“I’m Worried He’ll Cheat While I’m on Vacation”

I’ve been with my boyfriend for nearly two years. In about a month, I’m going away to Costa Rica and Nicaragua for a little over two weeks, with no contact with anyone in the United States. He’s never cheated on me before, but I’m so afraid he’s going to. I told him I was scared and he told me he would never do anything like that to me, and that I’m the only girl he wants to be with. He also said, “Why would I cheat with anyone from our town anyway? They’d tell you! And since you’re gone, I have nowhere to go outside of town.”

Should I be worried? Or was that just a weak attempt to reassure me? And if he were to cheat with someone from another town — a one time deal while I’m away — what should I do? We have no previous trust issues; I just get paranoid. — Beach Bound but Worried

I don’t believe that you have no previous trust issues and that this worry about him cheating came out of the blue. When there’s trust in a relationship, you don’t worry about someone cheating on you. I’m leaving town for a few days on my own next week and worrying about Drew cheating on me, for example, is, like, the last thing on my mind. I’m more concerned about him forgetting to water the plants on our deck than I am about him even thinking about stepping out on me. Actually, I’m probably more worried about a tornado landing a wicked witch on our back door and her stealing Miles away to be her handsome house cat than Drew cheating, but that’s probably because I was playing the baby that ukulele version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” earlier this morning.

My point is, BBBW, there must be a reason you’re paranoid. Most people don’t just go around worrying about totally unlikely things unless they have reason to believe those unlikely things perhaps aren’t so unlikely after all. But you didn’t share what that reason was and without more information, it’s really hard to advise you. Has your boyfriend been acting strange lately? Did he act strange the last time you went away and left him home alone? Has he been less — or much more — attentive lately. Has he seemed guilty? Has he seemed oddly excited about you going away? What? What is it that’s making you doubt his full commitment to you? I suggest you figure that out and then address that particular concern with him. At least that would be something substantial, something to base a discussion on, something to frame and maybe legitimize these fears you have.

Apart from that, I’m not sure what to make of his comment that he’d have to go out of town to get some side tail. Yes, that’s a really odd thing to say, especially if one is trying to reassure a significant other that he’s not going to cheat. It’s also odd that because you’re away he says he can’t go out of town. Is he unable to drive himself? Does he not have friends he can hitch a ride with? Does he not know how to take a bus? I’m not trying to instill more worry in you; I’m just trying to make some sense out of a very strange comment. Maybe he’s just a really awkward kind of guy. You would know that better than I, of course.

Anyway, without more context here, I’m having a hard time finding the appropriate words of wisdom for you. Even your question about what to do if your boyfriend were to cheat on your with some hoochie from out of town stumps me. Are you expecting him to tell you is he’s cheated? I mean, how are you planning to find out about this one-time-only indiscretion (and how is that you’ve already decided it’s only going to happen once?)? Will you snoop through his phone and email upon your return? That doesn’t sound like fun. And it doesn’t sound like a good way to enjoy your vacation either — worrying about your boyfriend the whole time you’re away.

Here’s a thought: why don’t you decide not to worry. Like, just don’t let your mind go there. Put the thoughts out of your head. And if you can’t — if there’s truly enough reason for you to be this paranoid, then maybe it’s best to break up with your guy. You can’t have a healthy relationship without trust anyway, so you might as well ditch the guy and at least have yourself a worry-free trip to Central America.

*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com and be sure to follow me on Twitter.


  1. I could be wrong, but I suspect the boyfriend hasn’t done a darn thing to merit her suspicion. If he had, I assume she would include it in the letter: “He always looks at other women, he’s too flirty, he had an inappropriate relationship with his ex…” He *something*. Since the LW lists NONE of these (and, without more context, I’m inclined to consider the boyfriend’s comment as just awkward guyness), this is a good ol’ case of paranoid female. I’ve been there before, and it sucks. But it must be aggressively combated to make good relationships possible. My boyfriend and I are about to go long distance for a currently-unspecified length of time. Part of me is completely petrified. But instead of giving in to those feelings, I’m reading the book “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living.” You may want to give it a try, LW: it’s a classic for a reason.

