He never talks about a future of us moving past boyfriend and girlfriend. This is a long-distance relationship of 80 miles, and I am tired of all the travel time and expense. He doesn’t seem to mind it much: he is much wealthier than I am as well as has more disposable time than I do. Secondly, I broke up with him a month ago because he was refusing to give up an emotional affair he was involved in for the past six years! Nothing would come of it physically, but I still felt he was cheating because he confessed his love to her and has begged for a chance at a real relationship, but she is not interested. He has stopped all communication with her, so that part makes me very happy; however, when we were broken up, he joined a dating site… and now he is still actively on it! Still looking! Even responding to Craigslist ads!!
Between us, everything is as giving and loving as it always has been. I haven’t confronted him about this and am just monitoring right now, waiting to see if he is actually going to try to meet up with any of these fantasies or if it is just for entertainment purposes, but that kinda feels naive. How can he be so sweet and loving in every way imaginable but be searching for whatever else it is he is looking for?
I really love this man and have believed he was my soulmate… but now? Was I wrong? Am I being naive? Is he looking for something better? He knows I want marriage and commitment, but he never even pretends to want to get married. — Wandering in Wyoming
Yes, you’re being naive. And you aren’t really listening when this guy tells you that he doesn’t want to get married or be committed to you. A person can be very loving and kind and generous with you and not want a commitment. What you have with him now is all you will ever have, and he has not led you to believe otherwise. In fact, it sounds like he’s been very honest about what he wants and what he doesn’t want, and he isn’t hiding his interest in pursuing other women. He does not want to be a one-woman man. He does not want to marry you. He does not want to commit to you. That isn’t going to change. Please repeat that to yourself over and over and over until you believe it. And if no amount of repeating this convinces you, and his telling you he doesn’t want to marry you doesn’t convince you, and his emotional affair of six years with another woman he says he loves doesn’t convince you, and his activity on dating sites and Craigslist doesn’t convince you, please go see a therapist, because there’s a reason you continue investing time and love and energy in a dead-end relationship with a man who has explicitly told you he won’t commit to you, and, whatever that reason is, it is beyond something I can address in an advice column.
P.S. Birth control, STD testing.
Last night he decided to clean the slate and told me everything about his relationship with the other girl. He admitted to me that the night I gave birth he was in a rush to leave because he had plans to go celebrate with her. Three weeks later he left me because he wanted to see if he had a chance with her. Every time I look at my daughter I think of the things he’s done to me. He wants to put all of this behind us and start over. He claims he’s thinking clearly now and is ready to give us a real shot.
Obviously, I feel betrayed, and I already haven’t really trusted him for a year now which is when he started telling me little lies. How do I know if he’s genuine this time? How do I forgive him for something like this? — Not So Ready To Start New
It’s been three years and now he wants to give you guys a “real shot”? No, dude, that ship has sailed. If it was going to work out, it would have happened long before now. That doesn’t mean you can’t forgive him. For the sake of your co-parenting relationship, you should try to forgive him and work on being cooperative and civil with each other. But as far as a romantic relationship, it’s time to move on. A man who left your side hours after you gave birth to his baby so he could rush off and go celebrate with another woman is not someone you have a “real shot” with, no matter how much growing he says he’s done in the few weeks since he abandoned you and your just-born baby at the hospital for his mistress…
Once again, I confronted him about it and he swore it was a mistake, he was sorry, he was at a low point, blah blah blah. He has since changed his password on his phone, and I recently found out he downloaded an app where he can message people through the app rather than text (so it doesn’t show up on our bill). I still can see he texts through our computer and I don’t think anything has changed because in texts he’s asked the girls to download the app. I can’t actually prove that he has had sex with any of these women or that he is still talking to anyone because it’s all through this app that I don’t have access to, but I have a VERY strong feeling that he is continuing the behavior.
