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Author Topic: Boyfriend of 2 years sexting previous partner.
messindria
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I've been with my current boyfriend for over 2 years. We moved in together after 6 months of dating and have seriously talked about marriage.

I told him when we started dating, that when it comes to porn I know that there is no way I can pretend to control looking it up and that it is something I can accept in a relationship because I know that in previous relationships I have looked up porn and not had any urges to do anything with anyone besides my partner.

He said that if he is fully satisfied by who he is with, there is no need for him to look at porn, in his mind.

SO, when I walked in on him one day and he had a browser open with some escort site in a different state, I was incredibly shocked and heartbroken and all he could say was 'I was horny'. (we had had sex 8 hour prior..)

I had to leave, and went to school then directly to work without a chance to really talk to him. Did lots of research on girls that have caught their boyfriends looking up escorts and they all said to split.

So as I was going home, I was fully prepared to start packing and move out.

When we got to talking, he said that he is fully satisfied with me and that he was stressed because of these new classes I was taking which were taking away a lot of time from us for the next two weeks (which this was seen on day 1 of those classes and again we had sex 8 hours prior..)

Either way, I decided it was worth working through, but he needed to know boundaries. So I told him a) I truly am not happy that you are looking at escort adds (he says it is more attractive to see scanty pictures in these adds then actual porn) - BUT, my line would be looking up escorts locally, and so much as e-mailing, texting, calling any of these girls, or any other girl and talking about sex. That was my line, and I made it clear that I would be gone had he crossed it.

After that day, there were several times where I wanted to check out his computer and spy on him (I know his passwords and he knows mine), but I decided that for my mental sanity, I would just focus on our relationship, and if he does cheat on me, someway-somehow I would find out, every girl always does.

The last few months have been amazing. We have been talking about marriage and having great conversations, going out, having lots of sex, he has been more passionate towards me than he ever has. I would have said 'yes' had he proposed to me a week ago.

Then we are at a concert, and he goes to look at the time on his phone and has a random text message from an unknown number and it is a picture of some girl, which he expressly claimed had to be a coincidence - he didn't know who she could possibly be and knew nothing about it.

But in-comes my gut feeling, which have been pretty spot on in the past. And I found myself having to log on to his computer yesterday just to make sure I wasn't being played. And I was.

At first, there was just a message from him to this girl saying 'hey' -- sent 10 MINUTES after I went to bed.. I pull up that girl's account, and it is the same girl that sent him a picture. They were not friends on Facebook, and that is where he sent the message, so that is what concerned me - why wouldn't he be friends with her, clearly is hiding something (not to mention the fact that he lied about the picture).

I decided to look into his history, and he had been looking at this girls' pictures on her account since May (the time I caught him looking at escorts). I also saw that though he deleted hi history, I could restore his last browsing session, and saw that he was looking up 'casual encounters' in our city - and in looking at these ads, there were people looking to hook up for a night.

I had to work an ab-normal shift yesterday where we normally would have been together, but I was not home. He knew I would be working this shift for several weeks now. Throughout the day, I was checking into his messages, and saw she finally replied to him and said 'everything by, i'm just in the mood for everything lol, I wish I could be loved haha'.

Clearly not innocent. And then it continued, to where he replied saying 'well I'll sure show you a good time' and when she didn't reply, he said 'well apparently not tonight then' and it was evident as the messages went on that he had made plans with this girl to hook up yesterday, the only reason it didn't happen was because she didn't go through with it. There was one point where he said 'i don't think your that into it' and she asked what and he said 'the fun stuff we've done'. Where he continued to make plans to hopefully do it soon..


I was absolutely devastated. AND as soon as I hit 'refresh' the messages no longer existed..

I went home and asked him if he's been 100% faithful to me. He said yes. I told him I knew he was lying, and he played dumb. I asked him who 'ali' was, and he played dumb. I asked him who 'ali smith' was, and he said he used to worked with her. I asked him if he'd talked to her at all recently - he said no. I told him I knew he had, and he still played dumb. I had to recite every damn message to him, for him to finally stop playing me like I was an idiot.

He has self identified that he is good at manipulation, and I told him that what he just did to me was pure manipulation, that he blatantly lied to me, when he had the chance to admit his wrong-doings to me, so that he could see just how much I really knew, and didn't admit to things I didn't know.

We talked for 5 hours, and I told him I was leaving him. He finally admitted that he had a problem. He still swears that nothing would have happened with that girl, that it was a mental game for him.

He said that he has had a lot of frustration lately, with us having different work schedules and family issues, and that he was doing this to get his mind off the frustration. That he is completely satisfied with me sexually, but when I'm not around he looks at the more questionable stuff.

He said to me that he's realized lately that actions he's made have had consequences that he never thought about in the act (not just pertaining to our relationship - but with his family), and that he knows he needs to think harder about these things.