    1. I couldn’t agree more, I got the same paranoid vibes of the letter.

    2. katiebird says:

      Yup this is the same vibe I got from the letter. I know I would be feeling the same way if I were about to go on a vacation like this, and it’s not because my boyfriend is untrustworthy. LW, you have to actively tell yourself to stop worrying. Whenever you feel those paranoid thoughts coming on, say to yourself “NO, I am not thinking about this” and stop. Think about something else. Anything else. There is nothing you can do to stop him from cheating on you, worrying will not give you control over his actions, so why waste your time, energy, and awesome vacation obsessing over it?

      1. Erika Voska says:

        I agree with Desiree and katibird…It doesn’s sound like from the letter that he hasn’t done anything previously that would give her a reason to worry. But, we women…well, we love to worry about everything. We can blow up the slightest little things in our head just to find out later that it was nothing. This has happened to me many times as well. The best thing to do to avoid this is to stop worrying and eliminate the negative thoughts as soon as they start arising in your head. When you are thinking to yourself: “Oh Gosh, I wonder what he is doing right now…Is he out at the bar? Is he talking to other women?” Immediately stop your strain of thoughts and bring the focus back to you. As Katiebird suggested there is nothing you can do to stop him from cheating on you. If a man wants to cheat, he will do it one way or the other. You don’t have to be away from him in another city, country or on another continent…:)
        Just trust yourself and him and your relationship and stop wasting energy on negative thoughts and fears.

    3. I just bought that book but I’m terrible at reading non-fiction. Maybe I should give it another try. I’m a constant worrier… about everything.

    4. plasticepoxy says:

      I thought that maybe she was planning on having a “little one-time thing” while she was on vacation and now she’s worried he’s having the same thoughts. I am biased as an old boyfriend used to project his faults onto me (especially the cheating thing).

      1. That’s the very thought I had, too. People tend to project their own guilt onto others. If not guilt, then maybe worries. The letter writer may not be actively planning on cheating on her boyfriend in the slightest. But being in a totally different country, with no access to her life back home, introduces a whole range of new emotions, and it would be only natural that the thought of meeting hot foreign guys would feel exciting to contemplate (not to mention the excitement of not having anyone back home to answer to about anything). So the LW might think, “hey, if I’m thinking about hot Nicaraguan guys, maybe my boyfriend is thinking about hot girls, too?” It’s a completely normal thing to do. I lived abroad for a few years myself, and that 5,000 mile cushion I had between my family and friends back home was very liberating, if not a little. Being away from home makes you question your life outside your little bubble (romantic and otherwise), and in turn can cause you to question how others live their lives when you’re outside their bubble, too. You just have to trust yourself and your peeps back home and be brave. I hope LW disspells her fears and manages to learn lots of new things about herself and life outside the US while she’s away. Bon voyage!

      2. Oops. Reread that 5th-to-last sentence again and noticed the misplaced modifier. I meant to say “if not a little scary.”

    5. I agree – there’s nothing that she’s stated that would indicate she has anything to worry about with her boyfriend; instead, her insecurities are causing her to create a “problem” in her mind. It’s not healthy for her, nor is it healthy for her relationship.

      I think her boyfriend’s response is probably just trying to stop her from being so worried about nothing, and he’s being a bit silly about it since he’s not sure what to say since he’s done nothing wrong. If you’re looking for him to profess his unwavering devotion to you, mentioning that you don’t trust him isn’t the best way to get that. If you look at this from his side, he’s likely a bit hurt and annoyed that you’d even assume that he’s been waiting two years for you to leave for two weeks so he can screw around on you.

    6. That book sounds like it was written for me and my mother. We are both so anxiety ridden and worry over the most insignificant things even when we know we have no control over them. I just ordered it on Amazon and will promptly read it and then give it to my mom. Thanks for the recommendation, Desiree!

    7. fast eddie says:

      It doesn’t sound like she’s committed this relationship is when she’s taking an extended vacation without him. It just sounds like she’s a clingy/needy daddy’s girl that wants what she wants when she wants it with no regard for his needs.