It makes me sick to my stomach that I have given this man so much of my life and I’m pregnant again with a baby he begged to have and this is how he repays me. I don’t want to leave him (for the sake of our children), but I feel like at this point he is giving me no choice! Please help! — Pregnant and Angry
You say you don’t have proof that he’s had sex with these women he’s messaging, but would it matter if he hadn’t? He’s still been betraying you for ages, lying to you, and sneaking around behind your back. He showed you who he was before you got married and you married him anyway. Why? Because he “swore” he’d never betray you again? And so, you were like, “Ok, cool”? Just like that? It doesn’t work that way. A person has to earn back trust and he’s never done that. And now so much damage has been done. And not only may the damage be too much to overcome, you two may simply not be a good match. But if you feel committed to working on your marriage, for the “sake of your kids,” you’ll need to try marriage counseling. But know this: It’s in everyone’s best interest — your kids’, your own, your husband’s — that, if this marriage is not working, you and your husband acknowledge that and part ways as amicably as possible before more damage is done. Having two parents who can get along and work cooperatively together, despite not being married anymore, is a lot better for children than having two parents who are married and can’t stand each other because of years of built-up bitterness and resentment.
Follow along on Facebook, and Instagram.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at [email protected].
artsygirl February 6, 2017, 10:01 am
LW1- it is not an emotional affaire if your BF actively pursued a physical relationship with the other woman. He is not interested in being monogamous.
Skyblossom February 6, 2017, 10:15 am
LW1 If he’s spent the last six years emotionally involved with her and only the last two years involved with you she is the primary, first relationship even if she isn’t interested. You sound like the woman who will do in the meantime while he waits for the woman he really wants to want him back. You are a place holder relationship because the one he wants doesn’t want him but he still wants her.
Diablo February 6, 2017, 10:35 am
Jeez Louise, Wendy, I’ve tried to hold my tongue, but with some of your recent advice, it’s like you don’t even WANT your LWs to find happiness. You set an impossible, rarefied standard that ordinary men and women could never hope to live up to. I think it’s high time, especially for you gals living in “Trump’s America,” to embrace a new era of compromise and moral greyscale. (Hint: you know the wind has changed when a guy thinks he can use the phrase “you gals” again, like it’s 1958 or something.) If we went by your standard, Wendy, nobody could ever be married. You seem to be saying that a guy can’t be taken seriously just because he is messaging a variety of women through various social media platforms. You seem to be saying that it’s some sort of heinous crime when a man tells little “white” lies to protect a woman’s feelings, like “I was at a real low point,” or “I never banged any of them!” That a man can’t have a date with his side piece on a night when his wife is giving birth to his child. Like he’s supposed to KNOW when she’s gonna give birth and just immediately change all his plans! This is the kind of rigid, high-handed, black and white feminist morality that is at the bottom of the Men’s Right’s movement! This is why so many men now choose to “go their own way!” These three letters represent at least 6, maybe as many as 10 people who could probably be happy if they could just ignore your voice in their heads, telling them it’s not good enough. and that they have to move on. You’ve got them trapped so they can’t make any move but ON. You’re like the MOA Constrictor!
Guy Friday February 6, 2017, 10:59 am
I just want to see how many negative comments this one gets 🙂
*sits back with a bowl of popcorn*
Guy Friday February 6, 2017, 10:59 am
. . . AND if I had scrolled down a little more I would have seen it. Damn my twitchy fingers!
Diablo February 6, 2017, 11:02 am
TBH, the whole rant was just to set up the “MOA Constrictor” joke.
Guy Friday February 6, 2017, 11:03 am
I would have gone with “MOA-vee Desert” myself, but yours was decent too.
SpaceySteph February 6, 2017, 11:02 am
MOA Constrictor! This is perfect.
Cleopatra Jones February 6, 2017, 11:30 am
Haha, I’ve been missing these comedic rants from you. 🙂
Dear Wendy February 6, 2017, 12:53 pm
Where have you been?! You’ve been missed!
