“My Boyfriend is Addicted to Singles Apps”

My boyfriend and I dated two years before moving in together. Things are going great except for his addiction to singles apps. He gets on them and has hours-long conversations with I don’t know who. He doesn’t sleep at night — stays on the apps until 3 AM when he has to be to work at 8. He rushes me through sex so I’ll fall asleep afterward, and he can then log onto his chat sites. If I happen to wake up to go to the bathroom, he pulls up another screen so it doesn’t look like he’s chatting and waits for me to lie back down before he goes back to it. He won’t go places with me during the day for the same reason; as soon as I leave he logs on.

I know what he’s doing because I check his browser history. We’ve been fighting about it for months. I don’t sleep because I know what he does when I go to sleep and I’m depressed by it. I’ve told him about my concerns, told him there’s no reason a guy in a serious relationship should be regularly being on those apps unless he’s not happy and he’s searching for a replacement. His response: “I’m not looking for anyone else. I’m happy with you. It’s just an outlet to relieve stress.” Am I wrong to be upset by this, to be losing sleep and feeling my self-esteem plummet? — Lost Sleep

Oh, my. What I’m most concerned about is not so much what you’re currently dealing with, but about what must have happened to you in your past that makes the relationship you have now seem “great” in comparison, because, no, no, no. This is not great. Nothing about what you describes indicates that there’s anything tolerable, let alone “great” about your relationship. Your boyfriend rushes you through sex? He refuses to go anywhere with you? You both go without sleep every night? You check his internet history all the time? He uses singles apps to relieve stress? Gee, maybe if he didn’t spend all his time sneaking around he wouldn’t feel stressed out.

But that’s beside the point, really. The point is that your relationship boat has sailed and it’s time for you to MOA. This is beyond saving. You shouldn’t want to save it. People in salvageable relationships don’t spend every waking hour basically cheating on their significant others. You say there’s “no reason a guy in a serious relationship should be regularly visiting those apps unless he’s not happy,” which is partially true. The whole truth is that there’s no reason a guy in a serious, monogamous relationship should EVER be visiting those sites unless the relationship is finished. A healthy relationship has trust, companionship, respect, love, and intimacy. Without those things, you’re essentially left with a roommate who spends a lot of time on the computer. Face it: this relationship is over. Donezo, finis. MOA, LW, and give that loser boyfriend of yours a legitimate reason to cruise the singles apps.

Follow along on Facebook, and Instagram.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.


  1. Totally agree, Wendy. LW, This is bad! This is too big of a thing to be fixed.

  2. This is definitely a case of MOA if I ever saw one. He hasn’t respected you for months and he isn’t respecting you now. Dump. His. Ass.

  3. I have to agree with Wendy here. I’m not sure how “things are going great” when, from your letter, it sounds like every waking second he is chatting on these sites and not giving you any time out of his day.
    If you’ve confronted him about it and there isn’t any change, you need to move on. It might suck because you have so much time invested, but he isn’t giving you anything.
    Question though… was he like this before you moved in with him? I mean you must have had some kind of interaction apart from what you’ve said, otherwise I’m not sure how you even have a relationship with someone like that.

    1. I think you hit the nail on the head. She has alot of time invested and doesn’t want to walk away from it.

      Also, before they moved in, she didn’t see what he was doing when the weren’t around. After I got married, I moved in with my now husband and there were all sorts of stuff that I found out. For example, he is an avid professional wrestling fan. So he would tivo it when we went out and watched it later. We dated for years and I had no idea. No matter what, there are things you can only know about someone once you live together. Unfortunately, the LW has a much creepier thing going on.

      1. Nothing wrong with pro wrestling 😉 My husband and I watch it all the time!

        But I do agree, there are things you learn about people when you move in with them that you didn’t know before. But from her letter it sounds like they do almost nothing together, if he stays up all night chatting, goes to work, rush-fucks her, then back to the chat sites, I wonder if he just increased his chatting once she moved in, or he was always flaky but she didn’t know why.

      2. I am guessing the before they moved in, since he went away to meet her, the computer wasn’t right there so he didn’t have the urge. Now that it is in the house, its “pull is greater”

  4. I’m going to have to quote a recent ReginaRey reaction on this one (hope you don’t mind, RR!)… “WHY DO WE DO THIS?!?! Why do we cling to the mere whisper of a relationship, when the truth is screaming and spitting in our faces?!”

    LW, I’m sorry if it’s tough to hear, but this relationship is OVER. It may take some time to get over since it’s taken up 2 years of your life, but the sooner you move on the sooner you’ll find someone with whom you can discover what a great relationship really is!

    1. ReginaRey says:

      I’m flattered that you quoted me verbatim! 😉

      1. I’m a long-time reader but a new commenter… figured quoting a site favorite would be a good start! 😉

        Not to mention, your words were totally appropriate the first time and are totally appropriate now! These women with so little respect for themselves can be maddening! Though perhaps it upsets me so much because I’ve been there and know how much better life can be!

      2. I think your last sentence rings true for me as well. I just want to go back in time and yell at my younger self, just like I want to yell at the LW. Or maybe not yell, but give her a big hug and try to convince her that she really can do better for herself.

      3. Britannia says:

        RR, have you read “How Not To Marry the Wrong Guy”? It talks all about that very question, in depth. I got a copy from my grandmother from Christmas and it’s really been an interesting read.

    2. Oh my gosh. I love that! Thanks for reposting ReginaRey’s wisdom. And thanks RR for being so wise.

  5. caitie_didn't says:

    “things are going great so far”.

    Yeah, they’re not.

    1. SpaceySteph says:

      This a million times. I always wonder, as Wendy questions above, what qualifies as “great.” Maybe its: he cooks me dinner 5 nights a week, puts his coat over the puddles so I don’t have to dirty my shoes, and the sex is mindblowing, but…
      If that was the case I might say ok, stay with that guy if that’s important to you. But honestly, most of the time I think “great” is code for “better than my ex” or “knows my name” but wouldn’t stand up on their own merit.

  6. Yea, it sounds like this relationship is done. Even if the LW wants to hang on until her boyfriend meets someone else on these chat sites and breaks up with her, its just a matter of time- there’s no saving it. Sorry LW 🙁 please please save some dignity and dump him before he dumps you.

