I’ve been in a relationship with my boyfriend for two years. We get along wonderfully and are each other’s best friends. We spend much of our time together and rarely go a day without seeing or hanging out with each other. He talks about our future and us being married and he’s very loving in our relationship. Lately, though, I’ve been having weird feelings about our relationship (woman’s intuition?) and so I recently checked his e-mail, which he gave me the password to awhile ago.
My boyfriend’s very charming and naturally flirtatious, and the feeling I was having was that maybe he was talking to another girl or something of that nature. I found a conversation between him and a woman he had just met and he had e-mailed her to tell her it was nice to meet her. The conversation continued and though they were talking business, they also were joking around and talking about hanging out some time, like over happy hour or lunch.
The girl has a boyfriend (I looked her up on Facebook), so maybe it’s just a friendly conversation, but she was the one who suggested the happy hour plans and definitely sounded flirtatious in her replies. Am I reading too much into this or should I be worried that this could turn into something more? He’s cheated on his previous girlfriends so I’m sometimes worried he may do that to me, though when I have brought this up to him he tells me that our relationship is the healthiest and happiest he’s ever had and I’m the only one he wants. Frankly, I am worried that he might start some kind of relationship with this random girl behind my back. I want to bring it up to him, but then I have to disclose that I was looking at his e-mail, which could spark up an argument. Should I confront him or just have faith in him and our relationship? — Feeling Suspicious
Oh, come on. You’re not going to “just have faith in him” because you don’t have faith in him. Do you think you’re just going to wake up tomorrow and suddenly trust him after all this time? And if so, how has snooping through his email and finding an exchange with some random girl going to make that happen? If anything it’s going to cause you to have less faith in him not more. If you had enough suspicions to go snooping in the first place, you sure as hell aren’t going to stop snooping now that those suspicions have been stoked just a bit.
No, this is not an issue that’s simply going to go away simply because you want it to. If you don’t confront your boyfriend, you’re likely going to keep distrusting him and keep sneaking into his email account to keep tabs on the friendship he’s developed with this other woman. You can do that, of course. You can keep tabs for a while and see if you find more “evidence” to confront you boyfriend with. Or, you can decide that after two years, you’re uncomfortable with the lack of trust and faith you have in him and that a heart-to-heart is long overdue. You don’t have to mention the email you found, but if you did, definitely be prepared for a fight and some full-on denial of any wrongdoing. What you can focus on instead is your inability to trust that what you share with your boyfriend is different than what he shared with his exes, and even after two years you cannot get over your fear that he’s going to cheat on you too.
Honestly, I’m not sure what it is your boyfriend could say or do that would convince you he’ll always be faithful. But unless he does convince you somehow — at least enough to keep you out of his email — I’d say this relationship doesn’t have a firefly’s chance in Serbia. Because even if you move past your current suspicion, another one will crop up. You’ll get “women’s intuition” again because your intuition has been put on alert. Maybe it was put on alert as soon as you learned about your boyfriend’s cheatin’ past, or maybe there’s something going on in your relationship you didn’t mention in this letter, but regardless the reason, your intuition is on alert and you won’t be able to “just have faith in your boyfriend” until you feel in your heart you don’t have reason not to have faith in him.
The best and easiest — though certainly not foolproof — way to get there is through communication. You need to be honest about your fears and why you have them. This means being honest with yourself first. Dig deep and ask yourself how big your fears are, what exactly they’re based on (Is it just his past relationships? Is it his flirtatious ways? The fact that he’s friendly with other women — even behind your back? A combination of all of the above?), and whether there’s any way you can move past them. And if there isn’t — if there’s nothing left for your boyfriend to say to convince you he’s loyal to you and you only — you need to think about Moving On Already. The days are limited in a relationship without total trust.
*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org and be sure to follow me on Twitter.
LTC039 June 9, 2011, 8:46 am
Oh LW. This letter must be a sign from God, because right now, I’m having my own issues! I must note that I suffer from a high level of Gen. Anxiety Disorder (GAD) & Panic Disorder & am CONSTANTLY thinking negatively! My bf & I have been together for almost 3 yrs & he’s NEVER given me a reason to doubt him, but for some reason at times, I always second guess & then get proven wrong (then I feel stupid).
He too has been unfaithful in past relationsips, but I know deep down our relationship is special. He says he wants to spend the rest of his life with me & he’s never felt that before & I believe him. (Partially bc I knew him when he was w/ his ex).
As of recently, a friend of ours has her sister in town until July & for some reason this girl, “Cat”, feels the need to be overly friendly with my bf. She’s touching him on his shoulder & waist (more than 8 times I counted), the other night we were all hanging out at his & his bro’s apt. & I was w/ him in his room & she just came over non chalantly into his room to “ask for a lighter.” When I went outside there was one right THERE on the coffee table.Needless to say, my anxiety has hightened & all these “negative movies” are playing in my head. Last night she showed up at the apt. w/ her sister & his bro’s gf. (Mind you, they were supposed to be somewhere else, as told to me by his bro.’s gf) So I was reallyyyyyyyy uncomfortable (I wasn’t there, I was on the phone w/ him).
I tried telling my bf several times I’m really uncomfortable w/ this girl, think she’s a skank, etc… He understands where I’m coming from & on his own accord, makes it a point to show extra affection towards me when she’s around. But outside of that, there’s nothing else he can do! I just have to trust him, & so do you. You have to trust your bf. & yes, talk to him, but don’t be angry bc if this girl is being flirty, it’s not his fault (unless he acts on it of course!). You don’t want to spend a lifetime of always being insecure & snooping, that’s unhealthy (I’m currently working on this in therapy). Always be open, if there’s one thing that’s most imp. in a relationship it’s communication! I completely feel your pain, but you gotta nip this behavior in the bud!
Another saying in Spanish “Lo que esta pa’ti, nadie te lo quita!” which translates to, “Whatever is meant for you, no one can take from you.” Believe it!! Good luck to you, LW!
katiebird June 9, 2011, 9:14 am
I’m the same way. I used to constantly worry about my boyfriend cheating on me (among other things, I’m a pro worrier, I can worry about anything for any amount of time) even though he has never given me a reason to and he doesn’t have a history of cheating! We’ve been together almost 2 and 1/2 years, and what’s really helped me is just telling myself “no amount of worrying will stop this from happening”. No amount of worrying will predict the future, or stop it from happening and no amount of worrying will control give me the power to control his actions. I used to tell myself “if I worry about it, it won’t happen!” but all the worrying made me so tired. Worrying all the time is exhausting! Just reminding myself that I can’t control the future or other people’s actions has really given me a lot of relief.
LTC039 June 9, 2011, 9:17 am
I *so* needed your comment today, lol. I am the exact same way, & I realized it’s so unhealthy! It’s ruining my quality of life, I told my therapist my motto is “Hope for the best expect the worst,” because, just like you, I feel if I worry about something, I can prevent the situation (like I gotta get all my ducks in order & then it won’t happen). I’m glad you realized this isn’t good, like I’m trying to.
TMSC June 9, 2011, 9:26 am
I am with both of you on this..not so much the cheating worry, but just worrying all the time about things I have no control over. Thank you so much for saying this…it seems so simple but it is so true. And you hit home when you said “Worrying all the time is exhausting..” So so true.
Desiree June 9, 2011, 9:26 am
I definitely struggle with this too, so thank you for the advice!
Morgan June 9, 2011, 11:28 am
This is so well put. I’m doing a lot of the worrying at the moment, just because he’s very far away and, well, I worry. The fact that he generally comes back from going out with the other people he’s abroad with and then immediately signs onto skype, calls me, and tells me very drunkenly and very excitedly about the wine he had that I’d just love makes me feel better, but i can’t help but worry. And your comment is so true. Worrying won’t make something not happen, It’ll just drive me crazy.