      If he and I were close my advise would be to eject from this coupling before it crashes in a ball of jealous flame.

  2. SpaceySteph says:

    It is absolutely a waste of time to worry that your bf is going to cheat. Why? Because your worrying is not gonna stop him… it may even drive him to it. And if he does cheat, whether you spent hours worrying about it or no time at all, it’ll hurt just the same and you’ll still be left to pick up the pieces.

    So make the conscious decision to trust the man. If you can’t do that because of something he’s done, then you need to confront the reasons and how he can earn it back… or you need to leave him. If you can’t do that because you are unable to trust him, then you need some serious soul searching. A relationship without trust, quite frankly, sucks.

    1. SpyGlassez says:

      I have too few thumbs to give to you for this.

  3. The worrying seems WAY out of left field. May I take a gander and say that you are on the younger side (late teens maybe, early twenties)? Because I definitely remember having those sort of irrational feelings back when I was in early college. Just keep in mind and keep telling yourself that you are being irrational, that there’s no need to worry, and that if he can’t keep it in his pants for 2 weeks while you are away, he’s not the guy for you anyhow.

    And about his comment: in my experience, men try to reassure girls by giving the concrete reasons, rather than emotional reasons. Men usually think in terms of solutions and answers, rather than emotional comfort. I think when he said “if I cheated with anyone in town, they’d tell you” he was trying, in his man way, to give you some sort of rational, logical comfort, even if that’s not exactly what you were looking for.

    Anyhow, I think you are way over-reacting. Take a few deep breaths, enjoy your vacation, and actively try to stop worrying.

    1. I agree with the guy comment thing. I can totally imagine my boyfriend saying something like this, although it would be after he’d seriously reassured me and my paranoia. A line like that would a sort of joke/funny last word thing.
      Not worth worrying about.

    2. Lexington says:

      I have said stuff like this to my fiance! Like an, even if I wanted to, which I don’t, here’s a joking/logical reassurance why I wouldn’t.

  4. I unfortunately have a friend like this – she has been dating a guy for over 4 years and he has given her no reason to suspect him of cheating. Every once in a while she will convince herself that he is thinking about cheating on her and consequently start an argument about it. I cannot tell if it is because she has some self-esteem issues she needs to deal with, or if she just loves to start some drama!

      1. Her insecurities have definitely cause some major bumps in their relationship, but they are still together and currently seem happy.

  5. BoomChakaLaka says:

    This does totally seem to be rando. Why would you worry if he hasn’t given you anything to worry about? And, if he has given you something to worry about, why didn’t you mention that in the letter?

    Another thing to consider is whether these trust issues are stemming from a previous relationship and maybe she’s not over *that* yet. Although she’s been with her current beau for nearly two years, if she hasn’t taken steps to directly address these issues of insecurity, she’s going to push this guy away.

    We’re definitely going to need more info in order to give her good advice. I’m hesitant to just tell her to quit worrying, when clearly something is the source of her paranoia.

  6. You may not have any previous trust issues as a couple before, but perhaps you are bringing in your own trust issues with yourself or from the past into the relationship. Now you are projecting these same feelings onto your current boyfriend, who has done nothing to deserve this attitude. His comment was probably a weak attempt to address your concerns, yet your paranoia has exasperated your trust issues into the conclusion that he is going to cheat and you are asking for advice for how to deal with the cheating that may never occur.

    STOP THE INSANITY! Recognize that the feelings you are currently experiencing most likely have nothing to do with your boyfriend. Take what your experiencing and turn it away from your boyfriend and use it as a mirror towards yourself. Unless you’ve noticed recent actions different from how he normally acts or some recent secretiveness, a change in behavior, just SOMETHING, there really is no reason to thing that he’s a future cheater. Yet the fact that you haven’t mentioned any of these things in your letter makes me think that there.is.nothing.there.

