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How do I forgive?

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  August 19, 2009 10:22 AM

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It’s zero degrees at the Globe. You can chat with me as I shiver at 1 p.m. For now, the letter:

Q: My boyfriend cheated on me. Not physically, but emotionally for more than a year (we’ve been dating for just over two). A few weeks ago, I was on my boyfriend’s computer and when I went to type in a website, I noticed that he had been on Craigslist. We have been discussing moving in together when his lease is up at the end of the month and he said he had been looking at apartments, so I wanted to see what he had found. I go to his web history and see a title “Here is what I want – m4w – 28 – Cambridge.” My heart speeds up, a lot.

Later that night, I confront my boyfriend about it by saying, “I saw something on your computer for Craigslist and it didn’t look like it had anything to do with apartments.” To abbreviate a very long story, he informs me that he went on “Casual Encounters” on Craigslist. My heart speeds up again. I ask him why, how often, and if he had ever met up with anyone. After several iterations of his story about how this all came to pass, I finally got the truth, or at least I think I did, which was pretty awful. Since this revelation, he has apologized profusely up one side of the street and down the other. Apologies are great, but they don’t erase what he did.

My boyfriend claims that about a year-and-a-half ago, while he was in grad school out in Western Mass., he developed an addiction to pornography. It started with looking at websites very, very frequently. Then last summer, he was in Philadelphia for the summer doing an internship (I should state that I live/work in Boston). We stayed together during this period, though it was hard being apart and we actually saw each other every other weekend throughout the summer; what I thought was a testament to our love and commitment to one another. What I did not know was that, while he was alone down there, he was both responding to and posting ads on Craiglist casual encounter. In order to keep this from me, he set up a fake email account. Although, according to him, he set up the fake account so “these people” wouldn’t know who he was. He claims that the pornography sites weren’t doing anything for him anymore and he viewed this as another form of pornography. I disagree with this view point, strongly!

He claims to have stopped his Craigslist activity when he returned for his second year of grad school. But “old” habits die hard and this past spring, while he was out at school, he started up on Craigslist again. He again claims that he “kicked the habit” until early June when he began working from home and he went back to responding to and posting ads. Though he claims he never met up with anyone, I have a hard time believing him because he kept so much from me already. He also has no response when I ask him how long this would have continued had I not caught him.

I have many, many questions right now, the most basic of which is, will I ever be able to forgive him? He was unfaithful to me. He lied to me, even after he had been caught. On a different note, he has been a bit of a slacker professionally and in our relationship. For a year now, he has been saying that he wanted to finish school (done), get a job (done), and then get engaged (laughable at this point). He has done a lot of things these past few weeks to try to make up for being unfaithful. And he has taken steps to get over his “addiction” including going to church regularly (did not go at all prior to this) and going to counseling. At his request, I went to counseling with him and will continue to do so.

The fact is I love him. This is the man that I thought I was going to marry and grow old with and raise a family with. And I was so excited to struggle with him and overcome things with him and I thought he was it for me. But now, I don’t know if I can get past this. I don’t know if I can believe him when he says he is going to be a better man, the man I deserve. I know that I don’t need him. I moved to Boston after college, got a job, an apartment, and a life. I know that I can live without him, but I don’t want to. Can I/we move past what he did?

Thank you for listening. Sincerely,

– Help Me Forgive, Boston

A: HMF, do we have to help you forgive? Can we help you move on instead? Let’s take a look at some of your letter.

"On a different note, he has been a bit of a slacker professionally and in our relationship.

My boyfriend cheated on me. Not physically, but emotionally for more than a year (we’ve been dating for just over two).

He also has no response when I ask him how long this would have continued had I not caught him.

He lied to me, even after he had been caught."

And my favorite:

"I know that I don’t need him."

You love him. I get that. But imagine being married to him. Imagine what some of these problems might look like in 10 years.

I’m all for sticking it out through bad times, but this guy has been entertaining himself online for more than half of your relationship. I have nothing against pornography. But there’s something different about communicating with actual humans who’ve posted ads on Craigslist. That's not just pornography -- that's interaction. At what point does he cross the line and actually meet up with someone?

