Shortcuts: “My Boyfriend Has Cheated on Me Fourteen Times!”

It’s time again for Shortcuts. 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. Today we discuss the classics: cheating, LDRs, and too long no engagement.

I am bi-sexual. My boyfriend and future husband, Davie, and I have been doing a long distance relationship for going on two years almost (on and off) but he has cheated on me 14 times so far. He has major depression. He sleeps nearly all day until like 4 or 5 in the afternoon — sometimes even later, and he is never there for me at all. Sometimes, I feel as if I don’t have a boyfriend. We have talked about this, and sometimes it leads to fighting and half the time all he says is he’s sorry but then he doesn’t kiss me as much as he did. He is rarely there for me, and, while I just I want this to work, it seems like I’m doing 85% of the work in our relationship — maybe more. What should I do? I feel so alone — Cheated on 14 Times

Your boyfriend has cheated on you at least 14 times? This one’s easy: MOA.

My boyfriend, “James,” and I met eight months ago through a mutual friend while I was living in his home town. I had a boyfriend of three years at the time, but I fell head-over-heels for James and ended everything with my ex-boyfriend. James and I call each other soul mates because neither of us was looking for the other. Our relationship has no issues besides one factor: He is training to be a Navy SEAL on the other side of the country. I knew he would eventually be leaving to follow his dream, but I just didn’t expect it to be three months after we met.

James wants me to move to with him and have a future together. The long distance is extremely difficult because he has literally NO time to call me and, when he does, it’s very short. I don’t know if you know anything about training to be a navy SEAL, but it is the toughest training in the world. I love him more than anything, and, while I normally would never follow a man for his dreams, I am MISERABLE without him. If I move, we will be able to actually spend time together on the weekends.

My family does not want me to move there for a boy, but there really is nothing my home town has to offer me. So the question is: should I make the big move or should I stay here and just keep trying to make long-distance work? — Navy SEAL girlfriend

Here are eight things you need to do before you move for love. Unless or until you can do all eight, I’d stay put if I were you. Three months (long distance at that) is a very short amount of time to pack up and move across the country if you don’t have anything else besides the relationship you’d be moving for.

In your response to Ms. Unvalidated, you advised to “Pick a point in the future when you know in your heart of hearts if [he hasn’t taken some steps to moving your relationship forward] then he isn’t in it as whole-heartedly as you need him to be. He doesn’t have to know what that date is. It’s better if he doesn’t.” Why do you think it’s better if he doesn’t know the date?

I’ve been in a great relationship for almost six years. My boyfriend is loving, endlessly supportive, we have great chemistry, and we want the same things for our future including marriage and children, and we have talked about reaching those things together. We don’t live together yet (we both own homes and it is a bad economy to sell, but we do spend about four nights a week together at one place or the other) which is fine, but I think moving in together is our next milestone. Things are great now, but in my mind I have a “line in the sand” date for the future – not an ultimatum, but if we aren’t living together or engaged by that point, it is my mark to say, “I need to know that these things are in our future, and I need us to have a plan to get there”. I’ve considered telling him my date, but I’m not sure that he needs to know, or if there’s any benefit to him knowing. Why do you think it’s better not to tell? — Line in the Sand

Because you can be more certain that he’s moving forward because he wants to and not because he feels pressured to. That said, I find it a little curious that after six years together you still haven’t discussed solid plans for the future. If I were you, I wouldn’t wait for him to broach the topic; I’d ask him right now if and when he sees taking further steps in the relationship, like living together, marriage and children.


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  1. LW1: seriously? You feel like you don´t even have a BF, that you´re doing all the work, he´s cheated on you so many times, and you have to write to ask for advice?

    LWs 2 ad 3: WWS

  2. LW1 – at 14, he is not your boyfriend; you are one of his booty calls. Remember, he may be apologizing to THEM anytime after he has been with YOU.

  3. LW1: Why on earth would you want to marry someone who has cheated on you 14 times and is never there for you?

    LW2: This might not be a popular opinion but if you’re not happy in your hometown and feel you might be happier somewhere else why not give it a try? You don’t have to stay put just because your family doesn’t want you to move. You’re an adult and you get to make your own decisions. It sounds like you have more reasons than just James to want to move. And if the relationship doesn’t work out, you can move back to your hometown or anywhere else in the world for that matter. You didn’t mention having any kids or other major obligations so you have a green light to move wherever you please for whatever personal reason you want. Life is too short to be miserable and make decisions based on other peoples’ desires. Maybe this will be a cute story that you and James tell your kids someday.

    LW3 – If you haven’t talked to him about the kind of timeline you want for these important life events, now is the time. 6 years is plenty long enough to expect the next steps to happen. Believe me, just because a guy says he wants to get married/have kids doesn’t mean he wants to do it anytime soon! He might not want to get married until he’s in his 40’s. After all, men don’t have loudly ticking biological clocks like we do. It would be good to figure out if your hypothetical “timelines” coincide with one another.

  4. LW2: What Anna said. If it doesn´t matter to your career or any other factors, why not move. Be prepared to move back or somewhere else, but why the hell not. Of course things can always go wrong, but that doesn´t mean it would have been wasted time. A friend of mine moved to another country for a guy, and you know what? He left her three weeks in. She´s been here for 1 1/2 years now though, and having a great time.