  7. ReginaRey says:

    I’m imagining that the LW has some severe self-esteem issues. Maybe she’s thinking, “Why is he dating me??” “Why would someone like HIM want to be with someone like ME??” “I don’t deserve him!!” “He’s definitely going to wake up and realize that he should be with someone prettier, smarter, funnier the second I leave!!” If he’s assured you that he would never do that, and you have zero reason to suspect otherwise, then you need to stop freaking out. I think what’s much more pertinent is getting to the bottom of why you are so paranoid for no reason…whereas there seems to be nothing to discover when it comes to your boyfriend’s faithfulness, I bet there’s a whole wealth of information for you to discover about yourself. Get to the bottom of THAT!

  8. spaceboy761 says:

    Don’t worry, LW!

    Your boyfriend won’t cheat on you, he’ll merely break up with you because he’s sick of all of your neurotic crap if you don’t knock it off right now. You can choose either your fear or your relationship… pick one.

    1. ReginaRey says:

      Spaceboy do you have a Twitter account? I’d very much enjoy your ramblings in 140 characters of less.

      1. spaceboy761 says:

        One nasty side effect of having so many years of training as a writer is that the continual feeling that everything I produce isn’t living up to my own standards, so that alone would probably keep me from doing any regularly published anything. I’m just too out of practice and would think everything I wrote sucked compared to what I could have done ten years ago.

        I maintained a LiveJournal back in my ‘hey, let’s make my living as a writer’ days but haven’t really done the social media thing since. It was much easier when I was younger and had the proclivity to be overdramatic about absolutely everything. Also, there used to be this thing called LiveJournal.

      2. LiveJournal is dead??

      3. No it isn’t! Why would you scare me like that. All my secrets are on there. I have been making those since the 8th grade…I have like 9 of them.

      4. SpyGlassez says:

        9 secrets, or 9 livejournals?

    2. Vegas SodaPop says:

      Or, he’ll be so in love and attached that he’ll do anything to *prove* he’s not cheating (hard to prove you’re NOT doing something) and he’ll start to live his life by walking on eggshells, afraid that you’ll turn any random comment or action into *evidence* of his cheating – if you truly love your man, you won’t let him do that to himself just to *prove* his love and devotion to you.

  9. Chill out. You’re going on a 2 week trip/vacation. Why should that change the trust you have in your boyfriend? Do you think the only reason he doesn’t cheat on you now is because it’d be easier to catch him when you’re in the same town? That’s pretty ridiculous, and honestly, if that IS the reason he doesn’t cheat on you then it’s not a relationship worth having anyway.

  10. LW, I agree with everyone else that your worrying is unwarranted unless there is something you aren’t telling us. Have you cheated on him? Usually when people are cheaters they are more likely that their partner will do the same because they then know it is possible to get away with it. I’m not saying I think you would, but it’s the only reason I can think of that you would worry about being away from your boyfriend for TWO WEEKS. My boyfriend was across the country for 4 MONTHS this spring for the military. While I visited him in the middle, we were still away from each other for 2 months. He had plenty of opportunities to be with other women if he had wanted to, but I never worried about him cheating on me. Not once. And I would ignore you’re boyfriend’s dumb comment. He was just trying to reassure you and we all know that men aren’t always the best verbal communicators. Go have fun on your vacation and stop worrying. It’s only 2 weeks.

  11. If he’s gonna cheat, he’s gonna cheat. Regardless if you are across the world or in the next room. You need to talk to him because you two have some serious trust issues, hopefully you can get this resolved before you leave.

  12. Do you really think the only reason your boyfriend hasn’t cheated on you is because you haven’t gone on vacation yet? That everything you’ve built and everything that you have would mean nothing to him because he hasn’t gotten any lay in a week? If you love your boyfriend, maybe you should respect him more. If you have a reason that you don’t respect him enough to trust that he can keep it in his pants for two weeks, you probably shouldn’t be with him.

  13. sarolabelle says:

    absence makes the heart grow fonder…..

    1. Or: out of sight, out of mind.

      1. And: love the one you’re with!

      2. “Packin’ up, shackin’ up is all you wanna do!”

        Maybe that one isn’t helpful.