You ask if you can forgive and forget what he did. I fear that you can -- too easily. You can stick it out while he’s in therapy, but I’m not so sure he can be anything other than what he is. Some people wouldn't mind what he is. But your letter suggests that you're looking for all of the things that he isn't.

Readers, am I right to say she should consider bailing? Is his pornography addiction a cheat? Should she stick around to see if he’s capable of righting his wrongs? Share here.

– Meredith

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211 comments so far...
  1. Watching porn is completely different than talking to other people. I agree with Mere. He's been lying for too long.

    In my personal experience, once trust like this has been broken, it cannot be repaired. Especially after only 2 years of dating, 1 of which was a lie!

    I say move on. You can live without him, so do it. He does need some help with that addiction, though.

    Posted by summa! baby bumma! August 19, 09 10:40 AM
  1. HMF, It's time to move on. Meredith is spot on with her answer. If you are looking to find Mr. Right and settle down, then your current boyfriend is not the one.

    His emotional problems and lack of maturity are not your problems and you are not his mother or a psychotherapist.

    Basically it seems to me that your BF is lazy and likes porno and probably likes one night stands. Is this what you want for a husband? If not, then tell him to hit the bricks and absolutely do not move in with him.

    Posted by Raise Your Standards August 19, 09 10:42 AM
  1. Help Me Forgive,

    ALL men engage in this kind of behavior. You hayseed.

    Get over it. Just because he is on a diet doesn't mean he can't look at the menu.

    You are too possessive.

    You want to keep your man satisfied? Loosen up in the bedroom, girl. Don't be so uptight. Your man will not stray if you keep him happy in this way.

    Posted by Lance Romance August 19, 09 10:48 AM
  1. Mere is right on point with this one.

    However, I feel compelled to add that when you break up with him, you should do it with the aid of the therapist. It will likely be helpful to both of you to have that third party there to monitor and facilitate. This may also help him by creating a put up or shut up air around his commitment to getting over his porn addiction...is he doing it for you? or for himself? Will he continue therapy even after you have broken up with him? I hope so, and having the therapist help you both through that scene may help him understand how much this addiction has cost him.

    Posted by daw August 19, 09 10:48 AM
  1. Plus, I forgot to add that is sounds like you are positively smothering this guy. Dial it back a little. No man likes to be pressured to wed, esp. at such a young age. You have a lot of growing up to do.

    Posted by Lance Romance August 19, 09 10:49 AM
  1. I find it hard to believe that he hasn't met up with anyone from Craigslist. WHat is he claiming he's doing, just reading ads, having cybersex? I don't get what he's doing reading/responding to ads if he's not meeting these people.

    You are now starting to see the real him. He's not who you thought he was and you need to re-imagine a better future for yourself with someone else. Let go of the fantasy of who he could be and look at what he is--a perv on Craigslist who is probably meeting up. If he is not now, he WILL.

    You need to GET OUT before you catch an STD from him. Cut your losses now. You're young, you dont need him, not married, no kids--RUN, do not walk to the nearest exit.

    Posted by KitKat August 19, 09 10:50 AM
  1. I'd get an STD test and separate for a trial period. Six months can change the world. You do NOT want to have two kids with this guy and then find the same old thing in his browser history. Or better still, he gets more clever about hiding it. If he's willing to change and be with you, he'll be willing to wait.

    Posted by Boo August 19, 09 10:51 AM
  1. HMF...
    Really?! You were really "excited to struggle with him and overcome things with him"?! Wake up!!! You should not be helping a slacker cheater overcome his 'old habits'! Going to counseling with him? Why? Don't get sucked into his mess. You need to bail out quickly, take care of yourself and know YOU DESERVE BETTER!

    Posted by Shorty August 19, 09 10:51 AM
  1. Wait, those things are real? I thought they were all just spam and hookers?

    Posted by keithshoo August 19, 09 10:52 AM
  1. :::::Sigh::::: Banging my head on my desk. Hasn't this person answered all of her own questions? So what, you write into Mere because you want to see your letter in print? Come on. Essentially, the only thing that needs to be said is what Mere told her. AND to tell her: "Here's a hundred dollars - BUY YOURSELF A CLUE!" Read your own letter for those clues:

    He's been unfaithful
    Lied to you
    Slacker professionally
    Slacker in the relationship
    You said you don't need him

    However - YOU went on his computer. You snooped. Not too nice of you either, now is it?