Nina June 9, 2011, 11:39 am
Oh Katiebird! I love love love this comment! its perfect! I am such a worry ward all the time, its always a fear in my mind that he will cheat. But what you have just said is something I try to keep at the front of my mind-you cant control everything, and worrying is not a good substitute for control!
katiebird June 9, 2011, 3:14 pm
oh my goodness it’s so good to hear that i’m not alone and that my little mantra is helping other people! it’s amazing how a saying less than ten words long can help so much. i’m so glad i could help!
Maracuya June 9, 2011, 4:04 pm
Yep, it’s useful even in general. I come from a long line of worryworts and I’m trying to break the cycle. But I guess the way I was raised (to be paranoid of everything) crops up every as, “What if I procrastinate on getting new tires and my old tire blows out on the highway?” “What if I’m walking over this bridge and then it’s overloaded and I plunge into the water below?” “What if I get too much sun and I get skin cancer? What if the sunscreen I’m using to prevent skin cancer gives me skin cancer? O.O”
I kind of exaggerate but these type of ridiculous things pop into my head all the time. I’ve finally gotten stopped being so damn neurotic and tell myself, “Chill out!”
Ash June 9, 2011, 9:37 am
How many of us are there?? Lol. This letter came to me at the right point as well! Although I haven’t been dating my boyfriend for that long (we’re going on 9 months) we’ve been serious from the start and plan on a future together. But, we both have cheated in the past. So even though I know that I would NEVER do it again (I was young and foolish) some days I worry that he might find someone “better” in his eyes. He’s also known for being friendly so when I meet or learn about one of his female friends my guard goes up. Woosh! Who is this girl? Why’s she so flirty?? Get away from my guy! Insanity in my head follows and I just find myself worrying over and over and over. But that being said…I have to agree with other people here. No amount of worrying will do any of us any good. We should be enjoying these relationships ladies!!! Let’s all try to focus on being HAPPY with these guys. They chose us after all. Over plenty of other women out there. We. Are. Special.
LTC039 June 9, 2011, 9:48 am
“Let’s all try to focus on being HAPPY with these guys. They chose us after all. Over plenty of other women out there. We. Are. Special.”
Love this. SO true! I swear this letter & all these comments were Godsent… I was going crazy last night while this chick was at my bf’s appt. “getting ready” with her sister & his bro’s gf. UGH. Then today I get to work, open up DW, & here it is! It’s really comforting to know I’m not the only one in this position & to read all your comments! 🙂
WatersEdge June 9, 2011, 9:46 am
Count me in too. My husband’s said he never would, and he has never cheated on anyone in the past, but he’s definitely done a few things to unintentionally bring out my intrinsic nervousness that any guy I’m with would cheat on me. It’s not really about him, it’s about me. We discuss my nervousness openly, and as I’ve described before, we have pretty much complete transparency. He pretty much lets me snoop. I’ve found that talking to him about my concerns in a non-confrontational way has really helped me. It’s something we’re constantly working on: him, being as loyal as he can me, and me, being as trusting as I can be. He’s never even close to cheated, so I try really hard to check my crazy at the door.
Seattle _lili June 9, 2011, 12:27 pm
I am making ‘Whatever is meant for you, no one can take from you.’ my new mantra. Seriously! Its so true but so hard to believe sometimes, but hopefully with enough repetition!!!
katiebird June 9, 2011, 8:48 am
Worrying about him cheating won’t stop him from cheating. All it will do is make you crazy. No amount of worrying or snooping will give you the ability to control his actions, so you need to talk to him about your fears. Talking to him about it and maybe going to therapy together is what is really going to help you. If after all this you still can’t trust him, or stop yourself from obsessing over whether or not he’ll cheat, you need to MOA.
justpeachy June 9, 2011, 3:29 pm
I gotta disagree with you slightly because it already sounds like they’ve had that conversation. He’s already reassured her and she refuses to believe him. I agree that some therapy may be necessary, but for her anxiety, not for the both of them.
katiebird June 9, 2011, 3:47 pm
after thinking about this question for a day (it really hit home to me because i have anxiety problems myself) i do agree with you that couples therapy isn’t really necessary, but solo therapy for the LW will do wonders. it really helped me a lot! i think i’m going to take back my advice about MOA, because it really isn’t the boyfriend causing her anxiety, it’s herself. she’ll probably worry like this with any boyfriend that she’s with, even one who has never cheated before. i hope she decides to go to therapy to help work through her anxiety problems.
kerrycontrary June 9, 2011, 8:52 am
I dunno, I kind of agree with the LW that you can have woman’s intuition about your man. When I feel like something is up, even if there are no obvious signs, something is always going on. I’ve learned over the years of being an active dater to always trust my intuition (or my gut), and it hasn’t steered me wrong since.
SpaceySteph June 9, 2011, 9:13 am
I think you CAN have women’s intuition but I don’t think thats what the LW has. Lets examine the facts:
1. She thinks her boyfriend is flirtatious. Thats not intuition, thats observation.
2. She got the feeling her boyfriend was maybe talking to a girl. Thats like when the psychic tells you there’s someone in your life who’s having trouble. Well duh, or why would you call a psychic? Unless the boyfriend is a monk, he must have at least one female coworker or friend that he might interact with.
She suspects misdeeds so even the tiniest, most inconclusive evidence is good enough to convict. It sounds to me like her boyfriend is a stand up guy and she’s got a case of the crazies.
Desiree June 9, 2011, 9:30 am
“She suspects misdeeds so even the tiniest, most inconclusive evidence is good enough to convict.” SO TRUE. I have this problem. I have the *slight* advantage of recognizing that I have this problem, though, so it typically doesn’t cause issues for anyone but myself. And, yes, it is “a case of the crazies.”
mcminnem June 9, 2011, 9:36 am
That’s it. That’s what I was trying to get at below, but you probably can’t tell though all the ranting. 🙂 I hadn’t had breakfast yet, and unfounded paranoia makes me mad.
Desiree June 9, 2011, 9:29 am
Woman’s intuition can often be right, but it depends on the person. People like me (see comment thread above) can imagine problems where there aren’t any, so trusting my “woman’s intuition” isn’t such a great idea, since my compass is naturally skewed by anxiety.
silver_dragon_girl June 9, 2011, 9:42 am
Yeah, I’m not intuitive, at all. I am good at observing and drawing conclusions, but I also worry myself to death over little tiny things that I imagine to be 1000x worse than they really are.
On the flip side of that, I’m too trusting of people and too quick to tell them my personal business, if they ask. Ugh.
Yeah, no “women’s intuition” here.
WatersEdge June 9, 2011, 9:53 am
Ugh same here! I don’t trust my intuition at ALL. Not since I got majorly cheated on (think: hooking up all over town, friends see him out and pull him off another girl and send him home and I don’t find out till after we broke up, PLUS a full-out affair where they run off and get married, all the same guy). The thing is, I had no idea my ex was cheating. None whatsoever. The fact that I don’t think I would know if something was up fucks with my head. I was blindsided once and I don’t want it to happen again. But… that doesn’t make subsequent partners cheaters. So I ignore my compass. I think it may be broken forever.
leilani June 9, 2011, 10:05 am
I actually had weirdly accurate intuition in my last relationship. My boyfriend was a really great guy, very devoted to me, very sweet, and very honest. I knew he would never cheat on me in the sense of carrying on behind my back and setting up trysts and covering it up or anything like that. But, for some unknown reason, I always was pretty certain that if a girl hit on him really heavily when he was drunk, he wouldn’t be able to say no. I had no concrete reason to believe this, but I guess its more about knowing a person and their shortcomings than any kind of psychic intuition. Some of his biggest shortcomings were extreme impulsiveness and a tendency to drink too much, so I guess I just put two and two together more than anything. And, lo and behold, a few years into our relationship, the exact thing I was afraid of happening happened.