  14. As a guy…the reasons he threw out there are legitimate things a guy would say to calm his overly paranoid girlfriend.

    You can’t control what he does while you are away so don’t worry about it – if he hasn’t ever given you a reason to worry about him cheating then definitely stop worrying about it. Why would you be with someone you know you have to worry about cheating on you if you aren’t physically with them?

    P.S. You don’t need to leave the country for your bf to cheat on you because guys have this rule about different area codes making it ok. (jk)

  15. bittergaymark says:

    Sounds to me like somebody is projecting. I mean, think about it. Who has a much better opportunity to cheat? The boyfriend stuck at home? Or the LW far away in the sultry and glamorous tropics? I say this because I once had a friend who was always CONVINCED that his girlfriend was cheating and (surprise, surprise) she never was. He, on the other hand, was sleeping with everything that wore a skirt. Seriously, the paranoid tone of this letter so, so reminded me of my Whore of Babylon Friend…

    As far as his admittedly lame-o statement about not being able to go out of town and what not — there could be a simple explanation. He very well could have simply been grasping at straws. That happens, especially after simply saying, “Honey, I would never do that to you” a dozen or so times with no results — yeah, he simply may have said the first dumb thing that popped into his mind.

    And Wendy, I really have to take issue with you for this statement: “There must be a reason your paranoid…” Really, Wendy? Really? Lets try flipping the sexes here. Do you REALLY think that every controlling asshole guy who has ever repeatedly accused his innocent girlfriend of cheating simply because he is a total whack job somehow had reason for his paranoia? No? I didn’t think so. Face it, sometimes people are just paranoid because of their own issues. This letter totally sound like that kind of situation.

    1. ForeverYoung says:

      I kind of interpreted Wendy’s response as saying that it actually was her fault that she’s paranoid. Not like “you’re paranoid and it’s probably because you have picked up on his secret slutty tendencies” but more like “You’re paranoid and the reason is probably because you are cray-cray and need to examine your own insecurities”

      Maybe just my interpretation. By the way I kind of picked up on the projection too. In my experience it’s always the cheaters that are the most paranoid about their significant others cheating.

      LW – I think a lot of times girls get a little cocky about their 6th sense. I have heard many times women encouraging eachother to ‘trust your gut’. Well that’s great advice, unless your gut is also a little cray-cray. If you are being honest and he really has never given you any reason to doubt him, don’t. Don’t ruin your trip. As others have said if he’s going to cheat on you he will regardless of you being on vacation or at a movie with friends.

      As far as his comment, yes it was a little awkward. But I can totally see myself saying something like this if someone I was dating wasn’t listening to common sense. Sort of like, okay you won’t listen to the I love you I would never do that, so i’ll try the practical way of explaining it to you – even if I wanted to cheat, because of X,Y, and Z it is just not possible.

      1. bittergaymark says:

        I see what you’re saying, ForeverYoung, but the reason I took Wendy’s comment the way I did was that she immediately followed it up with a series of questions about how the boyfriend may be acting that could have justifiably made the LW suspicious…

      2. ForeverYoung says:

        True, but I also took that as a polite way of pointing out that she’s crazy. Sort of like hand-holding her until she realizes that she’s on the crazytrain. Like has he ever gone long periods of time not answering your phone call – no? Okay, does he have a history of cheating – no? Alright, does he laugh a little too loudly at slutty jokes – yes? Okay I think you’re on to something.

        Who knows, i’m sure we could intrepret it a lot of different ways, but moral of the story is she’s one paranoid halucination away from pulling a Lorena Bobbitt and needs to get herself together.

      3. ForeverYoung says:

        Sometimes I think with LW’s it’s a complicated balance between hand holding and tough love. In this case I think Wendy thought she needed the hand holding since she seems a little emotionally unstable.

      4. I definitely saw it more as Wendy asking the questions so that LW could reevaluate why she’s so paranoid in the first place, if there even is a good reason. I didn’t take it as her saying he IS a cheating slutbag, more that if the LW asks those questions to herself, she’s likely to come up empty handed.