    And what's up with all of the quoting? "these people"..."kicked the habit"..."old habits"..."addiction"....

    Yet again, I have to believe this is someone who's making up something just to get it in print in LL and to see what kind of responses s/he gets. So there's my response. If you're real - dump this guy. He and you are no good. He lies, and you snoop. Seems to be a run on this type of character in LL recently.

    Posted by Linda August 19, 09 10:53 AM
  1. He has an addiction. You have to decide wether or not you want to be with someone who has that kind of issue. It's not easy to get over addiction, but since he has already begun counselling- that's the first step.
    Just decide if this is too much for you to handle. You might want to go find someone who doesn't have an addiction to fight or worry about, you might also love your boyfriend enough that you don't care if he's got an addiction as long as he's willing to get help for it.
    We can't decide that for you.

    Posted by Noel August 19, 09 10:53 AM
  1. My boyfriend has been on there before many few times, posted a couple of ads, and hooked up with someone a couple of times.

    You know what? We have a terriffic relationship. He's the best man I could ever ask for and treats me like gold. We are open and very honest about everything we do and there is nothing we don't talk about. He and I will be together for the rest of our lives, and after a fling here or there, he still comes home to me -- and does the dishes and folds a load of whites.

    It's amazing the kind of relationship that two people can have when they BOTH learn to separate love from sex.

    Posted by spm August 19, 09 10:53 AM
  1. why are you even trying to stay with this man. He obviously has commitment issues. For all the reason you have list and maybe some that you have not, he is not the man (boy) you want to grow old with. You already stated that you don't need him, so why are you holding on to him. You have already wasted two years with this guy hoping he would become the man you want him to be, but he has not. Think of this as a lesson learned and move on. You don't want to wake up in about 10yrs and realize you are now married to him, with a couple of kids and he's still not the man you want him to be. Go out and find that man that you are actually looking for and let him continue to troll on Criagslist.

    Posted by really!! August 19, 09 10:53 AM
  1. This is the 3rd or 4th post this month where a woman has "accidentally" found lascivious information pertaining to her beau. Lesson learned: STAY OUT OF OUR STUFF!!!

    Posted by thehagbag August 19, 09 10:53 AM
  1. Your boyfriend did absolutely nothing wrong. I used to look at those ads too. I found them amusing. You are way overreacting if you ask me. It's ok for guys to fantasize about such things as long as they don't act on them in person. You sound like a very difficult and hard to please woman. Get over yourself. Do HIM a favor and break up with him now before you sentence him to a lifetime of misery first as your husband then as they destroyed shell of his former self you leave him as after you divorce him and ruin his life. If you are this bad now then I can only imagine you as a wife. Scary!

    Posted by Dumb Broad August 19, 09 10:54 AM
  1. Run, don't walk, out of this relationship. If your best friend were telling you about this situation happening to her - what would you advise her to do? Now take your own advice!

    Posted by Marcy S. August 19, 09 10:54 AM
  1. Help Me Forgive - What a terrible experience. I'm sure you can find it in your heart to forgive your boyfriend - forgiveness is the easy part since you already love him. Forgiveness doesn't mean that you have to continue to link your future with this guy. Sounds like he's damaged goods and you should get on with your life before investing any more time "mothering" him - but by all means, let him know you have only symphathy and concern for him now - not anger, and probably not a whole lot of attraction at this point - I'm assuming his behavior has turned you off.

    Good luck.

    Posted by Monty August 19, 09 10:54 AM
  1. Lance Romance-
    Put the beer down, brush the crumbs off your gut and give your hand a rest. Loser.

    Posted by Laughing at You August 19, 09 10:55 AM
  1. Oddly, I am in a similar position to the LW. I discovered some pornography sites on my husband's computer, then found out he had been going to adult chat rooms he discovered while playing that big online multi-player game that costs $15 a month. He created a whole different online persona and had online sexcapades with dozens of people. We've been married 10 years; this had been going on as far as I know for about 6 months. I want so much to move forward; he seems genuinely sorry, but am really struggling with it. If we didn't have the history we do, I would probably already be out the door. Get out while you can, HMF. It's as close to cheating as it gets without physical contact.