  7. Sorry honey. Normally, people on this site would be telling you to communicate or investigate therapy but you have already communicated and therapy can’t help someone unwilling to change. There is a difference between legitimate addiction and choice made by free and unfettered will. He makes his choice every night knowing it damages you – now it’s time for you to make a choice of your own.

    1. Exactly. It’s not as if it’s something that plopped into his lap against his will. He has been premeditating and purposefully making decisions that are harmful to you. Set your boundaries by not letting him do this to you. Walk away now and keep your dignity.

  8. BriarRose says:

    Huh? You yourself say you’re feeling yourself esteem plummet. Why would you want to stay in a situation where you acknowledge that is happening? I understand that it will be hard to move on from a lengthy relationship, and physically move out, but this is truly ridiculous. You are sad, stressed, and feeling down on yourself. I’ll tell you right now what you probably already know: being lonely in a relationship is one of the worst feelings in the world. Better to be “alone” and feel okay about yourself (which will get better as each day goes by) than stay in a soul-sucking relationship in which online interaction with strangers is more enticing to your boyfriend than a relationship with the living, breathing person he’s living with.

  9. ReginaRey says:

    I agree with Wendy so much here. What the hell happened to this LW in the past to make her think that this is a relationship worth being in?!

    LW – This relationship is NOT healthy. I don’t know what you’ve experienced in the past, I don’t know what kind of relationships you witnessed growing up – But this is NOT HEALTHY. A boyfriend is someone who doesn’t rush sex in order to chat with single girls online; a boyfriend is someone who wants to spend time with you during the DAY; a boyfriend is someone who loves you and respects you and treats you as an equal partner – not someone who treats you like a second-class citizen.

    You are completely, 100% responsible for the situation you’re currently in. You can’t control what your boyfriend does, but you CAN control your reaction to it. The reaction you need to be exhibiting is that of swift, complete, utter dumping. Leave him. Today. He’s proven to you time and again that he doesn’t care about this relationship, doesn’t care all that much about you, and never will.

    Then, get yourself to a therapist. With the help of a professional, I think you can begin to discover why you’ve accepted so, so little out of life and this relationship. Please, let someone help you redefine what constitutes a healthy relationship.

  10. wendyblueeyes says:

    “Things are going great” and “We’ve been fighting about it for months.” These 2 statements, taken together, are oxymorons. No honey, things are not going great.

  11. Your boyfriend is a weirdo.

    1. ReginaRey says:

      Simple and to the point…I love it haha.

      1. I could understand being addicted to WoW….singles chat sites though…? wtf.

      2. ReginaRey says:

        I mean, let’s be real, I doubt “chatting” is the only thing going on at 3am…

      3. Britannia says:

        It makes me wonder if he’s living a “double life” on those chat sites. Like, he’s pretending to have a completely different life and gets emotional gratification out of it. It doesn’t seem like he’s particularly interested or invested in his real life, so maybe he’s gone to an extreme level of avoidance?

      4. My BF is addicted (or pretty darn close!) to WoW and that’s bad enough! If he’s up to 2am doing anything but battling dragons with his guild, dude better find a new place to live!

      5. haha, my point exactly. I can empathize with a WoW addiction (I used to play…holy time sink, batman) but totally not “chatting” at 3 am on a singles website.

      6. Wow widow here! LOL
        But, he has narrowed his use down to 2 nights a week. I get my Monday and Thursday night to myself. It works out kinda nice 🙂 I love my little nerd.

      7. This is why I’m glad both my boyfriend and I are game nerds – when one of us complains about being tired, and the other says “why?” and the answer is “I may or may not have been up till 3 running dungeons/campaigning/really wanted to kill (insert boss monster here), the response is usually, “oh, cool” if it isn’t “dude, I wanted to *watch* you do that! Why didn’t you wake me up?”

      8. While I can’t get into it myself, I understand that my boyfriend deserves this time to do something he really enjoys. And it is good for us to have our own things.
        And what I really appreciate about him is even though I know raid nights are Monday and Thursday, he always says that if something good is going in real life, it will take precedence. He wouldn’t miss out on something that mattered to me or something super fun because of it.
        Hard to believe that LW’s boyfriend won’t go places with her during the day, ever!?! That sounds just… terrible. Besides the fact that what he is doing can be seen as cheating (would be to me anyway), it is SO unhealthy as a human being to not want to leave the house because of any sort of online addiction.

      9. oppositeofzen says:

        That’s a great compromise! Once I get thru prelims and get Skyrim, I may have to use this.

      10. Bahahaha there is no way you’ll be able to do only two nights a week for skyrim! Thank God I only see my husband on weekends because the hundred or more hours I’ve logged in the past two weeks might have been a problem!

      11. yeah i knew i was in for it when my husband bought home what looks like a textbook on skyrim. luckily we have two tvs so i can watch my trash tv while he plays his games!

      12. oppositeofzen says:

        That’s my biggest fear with that game. Hence why I won’t get it for a bit longer.

      13. iseeshiny says:

        I deliberately did not buy Skyrim because I knew I would only play it… and then my parents got it for me for Christmas. Sooo…. yeah, that’s what I’ve been doing lately.

  12. Elizabeth says:

    Can we make it “Woman Wednesday?” The day you “woman up” and act like a lady instead of a child?

    You deserve much better, LW. The sooner you get out of this ‘relationship,’ the sooner you can get some much needed sleep.

  13. Please listen to me LW. That little voice inside you that says you can’t do better… the one that says no one else will ever love you… the one that says it will be way too hard to start over… is a BIG. FAT. LIAR.

    I don’t care how long you have been with this guy. I don’t care how old you are. I don’t care how inconvenient it will be for you to move out of a shared apartment/start dating again/ whatever it is that is keeping you from moving on. You need to stop this insanity. This guy is an asshole. And you deserve so much more. I wish I could tell this guy off for you. But, I can’t. So, think about all of our voices there with you when you do it.

    I can’t wait to see your update in a few weeks/months… when you are on your way to a new life!

    1. You are 100% right here. I think many times, people are feeling the pressure of age and amount of time invested in a relationship. I don’t know how old the reader is but this letter screams that she is settling because she thinks she is out of time.

      1. I’d rather be alone the rest of my life than be committed to a d-bag and hate myself. LW, where do you want to be a year, 5 years, 10 years from now? With this asshole, lying awake at night unfulfilled, depressed, hopeless and hating your life, wondering why you’re not enough to satisfy him? Because that’s where you’ll be if you don’t force yourself to move on now, no matter how hard it may seem. You can’t change him; you can only control yourself and your circumstances. Just think of how much better your life will be 6 months from now after dumping him TODAY. Don’t put it off any longer.