        ….Or read way too much into things and become more neurotic than she already is. Either way.

    2. plasticepoxy says:

      I mentioned the same thing in a reply to a comment above before I saw your post. I agree about projecting, in my experience it’s the people who are cheaters themselves that are worried their SO is cheating on them. They can’t seem to understand that just because someone can cheat doesn’t mean they will. I had a boyfriend that would cheat on me whenever he could (I was young with incredibly low self-esteem, I’m embarrassed I put up with it. I wouldn’t stand for it now.) and it got to be that I knew he was thinking about cheating on me when he started accusing me of being unfaithful. If this is the case for the LW, I hope her SO finds a better match. If this isn’t the case for the LW, she should see a therapist to help her work through the trust and esteem issues she’s bringing into the relationship.

    3. spaceboy761 says:

      “As far as his admittedly lame-o statement about not being able to go out of town and what not — there could be a simple explanation. He very well could have simply been grasping at straws. ”

      Totally nailed it. She had exhausted his capacity to use logic by that point. You can only repeat “I would never cheat on you” so many times in a row.

  16. As someone who suffers from Anxiety Disorder (GAD) I can completely vouch for the LW in this case. My boyfriend has never given me a reason to believe he is going to or has cheated on me, but sometimes I get all cray-cray. It’s annoying, I know, esp to him, but he knows what I go through in my thought process.
    Idk if the LW has GAD, but if she does I can assure you that all this worrying is completely coming from her & nothing more.
    LW, if you don’t have GAD, you gotta stop. At the end of the day, if you don’t have trust in a relationship, you don’t have anything. Why spend your vacation worrying about your bf? Why not just ENJOY YOURSELF! If one day things don’t work out b/w you guys, you’re going to look back & regret the fact that you didn’t fully enjoy Costa Rica bc you were too busy worrying.
    Just think about it this way. Regardless of what happens, you don’t have any control over the situation. The reality is, if a person wants to cheat, they will. You going out of town wouldn’t be the only opportunity he has to cheat. If your bf is loving, caring, & you guys have a great relationship, then you don’t need to worry. This is a technique I’ve been taught in therapy, you put your thoughts into “boxes” Box#1: Hypathetical worrying & Box#2: Realistic worrying. Whenever you have a thought/worry about your bf cheating you picture yourself getting that thought & putting it in one of the boxes. Is this a hypathetical worry (no concrete basis/facts) or is this a realistic worry (something I’m confronted with at this very moment). It really helps!! Trust me!!
    Just enjoy yourself, your vacation sounds like a lot of fun. Don’t worry about your bf, w/e happens, happens & you’ll be just fine.

    1. Vegas SodaPop says:

      “LW, if you don’t have GAD, you gotta stop.” Even if you DO have GAD, you still gotta stop! If you do have GAD, talk to your doctor, find a therapist, maybe even get a Rx for some anti-anxiety meds….but having GAD is not an excuse to treat your partner in such a way – It’s hurtful to be repeatedly accused of cheating – especially if your NOT – It’s hurtful to see that the one YOU love and TRUST doesn’t think enough of you to trust you and believe that you wouldn’t hurt them in that way.

      1. Obviously you don’t have much experience with GAD because you’re saying those things. Clearly if she does, I would hope she gets help, like I do. I just meant that if she doesn’t suffer from some sort of disorder that hinders her ability to think clearly, then she needs to check herself. That’s what I meant.
        I’m not saying it’s an excuse, but it’s def. a reason. You can’t control your thoughts & then you need confirmation (actual confirmation) so you ask, you tell your partner, etc…You don’t hurt them on purpose.

      2. I’m not sure if you read my entire comment, bc it sounds like you fixated on that one sentence & did NOT get my general advice.

  17. lemongrass says:

    I’m inclined to think that the LW’s boyfriend was making a joke. Perhaps she doesn’t have much of a sense of humour or took it the wrong way. My fiance and I joke about his “other girlfriend” once in awhile and its funny because it seems so unlikely.