Diablo February 6, 2017, 2:33 pm
Well, it’s a long and unhappy tale, but I’ll give something of an update. (Trust me, this novel is the short version.) Truthfully, in part, i took a break from the site because I just felt like many of the people I used to interact with were gone and nobody was reacting to my posts anymore. But I also had many challenges in my life, and was participating actively in a support group for people who shared my type of family problems. I thought few times of writing for advice, Wendy, but we are talking 5 decades of family dysfunction – not really something I expected you to be able to unravel. My boss was forcibly retired by the Board in late 2015 and I was in a stressful period at work, worried that I might be “swept clean,” a tactic not uncommon during regime changes. My wife’s stress level was through the roof. She had been accused publicly by the wife of the president of the university of being drunk at work (because she was bubbly and “unprofessional”), and her supervisor did not defend her out of fear for his own position. She doesn’t even drink on her own time anymore, due to a medication with which drinking is not advised. Her father died this past summer after a long decline. Her mom is quite lost – they were together 65 years, since she was 18. While we were away for his memorial service, many of her job duties were reassigned without any discussion. Her objections were met with “this is what happens when you skip staff meetings.” (Such an asshole!) Stress caused her blood pressure and blood sugars to go way out of whack and she was off work on medical leave for much of the fall. (We’ve been working on getting in better shape and managing diet to alleviate the issues.) Just this past week, we finally finished the process of extricating her from the job, with a few months severance, and we substantially refinanced our lives (mortgage, vehicles, LOC) to accommodate her being out of work for a while. Four years work for zero satisfaction or sense that it was anything other than a fat paycheck. (She has walked away from a six figure salary. Canadian dollars, but still…) She has carried the load for me in the past when i needed it, so I am offering the same to her until she can figure out a new path through life. When we met 29 years ago, we were both students, so everything we became in the intervening years was not part of our deal. I don’t want her to continue down a path that leads to a stroke or whatever – that paycheck won’t do us any good if she’s harmed. I’m hoping things will settle down some now. She’s scared, but we are starting to look to the future with hope, instead of looking back in anger. I’m hoping that once she gets a few more emotional steps away from all this, her little butterfly wings can start to sprout again and the amazing girl I married will shine through the scuffed up surface of the recent few years.
For the benefit of any of the LWs who might read this, this is how you do it. We aren’t perfect by a long shot, either of us. But we’ve totally got each other covered in this world. There is no Craigslist in our story. There are no exes. I’m hornier than the next guy, i practically guarantee it, but there is no other woman on this planet who can offer me something that weighs against our life together. The last time I made love to someone other than her, it was 1988. The last time I made love to her was yesterday. As they sometimes say in the movies, “it ain’t the years, babe, it’s the mileage.”
Dear Wendy February 6, 2017, 2:44 pm
Phew, that’s a big few months. Glad to hear you’re on the other side of it, and I know when your continued commitment to each other and your good humor and outlook, things will work out. I think you and your wife are very lucky to have each other, and, boy, does that count for a lot.
Glad to have you stop by today, Diablo. Hope you’ll stick around, a bit.
LisforLeslie February 6, 2017, 5:25 pm
Damn that is one mofo of a break. Seems like you’ve got the ‘one step in front of the other’ down. Insert motivational cliche and kind wishes here. And sorry to hear about your FIL.
mrmidtwenties February 6, 2017, 6:38 pm
Welcome back Diablo, your wit and intellect has been missed. I’m sorry to hear about your challenges but I know you’ll fight through.
Portia February 6, 2017, 10:14 pm
I’m so sorry to hear about all you’ve gone through, Diablo, but I’m also glad to see you back. And glad your wife made it out of that job in one piece – no salary is worth that.
bittergaymark February 6, 2017, 10:49 pm
Yeah, hang in there, Diablo. What a meddlesome troll that wife is. People like that deserve to have a piano fall on them and then suffer a slow, agonizing death after enduring years of mutilation.
