Updates: “iPad Snooper” Responds

It’s time again for “Dear Wendy Updates,” a feature where people I’ve given advice to in the past let us know whether they followed the advice and how they’re doing now. Today, we hear from “iPad Snooper” who found incriminating messages from a female friend of her boyfriend’s. “My boyfriend says that she merely misconstrued one-on-one dinners as romantic encounters,” she wrote. “I’m not sure if I believe him. I should mention that I do have some anxiety issues, so sometimes worry excessively. I don’t know what to do.” Keep reading for an update.

I know it’s been an incredibly long time, but the situation’s finally played itself out so I thought I’d let you know what happened.

First, I wanted to address some misunderstandings from my original letter. It seems “less committed” was taken to mean “not committed.” I ought to have been more clear: at the time of the incident in question, we’d been seeing each other for two years, and officially exclusive (by his request, actually) for over one year. Additionally, he met the girl in question AFTER the beginning of the point of exclusivity so there was never any way he could have hooked up with her without breaking the monogamy agreement HE had initiated. I wrote the letter so quickly after the incident that I didn’t think to make it clearer.

As it turns out, he had cheated on me for a year, emotionally and physically. He began heavily gaslighting me after I wrote the letter, which I didn’t realize till forum readers pointed it out to me. He called me crazy and paranoid, he said she had mental problems, he claimed his cancer had caused him to forget, which is the worst of all because it might have been true (it wasn’t). When I doubted him at all, he shouted me down and told me I was a terrible person for lacking sympathy for him, that I was paranoid, and that I needed psychological help. I believed it all.

In the months after that, he engaged in some serious next level deception. He actually photoshopped facebook messages and emails between the two of them so he could send me the fake screengrab of conversations they supposedly had laughing about the idea of getting together. Eventually, I found out that they had had a relationship over the course of an entire year, that he had told her we were broken up, and that it only all ended when she got a new boyfriend.

Even after all of this, I decided to continue our relationship, under the conditions that he break off their (still inappropriately close) friendship, in which she left him many, many messages about how much she valued their friendship, how adorable she thought he was, how much she missed him. He said he would stop hanging with her outside of work. And, it turns out, (surprise surprise) this was a complete lie. He lied about staying overnight in the same places as her (in a band group, but still), he lied about talking to her, and many pictures of them were posted online. He didn’t cheat on me again, but only because she was taken. I feel so ashamed that I allowed myself to be taken for a ride in this way.

Basically, I wasted seven months trying to work with a guy who would rather fuck with my mind than admit to his wrongdoings. At this point, I don’t know how I can sort out lies from reality anymore with him. I’ve just broken up with him but he keeps contacting me saying he has explanations that will somehow make it all better. I feel like shit, I feel stupid for having bought into this.

Worst of all, I now realize that the gaslighting was part of our ENTIRE relationship, even when I’d thought it was amazing. He’d deny making plans that I had proof of (in texts, etc), blame it on his brain, and shame me for my lack of empathy so that I would never complain about it to others (including you, in my letter, Wendy!). He’s now admitted he never experienced any memory loss at all! He told me he “thought I would see how far I could push you.” And now wants to get back with me? Ugh. How can I free myself from this? I feel completely destroyed. I blocked him on facebook and deleted his number but he’s still calling me, and I keep doubting myself. What if I’m wrong and he loves me? If this was a problem, why did I never notice it before? I know I can’t see him again but I have these thoughts anyway.

I’m sorry, I know these updates are meant to be short. Argh. Thanks for your advice, it was good. It didn’t work for me, but only because I’d painted an overly rosy portrait of the situation (probably because I didn’t want the real truth, tbh).


Ok, what IF he loves you? Does that erase all his crappy behavior? Does it justify it? Is it somehow ok for someone to treat you like shit if he loves you but not ok if he doesn’t? Who cares what his feelings are when his behavior is so disgusting? What’s the point in being with someone who “loves” you when he or she doesn’t love you well? I know it’s hard, but you need to MOA from this lying sack, heal your heart, and never settle for someone who doesn’t love you the way you want to be loved.


If you’re someone I’ve given advice to in the past, I’d love to hear from you, too. Email me at wendy@dearwendy.com with a link to the original post, and let me know whether you followed the advice and how you’re doing now.

You can follow me on Facebook here and sign up for my weekly newsletter here.

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


  1. Whaaaaat. This might be one of the top 5 scummiest dudes I’ve ever read about here. I can give you no advice on moving on emotionally, but tell him if he keeps contacting you (after you’ve already clearly told him to STOP CONTACTING YOU) you’re going to call the cops.