    P.S. if you are so worried about him cheating, dump the dude! Either he is going to and you have reason to be worried or you are not emotionally mature enough to be in your relationship and need to learn about yourself first.

    1. I agree. I thought the BF was just trying to be funny.

    2. princesspetticoat says:

      “My fiance and I joke about his “other girlfriend” once in awhile and its funny because it seems so unlikely. ”

      Haha my boyfriend and I do that too. Early on in our relationship I randomly had a dream that I was introducing him to my parents and then he was like “Well, better get home to the wife and kids!”. He has never been married and has no kids so it was a ridiculous dream. Now we joke about it.

  18. Just popping in to say that this line: “Actually, I’m probably more worried about a tornado landing a wicked witch on our back door and her stealing Miles away to be her handsome house cat than Drew cheating”, was pure brilliance!

  19. If you honestly, truly think your boyfriend is just waiting for you to leave the country in order to cheat on you, then MOA.

    If you don’t think that is the case, then get over it. Just because you have crazy thoughts running through your head doesn’t mean you have to listen to them.

  20. I agree with everyone else (and not so much with Wendy) that this probably is from out of nowhere. I think if there were a reason, she’d say it, if not just to prove her point. Or maybe a previous boyfriend cheated. I think his response was the kind you’d give to a person who isn’t satisfied by you simply saying that you don’t want to cheat. He was trying to reason with her because she wouldn’t believe him when he said he only wanted to be with her.

  21. Painted_lady says:

    Here’s this: back in college I had a roommate with a boyfriend, and he was terrified she was going to cheat on him. He would call her constantly just to tell her he loved her, which she initially thought was sweet, if a little annoying. Then one of the summers we lived together, we got on a dancing kick and would go out two or three nights a week. We weren’t looking to pick up guys; half the time we were at the gay clubs because the music was better and the boys ignored us. She would tell him we were going out, but he still called, and if she didn’t pick up he would keep calling because, as we finally figured out, he was trying to catch her cheating on him. So she started lying to him when we went out, making up some lame excuse why she wouldn’t be able to get to her phone – movie night, one of the classrooms she studied in had no reception, I was just down the hall and I was sleeping. He still didn’t buy it and one night I sat next to her at a bar table and watched her phone ring eighteen times in a row. Finally, an ex of hers came to town on business, and since she had to lie to her boyfriend about even seeing the guy, she decided there was little difference in seeing him for dinner one night and bringing him to the house to hang out and have drinks. Since she had to lie about that, it wasn’t going to hurt anything to sleep with this guy. She told me she was planning on hooking up with him, and I freaked out – there’s lying and there’s lying, you know. She sort of shrugged and said, “He treats me like I’m cheating on him for going out dancing. After awhile I wanted to be doing the thing I was being punished for.”

    Point is, LW, if you spend time and energy waiting on someone to cheat, eventually, they won’t disappoint you. It’s unfair and destructive for you to treat this man like he’s cheating on you. If he were, which it really sounds like he’s not, you’ll eventually find out. If he’s not, though, you are creating the exact opposite effect of what you want by expressing your fear he will cheat. He’ll either ditch you because it’s too much trouble to constantly reassure someone that you’re not doing something you’d never dream of, or he’ll cheat on you because he might as well since you’re punishing him for it anyway.

  22. It may be because I just read the put-on update, but this letter seems to be total, made-up B.S.

    1. I agree…It’s not really funny – I’ve definitely had my paranoid moments – but my first instinct was to laugh and my second was to ask really stereotypically-minimizing questions (LW, did you just start taking birth control? Are you on your period??)

      Anyway, like people have said, worrying won’t stop him & if you can’t trust him not to do something & it’s tearing you up inside, you have to let him go. But, as people have also pointed out, many of us have had our paranoid moments so if this is just the first time you’ve been apart, try to relax & enjoy yourself & take some time to think about who YOU are, outside of the relationship – you will probably come back & find the relationship energized & refreshed by a little distance.

      1. SpaceySteph says:

        Hard to imagine that in 2 years they’ve never been apart, even for a few days!