    Posted by Kacey August 19, 09 10:56 AM
  1. Oh sweetie. In my experience when we really love them, it is all too easy to forgive really crappy behavior & overlook things we shouldn’t. So, think about what you would do if one of your friends came to you with this problem, what would you tell them?

    IMO - at the very least he sounds super shady!!! He’d been lying to you for a year & you never would’ve known had you not found proof. What else could he be lying about? Good liars make BAD boyfriends/husbands. Casual encounters on craigslist? Ew! That’s bad. & you’re probably a sweet girl. Maybe you’re not a good match for the long-term.

    Posted by polly August 19, 09 10:56 AM
  1. Also...
    Thank goodness you found all this out before actually living with this porn addicted idiot. And how much change can he make in just the few weeks since you have found out? Church a few times? What-evs!

    Cut your losses and break up with him.

    Posted by daw August 19, 09 10:56 AM
  1. I doubt he went that far and did not physically cheat. He lied to you all this time, why would he tell you the truth about what he really did?

    Once trust is gone, its gone forever. I tried to make things work once in my life after I had been cheated on and it just wasn't the same. It would never be the same either. I was kicking myself for wasting my time with it.

    My advice, move on now. Yes its going to hurt, but I promise you will be fine in the end. If he did it once, its only a matter of time until he does it again.

    Posted by Oopsy August 19, 09 10:57 AM
  1. I had something like this happen to me with my husband. I came across his myspace page and noticed that he had been talking with his first girlfriend. (he would wait tell I went to bed at night to talk with her) When I confronted him about this he said that he didn't tell me because he knew it would upset me and that they were just friends. This happened almost two years ago and I find that I still cannot trust him. Once the trust is lost it is hard to get it back.

    Posted by Trust no longer August 19, 09 10:57 AM
  1. HMF-
    You don't have to take Meredith's word for it, go to Craigslist, go to M4W and read, read, READ. You will find ENDLESS posts from MARRIED men, seeking casual encounters. These guys dont change just because they get married.

    Your bfs recent "good" behavior reminds me of a line from GWTW: "He's like the thief who's not one bit sorry he stole, but who's terribly, terribly sorry he got caught."

    And in case you don't think any women respond to those adds, go to craigslist and look at w4m.

    Get out as fast as your legs will carry you.

    Posted by Katie August 19, 09 10:57 AM
  1. I think you should move on. He has been doing this crap too much and for too long. He will do it again. You are better than this. Much better.

    Posted by Kmkmkm August 19, 09 10:59 AM
  1. Ouch. I feel for you. I do not think this is a forgiveable situation. The "casual encounter" thing is bad enough on it's own but when you throw lying in on top of it... well that is just too much. Your boyfriend did an awful thing and then tried to cover his ass by lying to you. From this point forward you will be wondering whether you can believe anything he says, and that will make you miserable.

    You said yourself "Apologies are great, but they don’t erase what he did."... at some point you may be able to forgive him but you will never forget it and the lack of trust between the two of you will cause the demise of the relationship eventually. I say cut ties now and move forward. And you're right, you will be fine, you don't need him, you will find that "better man" cause it's not him.

    Posted by Kathleen August 19, 09 10:59 AM
  1. Enough with the "you need to go see a therapist"! LW does not need to have a therapist or other third party 'monitor and facilitate' their breakup (#4 Daw)!!!
    LW- Put on your big girl pants, tell the loser to get lost and move on!!!!

    Posted by Therapy is not always the answer August 19, 09 10:59 AM
  1. HMF,

    No, I don't think you can move past this. You'll always be wondering:
    1. Am I good enough for him, emotionally and physically?
    2. Is he lying now?
    3. Can I trust him?

    And don't go down the road of trying to "help" him with his issues. He'll drain the emotional life out of you. You'll get nothing from him; he'll get a free therapist (you).

    Drop this guy. Find a man who adds to, not subtracts from, your happiness.

    Posted by TallGirl August 19, 09 11:00 AM
  1. The woman who's fiance was stalking and killing woman on Craigslist didn't have a clue either!