We both agreed that we have a great and healthy relationship and that it is worth working this out.

What we agreed to last night, was that for him, he can't even watch porn because it leads to things like this - he is the one that said that and agreed to not look it up. I told him if he has those urges, we see each other at least every 8 hours, and he can wait for me, or even wake me up.

We also both agreed to delete any contacts that we've had previous sexual relations with, and that if they were to contact us, there is absolutely no reason that we should be responding and engaging in any conversation with them. That friends are different, but it would probably be best should we not actively reach out to friends of the opposite sex to catch up, but if they ask us how we are doing we are okay to carry on that conversations.

I told him that I have no trust for him, and it will take me a very long time, if at all I can trust him again to the extent that I had. And that I don't even know that this will work because he is so good about hiding his activity - I mean, had I not been refreshing his messages WHILE AT WORK, I would have NEVER even known about all this, and that just makes me so sick.

He agreed to send a message to that girl, letting her know the situation, and that he had screwed up big time, and let me see the message before he sent it to make sure it got the message across that I need to see.

He said there were no other girls, and that even if I can't believe that he isn't just deleting his history, he will keep it all completely open to me so I can see it all the time until I can build up more trust for him.

He seemed very genuine in wanting to make this work.

My problem now is, today I wake up, and I look at him, and I just don't know how I can stay with someone knowing they've done this to me. Especially when I had trust issues when we started dating and he worked very hard and knew he was the first person I completely trusted in a very long time.

I decided to check his account, just to see if maybe he sent a message to that girl without talking to me first - and he has changed his password.

I just don't know what to do at this point. Do I confront him about changing the password and ask that he let me in? Or do I just let go? I am 21, I know I will find someone else, but at the same time I do believe in our relationship - but what is a relationship without trust?

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Heather
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Hey, messindria: so sorry you're going through this, it sounds pretty rough.

You know, sometimes I worry that "trust issues" is a framework that can actually diminish the fact that it makes sense not to just trust everyone with everything, and to be very selective about who we trust with the biggest stuff.

What I'm seeing here sounds less to me like a porn/sex problem your partner has than an honesty problem. And it makes a LOT of sense not to trust someone who has shown us, with a pattern, no less, that we can't trust them because they will be dishonest with us. In fact, I kind of wonder if suggesting this was more an issue about sex isn't him really further denying -- to you, himself, or both -- that he has a problem being honest. Know what I mean?

So, personally, I'd not move forward with a serious relationship with someone like this, myself, especially if they're not even showing any real awareness that there is a very good reason for you not to trust them. And I certainly don't think you offering for him to wake you up if he wants sex when you're sleeping, or anything like that, is going to make any difference when it comes to him learning to be honest, same goes with deleting online contacts who either of you have been involved with before. Again, I think making this about sex or porn is an error, as those aren't the real issues here.

I suspect that the real issue -- his lack of trustworthiness in terms of being honest -- is probably one that's harder for both of you to acknowledge as the real problem. Harder for you because that's a bigger problem, and has big bearing on you continuing this relationship, harder for him because it's WAY less easy of an out (and if he acknowledges he has a pattern of being untruthful, that means he has to be much more responsible, and can't blame something out of his control, like his hormones, or something external, e.g., "the porn makes me do this stuff.").

So, my best advice, if you want to consider staying in this, is that you both toss the strategies you already talked about: seriously, just say, "You know, no, all of that is in the trash, I wasn't seeing the forest through the tress," or what have you. And THEN have several big, real talks about the real issue here: about this person being dishonest and deceptive, and even lying right to your face. Maybe even talk about how bad it is for both of you that to get at a truth, you felt -- and in reality, you did, since he clearly wasn't being truthful with you otherwise -- had to breach his privacy in order to not be lied to. That's not healthy for either of you, and it says a lot about how much trust has broken down or doesn't exist in a relationship.

But again, personally? I'd be outta there. It just doesn't sound like this person is likely to change this pattern any time soon, and everyone deserves to only be with partners who don't purposefully deceive them, don't lie to their faces about things that matter, etc. Everyone deserves intimate relationships only with people they can trust and have sound reason to trust.

[ 08-07-2012, 01:52 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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messindria
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Also to add, when I asked about saying 'the fun stuff we've done' he claims that he was referring to them having sex and her going down on him before we started dating 2 years ago. (hence why we made the agreement to cut off past partners)

He said they started talking about a month or 2 ago and that she did mention me once, asking if I was still his girlfriend, and he said yes. But that he didn't even think twice about anything because to him 'nothing was going to happen, it was just a mental game'..

I did tell him I didn't believe that for a second..

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Heather
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Again, it really sounds to me like the issue here is a longstanding pattern of dishonesty, and sound reasons for you not to trust this person based on deceptions you have verified.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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messindria
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Oh sorry, I hadn't seen your reply yet. Thank you for replying so quickly.