        Only a few months after I became exclusive with my boyfriend, I went on a week-long cruise. Like the LW probably will be, I was completely cut off from the outside world (no phone, no email… internet on a cruise ship is a ridiculous $16 for an hour!). I was a little worried that he would realize he didn’t miss me and therefore didn’t want to be with me, but I buttoned it up and I went on vacation. He did miss me, I missed him, and things turned out ok.
        Since you’ve been with your bf for 2 years, LW, I think its safe to say that he will not realize he doesn’t want to be with you just because you go away for a little bit. I do, however, think you need to button it up and stop casting doubts… before the power of suggestion drives him to leave you.

  23. Unless your boyfriend has a serious sex addiction he probably will just spend the first 6 days not noticing you are gone, hanging out with the guys, drinking beer. By week 2 he may start to notice your absence and begin counting down the days til your return, in between video games and sports.

  24. having lived for 10 years with someone who was so paranoid he’d search my handbag when I left the room and obsessed about what I might be doing whenever I was out of his sight (which was quite a lot, as he was screwing his way through our every female acquaintance, which left a lot of time with me out of his scrutiny, and thus many all- night interrogations) I have to say, this sort of unfounded paranoia is utter hell to live with, and if I was him, I would now be wondering what exactly you were planning to do on your holiday that made you sooo convinced he was thinking along the same lines. I never was unfaithful to Mr Paranoid,but I almost wished I had been, because I got a hell of a lot of pain for no gain. When I began thinking along the lines of- I’m getting the beating, I might as well have the imagined treating, I left him.And your boyfriend will do the same.
    I’ve since learned that trust engenders trust.My current partner trusts me absolutely and I’d rather poke myself in the eyeball with a rusty fork than betray him.
    If you want this guy to be worthy of your trust, first you have to give it to him. Otherwise, what has he got to lose?

  25. Rachelgrace53 says:

    You must have sex, like, 12 times a day to be worried about what 2 weeks apart will do to your relationship… And for that matter, why would you have to go out of town for him to cheat? Maybe you have to work a double shift, and he’ll be too horny to control himself! And then BAM, he’s cheating on you! You should be worried EVERY SECOND YOU’RE NOT WITH HIM!

    I hope I proved my point here, which is that you seriously sound crazy… Try being in a long-distance relationship and only seeing one weekend every other month…
    Or try being the girlfriend or wife of a deployed military man in Afghanistan. Those women (if they’re sane) are mostly worried about ever getting to see their men again and thinking about their safety.

    You need a serious reality check and to stop projecting your insecurities onto a man who has likely done nothing to deserve such awful treatment.

  26. While I agree with Wendy that there must be SOME reason the lw is paranoid, I’d consider the possibility that the reason may not have anything to do with this guy specifically. Maybe it does…like Wendy pointed out this letter lacks a lot of information. But maybe the lw was screwed over by an ex, or even has father issues. Just don’t want to indict the guy baselessly, since the lw specifically clears him.

  27. While I agree with Wendy that there must be *something* causing the lw’s paranoia, I’d add that it could be an event in lw’s past totally unrelated to her current boyfriend. As Wendy pointed out, we don’t have enough information to really know what is going on, but I wanted to point out the possibility that the lw was cheated on in the past, or maybe even has father issues or something. It’s possible this boyfriend really is acting shady or has done something to make him untrustworthy, but I didn’t want to indict the guy just yet, especially since the lw specifically cleared him.

    Also, not knowing the context or tone of the boyfriend’s comments, I wouldn’t be so quick to call them odd or suspicious. Maybe he was just saying them in a lighthearted way and didn’t think the lw was seriously concerned about his fidelity.

    1. (sorry for the double post, stupid new smart phone…)

  28. Wow at these comments. says:

    Have none of you ever heard the saying, “when the cat’s away, mice will stray?” Her suspicions are TOTALLY VALID. Calling her crazy, pathetic, insecure is just rude and I can’t even believe what I’ve read so far. Have a little empathy for this girl. I get where you’re coming from!!

    1. Good thing that was 7 DANG YEARS AGO so we have all moved on from it .

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