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OT but relationship advice needed.

My bf and I have been together for 5 happy (mostly) years. 3 years ago he decided that we should take a break for 6 months while he traveled in Southeast Asia. He wanted to be free to do whatever (or whom ever) he wanted. This was devastating to me since I wasn't included in the travel plans. But I couldn't break up with him because I loved him too much and didn't love or respect myself enough. I realize now I should have broken up with him right there and then like my family and friends told me to. But no use in dwelling on the past that can't be changed. So he came back and we got back together and things were back to normal. During his time away, he admitted to having sex with one woman, just one night. But I suspect there were more but he didn't want to tell me because he knew that would probably jeopardize our relationship and I probably did not want to know it. Recently through our mutual friends, I discovered there were many more woman and many more indiscretions even when he came back to the USA. I feel angry and betrayed. 3 years later, his trip and his infidelity still bothers me. And I think about it for long periods of time, which leads to bouts of crying and emotional eating. I don't know what to do. Do I forgive and forget? Or will he never change or really grown up? I am so torn.

Tue. Mar 25, 3:33pm

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The 'Time out' that you agreed to is one thing. However, if he slept with other people while you two were together that shows very little respect for you. These so called friends, why did they know? Is he flaunting it? You know what needs to be done.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008, 3:36 PM

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OP here. I'm not sure if he has slept with anyone here, but he's been seen flirting and hitting on other women in front of our mutual friends (some of whom are closer to me than him). I don't think he's flaunting the past, but our group of friends is tightly knit so word gets around. I asked one of our friends directly if they had seen him cheat on me. He told me "technically no but really thinks I should move on." I'm so tired. I wish things were less complicated.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008, 3:41 PM

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Of course the infidelity still bothers you, it sounds like he hasn't been entirely forthcoming or honest about it. Until that happens it's pretty hard to have a mature, honest relationship. What are you torn about? Giving up a guy who cheats and lies? Love is great, but it doesn't change a person. A good predictor for future behavior is past behavior. Imagine the feelings you have now - x10. That's what it feels like to find out your spouse has cheated and lied when you're married. Definitely forgive - that's for you. Then move on.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008, 3:46 PM

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If a guy friend is telling you to move on - move on!!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008, 3:47 PM

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3:36 here

That is so heart wrenching when you lose faith in someone you care for. Have an open and honest conversation with him. Then, if he can't be what you need, go find what you need. Nobody deserves to have their love treated as if it is unimportant. Best of luck and love to you.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008, 3:50 PM

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OP here. Leaving is easier said than done. We have built a life together. And I made a lot of sacrifices to be with him. I wanted to marry this man and have his children. And I may still. I just don't know. And I do know he really loves me in the way that he treats me, but it's just when I'm not around that I get worried. Yes, he has lied and he has cheated, but that's not what makes a person WHO they are. Admittedly, this is a huge character flaw, but he is also loving, gentle and considerate. I'm not perfect either. I guess I'm scared to be alone too. I feel like he's apart of who I am. He is my family. He's everything. I know what I should do, but I just can't muster up the courage.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008, 3:58 PM

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You say you may still want to marry and have children with this man- if you have a daughter would this be the type of guy you would want her with? You worry about what he does when you aren't around, that will drive you crazy because you can't possibly be with him 24/7.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008, 4:29 PM

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Sounds like you have given this guy a free ticket to use you. Really no offense intended, but "why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free". You told him he could do whatever he wanted for six months relationship-wise and now you are worried you can't trust him? So what is the standard in this relationship? Talk about a good case for marriage...

Tuesday, March 25, 2008, 4:57 PM

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3:36 here

OP, you have made your decision. You are not leaving. OK, a lot of women make that same decision in even more terrible circumstances then yours, for their own personal reasons. So, accept that you don't trust your future spouse. Accept that you are willing to take the chance of him cheating, and him attempting to hook up with other people in front of your mutual aquaintances. If you believe that the good things in this person outweigh the 'character flaw' more power to you. Most people get what they deserve in a spouse. Generally the only family member they get to choose.
I hope it works out for you. I really do, I hope I sound sincere and not all judgey.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008, 5:01 PM

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sounds like you can't let it go. does it matter if there was 1 or 100? Nope. if you can't let it go, let him go. for both of your sakes. why stay with someone you're never going to forgive or trust and why waist your time?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008, 5:23 PM

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He is just not that into you. Keep your self respect and leave.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008, 5:57 PM

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You're deserve better than a guy like that. Move're worth it.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008, 6:09 PM

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My heart breaks for you OP. I wish you could really 'hear' what you've said. If your very best friend came to you with this - you'd advise that 'It's okay if you can't trust him when he's gone, it beats being alone - even if you are insecure all the time. Really, this is all you deserve, anyway. Invest even more of yourself in him?"

A person who lies and cheats is showing you exactly who they are - it's not what a person says, it's what they DO. And no one's perfect - that's not the prerequisite for having a partner that's honest and trustworthy.

It sounds like you came here to get validation for staying, but I hope you'll really listen to yourself and not your fear of being alone.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008, 6:55 PM

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All the advice here is good. If your bff came with the same situation you probably would say to leave!
But relationships are very complicated, and no one knows precisely what is happening and the dynamics of your relationship like you do. Here are the questions you need to answer and do with them what you wish:
1. What does his not telling you about everything say about his ethics?
2. Is this lapse in judgment something you wouldn't mind seeing in your future children?
3. Have you saved enough of your personhood to leave once you decided to?
Think about the values you want to instill in your children. Think about how you want them raised. Then look at your boyfriend. Is this the person you want to influence your legacy (through your children)? If yes, okay. If no, take steps to end things. If you don't know, just save these questions and keep them in mind. We women tend to put up with a lot by ourselves, but won't put that pressure on our kids. (That may explain the divorce rate post children!)
Good luck, thank you for reaching out, and if you don't have a clear answer now, that's okay. Just keep questioning and thinking. It will come to you.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008, 7:55 PM

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I have seen this behavior performed by a couple of guys that I thought never would. After awhile they did it again, or overall treated the accepting wife or girlfriend even worse. It was if they lost respect and trashed all boundaries.
Of course the female was not ever at fault, but she gave the message that she was a doormat... they just kept coming to the door and stepping right on her whenever it was easy. You will be more respectable to yourself when you move on.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008, 12:24 AM

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I agreee with 4:29. Would you want this kind of man for your own daughter because this will be her role model for life, and your reaction to it will teach her that it's ok to get dumped on and not trust your man.

He's sticking with you #1 because you worship him even when he's an ass, and #2 he knows you listen to him more than everyone else. Mark my words, he will marry you, have kids with you, then leave you for someone else when he realizes there are plenty of women who will do the same thing. Gather what self respect you have left and kick him to the curb. I know the thought of being alone is scary but believe me you will feel awesome knowing that you took charge of your life rather than letting your life just happen to you based on someone else's whim.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008, 9:00 AM

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