    And btw, you can call the cops on people for non-violent harassment. I did for for some nut-job teen who would not stop texting me for lulz.

    1. The police broke up with my ex for me when he wouldn’t stop calling (20-30 times a day) and showing up at my apartment in the middle of the day (when I was sleeping because I worked third shift). They offered for me to have charges filed, but I just wanted him to stop. Thinking back, I’m really surprised they didn’t arrest him anyway since we had lived together.

  2. kerrycontrary says:

    Ugh I’m sorry this guy was so deceitful. I am amazed by the amount of people who lead double lives and date (as in enter into an “exclusive relationship”) with more than one person at a time. It’s insane. We all make mistakes when choosing partners so pick yourself up, take note of the lessons learned, and never let anyone gaslight you again!

  3. LW, this guy lied about the effects of cancer to fuck with your head. He cheated and is a terrible human being but that is taking things to a whole new level. Please get as far away from him as possible, block his calls/emails, and spend some time taking care of yourself because it boggles me that despite knowing he would leverage having cancer as a way to gaslight you and “see how far I could push you” you are still wondering if he loves you. He can’t love anyone but his fucked up selfish self and even if he could HE IS UNWORTHY of your attention and time.


  4. Avatar photo landygirl says:

    You keep doubting yourself because he has trained you to doubt yourself. That is what gaslighting is. Please talk to a therapist.

    1. I think she (like soooo many others who write in) doubts herself naturally. She has low self-esteem and is so afraid of being alone (ie not having the outside validation that she’s worth of love) that she will accept any behavior as long as he doesn’t leave.

      He (like soooo many partners of the people who write in) just knows how to spot a vulnerable girl with low self-esteem and like to be able to manipulate her for his own gain.

      1. And that’s why he wants her back – because he knows that with her, he can get away with things that other girls wouldn’t let him.

      2. Avatar photo landygirl says:

        From what the LW states, he was purposely cruel to her as opposed to your every day douchebaggery.

  5. Oh my god, lovey, I’m SO sorry. I remember this situation very well, & I’m sorry that all of the worst things that could’ve possibly been true, were. But Wendy’s right, even if he DOES “love you”— it’s twisted, fucked up love. Because he’s a twisted, fucked up person (like, we can all agree that calling this particular dude names is well-deserved, right? I mean, WTF: “He actually photoshopped facebook messages and emails between the two of them so he could send me the fake screengrab of conversations they supposedly had laughing about the idea of getting together.”!!! That’s what did it for me, like, WHOA)

    And to the LW… you can heal from this by making sure he doesn’t contact you anymore, & don’t contact him, & don’t allow yourself to read/hear his apologies & explanations. Like, this is some next level nightmare relationship shit, okay? Most human beings do ~not~ do what this dude did.

  6. Wowza.

    Wendy is right. It doesn’t fucking matter if he loves you. Do you get that? It DOES NOT MATTER. This guy has some serious problems. Do not talk to him. Do not answer his calls or texts. Keep him blocked on FB, delete his email account, do not respond to him in any way.
    It might take months, even years, but eventually, he’ll stop contacting you.

    1. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

      For reals. Love doesn’t excuse being an asshole.

      1. Dude pole vaulted over asshole to straight up sociopath…

      2. that was the exact word i was thinking to describe this guy “sociopath”

      3. Me three! Don’t waste another second on him, other than necessary therapy and legal action

    2. Guy Friday says:

      I don’t even think what he feels for her is “love” in any remote sense of the word. I can understand loving someone even after you’ve cheated or had an argument with them or called them mean things in a fit of anger, because those could very well be weaknesses you have rather than a lack of love. I can even see loving someone while you hide your phone, delete texts, etc. out of shame and fear they’ll find out.

      But when you’re photoshopping conversations to cover it up . . . I mean, when you go to that level, it’s not love anymore. It’s manipulation. No one who actually loves someone would go that far. It’s more than acting defensive; it’s actually going on the OFFENSIVE. I love my wife, and it would never even cross my mind to photoshop conversations to hide cheating. Why would anyone do that?

      I don’t mind giving the “guy’s perspective” and sticking up for some of the boyfriends whose significant others write in, but there’s nothing to be said here that can mitigate this guy’s actions.

  7. SixtyFour says:

    OMG LW, I am so sorry that you went through all that. You did not deserve that. After being lied to for years by someone you loved and trusted, I can only imagine how lost and broken you must feel. Through time, therapy, some wine, and all of us at DW, you will get through this!

