Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“My Boyfriend Cheated On Me With Other Men!”

My boyfriend and I, both in our late 40s, have been together for three months. Things were going fantastic! The sex was amazing. Then I found out he was secretly having sex with men one to two times a month. I was shocked and devastated. I knew this kind of thing existed (straight or married men looking for extra “fun”), but I didn’t know it was like 30-40% of straight men who have done this. He told me he was touched when he was young, and he was exposed to porn at a young age, so he’s very sexual (with some underlying issues about sex).

I was leaving him, but he begged me back, crying, saying that he’s finished with that “phase” and he would be lost without me. This was so hard to grasp. I’ve had boyfriends cheat on me with other women, but….with a man?! I was confused, angry, hurt, everything. After some thought and some research on the web, I kind of realized that it was more common than I thought and that the reasons why made some sense, too.

So now we are still seeing each other, it’s a little rocky, and I told him if we were going to continue seeing each other, which we are because we are crazy about each other, I need him to cut ties with these two men. He somewhat agreed, but he still kept their phone numbers because he said they were still good friends. I can’t agree to that — it’s either them or me. He said he chooses me, but now there’s trust issues — these other “guys” are into drugs and they are lonely and miserable and I don’t want my boyfriend involved in that path.

What advice do you have? — Not Interested in That Path

Ok, so you’ve had boyfriends cheat on you in the past but it was with women and this time it’s more devastating and shocking because your boyfriend cheated with men? But then you did some “research on the web” and learned that something like “30-40% of straight men have done this,” and your boyfriend was “touched at a young age” and “exposed to porn” and those reasons “make sense” to you, so you’re ok with staying with your boyfriend, but you just don’t want him to continue on a path with “those guys” — the ones who are lonely and miserable? Wow. You sound incredibly homophobic. And in pretty serious denial about your boyfriend and his commitment to you.

First of all, I don’t know where you got your statistic that “30-40% of straight men” have had gay sex (at least, I think that’s what you were implying). That’s simply not true. But what’s more alarming than your inaccuracy is that you use that inaccuracy to make yourself feel better about your boyfriend having gay sex — like, if lots of other straight men are having regular gay sex, maybe it’s not so bad that your boyfriend is doing it? Guess what?! There’s nothing wrong with people being sexually intimate with others of the same sex. It’s not gross or abnormal or perverse. The only wrong that your boyfriend has done is CHEAT ON YOU, period. Twisting this into a question about his sexuality or justifying what you imply is a bad path because of things that happened in your boyfriend’s childhood is misguided. People don’t “become gay” or have gay sex one to two times a month because they were exposed to porn at a young age. Homosexuality isn’t an affliction that results from “being touched” at a young age. That’s just not how it works. Your boyfriend is likely attracted to men, and he’s likely attracted to men for the same reason that you are: because you were both born that way. Could you imagine if someone tried to justify your attraction to men by saying you were touched when you were young? You see how offensive that sounds?

Look, I get it: it hurts to be cheated on. It was a shock to find out your boyfriend was cheating on you with men. I think you need to leave him and move on. He’s been chronically cheating on you for the entire three-month duration of your relationship and he has done nothing to try to convince you he’s done. In fact, he won’t even promise to stop seeing the men he’s been cheating on you with. This is all enough reason to MOA. Leave the motherfucker because he’s a liar and cheat. Leave him like you should leave any guy who cheats, cheats, cheats. But to paint him as somehow different than any other cheater you’ve dated because of the sex of the people he’s been cheating with is fruitless. His sleeping with men doesn’t make him any better or worse than your former boyfriends who have cheated on you with women.

His attraction to and sexual experiences with men is not something that can be “treated” or reasoned away with experiences from his past. It’s not something that 30-40% of straight men have experimented with. You don’t have to try to normalize your boyfriend’s gay experiences with false statistics. Being gay or bi is normal, period. It’s fine, period. What isn’t fine is lying about who you are and cheating on your significant other, which is what your boyfriend has done. That’s reason for you to move on, so move on. And, really, you shouldn’t be any more bitter about it than you would if you were moving on from a guy who has cheated on you with multiple women. Instead, what you should focus on — maybe with the help of a good therapist — is why and how you continue ending up with men who cheat on you.

I own an apartment and rent a room to a friend who is a recovering substance abuse addict. She’s been sober for some time. We probably should have had a “what will happen if you relapse” conversation before she moved in, but she’s been so open and adamant about her sobriety that it didn’t occur to me. Recently, I passed by her open bedroom door and saw one open (empty?) beer can and a full glass of what looked like beer. I haven’t noticed any drastic changes in her behavior, but we don’t see each other often and I worry that she’s in the beginning of a relapse. I tried to rationalize it as “if she were really drinking again she wouldn’t leave a full glass of beer out in the open like that,” or “maybe a friend came over and drank while they hung out and she forgot to clean up” – but she’s not comfortable being around people drinking and doesn’t really have friends over, so it just seems unlikely.