ReginaRey June 9, 2011, 10:18 am
I really like this comment. There’s a difference between intuition, that gut feeling that makes us feel that something is wrong, and being able to read another person’s actions and behaviors and use that understanding to form an educated guess about how they might behave in the future. Your intuition was definitely more of a keen awareness of your boyfriend’s character traits, and you were able to correctly guess what might happen down the road. So, all of that said, it’s difficult for me to dismiss when another woman gets that “feeling” about her S.O., because they know them best.
mcminnem June 9, 2011, 8:54 am
Okay, I have to say I feel the LW may be overreacting a bit, at least if those emails she found are the only thing making her doubt her boyfriend. The woman is a colleague and they were talking business. Unless her ‘flirty’ responses were of the “I want to take my clothes off for you” variety, I would chill out. He is allowed to have female colleagues, and to maintain friendship with them, especially if he works in an office or job where people work closely as a team. Grabbing a sandwich on their mutual lunch break or a drink with the rest of the team after work is friendship, not cheating.
This is a thing about women that gets on my nerves a little bit; we say we want equality in the workplace, or to be recognized for more than our bodies or whatever, but then as soon as our boyfriends notice another woman, we go all into freakout mode. “ohmygod he’s talking to her, he’s going to cheat on me!” As if the only reason a man could ever notice a woman is sex. It can’t be because they work together and maybe she does her job really well and he wants her opinion on next week’s report or whatever – she’s a woman, it must be because he wants to have sex with her.
If we want to be treated as more than objects, just as “employees”, not “women employees”, not as “that chick at my office” but as “my co-worker”, we have to treat each other that way first. She’s his co-worker; everything he says to her isn’t automatically suspicious just because she’s a woman.
Slightly off-topic rant aside, what the LW needs to do is talk to her boyfriend about her inability to trust him after two years because of his HISTORY, not because she snooped and caught him having a conversation with one of his co-workers.
dude23 June 9, 2011, 9:09 am
““ohmygod he’s talking to her, he’s going to cheat on me!” As if the only reason a man could ever notice a woman is sex. ”
Yea pretty much.
Mixed signals like this is responsible to much of the “battle of the sexes” in society.
Oh yea, don’t TALK about this sh*t with your boyfriend.
Either shut up and get your insecurities under control, or break up.
LTC039 June 9, 2011, 9:14 am
That is COMPLETELY not true. Communication makes relationships work. Clearly this is not a concept you’re familiar with…?
If her & her bf have a good solid relationship, then talking to him would be the way to go.
IF she continues to be insecure & needing to snoop constantly, well then there’s the problem, but initially shutting up is not the way to go.
dude23 June 9, 2011, 9:59 am
My response is for this specific case.
I don’t know what Regina’s problem is, but I never said “make me a sammich and bring me beer, woman”…so i don’t know why she is making stuff up.
In this specific case, this girl is reading too much between the lines (or pixels).
What is she going to TALK about? She either has to admit that she is spying on him, or tell him “hey, i’m kinda nuts, i think you are going to cheat on me, so be on your best behavior all the time”
“i will randomly punish you, and flip out because i’m nuts”
mcminnem June 9, 2011, 10:16 am
The point of her talking to him is so that he’s AWARE of her insecurities, so that he can reassure her, and also so that if she ever acts insecure and weird, he’ll know why and not have his own freak out.
As a different example: when I first started taking BC, it really messed with my moods and I would have these really random cryfests/sobbing spasms for no reason at all. My boyfriend hates seeing me cry and was really worried; he was all “Why are you crying? Are you okay? Are you mad at me? Did I do something? It’s something I did, isn’t it?” I had to sit him down and tell him that the pills were making me crazypants, and I just had to adjust. He was able to stop freaking out, and because I felt understood, I could also stop freaking out. It still happens occasionally, but with that basis there we’re able to rationally discuss why I’m having a meltdown because we’re out of dish soap.
LTC039 June 9, 2011, 10:30 am
Ah, I’m experiencing that as we speak. I switched to a BC pill with a higher dosage of hormones than the previous one I was on, & I feel like I’m on the verge of tears 24/7. Yesterday, my BIL was telling me about a song (sad song) & I started crying in the car as he was telling me the song. Also, I was in the shower last night & randomly burst out into a pretty lengthy sob. (That’s just two times out of many I’ve experienced since I switched.)
I feel like an emotional wreck all the time. lol
mcminnem June 9, 2011, 11:09 am
It does go away! Just knowing what’s causing it and that it’s an outside factor makes you feel like less of a psycho train wreck and more like a normal person with a few medical side effects.
dude23 June 9, 2011, 10:39 am
I really hate to pick at people’s arguments… but you give me no choice.. i have to .. in this case
“As a different example: when I first started taking BC, it really messed with my moods and I would have these really random cryfests/sobbing spasms for no reason at all. ”
So.. then would you admit that hormones drive you crazy pants, but would you flip out if your BF ever told you to stop PMSing ?
You probably would.
silver_dragon_girl June 9, 2011, 10:41 am
Yeah. And she’d be right to. You can’t “stop PMSing.” It can’t be done. That would be like me telling you to “stop being such a guy.”
Maracuya June 9, 2011, 10:52 am
I’m just gonna say here that if my boyfriend ever said that to me, I’d be really angry. Here the ladies in this thread are, taking the pill and complaining about being strangely ultrasensitive bursting out in tears and you know what, it freaks me the hell out sometimes.
But why do we take the pill? Oh, that’s right. So man and woman alike can stop stressing about unwanted pregnancies. If you were to say, “Stop PMSing,” that usually means something along the lines of, “Stop being a b*tch.”
mcminnem June 9, 2011, 11:06 am
The thing is, he would never say that, for a few reasons:
a) when I freak out, I’m aware that it’s because of my pills and so I do my best to chill the eff out on my own, and
b)HE’S aware that it’s my pills and knows it’s beyond my control and just waits for me to chill the eff out, and
c) he’s not an asshole.
Rachelgrace53 June 9, 2011, 12:16 pm
“I really hate to pick at people’s arguments… but you give me no choice.. i have to .. in this case”
Yikes. Why are you even on this site? Saying the LW shouldn’t even think of talking to her bf when Wendy is always a promoter of good communication? Oh, and you can’t STOP pms-ing. Most women would rightfully flip out, because that would be a horribly insensitive and useless thing to say.
ReginaRey hit the nail on the head with her first comment to you.
Sarah June 9, 2011, 12:57 pm
Dude is trolling, best to leave his comments alone.
β-G-Blocker June 9, 2011, 1:08 pm
Is dude23 trolling because you don’t agree with him?
LTC039 June 9, 2011, 1:18 pm
He’s trolling because he’s using directly insulting words & phrases that are completely unnecesarry to the matter just to get a rise out of people.
dude23 June 9, 2011, 9:05 pm
I really, really don’t care about you, or the LW.
Any conversation that goes along the lines of,
1. I have been reading your e-mails..
2. You are guilty until proven innocent..
would mean MOA for me.
This girl is passive aggressive. She is building up ammunition and waiting for a chance to unload on her BF.
Even if they have a “heart-to-heart”, 2 weeks later, it is back to square one. Either way, I don’t care.
Sarah June 9, 2011, 1:20 pm
No, because he’s purposely starting fights and insulting commentors.
spaceboy761 June 9, 2011, 1:31 pm
No, he’s trolling because he’s being a jerk. I agree with almost everything he’s saying and would still classify him as a troll.
mcminnem June 9, 2011, 1:11 pm
Time to break out my favorite sign!
Amber June 9, 2011, 12:07 pm
“The point of her talking to him is so that he’s AWARE of her insecurities, so that he can reassure her, and also so that if she ever acts insecure and weird, he’ll know why and not have his own freak out.”
I think she needs to deal with her hangups herself. All he can really say is “I’m not cheating”. It’s her issue, not his.
plasticepoxy June 9, 2011, 12:18 pm
I agree it’s good to have a conversation when you’re aware that something could be influencing your behavior. However, I think that her insecurities are different than hormonal behavior from BC (which I’ve gone through, and am right now, actually). BC hormone swings will even out as your become used to the BC. Or you can change your BC.