  14. LW, I feel so bad for you that you said this: “Things are going great except for his addiction to singles chat sites.”

    As others have pointed out, what about this relationship is great?? A big fat nothing, that’s what.

    In order for a relationship to work out in the long term, you need to have similar values and want the same things. It seems like you value trust, honesty and committment, and clearly he does not. He has no plans on changing his behavior and he doesn’t display any of the traits you’d want in a partner. MOA and do it fast.

    1. ReginaRey says:

      Yeah, the disconnect in that first sentence blew my mind. To me, it’s akin to saying “Things in my life are going great, except I just lost my job and my apartment!” No no, no! Things can’t be “going great” when your boyfriend is addicted to singles chat sites and refuses to spend time with you during the day. It just ain’t possible.

  15. Your relationship is over..or there wasn’t really one there to begin with, I can’t really tell. But thats what it sounds like because besides your ‘boyfriend’ treating you like crap while you were(eek, are) living together there he sounds like he has a serious addiction which is really affecting his life which means he probably, well almost 100%, did this throughout the first two years you were dating. Which means he’s never really been ‘in’ it with you. If you still care about him I would leave a therapists number as you walk out the door.

  16. MOA. There is no possible way that the good things in this relationship could outweigh all the bad ones. With all the time he spends on singles sites and then fighting you about it, I don’t know where he has the time to do anything “great.” There are plenty of people out there who won’t sit on singles sites all night, so go find one of those.

  17. Oh, wow. Please leave him. His habit/addiction isn’t a method of stress relief or whatever other bullshit excuse he’s giving you. He prefers it to having sex with you, sleeping in bed with you, and going out with you. When you’re getting ready to leave the house, he’s hiding his pleasure at having a few hours alone with his computer. When he hears your key in the door, he’s thinking “Fuck” as he x’s out all the windows. Next time you leave, just don’t come back & see if he even notices. What are you doing to yourself?

  18. You’d probably be better off dating a vibrator. At least then you can get off properly AND be able to check Facebook after because the computer won’t be tied up.

    1. Landygirl says:

      Plus a vibrator doesn’t know how to surf the internet.

      1. Sure, NOW they can’t. But I’m predicting – and you heard it here first, folks – that by the end of the decade there will be a vibrator with bluetooth connectivity so you can share your experience on Facebook. Much like those running apps that show how far you ran and what your time was:

        “JANE BYRNES got off in 2 MINUTES and 31 SECONDS using V-Stim Vibrator. This is Jane’s THIRD quickest orgasm. Can you beat her? Log in to register your own V-Stim Vibrator now and find out!”

      2. Oh good lord, that made me laugh.

      3. As if some FB updates weren´t TMI already. 🙂

      4. Landygirl says:

        I wish I could upvote this more than once.

      5. I’m guessing soon you’ll also be able to connect them to the porn you’re watching, so it recreates the sensations for you. Living in the future rocks!

      6. Betty Boop says:

        They already have a male sex toy that does exactly that!!

      7. Really? Link, please!

      8. SpaceySteph says:

        I want to live in that future. It sounds entertaining.

  19. I’m going to say something nasty but true in the hopes that it will get you angry enough to leave.

    So you live with this dude. He has sex with you, but on his terms, where he rushes you so he can get back to his addiction.
    Do you do things around the apartment? Have you been buying groceries? Cooking? Paying part of the rent? Utilities?
    What I’m getting at is that you are doing things for this relationship while your boyfriend gives the absolute minimum necessary to keep you around, and then spends the bulk of his time basically HANGING OUT WITH OTHER CHICKS.
    He’s using you as a placeholder while he CONTINUES DATING.
    He is using you, as his sex toy, his maid, his meal ticket, while he keeps shopping for a girlfriend.
    He’s not your boyfriend, LW – boyfriends treat their girlfriends like girlfriends, not objects. He’s not even treating you like a person, let alone a girlfriend.

    1. summerkitten26 says:

      this is not nasty-speak. this is TRUTH. and LW, it may sound harsh, but we honestly believe you deserve better than your roommate (i can’t call him a boyfriend). if it’s your name on the lease, kick him out. if you’re both on it, get out somehow. crash with a friend; I’m sure your friends love you and are hurting and willing to help you get out of this. he is disrespectful to you and clearly doesn’t care about your mental well being or happiness. sending you hugs.

  20. For me, chatting on the internet isn’t necessarily a crime onto itself, and it’s all dependent on where the chatting takes place and the context of how it happens. If the chatting is done on a specific website or forum where there is no expectation of romantic relationship formations (like Dear Wendy or a forum for a specific interest), I don’t see the harm in that. Things get a little more tricky when the chatting is done on sites where you are paired at random with various users (like Omegle, Chatroulette or various IRCS) – there’s so much temptation TO cheat, but without the transcript of the chat in question, it’s hard to say if cheating is actually taking place.

    Chatting on a singles chat site though, especially when paired with an account to pair you up with other available singles, is a whole different ball game, and horribly offensive to your relationship. The fact that the guy uses you for physical sex and THEN goes for emotional interaction on these websites with other people is WRONG. LW, please MOA and DTMFA!

    1. “no expectation of romantic relationship formations” Is Budj-Addie not happening then? 😉

      1. Addie Pray says:

        We’re both playing hard to get. Which makes the relationship hard, you see.

      2. Addie Pray says:

        Also, there’s a lot of Budj+RR flirting going on up there. They need to get a room already and stop flaunting it in my face. [Jealous, I storm off/minimize my browser.]

      3. We need more guys on DW.

      4. Guy Friday says:

        *tips his cap and bows*

      5. Well it has to be a really hard time for him, he has to very attractive girls to flirt with, and he is in a band! I bet he has awesome hair too!

      6. Two not to!

      7. I like the way you type.

      8. Addie Pray says:

        I’m fond of the way you reply.

  21. I think you need to ask yourself this question, if your friend was in this position and emailing you with this problem, what would your response be? Can you see how not normal it is from that perspective. I know it is hard to MOA when you’re living with someone but that is what you need to do. Find yourself a new place to live, get everything in order, have support of friends and family if they’re close and then tell him you’re leaving. Don’t tell him you want to break up before you do these things though because it will be much easier to be won over by but I swear I’ll change if you haven’t already created an exit plan.