I wholeheartedly agree that it is an honestly problem and he knows he is very good at manipulation and deception.

Last night during our talk he admitted that he hasn't been as open to me lately in telling me about his frustrations. That he just holds it all in, thinking that he can resolve all of his problems on his own and not being open to what advice I may have to offer him.

He said that right now I am the most important thing to him.

I feel that who you are with should make you feel like the best you.

I asked him if it was just easier to stay in a relationship with me (as we do have 2 dogs together and live together), than to truly evaluate if this relationship is something he wants in his life. I don't want to stay in a relationship because its 'easier' to do so.

He said that he had actually reflected on that earlier in the day. That he was moving some boxes and saw my old high school dance pictures and was jealous of the guys I was with. That he sat down and thought of how proud he was to be with me.

I told him that I truly don't want to feel like I have to 'nag' at him to keep him from doing this. That to me, if you truly respect and love someone, you wouldn't be doing things deceptively behind their back that will hurt them, and that if you have to hide it, you really need evaluate why you are hiding that behavior from them.

But at the same time, he admitted that when we very first started dating, I had inadvertently seen a text to his old girlfriend (was not looking for anything and did not mean to see it), that was joking about still having her underwear. We talked about it, and he admitted last night that if I hadn't seen that, it probably would have gotten to the point it had gotten to last night with this other girl.

And that does scare me, but at the same time, it is showing me that he is trying to be more honest with me.

Do you think there is any hope that he will change? He agreed that if just working at it together didn't help, he would agree to go see a counselor and that he thinks it would help if I went with him to some of the sessions.

I just don't know if this is something he can fix while in a relationship at this time and i told him that..

In relation to the sex solutions (waking me up etc.) he agreed that wouldn't solve the issues because he knows he needs to just be more open with me and it isn't that he necessarily feeling a sexual compulsion to look up these girls, it is that he is mentally un-challenged and looking for a distraction from the frustrations that he hasn't been talking to me about.

I do think that I get wrapped up in the infidelity part and not the actual issue, the honesty like you said and I need to work on that. Last night, when I reflect on it, its clear that he knows honesty is the core issue.

The question is, can he work on that while with me, or does he need to be on his own and realize how much that deception has impacted something great for him for it to really be fixed?

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Heather
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Not knowing him, and not yet seeing any change to this pattern, I couldn't say if it seems hopeful to me or not. If there had been any change at all yet, over some time, then I might be able to make that call. But as of right now, it sounds like honesty has always been an issue and continues to be, and big deceptions about big stuff continue, you know?

But you DO know him and this relationship: let's maybe start with your gut feelings, your intuition: what does it say to you about it being hopeful?

You might also look at what, if any, big issues he has had in his life before and how he has handled those: has he, in other areas of his life history, come through the other side with something hard before? has he shown a willingness to own his own stuff and make big changes as needed in the past?

I also think the question isn't just if he can work on all of this with you, but if you're up to that, especially knowing that may mean him not changing, and you investing more time and effort and still having that outcome, and may also mean risking more big deceptions. Of course, it could also mean risking positive outcomes and none of that. What do you feel up to?

It might also be worth asking if you think you might enable him in any way, like by giving him more tether than you should, or not setting limits in a way which allows him to keep doing this stuff but know that even when he does, you'll still take it. That obviously could impact is he can change with this while with you. And of course, if he really wants to, for himself, not just for you.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Heather
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(Can I also ask if in any of these talks, rather than giving you a rationale for why he did what he did -- he's frustrated, unchallenged, not talking to you enough, horny, the porn made him do it, etc. -- he's yet once skipped the rationalizations and just said anything to the effect of "There is no excuse for my lying to you like this, I did that, I am earnestly sorry, and I'm going to demonstrate that by NOT making excuses and working hard to change."

?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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messindria
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One thing he has done, is that alcoholism runs in his family, and he is 26 now and has never had a drink. He knows he has an addictive personality, and has a strong feeling that it would be a problem for him, so he just doesn't do it.

That could be self control, but at the same time, it could also mean lack of self trust. Knowing him, it is a combination of both, but at the end of the day, it keeps him from doing what he knows will harm him in the long run.

I guess that may apply in this situation, in knowing the healthy and unhealthy ways to let go of his frustrations?

To your second post - I didn't get the feeling that he was rationalizing what he did. But at the same time, he admitted that he did not think it was wrong at the time.

I asked him why would he feel that this behavior is wrong going forward (to gauge if he really understands what he has been doing or if he is just doing what he can to salvage the relationship), and he said that it is because he knows how it impacts others now and that wasn't something he was really thinking about.