She’s already brought up her feelings and insecurities to her BF. At some point it becomes an obsession and there isn’t anything her BF can do to convince her, and the talks about her insecurities become really unfair to the BF.
If my BF brought up concerns about fidelity and I addressed them honestly, I would have a hard time continuing in the relationship if he continued to bring them up. It would make me feel like he didn’t trust me and didn’t believe me. I know this because I’ve been in that relationship, I’ve been the one questioned (and I know there was nothing that could even remotely be considered cheating). I took drastic steps to convince my bf at the time I wasn’t cheating. I cut off contact with all male friends, I kept all communications with male co-workers as brief as possible (to the point of being rude, almost), I encouraged him to stop by my work any time, announced or not and nothing made a difference. He was convinced I was cheating. Turns out that he was using that as a way to manipulate me; I have to be forthright and say that’s the case. LW’s situation may be different and my opinion is definitely influenced by my experience.
I think this LW needs to decide if she wants to stay in the relationship, and if so, how she will handle/work to lessen her insecurities on her own before asking her boyfriend to answer to them.
ReginaRey June 9, 2011, 10:05 am
Well, my particular issue is – you are placing all of the blame entirely on the woman in this scenario, and calling her nuts and crazy when her boyfriend DOES have a past history of cheating that would naturally make her suspicious. If she was snooping with absolutely no hint or reasoning whatsoever, fine go ahead and call her crazy. But worrying that your boyfriend might cheat when he has a history of it isn’t crazy, it’s human. The only way to get through that insecurity is to tell her boyfriend about her concerns, and figure out TOGETHER whether she has any reason to worry (he COULD be cheating on her with that woman…we don’t know!), and if it’s something they can get through, once again, TOGETHER. That’s what a mature, adult relationship means…working through insecurities and problems as a unit, not placing blame entirely on one person and calling them nuts.
plasticepoxy June 9, 2011, 11:41 am
While I don’t agree with dude’s (imo) aggressive language, I feel like it might be good for the LW to stop and put herself on full stop. This is something I have found to be helpful when I’m caught in a stressful situation. I make myself JUST STOP. Then I picture myself taking a big step back and try to assess things logically. I feel like this LW is coming from an extremely emotional point and she would benefit from pulling some of her emotions out of the picture. If she looks at the situation objectively, does she still feel like he could be cheating? Or is she stuck on this “intuition” and she will use whatever information she can to back up her intuition? My opinion is that she’s stuck and backing herself up, not that the email exchange(s) she found were evidence of infidelity.
History of cheating with ex-partners does not mean that he is cheating on her. They’ve already talked about her insecurity related to cheating. He said and did things to reassure her, and she’s still insecure. This is why I think dude may have a point, which is something many here have also said: you decide to trust him and the relationship or you move on. At least that’s how I took “Either shut up and get your insecurities under control, or break up.”
Amber June 9, 2011, 12:05 pm
That’s exactly what i was thinking as well when I read dude’s post. While wording is a bit abrasive, I get what he is saying. From the sounds of it, this is all about the LW’s insecurities, not what the BF did. If that’s all she found, I doubt he’s cheating. She can’t punish her BF for things he’s done in the past to other people. And if she can’t deal with his past cheating, she needs to MOA. Not snoop and then pester him about what sounds like fairly innocent banter between colleagues.
Maracuya June 9, 2011, 12:17 pm
Same here. His advice is kind of sound. I think it’s something she has to do for herself. I don’t think that her boyfriend can do too much.
spaceboy761 June 9, 2011, 12:50 pm
I like Regina’s ideas in principle, but the problem is that they’re going to cause hell in the real world.
Once the LW starts a conversation with, “So I was snooping around on your computer and…”, she’s screwed. It doesn’t matter how calm or non-accusatory she is or if she claims that the discussion is in the best interest of the relationship; the BF is going to get pissed and jeopardize the relationship if not end it on the spot. You can take the lmetapseudomorallyfatey road and say that if the relationship could stand this test then it wasn’t meant to be, but in my mind that’s just a lame rationalization for throwing away a perfectly good relationship over essentially nothing.
So what to do? Saying nothing and the letting the LW’s inecurities go unaddressed is a recipe for disaster, and confronting the boyfriend will place a huge strain on the relationship. It looks like a losing situation either way. Well, that’s because it is losing situation either way and this is exactly why you don’t snoop. Unless your partner is dropping some serious red flags like taking three hours to get gas or coming home smelling like ‘$20 for the next song, baby’, it never works out for the positive.
Realistically, the damage is done here and this relationship is probably over. If she had to choose one route, I would say to keep quiet and try to remain secure in the knowledge that given everything discovering in her snooping, her BF seems to be staying faithful.
LTC039 June 9, 2011, 1:07 pm
I see what you’re saying, although I don’t totally agree the relationship is over, only because the LW’s bf offered up his password to her. Why would he do that if he didn’t want her looking? If he gave her the password AFTER she brought to his attention initially that she had some insecurites, then I don’t think he’ll be upset that she looked.
I don’t really believe in the whole, “you have my password, I’ll have yours…” I think it’s a *little* immature (depending on how it’s done of course), but I do think it shows good quality on her bf’s character.
β-G-Blocker June 9, 2011, 1:10 pm
If i was him, it’d be over.
Snooping, no matter how rationalized, is wrong.
ReginaRey June 9, 2011, 1:10 pm
I tend to agree that in the real world, it probably won’t work because he’ll concentrate on the fact that she snooped, and she’ll get MORE insecure that he’s mad at her over snooping, instead of addressing the issue…and the whole thing will implode. But, I still think she’s human for being wary of someone with a history of cheating, even if what he’s doing now seems harmless to most people. And I still think she should TRY to talk to him…let’s be real, there’s no way she’s going to keep quiet and NOT continue to snoop. So I say, out with it and let the chips fall where they may.
spaceboy761 June 9, 2011, 1:21 pm
If she is that wary of someone with a history of cheating, then she had no business dating this guy to begin with because it’s unfair to continually punish someone for things they did before they even met you. The LW had a choice between keeping her insecurities and keeping this relationship… she chose the former.
At this point, I don’t think it really matters whether she confronts him or not. She wasn’t ready to take on this relationship in the first place.
Britannia June 9, 2011, 2:25 pm
I disagree with the notion that this girl can’t keep quiet without continuing to snoop. It’s not like she can’t control herself, and if she wants this to work out, she needs to respect her boyfriend’s privacy and not monitor his every conversation like she’s Homeland Security and he’s on theWatch List. She can choose to be respectful and stop herself before she logs into his account.
Amber June 9, 2011, 1:54 pm
Honestly, I think she’s just a snooper and is using her boyfriend’s past indiscretions to justify it. I call bullshit on the “woman’s intuition” thing. I bet she’s been snooping all along (or at least since he told her about his cheating past) and now she’s finally found something that concerns her, so she says she just randomly had “womans intuition” which caused her to snoop this one time. I am a reformed snooper and could have written that exact letter myself a few years ago.
Amber June 9, 2011, 1:54 pm
And furthermore I don’t think it’s her boyfriends job to reassure her. She needs to grow up.
Britannia June 9, 2011, 2:27 pm
I agree. This girl has some logical reasoning, but from a practical standpoint, she’s de-railing this relationship by being so insecure. It’s an undue demand to force him to constantly reaffirm that he is not doing wrong by her when he never has before (to HER).
Amber June 9, 2011, 2:51 pm
yes yes yes. exactly.
ReginaRey June 9, 2011, 9:31 am
I think dude23 has an extremely cheauvinistic view of the world…”When a woman has a concern about her relationship, she needs to shut up and stop being insecure, and not bother her MAN with such petty, insignificant worries.” You know, because her man is probably way too busy playing XBox while guzzling beer and watching Naughty School Girls Part III on his laptop, right?
silver_dragon_girl June 9, 2011, 9:48 am
Yep. And guys are NEVER insecure. Ever. He would NEVER be suspicious if his girlfriend was sending slightly flirty emails to a guy she worked with.