    1. “Don’t tell him you want to break up before you do these things though because it will be much easier to be won over by but I swear I’ll change if you haven’t already created an exit plan. ”

      Such good advice! If she has a solid plan and place to go when she tells him that it is over, it will make is so much easier to follow through!

    2. Skyblossom says:

      Also, quit having sex with him, it just keeps you emotional connected to him and makes it that much harder to leave.

      1. Landygirl says:

        Exactly, no sex is better than bad sex.

  22. His excuse of using these chat rooms as a stress-reliever rings a bell. I just finished working on a legal case where a man spent his day surfing the web looking at porn (some of it very hard core) instead of working. He taught fifth-grade music. His excuse? Things were not going well at home and he needed to relieve some stress. Well, guess what? He lost his job, his teaching credential, his future, his wife and his daughters. Yeah, no stress there.

    1. Gah, gah, gah. As a future music teacher, this squicks me out so bad. Those poor kids!

      1. Try having to look at the stuff. At work. As part of your job. I’ll never look at it again. I’ve seen enough.

      2. What do you do???

      3. I am a legal secretary. This is not the first job I’ve had where looking at this stuff was one of my job suties. (Long story and not as interesting as I’m sure you’re thinking. :)) That’s one reason why it fell to me to handle this. It was partly because I was assigned to the attorney who took the case, but they would’ve accommdated me if I objected. But also because it doesn’t bother me. In fact, mostly I find it hilarious. Laugh-out-loud hilarious. I could never use it as a turn-on. I have no objection to pron in and of itself, but it just doesn’t do anything for me. But the sheer volume of the stuff was overwhelming. I wonder when he had time to teach.

      4. Duties, not suties.

      5. 5th grade music probably left students out of his classroom a lot and it isn’t uncommon to have hoards of porn files because you don’t want to bother re-downloading…not saying this excuses it…but he probably had sufficient time to peruse it sans students in the room.

        Social Darwinism? How many people have to get caught looking at porn while at work before people realize you always get caught…

      6. Something More says:

        “Those poor kids!”

        Why? I mean, if he was in an office and watching hard-core porn, how is that hurting the kids? Save from taking his attention away from lesson plans and such. Just because he is a teacher, he can’t watch hard-core porn? Granted it should not be done on school grounds, but as long as it’s not carried into the classroom, I don’t see how this should warrant a “those poor kids!”

      7. oppositeofzen says:

        I think “Those poor kids” was in reference to him doing it AT school. Where were the kids when this was going on? Maybe I’m a prude or want to keep kids sheltered, but there are a lot of things little eyes do not need to see.

      8. One of the concerns was that some of the images he was looking at involved very young people.

      9. And he was doing it in the classroom.

      10. Something More says:

        Yeah, THAT’S horrible. But your original post didn’t include that info, so I was just wondering why mcminnem had said that.

      11. Yeah, I know. I’m posting in snippets this morning. There is also the possibility of liability if say, a staff member or parent had walked in and seen it. His employer could have been sued for all kinds of things. So, just because you’re doing it in the privacy of your office, doesn’t mean it’s okay. This is why most employers have rules about this sort of thing. If you must do it, do it at home.

      12. Something More says:

        Yeah, I get that it’s not OK at school AT ALL. Which I completely agree with. I guess (based on her reply below) that I misconstrued her reply to mean that JUST because he was a teacher, he shouldn’t look at that sort of thing.

      13. Yeah, I understand you. It’s not that I’m against the porn, it was the idea that he’s doing this AT the school, while he was supposed to be teaching. What were those 20-30 11-year-olds doing during that time?

        And it also gets to me because it was a music class, which are hard enough to keep in schools already – I can just see some budget crunching person somewhere pointing to this as a reason that such classes are a waste of time: “look, this music teacher cared so little that he was watching porn on the job!” Ridiculous, but I’ve heard a lot of ridiculous things.

      14. whups, meant as a reply to SomethingMore 🙂

      15. Something More says:

        I agree with the music in school thing. Thankfully, both of my daughters have the opportunity to be in a music class at their schools. It’s a shame it’s not able to be available everywhere. And honestly, I have a special place in my heart for my elementary school music teacher. She is such a wonderful lady.

    2. so true! why not do some yoga to relieve stress.

  23. rangerchic says:

    Don’t really have much to add – everyone already pretty much hit the nail on the head. I just hope the LW realizes it and truly takes everything to hart. At least take everything said here and really think about it. You’ll be much happier once you find a guy who will put you first!

  24. Skyblossom says:

    I’m reading the book “The Sociopath Next Door” by Martha Stout and she has a rule that she calls the Rule of Threes which I think is excellent and appropriate here.

    One lie, broken promise or neglected responsibility may be a misunderstanding.

    Two may involve a serious mistake.

    Three lies says your dealing with a liar and deceit is the linchpin of conscienceless behavior. Cut your losses and get out as soon as you can.

    Your boyfriend is being constantly deceitful and sneaky with his computer use. I think that tells you everything you need to know.

    1. I totally agree that she should MOA. But is he lying to her? He doesn’t want her to see him in the act but I think that is a knee jerk reaction. He isn’t deleting his browser history so honestly I think he is pretty out in the open with this saying deal with it. It kind of reminds me of hoarders. People who live with hoarders just have to deal with it or leave.

  25. atraditionalist says:

    Essentially you are just someone to split the rent with.

  26. 6napkinburger says:

    Just to take a different angle on this:

    Your boyfriend is clearly addicted to these chat sites. Like, literally, clinincally, addicted. Which raises several important questions. Has he always been addicted to these sites or has it gotten worse recently? Has it been this way the whole time you’ve lived together or did it start suddenly? Is/was there other stuff in his life that is would cause the kind of stress that drives people to self-medicating?

    Two years is a lot of time. If he’s a shitty cheating boyfriend, then it doesn’t matter how long, you MOA. But lets take five seconds to consider if this could better be described as an illness. Two years in, you consider staying through an illness. I don’t like jumping to the medical aspect, but that description is more than just a bf who would rather get his rocks off online. That is all-encompassing. He needs to get to therapy pronto and a psychiatrist who specializes in internet addictiosn. If he’s that “stressed”, perhaps he needs medication to deal with anxiety. (Hence going to a doctor and not taking anything I have to say about medicine as anything other than rampant speculation.) If he refuses to see it as a problem or address it, or go get help, then again, MOA. But it’s worth considering.