    Posted by M August 19, 09 11:00 AM
  1. I have been him. I have gone from pornography, to Craig's List Casual Encounters to meeting people, etc.,What your boyfriend is suffering from is sex addiction. Please everyone, don't snicker, laugh or JUDGE. It's a real addiction and growing right along with the internet.

    I can tell you right now that he won't stay faithful to you at this point, let alone be able to give up on his current/past activities. He will say that he can, but right now in his life he can't even be honest with himself, let alone you. His "being faithful" probably won't last.

    He needs to attend Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous (SLAA). You/he can google SLAA New England to find meetings in the area. This is NOT a place to "hook-up" or take advantage of people's weaknesses. It is a place for support, healing and hopefully, recovery from a destructive pattern. It is not surprising to me at all that he hasn't been able to focus on the priorities in his life. His addiction is real and has very negative affects on his life and relationships.

    My advice to you is to move on. Unless, you are willing to put in a LOT of effort, time, tears and patience as he goes through recovery.

    Posted by BeenThere August 19, 09 11:00 AM
  1. It sounds to me like you have outgrown this relationship and are ready to move away from this man. It's confusing, but you may find that you *can* both LOVE him and KNOW he is *not* the right person for you.

    Something kind of similar (without the craigslist part) happened to me with my ex. We were together 5 years. I loved him dearly, and think there is always a part of me that will care for him, but there finally came a time when I knew I could not be happy with him. I went to counseling with him as well, and am glad that we did that. In the end, however, I hit a point where I was able to make the decision to go. 8 months later I met my husband. It is the healthiest, best relationship I have ever been in - I did not know such a thing existed.

    When you're ready to leave, you'll know. Just listen to yourself, and don't wait so long that you have regrets.

    Posted by hdv August 19, 09 11:02 AM
  1. I'm not so sure that it is this black and white. Clearly his behaviors are hurting him, or he would not have made such concrete efforts to fix them. It seems like he *could* be a dud, but he also could have been a victim of a slippery slope situation. YES, he should have had to self control to avoid these behaviors, but, just like a heroin user, I doubt that anyone starts the lesser behavior with the desire to commit the worse one. If you really love him and do not want to give him up so easily, I would continue to go to therapy with him so both of you can heal and recover. However, I would also watch him like a hawk. Be very clear that if he goes back to any of these old behaviors, he will NOT get a second chance. If he is not willing to be completely transparent in his actions (including giving you free access to his computer and all email addresses), then it might be time to acknowledge that there is something that he is not willing to change.

    Posted by carbetshl August 19, 09 11:03 AM
  1. #12.....really? you turn the other cheek and let boyfriend go stick it someone else? Wooooow. I hope you are doing the same, otherwise this sounds like yesterdays letter...the HALF open relationship.

    If you love someone, you would not be able to bear the thought of them with someone else.

    Posted by summa! baby bumma! August 19, 09 11:03 AM
  1. Forgiveness, in this case, might be best achieved from a safe distance. You can forgive him without staying with him. Forgiveness is for your sake, not his. This guy has proven to be everything you don't want, and only your emotions are keeping you with him. I am not saying emotions are nothing, but when every other sense from the very depths of your being is telling you this person is treating your horribly and can hardly be counted upon to change, then sometimes it is time to over-rule your heart.

    Posted by merilisa August 19, 09 11:03 AM
  1. please move on. think about the diseases out there...
    i am sure that it will be hard like all break ups but this is definitely a no brainer... time to go.

    Posted by korriv August 19, 09 11:04 AM
  1. You love him, but he has a serious problem. If he liked to watch porn...fine. But, he is not only responding to ads on Craigslist, but he is POSTING them. Sweetheart, that is cheating. He has a problem, and you don't need to be part of it. I know it will be difficult leaving someone you love, but it's better than spending a lifetime with someone who will only cause you unhappiness.

    Leave him and find someone who will treat you the way you deserve to be treated.

    Good luck! Keep us posted!!

    Posted by Kristen August 19, 09 11:04 AM
  1. ok . hes going to therapy and church? therapy is good. hes trying girl. let him try. people CAN change contrary to popular belief.

    its up to you. u sound like u love him and he must as well given hes going to counseling. give it a go and see what happens.