ReginaRey June 9, 2011, 9:50 am
Haha, exactly. In fact, dude would probably go into Hulk Smash Mode if his “woman” was toeing that line.
moonflowers June 9, 2011, 1:52 pm
In my (albeit limited) experience, the “pretend it’s ok and don’t talk about it” approach that dude23 mentions is usually how insecure guys deal with strong emotions and relationship problems.
Mainer June 9, 2011, 10:08 am
Personally, I think they should have stopped at Naughty School Girls Part II. NSG III was so unoriginal, had the same plot, and even some of the same girls – I mean, didn’t they GRADUATE? So ridiculous. I only gave it two stars on Netflix.
ReginaRey June 9, 2011, 10:19 am
I LOL’d at this at my desk, and almost spewed Mandarin oranges on my screen. Shame on you, Mainer.
SpaceySteph June 9, 2011, 9:42 am
I agree with you mcminnem.
I like to diffuse or lighten up situations with humor, so around the office I tend to make jokes, tease people lightheartedly, giggle occasionally. Also I think group dynamics are important to having a good office environment, so I started organizing a group happy hour outing every other Thursday to foster “peace and happiness” in the group.
When I enlisted a male coworker in drumming up support for my happy hour idea, if he had an insecure girlfriend who read his email, it might have been construed as flirting. It was not. It was joking, then me suggesting happy hour, then him agreeing to happy hour, and then, *gasp* we had a happy hour! The horror!
Luckily I did not have a jealous boyfriend and he did not have a jealous girlfriend and so nobody thought this was anything other than drinking between friends.
BoomChakaLaka June 9, 2011, 9:01 am
I’m actually totally in a warped version of this situation: my ex cheated on me (repeatedly) and when I finally got the courage to leave, my trust in the other gender did the same. I’m now in a relationship, though in its early stages and it looks very, very promising. However, I can’t help but think at every turn, what if he, too, cheats on me?
Honestly, the best person to talk to in this situation, is the boyfriend. I did talk to mine and he said the same things about him being happy, him wanting a future with me, and overall, him wanting to fight for us. I told him my fears, my past, and my worries. That helped because he knows where a lot of my insecurities come from, whenever I do go into Negative Nancy mode, but it also puts the spotlight on ME to change because there’s only so much he can do, or say, to show that I have nothing to worry about.
I’ve started to rationalize this with myself in order to start believing that he won’t start cheating on me. His behavior every day just confirms it more and more, that no, he isn’t like my ex, and that he truly does love me and wants us to be happy. Yes, I’ve had to turn down the woman’s intuition. I also refuse to check his e-mails/FB even though he’s handed me the passwords. But this is the way to definitely build trust in someone. I trust him a lot more than the day we started dating and I think that trust will continue to grow and solidify as we grow together as a couple.
Sorry for my War and Peace on this situation. In conclusion, definitely open up to the boyfriend about the fears you have. Don’t be accusatory now that you have that extra information, but let him know that you’re having these fears and why you’re having them (this might definitely require some thought on your part before the conversation, rather than just going in and speaking whatever comes to mind). Just know that this is a conversation that should happen once or twice. That is, make sure you are at ease after its done. If there’s any lingering doubt, then you need to assess your communication style, his words, and, possibly, your relationship.
kerrycontrary June 9, 2011, 12:59 pm
I really understand where you are coming from. My big college relationship was with a guy who didn’t treat me well. Besides cheating he was verbally abusive, tried to convince me I was the crazy one, and made me completely insecure. It was really hard for me to accept that my current boyfriend wasn’t going to screw me over. I can still get set off by random and small actions (last weekend my boyfriend didn’t want me to buy a bag of chips at the gas station, I was convinced this was him trying to control my weight like said college boyfriend-crazy, I know). Keep up the communication with your current guy and things will get better!
BoomChakaLaka June 9, 2011, 3:28 pm
OMG, kerry, my ex was a college relationship too. I don’t think I even got into the mental/emotional crap that he put me through in addition to the cheating. It’s hard to get out of that pattern of expecting someone to treat you that way when that’s what you’ve become used to and that’s what you’ve grown up and developed with. It’s sad to think, but sometimes, I honestly don’t know how I got it so good with my current one…
Public Pearl June 9, 2011, 9:25 am
So, you don’t trust him, and now by snooping through his email, you’ve proven that he shouldn’t trust you, either.
Relationships can’t survive without mutual respect and open communication. You don’t seem to have either. Looks like a break up is imminent.
Bethany June 9, 2011, 9:47 am
I totally agree- You can’t ‘talk yourself into’ trusting someone- either you do, or you don’t, and clearly she doesn’t. And it’s not even like he did something to break her trust in the first place. He didnt’ cheat on her– he even gave her his email password! Paranoia is not a key ingredient in a good relationship. I don’t see this going anywhere good.
BoomChakaLaka June 9, 2011, 12:12 pm
You might not be able to talk yourself into trusting someone, but you can certainly learn how to. Look at the many couples that have survived infidelity. Trust can certainly be broken, but it can also be rebuilt.
Bethany June 9, 2011, 12:42 pm
Learning to trust someone AGAIN after they’ve done something to break your trust is totally different than intrinsically not trusting someone, which is what I’m talking about.
BoomChakaLaka June 9, 2011, 3:33 pm
I actually don’t think there is a difference there. Whether you’ve broken your trust in someone, or you don’t know them at all, it’s hard to build trust from the ground up. From a nuture standpoint, its mom telling us not to talk to strangers. From a nature standpoint, its basic survival skills. In either situation its the same: you’re doing it to protect yourself.
That said, if you read my post above, I pretty much talk about how I didn’t trust me current boyfriend once I met him, but am learning to trust him. I think it is possible to not have trust in a relationship, but do agree, wholeheartedly at that, that trust is needed for the survival of a relationship. My bf and I are only growing as a couple because of the increase in trust, but if I chose to never trust him…well, l let’s just say, I wouldnt be referring to my bf…
SpaceySteph June 9, 2011, 9:48 am
I agree. I think Wendy’s advice is good, but I fear its too late to help.
Here’s my prediction of how things will go down. Call it “women’s intuition.” 😉
1. He’s going to be rightly furious that she snooped. Then he’s going to change his email password.
2. She’s going to take his fury as the boy “doth protest too much” and snoop again. Of course, the password has been changed, further confirmation of his guilt.
3. He grows tired of her continual unfounded accusations. He dumps her.
4. He ends up liking and maybe dating this new girl he’s been talking to. Although he never planned to do anything with her while he had a girlfriend, now he’s a free man. They begin a relationship.
5. She hears about him dating the new girl, decides she was right all along. For years down the road, she reenacts the same pattern with next boyfriend, because all men are cheating scum and her women’s intuition is never wrong.
Britannia June 9, 2011, 3:18 pm
Honestly, this is exactly what I see happening. Her convoluted cray-cray is not going to produce a winning result for her.
SGMcG June 9, 2011, 9:31 am
Did your women’s instincts signal to you other signs that your boyfriend may plan on cheating on you in the future other than the fact that he’s done it with other girls in the past? Is he spending less time with you perhaps, or is he being more secretive or testy than usual? It takes a lot double dealing, callousness and deceiving to connect with a random and your letter doesn’t mention any of that. I frankly don’t see any mention of actions by your boyfriend to justify your snooping other than your mistrust. Those other girls that he cheated with are his past. Unless your boyfriend has given you a present reason to deserve your mistrust that has not been mentioned – you need to be more concerned with how your relationship is NOW, not how it was with others before you. Your relationship could potentially become disastrous, but only because you’re thinking that it might. Stop that insanity before he MOAs without you.