I want to mention what I saw to her and start a conversation, but I’m not sure the best way to approach it. I don’t want to push her into being more emotionally distressed so that she starts drinking/using (more often?) in secret. If (or when) she relapses, I want to encourage her to be open and honest with me about what she’s going through so we can make a plan together. I understand that recovery is a life-long process that includes relapses. I also don’t want to live with someone I can’t trust, and I’ve learned that people in the throes of addiction can’t be trusted, even our closest loved ones. Any guidance about how to go about this conversation? — Glass Half Empty

 
I wouldn’t mention what you saw in her bedroom, which I think could put her on the defensive, might tempt her to lie, and might make her feel like you are spying on her or infringing on her privacy. Instead, I’d find a moment you two have to talk together and say something like, “I’m so inspired by the work and commitment you put into your sobriety, and I was was thinking about how we never had a conversation about how I, as a friend and roommate, can best support you on your continued path of sobriety. Specifically, I realize it’s a lifelong path and that there may be points of relapse, and I’d like to be able to support you through those times. Do you have any suggestions for how best to address a potential relapse?”

At the very least, these kinds of questions will start a conversation and you can use your gut to determine whether your roommate is being honest and genuine in her response. If you continue to feel uneasy or like you can’t trust her, you may want to consider asking her to move out. But accept that doing this will likely have a negative impact on your friendship. This is a risk anyone takes moving in with a friend, and certainly renting a room to a friend. I hope, even if you didn’t think to discuss a potential relapse with your friend before she moved in, you at least considered the potential repercussions to your friendship if living together didn’t go well. It may be that you have to face those repercussions sooner rather than later.

***************

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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy​(AT)​dearwendy.com.

22 comments… add one
  • avatar

    JD February 26, 2018, 10:14 am

    So much WWS. LW1: Three months into a relationship is way too soon to put up with most any problems. You should be happy and blissful not devastated. It is early enough to get out easily. Also, ya he just cheated on you, regardless of who with. And NO 40% of all straight men do not have sex with other men. Just because someone writes it doesn’t make it true. And if it was true, it doesn’t change him cheating on you. Go get tested and move on now. I get being a bit more shocked about him being with other men as it would cause me a bit more concern that I myself couldn’t long term provide him with all of his sexual needs, ya know, not having a penis and all, but beyond that he cheated, period.

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom February 26, 2018, 10:24 am

    LW1 He’s been in this phase since he was a young teenager and he’s in his late 40s. This is who he is. He is a liar and a cheat. You can’t trust him so why try to fix something that is too broken to work. All the crying is a way to manipulate you into staying. So far it worked. You are way too gullible for someone in their late 40s.

    Things weren’t going fantastic. They were only fantastic when you didn’t know the truth. Now that you know the truth you know that things were bad.

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  • avatar

    Essie February 26, 2018, 10:40 am

    Oh, come on, LW1. Your boyfriend is bisexual or gay. Not because he was touched or he saw porn when he was young. Because that’s the way he’s wired. Since he was born. He’s sexually attracted to men.

    He’s lying to you and cheating on you. Stop making excuses for that. If you want a monogamous relationship, you’re not going to get one with him.

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  • avatar

    anonymousse February 26, 2018, 11:00 am

    You should probably get tested for STDs. And break up with him and FFS, aim higher. You offhandedly are okay with cheating? What?

    His sexuality involves multiple partners, men and women, and he sounds like a sex addict. No bueno.

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  • avatar

    Fyodor February 26, 2018, 11:04 am

    I am pretty sure that the 30-40 percent was some BS he told her when she caught him.

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  • avatar

    Peggy February 26, 2018, 11:32 am

    LW #1-He cheated with to guys. You “forbid” him to see them..but he sounds like the kind of person, who even if he kept that promise (which he won’t) he would just find other guys and keep doing what he wants,so technically he is not going back on his word.
    You need to cut all ties-he is a cheat and a liar. Also,you need therapy to find out why you attract guys that cheat and treat you poorly and why you try to excuse and accept that behavior! Good luck moving forward.
    LW#2 Wendy said the right course of action. Go with that. I hope your friend can stay sober.

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  • avatar

    Peggy February 26, 2018, 11:34 am

    Two other guys,I mean!

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  • avatar

    brise February 26, 2018, 11:40 am

    LW1: so much trouble for a 3-months relationship? Give up. Don’t cheat yourself.

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  • avatar

    brise February 26, 2018, 11:45 am

    LW2: don’t make assumptions on the basis of a single beer glass that you saw in her room. Everybody has the right to have a drink. Living with a roommate doesn’t allow you to spy on her. But Wendy’s advice of an open discussion is a good thing. If you see other clear signs of a relapse, then it is OK to set a boundary. But please decide then wether you talk to her as friend or as a landlord. Don’t overpass your rights (as a friend or as a landlord).