    Also, you should ask yourself if this is a phase.

    I know that sounds like a cop out. But I have a highly addictive personality and I get (literally), not a figure of speech) obsessed with things for bursts of time and they are all encompassing for me. I don’t sleep/stop seeing people/etc. And they can be embarrassing things I’m doing, so I never tell anyone. Only if you live with me will you know. I’ll do something every day, almost all hours of the day for a month or two months, and then I’ll literally never do it again. I’ll listen to the same song on repeat for a week (only one song) and then never listen to it again. I know I’m weird and eventually I’ll tell my therapist this, but its what I do. If this sounds at all like your BF, then there’s a chance this will run its course and you’ll never have to deal with the “cheating” aspect of this again because he’ll be over single-chatting. And I never found that this aspect of my personality to be debilitating to my relationships (my bf would sometimes intervene, tell me to put down the computer/kindle/iphone, we’re going out, but it wasn’t a dealbreaker.) Mainly because when someone else was around, even my boyrfiend, I’d be embarrassed by how much I did something and the thing itself, and I’d tone it down and mainly only do it when he was out.

    If this guys was just a sleaze and you would wake up to find him on chat-roulette with his hand on his joystick or that when you were out, he was constantly checking out singles sites, I’d say it was no question, no brainer, move on and dump his ass. However, given the description, he may need help that would actually help him not do this anymore. You clearly love the guy. And most of the people’s advice here is about self-respect and his amount of respect for you and your relationship. But if he’s actually addicted, truly, self-medicating through this, then it isn’t an issue of him not respecting you or not caring about you and you don’t have to break up with him to maintain a healthy level of self-respect. You can support him and his treatment in return for his love, appreciation, commitment to you , your relationship and his health and still be able to look at yourself in the mirror. Maybe you don’t want to sign up for helping this man learn not to do things that hurt you, maybe its just too much and too risky, and that is 100% fair. And he has to accept 100% that he needs help and that he has a true problem, not that he’s just disrepecting you but that his life is out of control. But you should at least ask yourself if any of what I have said applies before plopping him on the curb.

    1. Eh. I tend to think if this is the case, the LW leaving might be the wake up call he needs.

      If he were addicted to online gambling… she could stick it out a little longer and try to help him get help. But, he is addicted to something (chatting with single ladies!) that is a direct insult to what I am guessing is a monogamous relationship.

    2. ReginaRey says:

      I think this is a very reasonable analysis. But still…there’s something I can’t quite get behind. Maybe I haven’t dealt with enough addicts or addictive personalities, but I’m not sure that you can totally place “Addiction” and “Love and Respect” in two totally separate categories, as you said: “If he’s actually addicted, truly, self-medicating through this, then it isn’t an issue of him not respecting you or not caring about you and you don’t have to break up with him.”

      I don’t know that being an addict means that he gets a “get out of jail free card” when it comes to disrespecting her. She’s already confronted him, and he he hasn’t made any attempt to deal with his addiction. If he loved and respected her and treated her as an equal, I would hope that he’d take her concerns seriously and consider seeing a therapist or dealing with his issues.

      It seems like he hasn’t made any effort to deal with it yet, and maybe he’s not ready. But I don’t think she should stick around, doing worse things for her self-esteem and self-worth, just to test if his lack of respect and love for her is solely driven by addiction.

      1. 6napkinburger says:

        And I agree with your last sentence whole-heartedly. But there’s a difference between confronting someone about cheating (which she was totally right to do) and talking with him about a possible addiction. The former is going to make you overly-defensive. But if he is not receptive of the latter, and he understands that its a dealbreaker and he still just argues and defends? Definitely move on. But if he doesn’t and he realizes that his life is clearly out of control and seeks help, I don’t think all is lost yet.

        I’m not saying that being an addict gets you an “get out of jail free” card. But I think it might mean redefining what you mean by disrepecting her. We would agree that swearing at someone (not in jest) is a sign of disrescpect. However, someone with a disorder which causes them to shout expletives (which has long, improperly referred to generally as Tourette’s, of which it is only a small percentage) is not disresepcting the people who s/he shouts them at — it is all about intent to disrespect and indifference to causing harm. I am also not that familiar with addiction, but I understand that the object of the addiction is not actually that important — an alcoholic, a compulsive-gambler, a real shopolic, pornography — its all the same. And none of it has anything to do with respect they have for their loved ones; its about control, self-soothing, and brain chemicals. If it a true addiction, I believe that dichotomy would carry over into his object — assumingly lewd chatting online.

        I am not excusing his behavior, or at least, not going forward. And perhaps I am over medicalizing it. But when it affects so many aspects of his life — sleeping, going outside, intimacy with his girlfriend, his job (from no sleep) — that rings many “actual addiction” warning bells as well as treatable depression. It isn’t her job to fix him or to make sure he gets help. But I just don’t think she should interpret doing so is a sign that she disrespects herself, if done in the proper way and she should feel that it is a choice that she can make while still maintaining her dignity.

    3. Skyblossom says:

      Whether he can help it or not his behavior is unhealthy for the letter writer and for that reason alone she needs to move on. When his behavior harms her self-esteem then she is in a relationship that doesn’t work for her regardless of the reason. If he needs help he will have to decide that he needs help and then act on that decision. Until he does that he can’t be helped and sometimes the best help is to leave so that if he is addicted it will push him to realize how personally destructive his behavior is so that he will acknowledge his problem. She can’t fix him and it isn’t her responsibility to fix him. Two years isn’t a large amount of time to spend in a relationship and is no reason to continue. She could spend two more years trying to fix him and then end the relationship feeling even worse than she does now or should could move on, spend time healing then meet someone else who is much better and be far happier in another two years.

      1. Guy Friday says:

        Yeah, but if you deal with people with any kind of addiction enough — drugs, alcohol, pornography, whatever — you find pretty quickly that the effect it has on the brain chemistry honestly makes them more often than not completely unable to recognize the fact that they need help. That’s why interventions tend to be all the rage: because often people don’t recognize they need the help until it is forced upon them. So while I understand your sentiment behind “no one can be helped if they don’t want/recognize they need the help”, I do think that it CAN be done without his initial willingness. But, yes, he has to want it at some point early on in the process.