ReginaRey June 9, 2011, 8:31 am
So well said, Wendy! I have to say, I was really confused about her “intuition” and her reasoning for snooping, until she threw in this: “He’s cheated on his previous girlfriends so I’m sometimes worried he may do that to me.” I think that line is the only thing you really need to know that this relationship is in trouble.
It’s understandable to be fearful that your S.O. could cheat on you if he has a history of doing it. But this situation really has no gray area: Either you decide to trust him, or you don’t. You can’t hover in the middle…hovering in the middle is what leads to obsessive snooping, tracking his phone, following him around town, and basically becoming a nervous wreck. It’s not fair to you to go down that path…you don’t deserve to be constantly fearful and worried – that’s not a healthy relationship. And your boyfriend doesn’t deserve constant distrust, if he’s swearing to you that he’s being trustworthy.
So how do you get to one side, or the other, of this gray area you’re currently in? First, talk to your boyfriend. Lay your fears on the table, and let him respond. Disclose that you saw his correspondance with this other woman – if you want him to be completely honest with YOU, you should probably show him the same honesty. Go to couples therapy together to see if you want or CAN work through these worries and trust issues you’re dealing with. In the end, you’ll know one way or the other if it’s something you can live with and accept, or something that will always be nagging at you and keeping you up at night. There isn’t a universal RIGHT choice, but there’s a right choice for YOU.
leilani June 9, 2011, 9:45 am
When looking at this situation, I would completely ignore the correspondence with the random girl, because there was nothing in it to suggest that your boyfriend had any bad intentions. You know he’s flirty and charming, so him having a conversation in that vein shouldn’t change your opinion about anything. He really hasn’t done anything wrong, so I have no clue what you’d “confront” him with. I think you’re placing your fears on this one instance instead of looking at the bigger picture, which is that you have trouble trusting your boyfriend because he’s been known to stray in the past.
But please, for both of your sakes, just let it go. Holding your lack of trust up like a shield isn’t going to make it any less painful if he someday cheats. If that’s his prerogative, you can’t stop it from happening, so there’s no point in focusing on it. It really doesn’t seem to me like you’re going to leave him simply because you don’t fully trust him. I think its more likely that you’ll stay with him, keep checking his Facebook, and when this situation blows over, get a new burst of “intuition” a few months later and start the cycle again. He might be extremely loyal to you in a way that he hasn’t been to past girlfriends; he may have grown up a lot and will never in his life cheat on another girlfriend again. But it really won’t matter if you’re going to treat him like a cheater regardless of his behavior. My advice is to stop trying to protect yourself from something that you can’t control. Give him the trust and respect he deserves until you have a reason otherwise.
melikeycheesecake June 9, 2011, 10:03 am
I have been in this situation. Let me tell you that snooping only makes it worse. Wendy could not be more correct, when she says a relationship without full trust is doomed. You’ll never relax, have peace, or fully be able to enjoy the relationship if you’re constantly worried about him cheating.
I would suggest having a heart to heart with him and explaining healthy boundaries with emailing and contacting the opposite sex. THat includes you too… what he thinks is OK and Not Ok for you to do. You have to take healthy steps in order to make this work. If you try to work on this issue and you still can’t get over that gut feeling that he will cheat.. then it is time to moa. Life is too short to be constantly worried and anxiety ridden. I wish you all the best LW.
JESSIEPIEXO June 9, 2011, 10:28 am
LW- Why don’t you go with your SO to any subsequent happy hours he may have with this co-worker? The co-worker will see he has a partner and it will help alleviate your fears most likely when you see that they are JUST co-workers. Maybe his co-worker shares the same personality as him. Maybe they are alumnis of the same school. Maybe they’ve been assigned a huge project to work on together. When you snoop you only get part of the story. Instead ask your SO directly. And also think, has he been mentioning this co-worker? Is he pulling away from you? Are they even facebook friends?
silver_dragon_girl June 9, 2011, 10:31 am
Any time you snoop, you’re going to find something you didn’t want to. Any time. When you go looking for trouble, you always find it. I firmly believe that.
I think this is a case of you knowing he’s cheated on (multiple!) past girlfriends, and realizing that it’s been two years, and OHMYGODWHENISHEGOINGTOCHEATONMEIWISHHE’DJUSTDOITALREADYANDGETITOVERWITH! You’ve been waiting for the other shoe to drop for so long, you’re starting to untie the laces yourself. That indicates a lack of trust.
However, at this stage, I don’t think this is irreparable. What you need to do is sit down and TALK TO HIM about it. Tell him how you feel. Tell him that you love him, and you want to trust him so bad, but you just can’t help worrying about him doing something. Depending on the kind of guy he is, he could be very understanding and reassuring, or he could get defensive and think you’re being ridiculous. Once you’ve talked about it, you are going to have to work on having more openness in your relationship– on BOTH ends. If he does or says something that makes your suspicions flare up again, you need to say something ASAP instead of bottling it up and snooping later. Likewise, he needs to make sure that he’s keeping his flirtations with other women (though I’m kind of skeptical of just how “flirty” these emails were) to a bare minimum, if he must act like that at all.
I also think it might be a good idea, if it can be done, for him to include you in a work function or two. Happy hour or a lunch date or something. I think if you met the woman/women he works with you might feel more comfortable.
Dave Jay June 9, 2011, 10:43 am
Well said, Wendy. I would suggest that she DOES bring up the fact that went into her BF’s email… after all, he DID give her the password. He can either be angry about that, or he can realize that it is being caused by his interest in this other woman and come clean about it. It’s a pretty pivotal moment. For instance, if he opts to “solve” the problem by changing his email password, well… I’d say he ain’t worth keeping. If he, in turn, is apologetic about the distress he caused you, then you have a good man.
There is a saying, “Once a cheater, always a cheater.” I don’t subscribe to it because I believe in free will, but then again, I’ve yet to see it disproved in my personal experiences. Follow your intuition… even if you end up married. Sometimes that is the only clue you get.
ladybug June 9, 2011, 11:17 am
I have to wonder what he replied BACK to this woman. If he said “Hey – I’d like to bring my girlfriend along” then I’d say he’s on the up and up and not headed back to his cheating ways. But if he didn’t? I’m not saying a guy can’t have female friends, but if he has a history of cheating and wants to convince his partner AND himself that he is past that, then he has to be totally honestly. And one strike against him is that he never even mentioned this email/friendship/invitation to the LW.
I, myself, have been cheated on by some one who told me the same things as the LW’s BF. I believed him. When he asked me to fix his laptop, I got a wake up call. Even though he SAID nothing happened, my trust was gone. And we couldn’t fix it because he was never 100% honest. Lies of omission are just as damning as straight out lies when you deal with a cheater.
WatersEdge June 9, 2011, 11:44 am
Yeah but if someone I worked with asked me to “get lunch sometime or go to a happy hour”, I’d probably deal with it by saying “sounds great!” and then being too busy to go whenever the person asked. I wouldn’t go with the out-and-out rejection or immediately bring my boyfriend into it. So even if on paper he says ok, that doesn’t mean anything. He could just be being polite. Now, if he wrote back “Absolutely! How’s Tuesday? I’m so excited to get some alone time with you”, that’s something else.
SpaceySteph June 9, 2011, 12:24 pm
I agree for happy hour he should bring the gf along, but if they’re going to get lunch during work on their lunch break then its not necessarily appropriate or possible for the gf to accompany them. And I don’t think that him not asking to bring her and/or him agreeing to the lunch with her is any indication of wrongdoing. I have lunch with male coworkers all the time… at the cafeteria at our worksite, and sometimes at restaurants nearby. It doesn’t mean anything except “you’re going to have lunch? what a coincidence, me too! Want to sit at the same table?”
Sitting next to someone and eating an egg salad sandwich is not the stuff great romances are made of, anyways.