Diablo February 7, 2017, 9:56 am
Thanks for your good wishes, everyone. It’s really just life rolling on, and there are things to be faced in their time. M’s dad was 89, so while it’s sad, he had a good life – he was retired on a decent pension for 28 years. M’s job is really just the struggle between the desire for financial security – which we’ve only had brief glimmers of anyway, and our hippie need to do something meaningful with life. At one point, I asked her, “Do you want to be done your work life and look back on “I just took the paycheck for something I hated” or “I did it my way and faced the cost.” No judgment on anyone who decides differently. I don’t think it ever ceases to be a struggle on some level, until you finally stop kicking and fall back into the earth. Besides, it gives me this one opportunity to be the big man. Anyway, we’re way past the point where either of us could ever pay back what we owe each other. We’re all in, win or lose.
LisforLeslie February 6, 2017, 12:53 pm
This was delicious.
anonymousse February 6, 2017, 4:58 pm
I’ve always enjoyed your voice, I’m sorry you’ve had a rough go of late, but it looks like you are on the right track. Good luck, Diablo! It’s nice to hear from you.
Janelle February 6, 2017, 5:00 pm
I love this.
Janelle February 6, 2017, 10:40 am
Diablo you have to be flipping kidding me! Please tell me this is heavy sarcasm. Part of me feels it is but I worry. He shouldn’t change his plans for a date because she happened to go into labor when he didn’t expect it?? This HAS to be a joke. Surely you know he shouldn’t even have a date scheduled let alone refuse to reschedule it!
This is a joke? Right? Please?
Skyblossom February 6, 2017, 10:43 am
He’s joking! He has a great sense of humor but hasn’t posted much lately.
Janelle February 6, 2017, 10:46 am
Oh thank goodness I nearly had to reach through my computer. ahahahaha.
To be clear, if a man left me while I was in labor, just after, for any reason, other than, Oh I dunno, getting me some ice cream or dying, I would have divorce papers drawn before I got out of the hospital lol.
Diablo February 6, 2017, 10:50 am
I am in deadly earnest. I have played “nice man” for many years waiting for this shift in paradigm. Now that feminism is over, us guys can relax again, secure that the world has been put right. PS – Our Prime Minister is sexier than your president! It’s harder to tell with Sophie Trudeau, though, because unlike Melania, she’s never posed nude for GQ. She spends too much time doing charity work while fully dressed.
Skyblossom February 6, 2017, 10:54 am
This guy has no commitment at all to either the LW or the child. It would be hard to peel most new dads away from their baby. They’d also want to be there with their girlfriend. The fact that he left to party with anyone else, it wouldn’t even need to be a woman, means he isn’t focused on gf or child or committed to them or even thinking of them. His were the actions of someone who was being inconvenienced by the birth of his own child by his own gf. That’s all the LW needs to know about her boyfriend to know where her and the child stand in his thoughts and his love and his commitments.
Skyblossom February 6, 2017, 10:56 am
Poor Diablo. Left to imagine what the PM’s wife might look like naked because she so callously leaves her clothes on.
RedRoverRedRover February 6, 2017, 12:58 pm
My uncle did this. He was having sex with another woman while his wife was giving birth to their second kid. She told him to be gone by the time she came home from the hospital. That’s how you do it.
Janelle February 6, 2017, 10:54 am
To be fair most people are sexier than our president.
Diablo February 6, 2017, 10:55 am
Not to mention many root vegetables.
Janelle February 6, 2017, 1:00 pm
Also I would like to see most everyone naked. Just my morbid sense of curiosity. haha. Whenever a celebrity or such has a nude photos spread I cannot help but look. I just want to see what’s under there. Now if Jason Statham could please do a nude photo spread I would appreciate it. hehehe
Guy Friday February 6, 2017, 11:02 am
Every time I look at my daughter I think of the things he’s done to me.
Wendy didn’t call you out for this, so I’m going to. That’s fucked up, and you need to get thee to a therapist, stat. Taking ANY of this out on your child is completely unfair to her and could cause her serious issues. This isn’t her fault, and she shouldn’t be held even 1% responsible or viewed in any way like she had anything to do with the father’s actions or behaviors.
RedRoverRedRover February 6, 2017, 1:03 pm
I didn’t take this as blame. It sounds like since so much of it happened during the pregnancy, birth, and first couple months, that she’s got the events associated in her mind. I agree that she needs therapy though, to remove that association and to get past the trauma she’s clearly feeling.
