Q. My boyfriend and I have been dating for about nine months now and everything seemed perfect until recently.
I found out he was communicating with women from his past and then lying to me about it. He was going through his messages on Facebook as I was sitting next to him, and I saw the conversation between him and someone he went out on a date with, saying he
wonders what it would of been like to be with her in a sexual way. After that, my trust in him pretty much no longer existed.
Because of this, I found myself going through his e-mail when he wasn’t in the room. I know this is totally wrong, but I felt like when I asked him questions, I never got an honest answer and that was the only way to get answers. In going through his e-mail, I found topless pictures from only a few days before of a woman he has been friends with for a long time. When I confessed to looking in his e-mail and confronted him about it, he felt embarrassed and guilty and said it was totally crossing the line but that it was done as a joke and she has always done stuff like that when he has had a girlfriend. He agreed that it was wrong and was sorry and promised not to do it again. But how can I believe this?
Also in his e-mail I found e-mails from pornography websites, which doesn’t bother me, but also porn chat room websites, which does bother me because it is more personal. I also found pictures he e-mailed himself from Facebook of women I don’t know, some I do know, and one of his ex. I also found a receipt for a mini spy camera. Seeing this totally sickened me. What could he be using it for? I haven’t told him I saw this yet.
I thought he was “the one” until seeing all of this stuff, and whenever I approach him about it he says I have to trust him at least a little bit. He always acknowledges what he does is wrong but keeps on doing it. I just don’t know if I am being too easy on him because I know this behavior isn’t acceptable. I feel torn about what to do because I really see a future with him and love him but can’t get past these things and do not know how or if I can trust him.
A. Things you’ve found:
1. Flirtatious/sexual e-mail to a former date.
2. Topless photo of his female friend.
3. Pornographic chat room websites.
4. Pictures he e-mailed to himself of random women and his ex.
5. Receipt for “spy camera.”
That’s quite a list. Read it out loud for effect.
Apologies can be confusing when your instinct is to be hopeful and forgive. That’s why you have to ask more big, open-ended questions that force him to beyond “I’m sorry.” Does he think that this will happen again? What did he expect to hear from his former date? And . . . has he done anything to set boundaries with the topless friend?
If you really quiz him about his motivation (and hear some probably lame answers), you might get the information you need to feel better about going with your gut. The apologies are getting in your way. Keep talking until you get past them.
I hear this story a lot -- and it’s always the same. Someone snoops, finds vague evidence, confronts, gets a few excuses and explanations, sometimes an apology, but nothing changes. Eventually, the end. I don’t think your story will end any differently. He’s doing stuff you don’t like; do you need an apology or an explanation or do you need to admit to yourself that this isn’t going to work long term.
OK, you don’t trust him (and there’s a good reason for that), and that’s driven you to snoop. Do you need any more information than that?
About one second before you feel the need to look at your significant other’s e-mail, the relationship is totally dead. Without trust, you have nothing and you do not trust this guy. Trust is hard to regain and I wouldn’t put yourself through the torture of going though it. Get rid of the guy and make sure (and don’t simply take his word on it) he did not use that spy cam to record your sex.
I don’t know how much more evidence you need to convince yourself that this isn’t going to work. He continues with this behavior even though he knows you don’t approve. What will it be like ten years from now if he gets bored with you and you are pregnant with your first or second child? Hmm? You really need to ask yourself some hard questions here before committing to this guy.
This woman that he’s been friends with only sends him topless photos of herself when he has a girlfriend? Sooo yeah . . . you know this is weird and not true. Right? If anything, he is insulting your intelligence by not trying to think up a better lie.
This seems really obvious, but he is not your type. You need to find someone who shares your sensibilities about commitment and sexuality. Rather than hoping he will become the man you want him to be, move on.
Yet another letter saying “My man is perfect except for X! how do I change X??” The answer is, you don’t. You end it and find a guy who is more your speed.
Am I the only one not bothered by the spy cam?
The spy camera gives me the creeps. RUN and be safe.
It’s very hard to be sexually interested in a man that makes you go “eww” and this one qualifies big time. Everything from here on out will be a lie for both of you. This is no way to live.
Leave him. Make this your New Year’s resolution.
Column and comments are edited and reprinted from boston.com/loveletters. Meredith Goldstein can be reached at mgoldstein@