Archgirl June 9, 2011, 11:30 am
I had a lot of anxiety involving my last relationship that sounds a lot like LW and other commentors. I can not trust my “intuition” because my anxiety leads me to imagine things (seriously) that are not there. My first real “love” we dated for 3 years left me (and cheated on me) with a girl I had suspected he was having a “friendship” with for a few months (he went to sorority functions as a friend, got a facebook to keep up with her, started to visit his best friend every weekend at school which was 2 hours away and just happened to be where she went too) but which he repeatedly denied. Even after we brokeup and he was dating her the next week he still didn’t come clean. It was a complete mind f and the next guy I fell in love with 3 years later I couldn’t disassociate him from my first boyfriend. It was like I was holding him accountable and I was so afraid to be open and trust because I had before with no doubts and I’d been crushed. That said it put a lot of strain on the relationship. I was never extremely vocal about my fears because I talked myself down from “he’s not asnwering is he with another girl” to “he just fell asleep” but sometimes my anxious irrational thoughts won out. Even though I never snooped the constant worrying I put myself through was so miserable. We brokeup for other reasons but my inability to trust and open up was a factor. I made myself unhappy in the relationship by always doubting him. After breaking up I realized it would have been easier to just believe him then imagine 300 other things he was doing or saying or thinking or lying about.
It makes me feel really good to know that some people have been dating guys for 2-3 years (commentors) who have stuck around and helped their girlfriends work through similiar issues. After me and my ex brokeup I was always thinking I pushed him away, if I had just been easier he wouldn’t have left. I realize now if he really loved me he would have helped me through my issues and not just walked out because it was tough at times and I needed extra reassurance. I am petrified my next relationship will be the same, although I am in therapy, but I hope that if I find someone who really loves me and understands where I have been he will help me see that people can be trusted again. Biggest advice to the LW is just stop worrying so much. It will make you sick and it is out of your control. Also don’t snoop. My best friends boyfriend went all pyscho on her ass and snooped through her phone, texts, emails, call log all the time. She had to lock her phone and have me change her email password. She was NOT cheating on him but had a very good guy friend she texted and called often and her boyfriend assumed she was having an affair with, after her and her boyfriend of 5 years brokeup, she started a relationship with him because her ex’s actions literally drove her into it. Snooping will make you sick with guilt and more anxiety. It’s not worth it.
Evil Charity June 9, 2011, 11:56 am
This hits on something I was just discussing with my mom…is it common place for significant others to share passwords to their emails/facebooks/twitters/etc? She told me a story of someone she knows who is splitting with her husband, said husband logged into his wife’s facebook account and un-friended a bunch of folks and caused a small amount of FB mayhem.
My husband and I do have one shared email address, but we also each have our own and we don’t share the password with one another. I don’t log into his email, FB or any other account because that’s his business and I respect his privacy. I don’t want his passwords. I guess if there was a good reason for sharing them with me, he would, but, quite frankly, I can’t think of one at the moment. Should I use one of our shared computers and find he’s left his email open I’ll politely either close or minimize the page and not even give a thought to reading any of his messages. We are a very close couple and great friends and all that, but we are also individuals with our own friends and interests and correspondence.
Anyway, Wendy’s advice is (as usual) spot on. There either is complete trust or none at all and I’m hard pressed to think of a way the LW could move beyond this without having some sort of conversation with her bf.
SpaceySteph June 9, 2011, 12:25 pm
I hope my boyfriend never tells me his passwords for anything. I have enough trouble remembering the ones for my own accounts, there is no brain space left for anything else.
kerrycontrary June 9, 2011, 1:02 pm
I think it’s a personal decision within the couple. I will tell you that I had a boyfriend who wouldn’t give me the password to his computer (not his email, just the password to turn on the computer), and he locked his phone. I had never even tried to look at his email/phone when this occured. This is because he had something to hide. With my current boyfriend we barely have a sense of personal space with each other so we share all passwords etc…I don’t snoop, but I think it’s nice to know that if I open the browser to his email there is nothing he is hiding.
caitie_didn't June 9, 2011, 1:14 pm
My ex was totally okay with me going on to his computer, using his web browser and doing things like changing his desktop to a picture of me- but he said he’d be uncomfortable if I ever messed around with his facebook profile. I never had his password, never had any intention of asking him for it and wouldn’t have given him mine. I think it’s important that couples keep a few things private. I’m not one to say that snooping is always, always wrong…but I think if you’re doing it you need to seriously examine why you feel it’s necessary and be prepared for the worst. Frankly, I wouldn’t want to stay in a relationship where I felt it necessary to have my S.O’s email and facebook passwords.
LTC039 June 9, 2011, 1:22 pm
I was def. thinking this. It’s the same way with my bf. I use his computer when I’m at his going, his web browser, everything…but passwords to FB are a no-no. I’ve never asked him for it, like you, & he’s never asked for mine. I don’t want to feel like his mother.
LTC039 June 9, 2011, 1:24 pm
Oh & his phone, I know his password for & he offers it up w/ no excuses or anything whenever I need it…so I really don’t care if I don’t have his FB password.
caitie_didn't June 9, 2011, 2:36 pm
Yeah, I had his password for his iPhone and he let me use it whenever I pleased….so it was fairly clear he wasn’t hiding anything from me to begin with. I still *never ever* looked at his email or facebook messages while on his phone though, because it just felt too sneaky and underhanded for me.
SpaceySteph June 9, 2011, 1:51 pm
“Frankly, I wouldn’t want to stay in a relationship where I felt it necessary to have my S.O’s email and facebook passwords.”
I agree so much with this. It never occurred to me to care what was going on in my boyfriend’s email, facebook, cell phone, or anything else. Nor would I think that not giving my boyfriend all my passwords was an admission of something to hide. Trust is a wonderful thing.
mcminnem June 9, 2011, 1:44 pm
I think the passwords thing is personal. My boyfriend and I never exchanged passwords, but we don’t hide them either. We kind of share on a need-to-know basis. He has the password to my laptop because he helped me set it up properly when I got it, and I don’t feel the need to change it. I have the password to his computer because we share certain programs that he has installed. There’s nothing I would ever need from his e-mail or his facebook, so I don’t know those passwords, and I don’t want to know them.
Britannia June 9, 2011, 3:40 pm
My boyfriend and I live together, so we use all the same tech… the iPad, the laptop, the laptop-permanently-interfaced-with-the-TV… So though it would be easy to access each other’s personal accounts, we simply don’t. We trust each other and we both need a little bit of our own space. Neither of us know each others passwords, simply because there’s never been a need-to-know… And frankly, I wouldn’t be in a relationship with someone who *had* to know my passwords so that they could check up on me “if they wanted to”. I find the notion very insulting.
SpyGlassez June 10, 2011, 12:54 am
My boyfriend has given me the password for his computer because he trusts me, and I gave him the password for mine. However, we don’t have each other’s passwords for anything else. I see no reason to have his passwords; his computer is in the middle of the living room and I can see his screen any time I want to. Likewise, my laptop is always available in the living room, and my chair is the one near the hallway to the bathroom. He can see the screen any time he walks past. His computer was in the shop for the last couple of weeks, and so he was using mine, and even when he would leave FB logged on I never scrolled through to snoop. It’s just not an issue. Of course, he’s only my second boyfriend and the first one since high school, and while he’s dated before, he hadn’t been cheated on. Neither of us came in with those kinds of trust issues, either.
Sarah June 9, 2011, 12:41 pm
Looking through his emails wasn’t based on your instinct, it was through fear and doubt. Not the same shizz. Your instinct probably got sparked by something a long time ago, mine certainly would if I heard that my bf told me he cheated on his previous girlfriends. Not only is it a bad history, but why would he even divulge that? My bf did too. It took a long time to realize that it was his way of subconsciously warning me so he wouldn’t have to feel as guilty (or guilty at all, the bastard) when he actually did it.