    Maybe don´t think of it as moving to be with him, but starting your own adventure. He plays a part in it, sure, but it´s YOUR adventure.

  5. Is it actually possible to be cheated on 14 times? For anyone I know, after , say, 4 or 5 times max, you would no longer considering this relationship to be one anymore, and therefore, no further cheating could occur. Really, twice would be unforgivable. You could see, maybe, under certain circumstances, forgiving someone for cheating once. Once.

    Is this letter for real? What’s the highest number of times any commenter has been cheated on and still taken their SO back? Why?

    1. I feel like at some point you’ve got to stop counting, if only to save your own self esteem.

      For the record, once was enough for me.

    2. Temperance says:

      I’m probably a bad example, but I dumped the loser who cheated on me with the same girl a handful of times. In my defense, I didn’t put together that he was boning her for a while, because I was really stupid, and once I figured out, he was out the door.

    3. The only way I can even make sense of that number is that he somehow went to a mass orgy and cheated 14 times at once?

      Either that or “on and off for 2 years” actually means mostly off except for a couple months out of those 2 years and she considers that cheating.

  6. LW2 – if you love him more than anything and you are willing to take a risk – because it is a risk – then move. But not for anything, if you want to be with a man in the military then distance is going to have to factor into your relationship and I would advise creating strategies to deal with distance now. You can’t follow him where he goes and there will be many times in your future when you won’t be in constant communication. Figure out if this is a life you can sign on for – and figure out ways to still be connected without you moving across the country – this, to me, would indicate the success of your relationship down the line. If you need a partner that is always physically present – then a Navy Seal is not the man for you – no matter how much you love him.
    LW3 – I kind of feel the same way about having a magic date in your head that you don’t tell your partner about. My friend dated a girl and her magic date was six months to receive a proposal and when she didn’t – she left and my friend was telling me he didn’t even know she was expecting one and if he did know he may have actually proposed. I thought he dodged a bullet, myself, but I think there is nothing wrong in communicating your expectations; listening to his; coming up with a plan together. And then if he doesn’t follow through on the plan that he help put together then you leave – and he knows exactly why. An ultimatum to me has a short shelf life. So if your plan gives him the time he thinks he needs then there is no pressure coming from you since he set the timeline too.
    LW1 – sorry hon…. he isn’t your boyfriend and has no business being your future anything. You need to break up with him and then take some time to figure out why you would let someone treat you so badly. Break up with him today and then delete all his contact information – let it be an early Holiday gift to yourself.

  7. Did something get lost in translation? Because I don’t see why LW1 felt the need to mention that he/she is bisexual….

    1. Yeah I was thinking the same thing…. it really had nothing to do with the letter at all.

    2. tbrucemom says:

      I thought it was going to factor in the story as well. I also think the part about being “on and off” for two years might have something to do with him “cheating” 14 times.

  8. Pant-less drunky says:

    LW1: Your boyfriend cheated on you thirteen times and you took him back to cheat on you yet again? At least you don’t seem surprised and seem to be seeing it in the future too. Call me crazy but twice should be the absolute maximum before you dump their sorry ass.

    1. Temperance says:

      You win for the best username, Ramona.

    2. WTS

  9. Avatar photo lemongrass says:

    LW3: Having a date in your head should in no way be the only idea you have about how to move forward in a relationship. What you/he want for the future is so incredibly important to discuss now. It’s not nagging to say “I would like to get married and have kids at some point. How do you see your future play out?” Having these conversations might be a little awkward at the time but they will give you a stronger, healthier and deeper connection. All couples need to discuss the issues that marriage brings up BEFORE getting engaged.

    And guys: don’t propose unless you absolutely know what the answer is. Just youtube ‘proposal gone wrong’

  10. Trixy Minx says:

    LW1 jesus girl where is your pride? its long distance, he is never there, sleeps all the time, cheats on you all the time.. uhh wtf are you waiting for just leave already!

  11. LW#1: He didn’t cheat on you 14 times, you cheated yourself 13 times.

    1. “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.” She needs to take this saying to heart.

  12. Avatar photo landygirl says:


  13. After reading LW1, I think people should read the letters they wrote at least once before hitting send. If you haven’t said a single positive thing about someone then the automatic answer should be MOA.

  14. tbrucemom says:

    LW1 – MOA, cheating 14 times? Either you’ve got zero self esteem or there is some major miscommunication about when he was being your boyfriend or if he even was your boyfriend.
    LW2- I can speak from experience here (I was a Marine wife). I’m not sure I would move across the country for boyfriend of 3 months, but if she’s able to get work in her field there and likes the area separately from her relationship, it might be a good adventure even if it doesn’t work out. It could also be a wonderful love story. Be careful though, people in the military can get really lonely and sometimes make decisions without thinking things through. Also, if you do end up getting married, you need to be prepared to spending lots of time apart, some places you will not be able to go with him. It’s also a dangerous occupation, something else to think about.
    LW3 – I’ve been with my BF for almost 3 1/2 years and though I haven’t given him a ‘date” I have told him I wouldn’t live with him unless we were engaged (he’s asked several times for me to move in) I have given him a “timeframe” as my lease is up in April and I need to decide do I stay where I am for another year or move in with him. I have a feeling I won’t have to resign the lease but you never know.

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