        Let me put it to you this way, LW: I don’t think you’d be wrong to try and get him some help if you want to do that, and I also don’t think you’d be wrong to walk away at this point. The only “wrong” thing I can see at the moment is letting it continue as things are now, because that isn’t healthy for anyone involved.

      2. I find the word addiction is thrown around so much these days – particularly when it comes to behaviour. Where does personality accountability stop and mindless compulsion begin? I understand that some behavioural addictions alter brain chemistry but even if it that is the case, is there no personal accountability in getting to the stage of addiction? The point before choice turned into compulsion?
        Our natural inclination as humans, I would hope, is to help and treat but I think some times we end up facilitating and fostering by coddling someone who should have been held to a better standard to begin with. I have known addicts in my life – both of substance and behavioural afflictions – and have seen first hand that they can only achieve a balanced life when they choose one. It’s a tough call but I think putting the onus on the LW to get him help puts too much responsibility on her and not enough on the actual person that has to choose how he wants to spend every day left in his life. This isn’t a counter to what you have said per se but something just doesn’t sit well with me putting all damaging behaviour under the umbrella of disease and therefore deserving of patience instead of consequence.

      3. 6napkinburger says:

        I don’t disagree with the personal responsibilty aspect. I’m huge on that. I don’t think he NEEDS patience nor that she is obligated AT ALL to give i; I just think if she WANTS to give patience, if he is in fact suffering from a real form of addiction, that doesn’t make her a doormat.

        If this LW had had enough and was like, hells no, she would have left him already. I think I would have. Not because I’m stronger or anything, but because I KNOW I don’t have any desire to be that crutch that someone needs, and I have no desire to work through the addiction with someone. It’s just too much work and I’m far too selfish for that. And I’m ok with that. BUT. If I decided I was up for it/wanted to, I don’t think it would mean I had no self-respect. It’s a decision.

        Everyone was quick to tell her that she effectively had no choice but to leave him, if she respected herself. I wanted to put it out there that, depending on what is really going on, she does have a choice.

    4. You make some really thoughtful points. It’s true that sometimes a relationship lasts through an addiction and recovery. However, in this situation I think the LW doesn’t seem to be in a healthy enough place to survive a recovery with her own wellness intact. Whenever we support someone going through a hard time, it needs to come from our own place of strength. LW is just too beaten down by this relationship and too close to the situation, in my opinion.

    5. It does sound like his behavior has intensified. If they’d been dating for two years before moving in together, then it means that he was spending a lot of time with her and not constantly chaturbating. But at this point, he won’t even go out with her socially, which suggests that it’s gotten worse.

      1. Chaturbating, love it!!! (The word, not the action)

    6. spark_plug says:

      I may be a little callous, but I think that people with addictions only deserve their SO if they are willing to treat their addiction. It’s one thing to say “honey, I’m addicted to the internet and can’t stop although I want to, let’s find a way”. It’s totally another thing to say “I can’t help it” and leave it at that or not even admit there is a problem.

      I realize that people with addictions might not be ready or want to realize that they have addictions and perhaps need loving people in their life. That’s fine, but that’s what family is for. I really don’t see any point in wasting 2+ years of my life to a man who I’m not married to and have no children with to help him realize that he has a problem. That is called co-dependency.

  27. Addie Pray says:

    I first read this as saying your boyfriend is addicted to Single Cat Sites, which would have been equally weird. I think the best comment is Budj’s above – your boyfriend is a weirdo.

  28. TheOtherMe says:

    If he says it’s just for stress relief, he shouldn’t mind if you sat down next to him while he’s chatting. If he refuses, M.O.A dear LW, sorry.

  29. LW, have you gone on these sites yourself ? maybe you could meet someone new ! : )

    1. If the tables are turned, he might not like that at all. Regardless, MOA…before the damage is done to your self esteem and you cannot get out.

  30. He rushes you through sex so he can look/talk/masturbate to other girls; that alone should scream time to move on. He may be an addict but if he’s not willing to get help or even talk about it, he’s not going to change. I have a lot of addiction in my family and I’m typically very understanding about it because of that but this amount of disrespect with no attempts to address his problem is unacceptable. You don’t get a pass for stealing just because you’re an addict and you don’t get a pass for treating your partner like crap just because you’re an addict. At some point, you have to own up to your actions and try to get help, which he is obviously not ready to do. LW, I would move on if I were you simply because it always get worse before it get better and if he won’t even acknowledge that it’s a problem, if he dismisses it with the “I’m so stressed” excuse, he still has a ways to go before he hits rock-bottom. Some addicts reach that point over and over again only to keep slipping and it is exhausting and painful to be the loved one watching it. In the end only you can decide if your relationship is worth all the pain he has already put you through, and all the pain he will continue to put you through in the future. If he isn’t an addict and is simply just a jerkface with no respect for you the advice to MOA is still the same, I would just mess with his online profiles before kicking him out/leaving. Maybe sign him up for a Single Cat Site…

  31. LW- I agree with Wendy and most of the other commenters; this relationship is clearly NOT “going great” and in my opinion, probably not salvageable. Just the fact that you think it’s going well is enough to make me seriously question your judgment, and wonder if maybe you could benefit greatly from some time alone to reflect (and possibly get some therapy).

    To be extra clear, since everyone seems to see this but you LW, the big problem here isn’t that your boyfriend has a time-intensive hobby. If he were online playing video games all the time, or even watching a moderate amount of non-interactive porn, but he was being honest and open with you about it, and responded to you maturely if and when you voiced concerns, that would be a whole other ball of wax. Do you see the difference?

    To help makes things a little more clear for you, I’m going to break down some of the exact reasons *why* this relationship appears to be so flawed to everyone but you (in my opinion, of course):

    1) Your boyfriend isn’t just online passively watching porn, he’s INTERACTING with other SINGLES online. And he’s doing it far more often than would probably be healthy even if he were single. But he’s not single! Most would consider this unhealthy and obsessive behavior at best, and many would consider it cheating as well. And even if he doesn’t consider it cheating, YOU clearly do. So he is engaging in a behavior that is disrespectful to your relationship boundaries.