  8. SixtyFour says:

    OMG this guy reminds me of Walter White – maybe because I’m so disturbed from Sunday’s episode that it’s on my mind all the time. But seriously, he does.

    They both have cancer and use it to make people feel bad about them and make up memory losses.
    They both lie to the women they “love.”
    They get off on being in control.
    He comes up with elaborate hoaxes to cover his tracks.

    1. starpattern says:

      Ugh I just watched the new episode last night. At this point I hate all the characters and am only still watching because it’s such a train wreck. Haha.

    2. Um… I think you just spoiled Breaking Bad for me there…

  9. LW, I remember reading your original letter and it reminded me a lot of a situation I was in once with an ex, who had an addiction problem and some emotional issues that he would use to manipulate our conversations, my reactions to things, etc.

    to make an incredibly long story short, I was contacted about 8 months into the relationship by a girl who was known in his town as a total nutcase (his siblings verified this) and she said that they were together and he was cheating on HER with ME. Him and I got in a huge fight about it, he told me it wasn’t true, etc, but I had a very difficult time trusting him after that, especially combined with some other prior issues.

    I eventually broke up with him for a variety of reasons – never date someone who has an addiction problem and is not 100% committed to getting past it – but in large part because I suspected he was cheating on me with yet another townie.

    I never found out if that was true, but he did start officially dating her about a week after I dropped his stupid a**, so I am going to assume he was in fact cheating then and the in the situation with the nutty girl.

    LW, walk away and keep walking. This guy is never going to change.

  10. I agree that it really doesn’t matter whether he loves you or not, but even more importantly, you have absolutely NO REASON to love him. You don’t have to be with someone just because they love you, in fact it’s kind of rude to be with someone long term if you don’t love them. If you start doubting yourself, just look back at all the shit he did – he does not deserve your love or trust, so don’t give it to him.

  11. LW – I am so sorry. You were totally taken for a ride by this piece of shit and I just cannot lay really any blame on you. I have no words of wisdom or advice as I have thankfully (I think…) been spared this level of deceit. I hope some day soon you’re able to come through this all, and on the other side this experience will be an ‘add’ to your pocket of intuition about guys in general. I certainly don’t mean that you should go through life suspicious and mistrustful of all men. Just that you now know what it feels like to be gaslighted (gaslit?) by someone you trust and you may be able to see warning signs sooner rather than later.

    Best of luck to you.

  12. He told me he “thought I would see how far I could push you.”

    That is pretty much all you need to know about what horrific dating material this person is. No mature adult worth dating would think, let alone say it to your face. It’s gross. Makes my skin crawl.

  13. You Go Girl says:

    The boyfriend is a sociopath. Sociopaths have no conscience, and are incapable of emotions like love or tenderness. Because they are incapable of forming emotional attachments to anyone, they feel empty and bored. To alleviate their boredom, they enjoy gaslighting the unsuspecting people who are unlucky enough to cross their path, like the LW. Victims of sociopaths are taken completely by surprise because they cannot imagine that a person does not have a conscience, and they cannot fathom tormenting a person just for fun like the boyfriend did to the LW. The other women in this situation is also a victim of the boyfriend’s lies and deceits.

    I want to tell the LW that she is a decent person who tried to follow the normal rules of good behavior when she tried to talk to her boyfriend and work on their relationship. She is not a weak or foolish person for believing that he had a conscience like 96% of people. But the normal rules of communication and behavior do not work with sociopaths. She did the right thing to break up with him, and I urge her to not allow any contact with him.

  14. Not a Princess says:

    Oh, honey, LW. I’ll shorthand this.
    1) You are beautiful and talented and you deserve so much better than this idiot.
    2) It may be a good idea to sort this out with a therapist, just to ensure you never end up with another sociopath.
    3) If even half the things you tell us about him are true, he’s a sociopath. Please, please do the following immediately: a) tell him in no uncertain terms the next time he calls that you never want to see or talk to him again and you will take legal action if he keeps harassing you. b) email him saying the same thing, or send him certified mail he has to sign for. c) if it continues, find a lawyer. There are a ton of programs out there that can help you find someone for low-cost or even for free, and even if you have to pay, a simple cease and desist letter is usually not that expensive.
    You owe it to yourself to pursue the standard of life you deserve.

  15. Sue Jones says:

    This POS is creating enough negative karma, that if his cancer came back, enough people would celebrate. Seriously, most reasonable people who go through cancer treatment are a bit humbled and become more compassionate as a result. Not this douchebag!

