Shortcuts: “I’m Afraid My Boyfriend’s Cheating on Me While He’s on Vacation”

Since tomorrow’s a holiday, I’m going to take the day off from posting, so we’re doing Shortcuts today. For every question I’ll give my advice in just a few sentences because sometimes the answer to a person’s question is so obvious and the need to hear it so great that being as clear and frank as possible is simply the best way to go.

My boyfriend is gone for a week to Oklahoma visiting his dad and the rest of his family, and I’m worried he’s cheating on me with another girl while he’s there. I confronted him about this problem before he left, and he told me he would never do such a thing. But the way he’s acting is suspicious. I had to ask him if he missed me, rather than him just saying so. He has been spotty when it comes to returning my texts. He answers all of my calls, but the phone call we had tonight, for example, was weird. He told me three hours before I called that he was going to sleep, but he answered the phone like he’d been up ever since we last talked! We’ve been dating for a year and a month now, but I cheated on him for about three or so months with another guy. I told my boyfriend about it after the affair had already ended. He took it okay and I feel like we’ve recovered from that, but I just can’t get this fear of his cheating out of my head. — Fear of Cheating

You’re acting like a crazy person — calling your boyfriend every few hours, texting him constantly, telling him you’re worried he’s cheating on you, asking him if he misses you. Girl, he doesn’t have time to miss you with you up in his grill all day long. Give the boy some breathing room and let him enjoy his visit with his family. YOU’RE the one who cheated; quit projecting your transgressions onto him. And if you have such serious trust issues, it may be time to take a breather, clear your head, and get away from the pressures of a relationship.

I met a guy on a dating site in December. He emailed me first, then started texting/talking, then met me for coffee, and then we went on a few dates. Around April, he asked me to go to his place where we got intimate and have been getting intimate ever since. I asked him before if he’s seeing anybody else and he said no. I took his word. We mostly hang at his place on Fridays and I sleep over until the next day. I really don’t know if I should ask if we’re dating exclusively or just go with the flow? I don’t want to scare him off. I really like him and I feel he likes me too. — Scared of Scaring Him

How can you be dating exclusively when you aren’t actually dating at all? You don’t go anywhere together and it doesn’t sound like you do anything together except have sex at his place once a week. (Seriously, he can’t even be bothered to go to your place once in a while?) This has been going on for over six months. Quit being a wuss and speak up for what it is you want. If you’re going to “scare him off” at this point, there was never a chance he was going to stick around for anything serious anyway.

I’ve been dating my girlfriend for four years now. When we started our relationship, we were both overweight, she a lot more than I. For the past year I have been working out like crazy, and I’ve lost so much weight. I love my new body and am extremely happy with the changes I have made in my life. She, on the other hand, is still overweight and is making no effort to lose weight. I’m just no longer physically attracted to her. She’s a great person with a great heart, but I’m just no longer happy with our relationship. Please help. — No Longer Attracted

Your question is similar to one I answered last week and my answer is still the same: if you aren’t attracted to your girlfriend and you aren’t happy in the relationship despite your girlfriend’s “great heart,” then you need to move on. If the person you’re with has to change in order for you to be happy with her or him, and that person is not interested in changing, there’s no point in sticking around. Related: you knew she was overweight when you started dating her. If you’re upset that you’re dating someone you aren’t attracted to, whose fault is that??


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  1. Are you kidding me with these letters today? Wow.
    LW1 – the only thing you’re doing is driving your boyfriend away. I mean, you’re acting effing crazy and Wendy is right, you are 100% projecting. I mean, wtf? Get a hobby so you’re entire life doesn’t revolve around calling your boyfriend every few hours while HE IS ON VACATION VISITING FAMILY.
    LW2 – go on real dates and then go from there. If he doesn’t want that, then MOA because you aren’t on the same page. Yours is actually the most normal letter on here.
    LW3 – Just because you’re “hot” now, and I use that term loosely, doesn’t mean your girlfriend, who you knew how she looked when you started dating, needs to show interest in changing. So, it was ok to date a bigger girl when you were bigger, and now you’re not, you want to dump her? Do her a favor and break up. She deserves better. And DO NOT tell her it’s because you’re “hot” now and she isn’t. At least you can do is be kind about it.