    2) He makes ridiculous excuses (I’m stressed so I can cheat!) when you voice your concerns, instead of making any attempt to compromise or be honest. You’ve been fighting for months. No couple is perfect and everyone has disagreements, but a good partner RESPONDS actively when their significant other voices a concern. They do not refuse to even compromise. So can you keep having this same fight forever? Because he’s basically put you in a position to either accept his behavior, or leave.

    3) You don’t trust each other. He closes the browser when you approach, you snoop his computer. And you’re right to not trust him, he’s a proven, consistent liar. Is that a trait you want in a “great” partner?

    4) He rushes you through sex, and refuses to go places with you during the day. Perhaps less serious than the other issues, but again, he is entirely unresponsive to the fact that his behavior is depressing you and causing you to literally lose sleep. As stand alone issues, you could maybe work on these or try and get to the bottom of them. But you’ve already done that, and his response has been wholly unsatisfactory for you. You have already communicated substantially, and he has done nothing to compromise or improve the relationship. What does that tell you about how much he cares about your relationship?

    Bottom line- LW, you are with a guy that disrespects you, takes you for granted, and wipes his ass with your happiness. The fact that you can’t see that makes me very sad.

  32. You don’t have the power to change anyone but yourself. You’re living with a man who has a habit that makes you depressed and is damaging your self esteem. He’s let you know that he has no plans to stop. Your choices are limited but clear. Accept his behavior and the consequences to you or move on.

  33. I would like to nominate Lundy Bundcroft’s book: “Why does he do that?” to be a DW book club book.

    LW, maybe you’ll get the book now, read it, and see that your boyfriend is emotionally abusive. What he does is damaging your self-esteem, and even though he knows that (kudos to you for telling him), he refuses to stop doing it. The book will eloquently explain why your boyfriend won’t change. (It will also help you spot red flags in your other interactions with men, so it’s a really good book)

    One thing I noticed works with guys like him – reciprocation. That thing that annoys you when he does it – you do it to him. It will drive him crazy!!!! Get an account on those chat sites – that’s the only way you can get his attention anyway.

    I agree with everyone else here – DTMFA.

  34. Landygirl says:

    LW, please go to therapy so you can better understand why you are willing to settle for such a dysfunctional relationship. Your BF is one part of the problem but your putting up with it is the other part. You owe it to yourself to have the best life possible and right now it doesn’t seem that you believe that. As in most cases, we are our own worst enemies when it comes to our own happiness.

  35. Jess of CityGirlsWorld.com says:

    All I want to add here is, this sucks for REAL single people!!!

    Dang, as a person who definitely spent time on dating sites in her single days, it infuriates me to think that there are people mascarading as single. I mean clearly he SHOULD be single but not single and looking for a commitment because, clearly, he’s not capable.


    1. LOL yeah, i thought i met a “Great” guy on a site once… lol & after a few messages back & forth over a couple weeks, i asked him point-blank if he was single since he always was “busy” but wanted to chat at what seemed like strange times….. Yup, he had a girlfriend. But the dude was so messed up, i finally had to block him ! like, he kept emailing me rationalizations of how he wasn’t cheating or planning to cheat or being disrespectful… he was just meeting “Friends” LOL & the relationship was a little rocky, so maybe he was someday going to break up with her… but he didn’t want to hurt her… because he was such a Great Guy

      wow, what freaks !

  36. Yeah, LW, there isn’t much left for you with this guy. So I recommend leaving him. Make your plans without telling him so there isn’t any opportunity for him to sweet-talk you into staying. When everything is ready, and when you leave, feel free to tell him that he would benefit from help, if it’s truly an addiction he’s struggling with. But you aren’t the help he needs. I think it’s easy to want to be that support system for someone, and sometimes it’s appropriate, but in this case, both of you are better off without the other.

  37. I agree with everyone here that you should leave as soon as possible. But I wanted to add something, based on personal experience.

    If you decide to give it a try / convince yourself that it’s not that big of a problem / write an update saying you were misread and he actually IS a great guy most of the time only you forgot to mention it, and after you pester him enough it looks like he’s stopped, watch out. It’s not that uncommon to change addictions when people around you start equating the thing you do compulsively with trouble. That way everyone thinks you’ve stopped, feels thankful, gives you space and doesn’t notice you’re now addicted to something else.

    I used to live with a porn addict (he was more like an addiction addict, actually), and when our relationship was about to collapse because of it (no sex, he would lock himself in the bathroom with his computer first thing every morning, etc) and I said I wanted out he suddenly stopped. BUT he turned to alcohol. And then I started trying to remember and I realized that even though the porn thing was the longest period, I had seen him compulsively doing ketamine, then cocaine, then food, then making new friends obsessively, then watching porn, then drinking.

    Drinking made him violent and annoying so I showed him Diablo II and HE BECAME ADDICTED TO IT. Then the second time he disappeared in the middle of a conversation and I found him playing when I looked around the house for him I left.

    And it wasn’t any kind of wake up call, that was a year ago and he’s still sending me crazy emails blaming me for ruining his life leaving in such a cruel and unpredictable way and “not knowing what unconditional means”.

    I’m still asking myself WTF was I thinking. (Actually I know what I was thinking. He was absolutely hot and loved going dancing with me. But anyway).

    Really, LW, I hope you leave. Take care of yourself.

    1. Don’t you love those moments? When you can look back and know exactly what you were thinking and why it made sense and still go “WTF that was not even a legit thought.”

      No, I’m kidding. Those suck.

      I’ve had similar ones about my high school boyfriend.

    2. On a side note….Diablo II was a pretty awesome game.

      1. Definitely. I’m still waiting for Diablo III, but they’ve been pushing the release date forward since 2008. It’s one of my favorite games ever. That one, and Dungeon Keeper II.

      2. I just bought a 13″ Macbook Pro…I almost shoveled over the extra $600 to get a video card…unfortunately (yet fortunately for my time management) I don’t think I’ll get to play Diablo 3 unless I want to build a desktop.

      3. 6napkinburger says:

        I don’t let myself play games like that, because I know myself too well and I can’t afford to get sucked in.

  38. *headdesk*

    Honey, you have an internet junkie. A chatroom junkie to boot. He enjoys chatting with anonymous people. Women. Specifically, SINGLE WOMEN. Why? So he can flirt with them, and more than likely, engage in cybersexual relations with them.

    You are miserable. You have aired your concerns and are now becoming his psuedo-jailer. This isn’t a relationship. Yes, you two live together, but you aren’t happy, and honestly, neither is he. What’s the point? … Yeah, there is none.