    Posted by Amanda August 19, 09 11:05 AM
  1. we all watch porn but meeting up with someone is different, chatting is just role playing.. when you start banging someone that crosses the line
    get yourself tested...

    nothing wrong with porn or strippers just don't touch

    Posted by rick August 19, 09 11:07 AM
  1. Lance Romance, are you serious? A guy cheats on his girlfriend of two years through hooking up with random women on Casual Encounters and this is her fault for "smothering him" and she has to "grow up?" Umm... I think you're the one with the growing up to do.

    Help me Forgive, I'm so sorry that you had to get hurt this way. I would dump his sorry butt so fast his head would spin. I think Meredith was spot on. You don't need him. He lied to you. He violated your trust.

    All guys look at porn. I don't think there is anything wrong with that - it may even be healthy, in moderation. But what he did was something entirely different than looking at porn online - his view that his is just an "extension" of looking at porn is a load of BS. A completely weak excuse for his actions.

    You deserve much better. Maybe you can consider yourself lucky you found out now. I once knew someone who found out her husband was engaged in similar activities 3 months after their lavish wedding.
    Good luck to you

    Posted by veggiesaregreat August 19, 09 11:08 AM
  1. Ivillage has a message board "relationships damaged by pornography" you may want to check it out and post there. It may be helpful to you to see what other women are going though with the same issue. Thank GOD you are not married to him - you can get out! He's an addict and it will take time and hard work for him to overcome this IF he wants to. He's already lied and betrayed you. I'm surprised he came clean so quickly after you caught him. He's got a long road ahead of him and you deserve better. It's hard to find out that someone you love is an addict, but my two cents is to get out unless you want this issue to be the theme of your life going forward., because believe me, it will be.

    Posted by Summer! Baby Bummer! August 19, 09 11:09 AM
  1. You're young. Why are you pinning your hopes and your future on this loser? I don't understand it when women won't move on because they claim to be in "love". There are better men out there. If you marry this loser, I guarantee you will find yourself in divorce court a few years later. Forgive him and then move on.

    Posted by Neil August 19, 09 11:09 AM
  1. Now, this isn't a question of "is looking at those craigslist ads right or wrong" or "if he separates love and sex, is it cheating" blah blah blah blah blah. Every relationship defines its own way of monogamy. Some throw it out the window and go into polyamory, some won't even accept other people's numbers because they feel it's wrong.
    The BIG thing is -- he lied to you. He continued to lie to you. He went behind your back and made a different account because he KNEW you wouldn't be happy about his interactions. And then he continued to lie to you. He obviously doesn't operate on the same grounds of what makes a relationship faithful as you, so he needs to be kicked to the curb

    Posted by Abby August 19, 09 11:09 AM
  1. I agree with Mere. Move on and find someone who deserves you.

    Posted by EBNorwood August 19, 09 11:10 AM
  1. I love the qualifiers in the beginning of most of these stories trying to justify spying on loved ones -
    usually something along the lines of,
    "I was just innocently sitting on our couch when his laptop opened right up in front of me. I figured I'd check facebook, and when I went to sign in I guess I didn't notice his email address was signed in. We must magically have the same password..."

    Posted by kokomjolk August 19, 09 11:10 AM
  1. I agree with 11, it's an addiction. That means, he's an addict. Addicts lie lie lie lie lie about their addiction. And they lie about everything else too. That's what addicts do.

    You sound like the thing that's hard to let go is that dream of what you thought your future would be, and were excited that it was starting. Yay, I'm on my way to adulthood and it's going to be great!

    The dream of what you want for you future is not crazy, but it is not reasonable to think you will have it with him.

    Remove him from your dream, so that you can continue to have it.