My instinct also got sparked when my bf would flirt with every waitress and coffeehouse girl. Not enough to be offensive to me, but still I would think, why does he need positive attention from these random women?
Treat your instinct like a computer. It has a logic that you may not understand until after the fact but should address anyhow. Most likely your instinct is telling you that there is a higher probability that your bf will cheat on you than you are comfortable with. You are trying to protect yourself from getting hurt, but are not responding to your instincts like they want you to by staying in a distrustful relationship.
Statistically, your boyfriend will probably cheat on you. You know that, you just don’t want to know that. Some couples do break the cycle of their previous relationships, but what will it take for you to be sure that’s happened?
ele4phant June 9, 2011, 1:04 pm
Greet advice Wendy. Whether or not the LW’s distrust is justified, you feel how you feel. You can’t just rationalize away distrust, she can’t just decide to bury her concerns and expect everything to suddenly be better. She’s going to have to have a serious conversation with her boyfriend about her concerns, or it will certainly ruin the relationship.
Meaghan Self June 9, 2011, 1:43 pm
“Oh I love my boyfriend he’s so wonderful we have no problems and I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life together with him even though I trust him less than I would a fox in a chicken coop.”
spaceboy761 June 9, 2011, 1:51 pm
It’s the standard form for all DW letters:
I am in the most amazingly perfect relationship with the most wonderful man and we are going to get married forever and have amazing lives of wonderful amazement. ***************banging my sister*********************************************************strap-on************************************************black tar heroin***********cheating on me with his parole officer*******************************************pregnant. But I love him. What do I do?
Sarah June 9, 2011, 1:56 pm
I just snorted in my Starbucks. Thank you for that.
SpaceySteph June 9, 2011, 2:10 pm
Ah dying laughing at my desk! So true. Except I have yet to see a letter about black tar heroin… but it can’t be too far behind “I caught him in bed with another woman so I let him move into my place.”
BoomChakaLaka June 9, 2011, 3:34 pm
Don’t forget the BUT. Omg, once I see this sentence:”I am in the most amazingly perfect relationship with the most wonderful man and we are going to get married forever and have amazing lives of wonderful amazement” and I see a “But,” I already start scrolling down to get my response ready.
Teresa June 9, 2011, 1:48 pm
I have some insight into this, but more from the boyfriend’s perspective. My dh constantly “has the feeling” that I’, cheating. I’ve never given him a reason to think I’m cheating. His insecurities come from the fact that he spent several years in an affair as “the other guy” and says that”everyone cheats”. We’ve been together 2 years, and have a child together. I never go anywhere but work/grocery store/mom’s house to visit for an hour or two. I stopped hanging out with friends, going to school, and having any type of social life just to prevent the accusations and avoid the ridiculous confrontations when he finds “evidence” of me cheating (getting a random text from an old friend that says “what’s up? how have you been?”, for example) Even that didn’t work, because then it turned into “you must be having an affair at work.” I I was at the point very recently that I was ready to leave because I couldn’t take the constant unfounded accusations of being a liar/slut anymore. I sat him down and calmly told him that if he couldn’t get his insecurities under control and stop the bullshit, I would leave him. I advised him I was at a “zero tolerance level”. He cut out the crap by a good 80%, and now all I do is look at him with a certian faial expression if he starts, and it ends as quickly as it started. …… SpaceySteph, I think you’re probably fairly accurate with your prediction, by the way……you should get a 900# 🙂 …. In addition, I advised him that I would no longer curb my social life to accomodate his insecurities. If I want to have lunch with a friend, I will. And he’s just going to have to deal with it.
SpaceySteph June 9, 2011, 1:57 pm
Wow Teresa, that sounds like a very difficult situation. Good for you for fixing it without ending it, I guess my prediction is not so fool-proof after all. Hopefully the LW will have the conversation with her bf and maybe he’ll end it as I predicted, but maybe they’ll have a happy ending like you! Good luck to you!
Teresa June 9, 2011, 2:04 pm
Yes, but if she doesn’t talk to him, and she doesn’t curb her insecurities, the relationship is doomed…..He WILL leave (He’s just as cray cray as me if he doesn’t) So in that instance, I still stand by your prediction. 🙂
mcminnem June 9, 2011, 2:16 pm
Yikes. How long did you put up with it before you told him to cut it out? I don’t think I could EVER tolerate those kinds of accusations, or having to change my social life to accommodate someone’s insecurities. Okay, sure, I can see cutting back on hours-long phone conversations with male friends, or not going out without letting him know where I was and who I was with, but your situation sounds crazy. I think the first time it happened I’d try to be understanding, and try to talk it out, but as soon as it turned into drastically altering my behaviour I’d be kickin’ ass and taking names. You sound like a saint.
Teresa June 9, 2011, 2:29 pm
Sometimes you’re so deep into the forest you can’t see the trees. His cray cray started in February…of 2010. It took me a long time to recognize the manipulation and emotional abuse. It took even longer for me to stand up for myself. I’m not a saint, I was a doormat. A dumb dumb doormat. A dumb doormat who finally figured out she was a doormat, and is a doormat no more 🙂
GertietheDino June 9, 2011, 2:29 pm
Geez, people. What kind of men are you dating if all of you have these kinds of trust and anxiety issues? People sometimes cheat, not all, but some do. I’ve been cheated on, it sucks and it hurts but I do not let this fact color my relationships. I trust my BF implicitly because I know he cares about me and our relationship – if you don’t trust, you have nothing. If you “think” he might cheat, talk to him, if that does dissuade your feelings MOA. Why waste the time?
katiebird June 9, 2011, 3:53 pm
I don’t think it’s the boyfriend, I think it’s the LW. I think she has an anxiety disorder, and if that’s true, it’s almost impossible for her to stop worrying. It’s like telling someone with bipolar disorder to stop having mood swings, or a kid with ADHD to sit down and shut up. They can’t help it. It’s part of the mental illness. Unless she gets help with her anxiety, I think she’ll have trust issues in every relationship she has.
dude23 June 9, 2011, 9:12 pm
Don’t use B.S. mental illness as an excuse for your bad behavior in relationships.
There are seriously ill people out there, who due to lack of support, and resources keep their mental illness hidden. They struggle mightily, and looking at them you wouldn’t know they are suffering.
The LW has a case of “An Idle mind is the devil’s workshop”. She either has no life of her own, or gets all her self-esteem from her partner. This is certainly not healthy behavior, but it is not a serious debilitating mental illness.
” it’s almost impossible for her to stop worrying. It’s like telling someone with bipolar disorder to stop having mood swings, ”
Don’t make diagnosis about a person you know nothing about. You are also insulting people who suffer from bi-polar disorders, comparing them to this frivolous snooper.
Jshizzle June 9, 2011, 4:09 pm
This is why I don’t follow up with people when they give me their cards, I don’t want them and/or their girlfriend to think I’m being flirtatious and making a play. Whenever I tell my boyfriend what I’ve jokingly said to this male friend or that male co-worker, he just shakes his head and says “you’re so weird”, he meets them once or twice, and if they give off good person vibes, he trusts that nothing will happen.
Addie Pray June 9, 2011, 9:23 pm
What about the fact that LW’s boyfriend gave her his password. That was a really big step in showing he is transparent and not intending to cheat… If her only reason to doubt him is that he has cheated in past relationships but she has no reason to doubt him now, maybe she should let this go. I mean, if this is the first questionable behavior in an otherwise trusting relationship, then don’t use the knowledge of his prior indiscretions as an excuse to be over-the-top insecure about this work friendship. I think it just means you’re not ready to get married… maybe he’ll surprise the LW and say “hey, LW-lover-of-mind, I’m going to happy hour with a work colleague, join us!” Then won’t she feel foolish!
jessica March 17, 2012, 2:54 am
thimks for the advice, cause everytime my husband goes to work at night i worry bout him cheating on me, cause there is a pretty girl that works with him n im scared he gonna like her better than me. this worrying got me down alot.