  2. Avatar photo Raccoon eyes says:

    Woohoo for Shortcuts!
    LW3, I really feel for you…and also for your GF, who likely knows what you are thinking, and also KNOWS how to get healthier, etc, but is stuck in a weird shame spiral after you have been so successful. Seriously though, great for you! Dont lose your momentum! And maybe Im projecting about your GF’s feelings, but Im sure she is not in a good place right now. But you arent responsible for her happiness. You are responsible for YOU. And wanting to break up is ENOUGH reason to break up. BOOM! That is all you need. You dont need to give her specifics, you dont need to tell her you arent attracted to her, you dont have to clarify ANYTHING more than, “This relationship has run its course. It is time for us to break up.” Further, there need be no huge CLOSURE talk, or WHAT COULD WE HAVE DONE BETTER talk, or worse, the WHAT YOU COULD HAVE DONE BETTER (LOST WEIGHT) TALK.
    Good luck.

    Happy 4th to everyone (who celebrates it)!

    1. I’m not sure why this is getting so many down thumbs. There are so many forum topics about healthy eating, exercising, and losing weight, it doesn’t seem fair to crap all over a guy for succeeding in getting healthy. I actually didn’t see anything harsh or douchey with what he wrote. I read his letter in a neutral tone so to me he came across as guy who changed his lifestyle and feels bad that he’s not attracted to his gf anymore.

  3. LW1: if you don’t trust your boyfriend after a year and change, you don’t trust him period. God, that must be exhausting. How do you have the energy to constantly worry about a what a grown person is doing when you’re apart? Especially if he’s told you he won’t cheat. Just because you did doesn’t mean everyone’s a cheater when they have the chance.
    LW3: Who’s to say she’s still attracted to you? Maybe she liked you better bigger and now she’s just meh about it. People have different standards of beauty. You’re not the shit because you lost weight. I mean, that’s great if it’s what you want, but not everyone is going to drool. But it would be decent of you to walk away and let her find someone who thinks she’s smokin’ hot at any size.
    I’m a little cranky this morning.

    1. Also, LW1: if he told you he was going to sleep, why did you call him three hours later? To wake him up to see if he was sleeping? That’s just annoying.

  4. LW!: I get why he doesn’t miss you. You called him three hours after he said he was going to sleep? I wouldn’t miss you, either. Tone it down or you will lose him. Nobody has to put up with that stuff. You are totally projecting. He forgave you once, but that doesn’t mean you get to drive him crazy.

  5. Skyblossom says:

    LW 3 has a cockiness to what he says because he lost weight and she didn’t and now he is sexier than she is and no longer attracted to her. Yes, there is that cockiness. There is also the fact that he has changed drastically during the last year and she hasn’t and when that happens in a relationship the relationship is usually less satisfying for both. I’ve seen this happen with religion when both partners weren’t very religious and then one became religious. It finally killed the relationship. When one partner changes drastically the relationship usually suffers.

    When LW3 drastically changed his lifestyle, probably by both changing his diet and by getting lots of exercise, he changed the amount of time he spent with his girlfriend and what he was willing to do with his girlfriend and that changes your emotional attachment. She is probably less satisfied with the relationship at this time too. The guy who used to like to do the same things as her is always off exercising instead of sharing time with her. The guy who used to like to eat the same things is now not wanting to do so, maybe doesn’t want to go to the same restaurants that they used to go to and not wanting to eat the same things at home.

    He should break up, kindly, without mentioning weight but she can probably also do better than this relationship with a guy who now has little in common with her.

    1. Skyblossom says:

      He also has to keep in mind that any new girlfriend who loves him with his new lifestyle probably won’t like him with his old lifestyle. He has to keep this up permanently.

    2. That’s what rubbed me the wrong way about this letter, his cockiness. And I also got the feeling he was looking down on her because she opted not to make the same lifestyle choices. If he were kinder about his feelings with her, especially since he changed, she didn’t, I wouldn’t think he was a total d-bag.

      1. Interesting that some people are reading LW3 as cocky. It came across to me as pride, which seems like a reasonable way to feel about a significant accomplishment. It’s easy to respond to LW3 like he’s a fat shaming douche, but there’s actually a large body of research behind the idea that (all other things being equal) people seek their own perceived attractiveness level in a mate. So his response, while not especially egalitarian, is at least to some extent hard-wired.