Skyblossom February 6, 2017, 11:50 am
“My guy and I have been together two years, and our relationship on many levels is perfect, beyond any expectations.”
This is sad. You obviously have expectations of commitment and monogamy. Don’t delude yourself into thinking that this relationship is perfect, beyond any expectations. You are writing in because this relationship doesn’t meet your minimum expectations. He’s a great guy when he is physically with you but once he’s out the door not so much. You can have a guy who is nice when he is with you and is also emotionally available for a long term commitment and who wants monogamy. You won’t find what you want with this guy.
Bittergaymark February 6, 2017, 12:21 pm
People — in general — seemingly need to significantly raise their expectactions AND use birth control / abortions more. Surprise, surprise.
These letters ARE depressing.
PS — Kudos to Diablo. 😉
RedRoverRedRover February 6, 2017, 1:06 pm
I just don’t understand the lack of birth control. Literally cannot comprehend it. Having a baby is one of the biggest, hardest, most consequential things women ever have to go through. How can you just not care if you get pregnant???
Bittergaymark February 6, 2017, 1:18 pm
It’d be farcmore baffling if it wasn’t such a recurring theme. I swear this comes up as a tangent (often ignored by the LW) in every other letter these days…
Janelle February 6, 2017, 1:23 pm
Right!! This is the biggest thing I think about when with anyone! I haven’t been on birth control for about 5 years, as it sucks for me. I know a lot of women who agree (and MANY more who don’t). It just makes me feel awful, etc. That being said. I track cycles, I use condoms, I avoid intercourse when I know it is a high risk day. I spend all this time avoiding getting pregnant for the exact reasons these people complain. It is HARD. It is hard with a spouse let alone a shifty relationship. I want a child badly, but if that is what I want I will eventually do it on my own and adopt a child who needs a home, when I am ready. I will NOT put myself in a position to cause a child to have a difficult life, deal with the drama. It simply isn’t fair! What ever happened to making sacrifices for what is best for all involved!!!
RedRoverRedRover February 6, 2017, 1:33 pm
BGM, that just makes it MORE baffling to me! How can there be this many people who think babies are no big deal? It’s crazy!
Although to be fair, we’re seeing a specific subsection of the population here. The only people writing in to Wendy are people with issues, and then she has to pick the most interesting letters from the bunch so she gets good traffic. That’ll tend to be the most trainwreck-y ones. But still!
LisforLeslie February 6, 2017, 5:28 pm
I was reading something online and an EMT said that every time he deals with people he has his standard list of questions. “Are you sexually active? Are you using birth control?” When they answer Yes to the first and No to the second he says “Congratulations! You’re trying for a baby! That’s great!” and when they say “No, not trying.” He says “No! You’re having sex and you’re not using birth control – that’s trying for a baby! Good luck!” Says it really hammers it in for some… not for others…
RedRoverRedRover February 6, 2017, 6:35 pm
Hahahaha LforLeslie, that’s awesome! But seriously, how do people not realize that on their own?
Bittergaymark February 6, 2017, 1:03 pm
Forget MOA. Now it’s MOA,N.
Move On Already, Nincompoop!
Guy Friday February 6, 2017, 1:40 pm
You’d LOVE it to be MOAN, wouldn’t you, you pervert?! 😉
Bittergaymark February 6, 2017, 2:08 pm
GROAN would be far more befitting of my reaction to most letters as of late… 😉
anonymousse February 6, 2017, 1:20 pm
dinoceros February 6, 2017, 2:14 pm
I can’t even respond to these individually because it’s too exhausting. The sad part is that these LWs are raising another generation of people who think it’s OK to cling to someone who doesn’t respect you. For most children, the only relationships they really see until adulthood are those of their parents. And if you’re begging some guy to be with you even though he cheats and has all but told you he doesn’t care about you, guess what? Your kids are going to think that’s how it’s supposed to be. And they’re going to be writing in to Dear Joanie one day about it.
Ange February 6, 2017, 4:53 pm
The thought of Dear Joanie is infinitely cute.