    Walk the fuck away. Either kick him out, or move yourself out. Either way, don’t live together anymore and don’t take his ass back. Grow a backbone and stop being a doormat.

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      I was looking forward to your comment on this one. I second your what’s the point/

      Can you imagine not wanting to fall asleep because your pervy little boyfriend is going to run to the computer? Yuck.

      1. Yeah… there’s more I’d love to say, unfortunately I’m working on a big project, we’ve got a few bugs going around the office (flu and bronchitis) and we have a blizzard warning in effect right now (http://forecast.weather.gov/showsigwx.php?warnzone=AKZ101&warncounty=AKC020&firewxzone=AKZ101&local_place1=Homesite+Park+AK&product1=Winter+Weather+Advisory) and we’re expected to see 9-18 inches of snow starting tonight. We’re finally into the high 20s/mid 30s. A few places are near 40 in town, which is really weird since it was -10 two days ago. Thanks to the snow in Cordova, we’re actually out of shovels in almost every store in the city. Thank goodness I have multiples (plus a small snow blower!). With this snow, we’re going to pass our snow record for the year.
        In good news, I’ve been looking at a newer suburban, and if I get it, I’m going to put a snow plow on the older one. My current suburban (it’s a 1992) is in great condition, so putting a plow on it is feasible, and could make me some extra money in the winter time. Plus, it would save me about 60 minutes every snowfall in shoveling the driveway.

      2. Britannia says:

        Feel free to send some of that my way! It’s already hitting the 70’s during the day, where I live.

      3. *laugh* There are plenty of transplants that wish the snow would go away! Us Sourdoughs just shrug it off and consider it part and parcel of living here. As we say, “if you don’t like the weather, wait a few minutes”.

        It’s actually really warm (relatively speaking). I’m in a hoodie and sneakers outside today. Honestly. If we hit 40, forget it – I’m taking the hoodie off.

    2. That’s what I was thinking too…but I’m completely baffled as to what guy would prefer cybersex with strangers over sex with a real live woman?! That is what doesn’t make sense to me. But no matter what the reason, she definitely needs to dump his ass and move on because he clearly does not value her as much as she values him.

      On that note, I am starting to see two comment threads here instead of one after quite a few glasses of wine. Yep, it was THAT kind of night at work last night. I think I should sleep before I have to go back at 11 pm tonight…ugh.

      1. That’s why one of the euphemisms for vagina is “strange”. It’s always new, exciting and different – it’s STRANGE! *sigh*

        The thrill of the chase is a part of it. New, stimulating conversation, the “hunt”, etc. It releases oxytocin. Heady stuff, y’know.

      2. i think when people say that they mean a new person, not vagina in particular. and thats where the term strange comes from- like stranger/new/etc.

      3. Britannia says:

        I’m pretty sure that homeboy has some serious self-esteem issues.

  39. He’s lying to and is more attached to singles chat sites than he is to you – the person he says he loves lying in the bed next to him – happily choosing to deny himself an actual human connection because he seems to get greater pleasure via the internet connections he’s making. You’re playing sleep “chicken” with him – intentionally denying yourself rest for a fully unfulfilling and stress filled “gotcha” moment. Putting up with “rushed” (which must = unsatisfying) sex, snooping through search histories – again for the “gotcha” moment that doesn’t change anything. Arguing repeatedly about a behavior your boyfriend is unwilling (and maybe unable) to change, behavior that is starting to negatively impact your emotional and physical health.

    Why in the world do you want to stay in this depressing, soul crushing, unhealthy situation? You can’t change him, but you can change your reaction to his treatment of you. MOA please. You also might want to talk to a counselor to find out why you’ve put up with this for so long. You deserve better treatment, a better living situation, a better partner, better health.

    Oh yeah, if he’s using your computer, clear your personal info off, change your passwords, then give him that machine and get yourself a new one. There’s no telling what kind of computer viruses, trojans, worms, bots, and other electronic issues are lurking on that machine because of his surfing and possible downloading. Some of those singles chat sites are a hacker’s paradise.

    1. “Oh yeah, if he’s using your computer, clear your personal info off, change your passwords, then give him that machine and get yourself a new one.”

      I’d sooner toss it in the trash than reward the loser bf with it.

  40. when i first starting reading, and i read the headline, i didnt really think it was that bad. i would say that im addicted to dearwendy and offbeatbride, and my boyfriend DEFINITELY will say that. now i get that there are other things at play here with being addicted to singles websites, but i guess i can understand being addicted to websites…

    but then i got to the part about how he stays up at night, and he doesnt sleep, and he wont even go out anywhere with you just so he can do this. that is a serious problem! like, that is not the “addiction” that people joke about when they talk about facebook- there is something seriously wrong with your boyfriend. that is not normal behavior. i dont care who you are, its not normal.

    LW, you really have two choices. you stay with him and help him through getting clean, or you leave him. i dont think anyone can say one is good over the other, but it is your choice.

    you really need to look at this like an alcohol or a drug addiction. its the same thing, just with a different medium. i think when you start looking at it that way it will become more serious to you, and then you may be able to look at this situation like you need to be. would you be willing to stay with a drug addict? an alcoholic? think about those things and make a decision. as i see it, any situation that is making you depressed you need to remove yourself from pronto. very pronto.

  41. When I was 15 and AIM was super cool I’d spend hours online every day for months talking to this one guy I had a crush on. If we weren’t talking I was waiting for him to get online. My parents would get all mad at me for tying up the phone line (back in the awesome days of dial-up!) and i remember closing the chat window real quick whenever I heard them coming up the stairs and would pretend I was playing solitaire lol. Stupid random story, but it makes me wonder if your boyfriend has made a connection with one specific person on his chat site…not that it matters one person or 50 ppl, it’s all bad and cheating.
    He doesn’t want to get help or even try to stop doing this. By saying it’s a stress reliever, he’s even denying doing anything wrong. By the way, the chatting is not relieving stress, it’s giving him a rush. He’s chasing a high. This guy sounds like he’s got a serious addiction but he’s gonna have to realize that all by himself, and you need to leave him because it’s not going to get any better. Sorry but it’s not.

  42. Move on!! About 11 years ago I dated a guy who would call hotlines to engage in phone conversations with random people. I still think about how strange that is. And this is just as, if not more strange. Weirdo on your hands!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *