tell me 2)When I found out about it and gave him a chance to tell me, he lied.
I have a rocky relationship with porn that I've been working on dealing with pretty much my whole life. When I was young, a babysitter found some of her step-father's porn, and she showed it to me. (Babysitter wasn't a ton older than me.) After that, I snooped and found some of my own father's porn. I didn't know how to deal with this and immediately felt terrible about it and related it right up there with cheating. I would have panic attacks and cry if I was around porn.
I have since made good progress with this. I am able to watch it on my own, watch with partners, etc. When BF made the first betrayals, I knew that the main focus was masturbating; generally by manipulating the topic towards his fetish/kink. None of his transgressions have ever been about the other person or any emotional attachment. If anything, and I firmly believe this to be the case, he had to emotionally detach himself from the situation in order for it to happen.
(His feelings about me have absolutely never been in question.)
We are at the point now where I truly trust and believe that we are totally past his transgressions involving other people. I don't doubt that given a long future it could happen again, but those major problems are behind us.
Currently we are dealing with his obvious need/want to masturbate, and my want for him to be able to do that. Because my "porn problems" have been aggravated by this situation as a whole, it's hard for me to FEEL okay with him masturbating--even if it's just to pictures, stories or the occasional video. LOGICALLY I am okay with it. It's the feeling and emotion that doesn't match up.
We know that the lying is a big issue and we're communicating about it together and he is also looking for therapy to deal with it (a hard condition of our relationship).
I believe that a person can change and stop lying. He doesn't lie about other things, in fact, he's probably more open than most people.
Another thing that was brought up that I want to clarify is that for almost the entire time we've been together, all of our discussions have been face-to-face using Skype or an equivalent. Obviously, it's not the same, but it is one better than just typing to each other all the time. I don't feel like I am missing much as far as that goes (for the time being). I have the option to seek out an outside sexual relationship if needed, something we have discussed in the past, and something I have already done. This is not an issue for us. I can get physical needs met with no issue from either party.
I'm starting to ramble and really get out of a coherent thought process, so I'll leave it for now.
You were expecting to hear people to tell you to run, while that is not what you want to hear it is good that you are hearing it. This is your own situation, you need to do what YOU think it is best. Hearing people tell you to run does confirm some of what you are posting, if you are going to give him one more chance you need to make sure he understands this is it.
I think you have told him this is his last chance if I am understanding what you posted correctly. I am not sure if letting him know you are "looking" is a good way to do this though. With what you are dealing with I think it is best just to be extremely clear, tell him this is his last chance and have the courage to stand by your decision.
Your right, many of us have been decieved sitting right next to our spouse on the couch so distance is not your issue right now. He needs to be 100% transparent though, you need access to all his accounts. Careful of not only listening to what he tells you but focus more on his actions. Is he following through on the things you need him to do. Can you verify this. You need to take a hard line on any actions that are against the boundaries that you set. This is going to take strength and courage.
I think you understand the odds are against you but there is a chance if you are willing to put in the work. You just need to make sure that he is doing his own work as well. His actions will measure his commitment level to making this work, not his words.
All of this cheating sucks, when I married my wife I was clueless that this was a possibility. I never thought she was the type of person that could ever do that. You have an advantage knowing ahead of time.
You say you understand the usual recommendations but you don't want them. You want support instead.
What would that support look like?
I basically want real, tangible advice. We have our own avenues that we are pursuing, but we're not experts on this. I want a group where I can bounce information off of, learn from others' attempts, etc. What things can we try that we maybe haven't thought of yet? How do we begin working through this?
Support doesn't need to be butt-pats and rainbows. I'm just saying, I know most people think I should leave. I'm not going to, right now. So, support would look like, not agreeing, but accepting that this is my situation and I'm here to work through it.
So my question to you is what exactly have you done to try to help yourself heal from these betrayals? You want to get over them, and every time he acts out again it causes you to trigger again(which is very normal btw)and you want to be able to just have this not hurt, is this what you are asking?
I'm under no delusion that anything here could magically make the pain stop. We've done pretty well of discussing things; he lets me be angry and hurt, any time feelings resurface. We talk about them in detail, we talk about what triggered it (sometimes it's just a phrase, unrelated.) We talk about how we can deal with it. Basically, I've been talking about it and getting the feelings out as they happen and letting time work on lessening the feelings.
Are you seeing a pattern that you choose messed-up guys, or that you can't have a stable, healthy relationship?
Not particularly. Like I said, I was engaged. He is a good man, and we never really had any serious issues. We just weren't on the same level. The longer I was in the relationship (and at the time, I was in therapy), the more I realized that we were going in separate directions and we were never really on the same page. I *could* have married him, but I never would have been completely fulfilled. And neither would he. I'm thankful we broke up; he's moved on and in a new relationship and they seem really happy together in a way that he and I couldn't have been.
I HAVE had my share of crappy relationships, but I think everybody does to some extent. I have had good relationships, too.
Are there any firm plans to end the long-distance factor? Is there a move planned? If so, who's moving?
ETA: I ask to get a sense of committment - that is, how much he's committed to things working out on a permanent level.
[This message edited by Fireball72 at 11:31 AM, June 3rd (Monday)]
Has he made, and kept, therapy appointments?
This man sounds like a sex addict...and porn is a HUGE no for a SA. Porn is not "just porn" for a SA...so the "little slip" he had isn't so little...coupled with the lying and it's a big problem.
..that feeling you get in your stomach, when you heart's broken. It's like all the butterflies just died.
Thanks for your posts, truly.
Trying to post briefly here.. I'm bad at "to the point."
He's been really great with being transparent. After the last big betrayal, I decided that enough was enough and I told him I needed passwords. Which I got. I feel like that was a huge step for him and a testament to his willingness. I had access to e-mail, message boards, IM accounts, YouTube, Facebook, etc etc etc. And because I had access to his emails, I had access, in theory, to passwords to any account since I could do a passwork recovery.
When I initially broke up with him--just this past week--I told him that I was feeling the urge to look at his accounts and that he should change his passwords, which he did.
After I took a few days to really think this over, I wanted to give him another chance--a last chance. He's totally aware that this is it. A small slip isn't going to be the end, but LYING about a small slip will be. We're currently negotiating conditions and boundaries.
One part of me thinks that I've had access to his accounts for long enough and that he's been able to refrain from big transgressions long enough to have formed replacement--healthy--habits. What I want, is to be able to start giving him control back. I want him to be able to earn the trust back--because if I have his account info, he KNOWS I can see it. How can he make good decisions and how can I trust him, if I can watch him? (Basically, it's easy to think, "Sure, he's doing good NOW, because I'm watching him") I don't want to get too into the habit that I need to be able to see everything all the time.