    Posted by Carolyn August 19, 09 11:11 AM
  1. He absolutely is banging other chicks. I've done the Craigslist thing myself. It's just sex. It's easy, anonymous, and you don't have to spend a dime on them. You are lying to yourself. He has had sex with other women. He only wants you for the safety net. He knows that you love him and will not leave him, so he will do whatever he needs to stay with you. He will still seek out other women for sex. This doesn't mean that he doesn't have deeper feelings for you, but at this point your life together isn't exciting. Maybe he doesn't feel that he can bang you like being in a porn video because in some way he actually cares and repects you too much to get that "dirty" with you. On Craigslist, he can act out the porn with some anonymous chick that wants it as bad as he does. He can do things to them in bed that he considers degrading to you. Counseling and church mean nothing. He is going through with that to appease you. The info you provided about church is telling. Sex is not that important to you. I'm guessing you do it because you feel you have to and in your mind, once a week is ok and you will only do it when your married to procreate. In his mind, sex is hot, sweaty, dirty, degrading and fun for him. You have two options. Leave him for some boring church going guy who climbs on top of you for five minutes every Saturday night at 10pm or start making your current guy grilled cheese sandwiches three times a day. When your not making grilled cheese, bang him inside and outside your apartment in every possible place and way you can think of. He wants a slut in bed. Become one or move on.....

    Posted by leykis101 August 19, 09 11:12 AM
  1. LW-- as a side note.... refer to #12-- I have 2 points to make regarding that post.

    #1. That person (#12) is the EXCEPTION to the rule (according to Hes Just Not That Into You).

    #2. Would you really feel good about the fact that your man has a "fling here and there" but "comes home to you"? I doubt it. And you shouldn't feel good about that...because you are human. A relationship is a commitment. And being committed to someone means not finding someone else to fulfill your fantasies.

    As I said in my earlier post...leave him and find someone who will treat you the way you deserve to be treated. End of story.

    Posted by Kristen August 19, 09 11:13 AM
  1. Meredith--

    Did you actually say: I have nothing against porn?

    Posted by Anonymous August 19, 09 11:13 AM
  1. Just so I'm clear on a key point-- did he ever meet these other women? Did he have physical encounters with them? I'm assuming no, since you said he didn't cheat on you physically.

    I did something like this myself once. Really, it comes down to this: when you work from home (as your BF does) you're isolated, and you start to crave human contact. I was a CL addict for a long time while I worked from home. Stopped the day I went back to work full-time, and I've never bothered with it since.

    Maybe your guy is a deadbeat, and you should dump him anyway. But if this disloyalty is his only offense-- as much as women don't want to hear it, this is a problem that can go away as soon as his free time and isolation do. Men really can change.

    Posted by Joey August 19, 09 11:14 AM
  1. Tow different perspectives from me:

    1 - He's young. If you think the relationship realistically has potential, then forgive him but do so waringly. Trust him only over a significantly long period where he has earned it.

    2 - It seems your relationship has other major faults. It seems, also, that you are headed for a chasm, in which he will either get his act together or he will not. Make a decision first on whether you would keep him had this incident not ocurred. If the answer is realistically that he was not maturing at the rate you need it to, then dump him and move on.

    Everything comes down to timing. He is very immature. Whether it is viewing porn and fantasy e-sex or just that he can't get his working-life act together, it seems that you met each other too early. He either grows up a lot, immediately, or move on.

    Posted by big h August 19, 09 11:15 AM
  1. GOOD FOR YOU #18 i agree with you that Lance Romance sounds like trash to me. I have a disturbing visual of some fat dude sitting in front of his tv watching some trucking show , with his 5 little friends and some vaseline. He comes across as not a very intelligent person.. I bet he is lonely and bitter.

    Posted by you fool August 19, 09 11:15 AM
  1. Run away from this guy! He is not going to stop. He is telling you what he thinks you want to hear in order to get you off his back so he can continue his sexcapades. He wants YOU to go to therapy? He's anticipating that you will ask him to and so he is coming across as serious and contrite. I have no doubt that the Craigs List Killer started out like this. I don't mean to imply that porn leads to murder - not at all - but your boy's behavior is as devious as that other guy, and I still remember his fiancee doing her best "stand by your man" number. You have already mentally broken it off by saying that you don't need him, and that you can live without him. You tell us that you still love him, but I wonder if in fact you are in love with the idea of being in love, not with the actual guy. I would be so creeped out by his behavior if I were you that I would be having intimacy issues with him. Are you? Best of luck while you make a most difficult decision, and please pay no attention to the fetus known as Lance Romance, or as I prefer to call him, "he of the hairy palm".

