I am in a trouble filled, long-distance relationship and do not know what to do

My boyfriend and I have been together for a little over a year. He’s in the Marines. We met through a mutual friend and only hung out for one physical day before he went on a deployment. I live on the East Coast and he lives on the West. He’s originally from where I live, so all of his friends and family live here as well. We text each other constantly and talk on the phone whenever possible, but only see each other in person about every 3 months.

He has always had a flirty personality and has always had all kinds of female friends, most of which he’d charmed his way into sleeping with. We’ve always had our problems being long distant, but things really changed when he came and visited me during Christmas. He had a friend of his pick him up from the airport and when he got to my house he was completely intoxicated. He had promised me that his male friend was going to pick him up and he was going to come directly here, but when I saw a snapchat from one of his friends of him at a party I knew that wasnthe case. When he got to my house I took his phone and immediately found months worth of nudes and dirty talks between him and an old friend-with-benefits. It turns out the girl in the pictures was the friend who had picked him up, the day before he came over to my house. He swears up and down that nothing happened between them and when it came down to it he felt bad and couldnhook up with her. We tried to work it out.

He didnsee it as cheating, but I did. Another picture I found in his phone was a snapchat screenshot that he took of a girl with bruises all over her chest that read the caption "what did you do to me?” The picture was dated from a couple of days after Thanksgiving while we were together. He assured me the picture was old and he had saved it from an app called drop box. He resaved it because he "was telling his friends a story and wanted help tell it with pictures". I didnbuy it, but had no way of proving otherwise.

Fast-forward to last weekend when he came home for Easter and a friend of his wedding. He invited me to go the wedding with him months ago. We got in a big fight the week before and he uninvited me and opted to take one of his guy friends instead because he was afraid I would "cause a scene in public", which has never happened before. I was extremely unhappy, but he promised me that he’d be back after the wedding to hang out with me. He ended up getting severely intoxicated at the wedding and going to a bar afterwards with his friends. He stopped answering all of my calls and texts. I found out which bar he was at through a mutual friend and went to the bar. He could barely stand. He was cut off and kicked out. I took him home where we fought until early hours of the morning. We decided not to be in a relationship anymore, but to spend the rest of the weekend together. Things started looking up during the time we spent together. Maybe the tension of distance was taking its toll and we could fight through it. He left but for some reason I started thinking about the photo I had seen of the girl with the bruises.

So I found her on Facebook and asked her about it. She said the last time she had seen him was Thanksgiving, and if I wanted to find out what had happened I needed to go to him for that. She was very nice about it and understanding and apologetic. She had no idea that he’d had a girlfriend. So I called him and asked him when the last time he had seen her was. He kept denying everything until I told him about the messages, and even after telling him about the messages he only admitted to being at her house with his military friends because they didnhave anywhere else to go for the holidays. He kept asking, "Did she say we had sex?" After more probing he finally admitted to everything. He said it was only that one night and he felt horrible about it. If he felt so horrible, why did he save the picture?

He’s supposed to be done with the military in the next few months. Our plans have always been when he gets out to move somewhere neither of us had ever lived before. We have our good moments, and we have our atrocious moments. I’ve always tried to push through until we can actually be together. I’ve proposed multiple times to him that we be in an open relationship until we can be together, because I understand humans are animals with needs. I donneed anyone else, I’d rather just not expect too much out of him. He always declined.

He lies, a lot. To his friends, his family, and me. I talk to him everyday, then when I hear him talk to his friends his stories and goals donadd up. He always tells people what they want to hear. He’s adopted and has "abandonment issues". He is very charismatic and likable...when he’s sober. He drinks on weekends until the point that he blacks-out and acts like a fool almost every time. When he blacks out he usually stops talking to me, which I find extremely frustrating.

What I’m asking you is; is there anything salvageable about this relationship? He swears he loves me and wants to "spend his life with me", and I do love him, too. If I did stay in a relationship with him how would we go about fixing our problems? Going to counseling is hard when you’re 3000 miles apart.


Managing a healthy relationship is no easy task. The situation you describe is far from healthy. You are dating a boyfriend who lies, cheats, drinks, and probably has a dismissing (or fearful-avoidant) style of attachment (see attachment styles). Moreover, you are in long-distance relationship, which makes resolving problems incredibly difficult.

It might be wise to look away from your relationship and focus on what you get out of it? Why do you want to continue dating him? Relationships are supposed to add value to your life. In fact, successful relationships are marked by overwhelmingly positive experiences with some difficult issues to deal with from time to time – not the situation you describe.

In situations like this it is critical to do some self-reflection. Why do you want to be with him? You can fall in love with a lot of people, so why him? How does he hook you? Is he attractive, charming, and fun? Does he make you feel special when he wants to?

People typically stay in unhealthy relationships because they get something out of it. Once you can identify the thing that keeps you holding on, it is usually easier to let go.

Yes, counseling can help in situations like this. But, do you really want to invest so much of your time, energy and effort when the odds of it working in the long run are very slim?

 cheating boyfriend | dismissing attachment | lying boyfriend

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