During the course of our two-year relationship, I found out he had a girl who was sending him pictures of herself (to which he responded that she was beautiful). Then I found out that he was conversing with another girl whom he used to work with. (I’ve seen the phone calls from her number to his and vice versa.) He’s been on chat lines and has sent out pictures of himself. One of the women blackmailed him into paying her or she said she would make his life miserable. She harassed me and even tried to proposition me into meeting her and joining her prostitution ring. This went on for several months until I threatened to involve the police. Now these women rear their ugly heads every once in a while but not as often.
I thought he had learned his lesson about chat lines, but once again I found out he’s been active on other chat lines. He is also on porno sites. I confronted him and he says he gets bored and gets carried away. I feel betrayed, hurt, and angry, and I’m beginning to doubt myself as a woman.
He spent seventeen years in prison and has only been out three years, so I was understanding as to how all this was new for him and he needed his freedom to do these things, but after two years I cannot accept this behavior anymore. I do love him and he tells me every day when he texts that he loves me, too, but I don’t feel comfortable in this relationship any longer; I feel betrayed!! How do I get over these negative feelings I have? — This Tune Cost 70K
You must know on some level that this man isn’t in love with you, has never been in love with you, and has been using you for your money (of which I hope there is plenty and that you haven’t gone into debt or blown through your life savings subsidizing him). You’ve done so much for him and what has he done for you? He hasn’t even bothered to get a passport, which takes maybe an hour of active time and, like, sixty bucks, so he can come see you.
I imagine you must be lonely. And he has preyed on your loneliness. A lonely widow on a cruise who might have a little money and maybe a generous spirit? Jackpot! He’s been taking advantage of you for two years and you’ve allowed it because the attention and his occasional companionship gave you something to look forward to. Maybe you liked feeling needed.
I’m so sorry you feel betrayed and hurt and angry and that you’re doubting yourself as a woman. The only thing you should be doubting, though, is your judgment of character. This man gave you plenty of signs that his feelings for you weren’t worthy of the time and attention and financial support you devoted to him. If you have any money left, I urge you to spend some of it on a good therapist to explore your feelings of loneliness and inadequacy. (YOU are enough. You don’t need to spend money on someone to be loved. You alone are enough.) A therapist should also be able to help you be a better judge of character moving forward.
Not all men are like this guy who took advantage of you and pulled you into a ring of drama. There are very good, solid men out there. Maybe your late husband was one of them. You can find another. And you can also be happy on your own without a romantic relationship. Fostering friendships, developing hobbies, and giving to your community are wonderful ways to feel connected to a world outside yourself — a world that’s far better than the one you’ve been inhabiting with this loser of a man who took much more from you than he ever gave back. In the future, if the balance between giving and receiving is that much off-kilter, see that as a red flag and MOA.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.