My partner has been involved with others online
I have recently found out that my long-term partner (almost 10 years) has been using interactive pornography sites, watching live webcams and interacting with the women on there. I found this accidentally when using his computer and despite me normally having a good ‘spidey sense’ when it comes to him lying, I had no idea this had been going on!
When I confronted him he admitted it straight away and couldn’t be more apologetic of course. He promised me that the site was as far as it went, and that he never intended it to go further than an ‘online fantasy’. He had stopped using the sites for several weeks prior to me finding out, as he felt ‘wrong’ doing it.
Unfortunately for him I no longer trusted what he said, and sure enough I found more. I found he had put a naked picture of himself on his profile. He had also set up an alias e-mail address and signed up to another dating site, where he had described himself as ‘currently in a long term relationship but just looking for some no strings fun, preferably with an older woman’. He remains adamant that this was all ‘an experiment’ and he was curious to see what the sites were like and what responses he got. He said he never intended to pursue it any further. I don’t believe a word of what he says at the moment.
This all happened a few days ago and the feelings are all very raw right now. I feel angry, betrayed, lied to and disappointed that he is not who I thought he was. I would like to make it clear that prior to this I thought we had always been open and honest when it came to sex. I knew he used pornography and never had a problem with this; it just feels MORE than porn knowing that he’s actually spoken to these women and complimented them on their ‘performance’ and bodies.
I know I’m obsessing about this at the moment, which is not healthy. It’s all I can think about, the first thing that comes to mind when I wake up. I feel sick constantly. If I talk to him I just get angry or upset and we can’t really have a productive conversation. I would be too ashamed and embarrassed to talk to friends as family.
I love my partner but right now I struggle to even look at him. The worst part is feeling like he is still lying, and that there’s probably a lot more to it than I know. The one thing I am holding onto is that he stopped using the sites himself about a month ago, realizing he had crossed a line. I saw evidence of this in his accounts.
Will I be able to get past this, or will it remain an issue for the rest of our relationship? How can we take steps to move forward?
It can be difficult for some people to contain their sexual desires to a single individual over the course of a lifetime. And the Internet makes it easy for people to “explore” their fantasies and desires. Ideally, he would have been honest about his feelings and needs and not hidden his activities from you. But, that would have acquired you to accept and understand that he may have needs beyond what he is getting from your relationship.
It is probably best to have a candid conversation about his sexual wants and needs, and if you can satisfy those desires. Or would you be comfortable allowing him to explore his desires as long as he was honest about what he was doing? A loving, caring and healthy relationship does not necessarily involve monogamy. But, it does involve respect, acceptance and honesty.
The best way to resolve this problem would be to talk to a therapist or a counselor about the situation. Again, this will involve hearing a lot of things that make you upset. But, if you want to have a relationship that is grounded in the truth, sometimes you have to confront difficult issues and try to realize that a partner might have needs that you cannot meet. Romantic relationships are complex – they do not always fit into the expectations we have about them.
Through counseling you have a better chance of talking about issues truthfully, finding solutions if possible, and making decisions that are in both of your best interests. Ignoring the problem, punishing him for his behavior, or demanding that he change, usually doesn’t work in the long run.
I have my own question to ask
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