I asked him if he thought what he did was cheating, and he said that now he does, but he didn't, again, at the time. He thought that he could solve all of his frustrations and that he didn't need to be open with me because he could fix it, and that he could control how far these conversations would go with this girl. Then he said that he now realizes that hes not as in control as he thought, and he isn't as aware of the path of progression this was taking him on, starting by shutting me out, then leading to deception and seeking distractions with other girls, and that if I hadn't seen anything, it probably would have lead to sex.

He said that when he thinks about it, he has progressively started to truly treat me like crap. And he knows its unacceptable. Whether it is not doing things with/for me or just not talking to me about things on a day to day basis. He knows that I deserve much better than how he has been treating me and he said that he really does want to work on it.

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Heather
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What I was really looking for was a problem, a tough one, he actively changed, one that took hard work, rather than a problem he avoided developing?

So, I hear he feels he should learn to be honest because it can hurt others: did he say at all why he'd want to change for himself? How living life deceptively isn't positive for him?

(Also, I find it a little tough to swallow that someone old enough to cohabitate, and who clearly chose to be dishonest because he didn't want to deal with being honest is only just not getting this stuff can hurt people. How do you feel about that kind of statement this late in the game?)

Once more -- and sorry if I sound like a broken record -- I think issues of possible infidelity are a red herring here. I also think, though, his answer that he didn't think that was a problem, if that's what he is saying, isn't honest, because if it wasn't, why not be straight with you, you know? And maybe putting the shoe on the other foot: would he see nothing wrong with you withholding information and being dishonest in the ways he was? If not, then maybe there's a big difference between the two of you and ethics to address. If so, then maybe again, the "didn't know it was wrong" is...well, bullshit.

It also still sounds like he's speaking about some of this stuff like he isn't at the wheel. "led to sex," for instance. If he wound up having sex with someone, that would be about his choices, not a "progression" or something happening outside his control.

Again, I'm wondering what your gut feeling about this are. If you shut out what you want or don't want, and just go by how you feel, in your belly, do you feel like this person will make really big efforts to change? Do you feel like they really want to, for themselves? Do you feel like, say five years down the road, you will be in a much different relationship, with someone you can trust, or that it'll be more of the same as it has been?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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messindria
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Hi Heather,

Sorry for my late reply - I have been at work.

I truly appreciate all of the advice and discussion you've provided to me.

I have decided that my gut feeling is to work on this with him. I honestly do feel that he knows how wrongly he has treated our relationship and taken me for granted.

I have been in an even worse situation in the past with a previous boyfriend, and I did give him a second chance which went no where, but when I compare the two situations, and how both guys are acting, they are no where close to the same ball park.

I only say that because I know for a fact that I can trust myself to not be one of those girls that just continues to let this happen to her with the same guy over and over again. I know that if this does come up again, and I find him being deceitful, I will end it.

And to me, the positive outcome, of him truly fixing his trust and manipulation issues, is worth putting myself on the line again.

He wrote me a letter today while I was at work, and in detail described his self destruction and that in reality, he walked out on me and I have every right to do that to him.

That if I'll allow it, he wants to start fresh with me and build our relationship up from the ground.

Although I had already made the decision to give this another try, this reminded me that when we first started dating, he did tell me how he would be in a relationship, and then have a tendency to self destruct that relationship based on various trigger events and we did have a very long conversation about it and how he felt it was unhealthy for him.

I still don't know how I feel about the self destruction, but I do know that having a deeper understanding of what was going on will help me recognize if it happens again.

Please send me good vibes and hopes. I don't want to end up being the 'gullible' person I've always been called in my life, but at the same time I've worked so hard on my trust issues over the past 3 years and I've come so far and I do trust that he really is a good person that made some horrible choices. And I know that if we can get past this, he is right for me.

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Heather
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No worries, we're here when it works for our users, so it's always okay to take whatever time away you need.

I'm happy to be supportive of whatever choice you make with this: this is your life, after all, and with things like this, no one else can really tell us the :right" things to do. We have to just decide what we want to do and try.

But I'm not sure good vibes will help much: how about we talk strategies instead? I think creating a sound framework, including some hard limits, with this will be a lot more helpful than wishing luck. [Smile]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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messindria
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Thank you again for all of your advice. We have been having several conversations over the past week to work through all of this. So today I decided that before I start to really move on and try to trust him again, I need to look into it a bit deeper, and sure enough, he was lying about not actually doing stuff with the girl, and I and pretty confident that he's done stuff with the escorts I caught him looked at as well based on the secret e-mail and facebook accounts I found.

So long. I packed all my stuff and moved out tonight. I should have listened to you right away, I could have done with out knowing all of this but I think it will be better in the long run anyways to not have regrets.

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Karybu
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Messindria, I'm sorry this didn't work out the way you wanted it to. But, I'm glad you were able to make a choice that sounds like it feels right for you.

Is there anything specific in the way of support you need right now? Anything you'd like to talk about?

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"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." -Arundhati Roy

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