  16. LW – just remember you are worth all of the good in the world! Don’t worry about your ex, just focus on you. You deserve to be happy.

  17. Why is everyone so hard on this guy? He cheated on her for a year, admitted it, then photoshopped FB feeds and whatnot, and she took him back. He was honest about his dishonesty repeatedly. When people tell you what they’re like, believe them. Who wouldn’t assume that this woman was now his to gaslight and deceive to the extent of his amusement?

    Do we now live in a world where no one is ever allowed to say that the LW kind of deserved to be treated the way she accepted being treated?

    Go on. Flame the hell out of me. But sheesh.

    1. You Go Girl says:

      The boyfriend’s cheating bad enough, but the real problem is that he tormented her for his own amusement because “he wanted to see how far he could go”.

  18. Bittergaymark says:

    I am just so glad that more and more updates are from truly empowered and confidant women who simply refuse to put up with some lying asshole’s shit anymore.

    Oh. Wait…

    1. Avatar photo lemongrass says:

      Really? You expect women to feel empowered and like she shouldn’t put up with some asshole’s behaviour? Do you realize what you’re advice to this woman was? You basically told her that she was expecting too much, making too big of a deal out of this and that this guy deserves better. Very empowering advice.

  19. Julesoola says:

    Your ex and my ex should go bowling together.

  20. xskycrosszeria says:

    LW, I had an ex, similar to yours. I was young like really young about 18 and it was my first relationship. Long story shortened, he pulled a lot of things, made me paranoid, ruined my already fragile relationship with my father, and I almost killed myself trying to get out. (Quite literally, he took away my keys so I couldn’t leave.) Anyway…I started going into therapy and starting getting the help I needed. I eventually found someone else, completely different a really nice guy. But then of course my ex found out and came back. I stupidly bought his lies and thought he had changed. He was in a relationship with a girl that was his best friend (who I know he used to bang with when he went to ‘business trips’ to NY). It all came to a breaking point when my current bf and I broke up and he played a major factor in it. I blindly bought his lies he had changed and he hadn’t.

    Anyway my main point is, these guys that do this type of crazy shit don’t change. That change has to come from themselves. Please, please continue to move on, don’t contact him. That’s not love, its a crazy contorted, form of something else. It’s not love. My crazy ex used to say the same thing that he loves me still (even while with his current gf), and no one could understand what we had. Yeah every one else could. It was unhealthy and crazy.

    It’s just a way for him to try to draw you back in. He could change you know being attentive and what not and I made that mistake and it barely lasted two weeks and he was back to his old patterns. And I was stuck, too scared of him to get out.

    get help if needed (it helped me out) and please take this as a learning experience. Not all people are like this. Not all men are like this. Find your old hobbies or things you like to do. Hang out with friends and family you love….. It is hard, I know, and you feel lost and your trust might be shattered but with time and without contact with him, you will get over it. It can take years but you will get to a better place.

    Your validation and self worth should come from yourself, not him. Meet yourself again, I did and I’m finally in a better place in my life.

    Good luck!

  21. Are you in NC, because I think this guy dated a couple of my friends in college. Manipulative bastard. Ditto on the sociopath label and on you seeking out a therapist.

  22. “What if I’m wrong and he loves me?”

    Well, I think it’s safe to say he doesn’t. And if by chance, he did, then I would personally feel gross and want to take a shower after hearing that.

  23. Datdamwuf says:

    LW, you did the right thing, I get why you have the guy on your mind. What he did was classic cheater behavior. I spent 17 years with that guy, glad to be out of that. Be happy you only lost a year or two to your guy. They cause you to doubt your own intuition, your own reality. Therapy will help you, if you want to see a reflection of your ex go on over to chumplady.com and read the stories and blogposts over there if you are obsessing over the ex, might help keep you away from him.

  24. Avatar photo Stonegypsy says:

    I don’t have any advice to give that isn’t completely redundant after everyone else’s. But you did the right thing breaking up with him, blocking his number and facebook, etc. Call the police if he keeps harassing you, there’s no reason to put up with it.
    Stay strong, move on, and find a therapist to help you work through the self-doubt that this guy left you with.

  25. Skyblossom says:

    I think you could benefit greatly from reading Spy the Lie. It covers all of the behaviors your boyfriend was exhibiting and I think you could feel better realizing that in the future that type of behavior would be a group of red flags alerting you to the deception. Attacking the person asking the questions is one of those things a liar likes to do.

  26. AndreaMarie says:

    LW this man mentally and psycologically abused you. Please cut him off and see a therapist to get your mind right.

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