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  • avatar

    dinoceros February 26, 2018, 2:23 pm

    LW1: It sounds like you simultaneously think it’s worse and better that he slept with men. The former because it seems more shocking, and the latter because you think it has more reasons. I think that it’s neither. I don’t think it matters. What matters is that he cheated. Someone who enjoys sex with men and women is capable of monogamy if that’s what they want. There’s this misguided perception that someone like that must need to have both in their life, and it’s untrue. This all boils down to the fact that this guy is a cheater. In fact, he cheated on you and you’ ve only been together for three months! He clearly has no interest in just being with you and no one else.

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    • avatar

      csp February 26, 2018, 4:03 pm

      ^^This – he is capable of monogamy. Done.

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  • avatar

    Ron February 26, 2018, 3:22 pm

    This relationship is only 3 months old and your bf has cheated on you just about the whole time. As someone who has been cheated on multiple times in the past, you should realize that neither promises nor your love will cause them to stop cheating. Cheaters gonna cheat. All you can do is MOA from this cheater. And the advice to get counseling to figure out why you project such desperation that cheaters flock to you and that you are willing to stay with this guy is very good advice. An no, straight men do not have sex twice a month with other men for extra fun. It sounds like your bf is trying to sell the argument that it’s ok for him to have a bf and a gf. But he has two bfs. Which means he may also have two gfs. Just summon up some self-esteem and leave this guy for good. Crying and begging you to stay with him doesn’t make him any less likely to cheat again.

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  • bittergaymark

    Bittergaymark February 26, 2018, 4:14 pm

    LW1). 30 to 40%. Your boyfriend is such a liar! It’s actually much closer to 80 %.

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    • avatar

      MMR February 26, 2018, 4:53 pm

      After doing some research on the web, I’ve actually determined that 90% of straight men who frequently participate in gay sex are 29% more likely to father overweight babies with communist propensities.

      Throw that on a pie chart, along with some well documented stats about the skyrocketing price of corn, and I’d say this LW’s most pressing issue is that her cereal-to-milk intake is SHOCKING low.

      Check your facts people.

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      • FireStar

        FireStar February 26, 2018, 6:44 pm

        ❤️

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    • avatar

      Ange February 26, 2018, 5:48 pm

      I grew up in an army town surrounded by football players, I was also thinking that number seemed slightly conservative….

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  • avatar

    Northern Star February 26, 2018, 4:29 pm

    LW1, your desire to be open-minded in this situation has made your brain fall out completely. And look—you’re accused of being a homophobic bigot anyway!

    So, who cares WHY he has sex other people—the fact is, he’s a cheating, lying a-hole and his excuses are stupid.

    Thank your lucky stars you discovered this only three months in, and dump him ASAP. Also, get tested for STDs.

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  • avatar

    carolann February 27, 2018, 12:32 am

    This scenerio has come up on dw before and I don’t think there is anything wrong with wanting to be in a relationship with someone who isn’t bi sexual. Whether you are a man or a woman I think your partner should be up front about that. I don’t think it makes you homophobic and I believe you have the right to choose to be with that person or not.
    You know he has been with men and you chose to still be with him, so that is no longer an issue. It sounds to me like he has made excuses to you for behavior that is natural to him. He is attracted to men. Being touched didn’t cause it and porn didn’t cause it. He has always been that way. I know several men who were sexually molested by men (or older boys) when they were young and it didn’t cause them to be attracted to men. They either are or they aren’t. This guy is just a weasel and since he is in his 40s he probably isn’t going to change. Look elsewhere.

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  • avatar

    anonymousse February 27, 2018, 11:02 am

    Three months in and he’s had his many other partners….

    You should probably speak to a therapist or your best bluntly honest friend and figure out why this is even a dilemma for you.

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  • avatar

    Cindy July 13, 2018, 10:23 am

    Wendy is very immature telling this woman she is homophobic. Hello wendy most women dont wanna hear that the man they love are attracted to or had sex with men that’s just the reality. As a woman it would be far worst for me to hear that my partner cheated with a man, which means he also tricked me and was not open about his sexuality to let me decide if i wanna date a bisexual man or not. Not to mention gays have higher hiv rates than straight couples due to their riskier behaviours.

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    • Dear Wendy

      Dear Wendy July 13, 2018, 10:32 am

      How is the behavior of gay people riskier than the behavior of straights?

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      • Dear Wendy

        Dear Wendy July 13, 2018, 10:34 am

        If you’re going to argue that their sex isn’t as safe or something equally ignorant and homophobic, I’ve got about thousands of emails from straight ppl whose behavior has resulted in unplanned pregnancies to share with you…

        Link

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