My boyfriend continues to cheat online

He’s 25 yrs old and I am 31. He lives at home with his mother and father. He has refused repeatedly to move in with me, and I have settled for his answer I suppose.

About 2 years ago, I found that he had signed up for a personals internet site. After the big fight, things settled down and I forgave.

A few months ago, he started hanging out with a "friend from high school." I thought it strange how I had never met her before until I caught him fixing her brakes in his driveway one day. We spat a little, but again, things settled.

That is, until we were having intimate "make-up" time in bed, when he moaned out her name. I lost it. Yes, he denied it. Then after my lunatic ranting and hysterical crying, he acknowledged it. I’m ashamed to admit I resorted to physical violence and slapped him. I know I was wrong.

When I asked if he had been sleeping with her, he responded, "I always wanted to, but I never did." Again, eventually the dust settled and I forgave.

Recently, he’s been making comments on how I should start going to the gym. This raised my eyebrows a bit. He has recently lost around 20 pounds himself. I have a pretty healthy sexual appetite but he seems content on a once-a-week routine (it’s always been this way). I couldn’t understand why he signed onto these porn sites (and PERSONALS for discrete 1-on-1 encounters).

He has been very argumentative lately, and we’ve both been quite venomous to each other. Thank God we don’t have any kids.

This past Halloween, while passing out candy at his mother’s house, I asked to use their computer. He hadn’t signed off of his connection and I found he had signed up for another sexual personals site. Last night while dropping some things off at his house, I had to use their pc again to update a resume. AGAIN!!! He had signed up with a new live porn site.

When I confront him about it, he won’t even look me in the eye. When I ask him why he does it, I get the rhetorical, "I dunno."

Is online cheating, really "cheating?"

Am I a total idiot for continuing to forgive or are my trust issues fueling my "over reaction"?

All of my girlfriends are married, buying houses and having their second child. I don’t have anyone to confide in without belittling ridicule (i.e.: my parents, my sister) and the I-told-you-so’s.

My boyfriend and I have become each other’s best friend and without him, I feel so alone. I’ve always been such a strong spirited, independent woman, but lately I feel so weak and helpless.

It’s as if being mature, good hearted, understanding and forgiving ... has broken me down as a person. I’m tired of crying and I don’t want to be bitter or angry.

I don’t want to feel this way.

Please help!

Response:

To begin with, online cheating can cause as much agony and pain as does physical infidelity (see online cheating).

The emotions involved are the same: feeling betrayed, rejected, and inadequate. Given the circumstances, you’re probably not overreacting. It’s normal to feel that way (see what counts as cheating).

With that said, it’s also important to try and resolve this issue in a way that is in your long term, best interest.

While you may be attached to your boyfriend (see romantic attachments), have you considered the possibility that your relationship may not improve?

From your question, it sounds like there is a consistent pattern underlying your relationship: you feeling disappointed and upset, blowing up, letting things settle, only to have the same problems re-emerge again. If this is the case, trying to change this pattern won’t be easy, especially since the conflict involves issues of sex and potential infidelity.

Unfortunately, some people lose interest in having sex with the same person over time. When this occurs, people often seek out sexual diversity through pornography or online cheating.

And depending on a partner’s need for excitement, this can be hard to change (see husband constantly cheats).

But, while sexual issues may underlie much of your conflict, our advice is not to focus on your boyfriend’s potential cheating. Our advice is to focus on the other issues which you currently face: the arguing, a lack of commitment, issues of respect, etc.

Relationship problems often surface through issues of infidelity, but the cheating itself isn’t the real problem. Sometimes cheating is a symptom of other issues (see cheating the real problem).

In any case, love shouldn’t cause so much pain. And left on its own, this situation is not likely to improve. So, we strongly encourage you to talk to someone about the problems you’re facing. Talking to a counselor is the best way to resolve these types of problems (see counseling resources).

We wish we could be of more help.

 constant fighting | hostility | online cheating | suspect cheating

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