      2. Wendy (not Wendy) says:

        I agree, I didn’t read him as cocky at all–if anything, I thought he was trying really hard not to be cocky and to be kind about his girlfriend. I did get the sense that he might not be realistic about how much easier/faster weight loss is for men than for women, as a rule, but I can give him the benefit of the doubt, that his girlfriend isn’t doing anything to try to get healthier. As another commenter said, I feel for both of these people. I don’t see anything wrong with the LW, but imagining his poor girlfriend makes me sad… more than likely she’s depressed about her weight, worried he doesn’t find her attractive anymore, and discouraged about ever making progress. (Or MAYBE she’s kicking ass, taking names, and hoping her next boyfriend has more interests than weight loss. Who knows.)

    3. I didn’t get cockiness at all. I think he’s proud of his accomplishments, as he should be! I think this is really common for one person in the relationship to lose a lot of weight and make a bunch of lifestyle changes and the other feels left behind. In the past I’ve been a fan of the show Biggest Loser and this happened all.the.time. Whenever someone comes home and the rest of the family is still grossly overweight the family feels left out. The husband leaves and when he comes back the wife is still overweight or vice versa. If a couple doesn’t make commitments to those kinds of big changes together, unfortunately it’s unlikely that they will stay together.

  6. I feel bad for LW1’s boyfriend. This guy has a girlfriend who cheated on him AND she’s got attachment issues? I think he could do better.

  7. LW1 – I just went on a trip to visit my whole family, and I barely had time to call my husband once a day, let alone do much of anything else. I don’t see them very often, so I spent all of my visit talking with my parents, hanging out/entertaining my niece, helping to make dinner/do dishes, etc. Any time I did have any downtime, I used it to take a breather. I wouldn’t have had time to cheat on my husband even if I had wanted to. But, he didn’t need me to call him/text him every hour to know that.

    1. What? You don’t have some kind of app on your phone that alerts you of your husband’s every move? And vice versa? That’s preposterous!

      1. Well, I have an app to track *his* movements, since I don’t trust him. But I don’t allow him to have one tracking me, because that would just be ridiculous.

      2. Well played.

  8. Someone much wiser than me told me the other day that once the honeymoon period is over, you make a choice to be with someone. That’s so true and what I think about when I read LW3’s letter… you have to make a choice: Do you want to be with this person whom you’ve loved for four years and continue to love them? Or do you want to see what else is out there? If the latter, try not to hurt her on the way out but there’s no perfect person out there.

  9. LW1: Wendy is right, there is so much projecting going on… If you can’t let him enjoy his visit with his parents, you don’t deserve him.
    LW3: There are people who are attracted to bigger women, let your girlfriend go so she can find one of them. Because obviously you were never really attracted to her, you just think you can do “better” now. But I think she can do way better. Definitely don’t mention weight in breaking up. If you want to go with “we’ve grown apart,” that’s probably more accurate.

  10. LW1, he’s visiting his FAMILY. Who’s he going to cheat with, his cousin?

    1. And if that’s the case, there are a whole lot more issues at play here…

  11. AndreaMarie says:

    I don’t think LW3’s drifting away from his GF is entirely because of the physcial appearances. Loosing large amounts of weight is usually the result of some serious lifestyle change. His whole life has readjusted and changed from the life he was leading, priorities he had, etc when they first started dating

  12. bittergaymark says:

    LW1) You. Are. Psycho.

    LW2) Eh, you are FWB. At best. But I don’t get the snark, Wendy, about him NOT ever going to her place. Um, who is to say she even has a place. Or one that isn’t overrun with roommates?

    LW3) MOA. Honestly, I am amazed at the reactions to this letter. Is everybody on here secretly pushing maximum density on here or what? I’m so tired of everybody’s pisspoor reason for being fat. The reason damn near EVERYBODY in america is so flipping fat? The endless array of excuses that everybody now buys for laziness.

  13. I think LW3 has just evolved and now is in a completely different place than his GF, and they are no longer a good match. Lifestyle and goals are the mismatch; weight was just the original motivation for his personal change.

    If I was LW3, I would MOA and explain it to the GF as personally moving in a different direction in life and the relationship is no longer a good match. I would leave it at that and not go into any detail. I would not mention the weight; there’s no way to do that without sounding like a personal attack.

    Even if the GF wanted/could lose weight, there is no guarantee that her change in lifestyle and goals would match LW3’s. This relationship may have started out as a good match, but no longer is.

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