I think I caught my boyfriend cheating
Season’s Greetings to anyone out there, and best wishes for the coming year.
First of all, excuse me if my English is not perfect, as it is not my mother tongue. I will do my best to express myself as clearly as possible. Also, my story may be a bit too long, but it’s been torturing me for awhile now, so there’s a lot to tell. I hope somebody will be able to say something that will help me out of this one.
Almost four years ago I met the man who is now my mate (he’s 50, and I’m 39). I felt very attracted to him from the start. He had been married twice before and has a son by his first wife, but for the rest he seemed to have everything I had been looking for –– he came across as a good man, loving and caring, despite his occasional strong temper.
The beginnings were a bit stormy, as they sometimes are, especially as we get older and burnt out from past failed relationships. After just a fortnight seeing each other, he suddenly called me to break up one day, with no apparent reason, as things seemed to me as fine as they can be at that stage. This hurt me deeply, and made me feel very insecure. However, I tried to be brave, concealed my sadness, and just let him go… And to my surprise, after a couple of weeks he just came back, all by himself, enthusiastic and ready (so he said) to start something “real.”
After that, things seemed to run smoothly, although he was a little too insistent. I was working extremely hard at the time at a very stressful job; I had a thyroid condition that wasn’t helping at all either, and he insisted on seeing me nearly every day, at least for a little while. That somewhat bothered me, because I’m very independent, and I even felt a bit smothered sometimes. However, as I was really interested in him, and above all I didn’t want to hurt his feelings and was really committed to the relationship, I just tried to take it as part of his personality and played along as best I could. (I feel so stupid about it now!).
We had started going out in April 03, and that same summer I agreed to go on vacation with him and his kid––upon his insistence mainly, as I wasn’t too sure, and to me it seemed a bit early. Nevertheless, things turned out alright, or so it seemed then. Vacation was peaceful, we enjoyed, talked a lot about couples, love, faithfulness, among many other things, and he seemed happy, and, as he would say, in love.
Timed passed, and by the start of winter he started talking about marriage. I was still at my job, which was by then killing me due to the stress I was under; he suggested that I quit and relax a little. He was offering me the opportunity of an easier life, and, for the first time I decided to take it. And, actually, not only because of me, but mainly because I thought this man deserved a woman who was not half dead every day after work and at weekends when we were together. He earns his living well, and I could just continue to work at a more relaxed pace from home, freelancing. And, why not? We could marry. Time for happiness seemed to have come at last! Sure.
After meditating the decision, I finally left my job on January 04. Soon thereafter, one day while at his house, I was looking for a pen in a drawer and found a piece of paper. Nothing special about it, but for some reason I was drawn to take it and unfold it. It was an invoice from a hotel located just two blocks down, dated on the day after we had returned from our vacation. I didn’t really think it that important at first, at least not consciously. So I just left it where I found it, in an effort to make myself believe that maybe it was related to work. I thought it could also be his first wife, who at the time was moving, and still didn’t have her house. Its crazy how silly we can be sometimes, trying to mask the truth from ourselves to prevent it from tearing us apart…
However, as I hard as I tried to forget, that invoice kept popping up in my mind... So one night that I stayed at his house, I got up in while he was sleeping and went to look at his cell phone. My heart was pounding at an incredible speed. I felt bad for snooping into his telephone, but, to my dismay, I found what I had unconsciously been looking for. There were two recent messages he’d sent to a female work colleague (his assistant manager). One of them said “I love you very much” and the other “You look very pretty today.” This woman is married and has two kids, which, in ethical terms, made things even worse for me.
Needless to say, I had a horrible night. I said nothing the next morning, and just went back to my house as I usually did on Mondays. I felt like my whole world was falling apart. Although I couldn’t be certain of anything, I’m very intuitive, so sadly, very sadly, deep inside I knew. I let the week go by, while I cried and cried all day. I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep. I didn’t even feel the urge to drink water!
We had arranged to meet for dinner that Friday. As I was approaching his house, I saw him from afar at the door, playing with his cell phone. He seemed to be writing a message. He was so concentrated he didn’t see me come up to him. His expression was of total surprise when he saw me. He quickly put his phone away, we went up into the house, and he went straight to the bathroom (to continue sending his message, I suppose; he hadn’t even taken off his coat!). God, I wanted to cry so bad.
I still said nothing, although I was falling to pieces and ready to burst into tears. As we walked to the restaurant, I finally confronted him with the issue (I still said nothing about the invoice). I first apologized for spying on him, told him what I had found, and he started telling me that it was an old story that he was dragging and had been trying to end properly. He obviously thought I didn’t know who the woman was, because there were no names in the messages (I had to look at his name list, number by number until I found it, which fortunately didn’t take very long). To prevent him from making a fool of himself and getting tangled in an unending ridiculous lie, which I could see he was about to start, I told him not to bother, because I already knew who the messages were for, and left him right there and then. The pain and the shock I was feeling was so sharp I can’t even find the words to describe it, but I’m sure everyone here knows what it’s like.
He wouldn’t stop calling me for days and weeks, begging for forgiveness and asking me for a chance to explain; he said he loved me, that the story had already ended, that he wanted to marry me and so on…. I was still trying to decide what to do about the invoice (maybe it was just my imagination, I kept telling myself), afraid that I would make a big mistake if I asked. But I just felt I had to find out, so upon his insistence, I finally agreed to meet with him and talk.
When we finally saw each other, he told me that the story with that woman had begun while on a business trip a few months before he had met me; apparently, she was having troubles with her marriage; that they both knew it was doomed from the start and somehow wanted to end it; that the physical part was already agonizing and had ended when he met me, but that adjusting afterwards was very difficult and delicate because they worked so closely, and had to continue to do so, and had known each other for over 12 years. And that’s basically the reason he gave me for the messages, although he seemed very vague about everything.
Then, suddenly I managed to muster up the courage to inquire about the invoice. He was shocked at first, as he took him completely by surprise. When he regained his composure (which happened quickly), he coldly replied that the invoice belonged to a friend of his who was having an affair with someone, and whom he had to “bail out” of a hotel one day because he had lost his credit card.
That did it! Such treacherous lie turned grief into indignation; however, once again I patiently asked him for the truth, telling him that no one could ever believe such a fairy tale. He finally admitted he met with her at the hotel that morning; he said that she had been calling him all summer and wanted to see him badly; that she knew I had come into the scene and wanted him back. He painted it as he had been somewhat forced to go, out of respect for their friendship (but what about respect for me?), he said that they had breakfast in the room, no sex, that they talked, and that the relationship finally ended on that day when he told her he wanted to have a life with me. But again, he hardly gave any details, saying it was shameful for him to talk about it, and I didn’t press.
I was confused, and so sad to find out that my suspicions were true... I no longer knew who this man really was. I couldn’t take anymore, I couldn’t talk anymore about it, so I took of and went to my sister’s for a while (she lives in another city), where I could cry my heart out in peace.
He kept calling and calling, again begging for forgiveness, telling me that I would make a big mistake if I left him, that we had a life to live together; that he would make it up if I just let him. I asked him to please allow me time to think things over and grieve at my own pace. Doubts about his moral principles were troubling me deeply––going to bed with someone who’s married and with two kids, during working hours, while at the same time playing with my life, my heart, my whole life…? I may have not been a paradigm of virtue in the past myself, but I finally learned some important lessons from trial and error in my life, and some issues pertaining to what’s right and wrong are now quite clear in my mind.
After a few weeks he just turned up at my sister’s house. We talked, cried, and in the end I decided to give him a second chance, although so many things remained unanswered, and aware that it would be very difficult to live with the fact that they continued to see each other every day.
The truth is he’s been really good to me all this time; but the fact that he was just as wonderful to me at the time all that story was going on is just what makes it all so confusing. He’s asked me to marry him several times, but I’ve been suffering from terrible anxiety and can’t seem to forget, no matter how hard he tries. Although I love him, I feel the trust is gone forever. I just wish this had never happened. I even thought I maybe deserved it for having been unfaithful in a relationship once (I’ve felt guilty about it ever since).
I’m still living with the oppressive feeling that I never got the whole story; the pieces just don’t fit. Could it be that my imagination is running wild? Did they or did they not make love that day at the hotel? (That means a world of difference, and it’s hard to believe they didn’t). What was really his intention when he left me at his house that morning and went to meet with her at a hotel just around the corner? If it was really to break up, couldn’t they have met somewhere else? Why didn’t he respect me? Who is he really?
Making a very big effort, I can understand a certain degree of overlapping at the beginning, but was their relationship really agonizing by then, or was it––and continued to be until I discovered everything––as alive as ever? Was I maybe second choice for him? If he really put an end to the relationship on that day, and she was so devastated by it as he said, why did they continue exchanging messages?
I just blew up again one day a few weeks ago, triggered by a very upsetting nightmare in which I kept finding this woman hiding in our closets…
I’m very confused. I’ve asked him once again for the whole truth. He feels that I want to humiliate him, and keeps saying what the told me was the truth.
Can somebody help me see? What does all this speak about him? Am I paranoid? Am I right to keep insisting? I just feel I need the truth it, as a matter of justice.
Surely, I resent him for what he did, but I don’t want the truth just because I’m seeking vengeance. I just feel that this matter is standing between us––apart from the fact that she’s still there physically, which is already hard enough––, and he’s the only one who can fix this situation he created by means of a full confession that could maybe give peace to both of us.
I think that once I know what it is I have to forgive, I might be able to.
I’m living in a cloud of suspicion, distress and anguish that is destroying me, and I’m not sure about anything anymore. I can’t go on like this.
Thanks for any advice.
Sorry to hear about your situation. Unfortunately, it brings to mind the Cheater’s Paradox. When someone gets caught cheating, rather than admit what they have done, they take the evidence presented against them and twist it into an unbelievable story. More often than not, this works because people would rather believe an outlandish tale rather than deal with the truth (see cheater’s paradox).
Essentially, the Cheater’s Paradox forces you between being naïve, or being the victim of an affair. This may help explain why you feel as you do. Your boyfriend is placing you into an impossible situation, and it’s not fair.
But, now that your trust has been damaged, it is important to find out what happened. Rebuilding trust is impossible to do without the facts about what transpired. Without the facts, you’ll always have doubts, making it difficult to trust again.
At the same time, however, it may not be in your boyfriend’s interest to tell you the truth, making this issue difficult to resolve. Counseling is often required to help couples work through these types of issues. And counseling, even on your own, is the best way to resolve this impasse (see recovering from infidelity).
But more importantly, it may also help to consider that your boyfriend’s version of love may be different from your own. Some people think that love is based on understanding and respect, while some people view love as a game; a game where the goal is to control and manipulate other people’s emotions (see ludus).
It may very well be that your boyfriend likes to play games when it comes to love. If that is the case, there is not much you can do about it. Moreover, people who play games when it comes to love, rarely own up to it, so there is little use in talking about it.
Finally, most people do not check into a motel room for breakfast. Feeling paranoid or crazy is all a part of the Cheater’s Paradox. People who play games and cheat often try to manipulate their lovers into believing the foolish and absurd.
We wish we had more encouraging advice to offer.
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