    Posted by J Bar August 19, 09 11:16 AM
  1. I have been married for 14 yrs. to a man who is emotionally distant and we are ready to break up. I knew from the beginning that something wasn't quite right and although I don't know for sure if he's into porn , he's not interessted in a sexual relationship with me and hasn't been for a long time. I 'm an attractive and giving wife and mother, and I wished that I had paid more attention to those red flags I saw back when we were dating, maybe then I wouldn't have to drag our daughter thru this mess. I love my husband too, but I can't change him. Hope you'll kearn from my mistkes.

    Posted by rosie August 19, 09 11:18 AM
  1. WHA??? "And I was so excited to struggle with him and overcome things with him and I thought he was it for me." This is not a 'struggle' for you two to overcome, this is your man being selfish, and Craigslist is not porn... it's actual people interacting, creating relationships (physically, emotionally, businesses, roommates.. ALLL relationships, right?)

    "To err is human, to forgive is divine" So, he is "human" (I'll use that term loosely), and it sounds like you could very easily be divine (you sound ready to forgive and let this all slide), but the REAL question here is, will YOU be happy?? Probably not, you'll never fully, truly trust this guy again.. and that will make you MISERABLE in the long run. Cut your losses and RUN, you're way too good for this CL creeper...

    Posted by dontbejealous August 19, 09 11:18 AM
  1. Porn ? OK. Posting ads on C.L. ? NOT OK. You have only been dating this guy for a couple of years....In the timeline of life - not a long time. IMO - relationship therapy when you are not married is an exhaustion of energy. If he's "addicted to Porn " ( BTW Craigslist is not porn - it's prostitution ) let him deal with it. You can deal with it by spicing it up in the bedroom a bit. Men want their own porn stars - he'll learn to apprciate you more for sure - then when you dump him - he'll miss you ! I think you should at least give him a shot if you love him but don't waste your life. There are hundreds of eligible guys out there. Good Luck

    Posted by cappy68 August 19, 09 11:19 AM
  1. Sigh - I'm normally appalled at how uninsightful some of the LW's are, given the fact that they pretty much answer their own questions in their letters, only looking for affiermation from Mer (nicely) and us (the harsh critics). Though I suppose a little sympathy is in order for this LW, who obviously very much likes her BF, however lacks the security and self esteem to be without him.

    Its obvious that there was something lacking in the relationship, leading this guy to turn to porn - but the fact that he went to the computer and craigslist for and outlet instead of directly to you, LW, is a direct affront on you and on your relationship. I think this guy has some issues to work out, and his emotional cheating (so he says) is living proof that he is not ready to be in a relationship with you.

    People don't go on to casual encounters to "meet friends" they go there to do all the things that they can't do in a relationship. And if there are things you can't do in a relationship, you should be in one.

    This guy is a tool...you deserve a guy who will treat you like a princess, not wish you were a Porn Queen...

    Posted by Clortho August 19, 09 11:19 AM
  1. Hi- I agree with 34- forgive him and move on. Take this from an older and wiser woman. My husband (soon to be ex) had some debt which I found out about when we were engaged. It was upsetting and he assured me he had paid it off and was getting on track with his finances. Fast forward 12 years and 3 kids later- I recently found out my husband has a huge spending habit and has racked up almost $100,000 in credit card debt over the span of our marriage (yes all those zeros are correct). My point is, a leopard doesnt easily change his spots- in my case spending, in yours porn. I would hate to see you like me in 12 years. Good Luck with your decision.

    Posted by robin August 19, 09 11:19 AM
  1. Putting trust back into your relationship will take many years of rebuilding. During that time you will have many obstacles including questioning almost everything he does/says or doesn't do/say. Over time this will diminish depending upon how he deals with your uneasiness. His personality makes me think that he will not endure the scrutiny that it will take to get back on track.

    His addictions are one thing, but his needing to wander in such a direction after only a year into your relationship makes long-term stability doubtful. The initial addiction fed over into a more disturbing one. What happens when your relationship becomes more routine and serious (marriage/kids)? Personally, at this stage of the game it is easier to take the hit now than later after many more years of investment.

    Cut your losses, recover and embark on new opportunities where the minefields are fewer. Chronic liers and cheaters usually have many things to hide in that they know and understand that their character comes into question. Today, the internet makes it easy for people to hide, abuse and promote the worst side of themseleves. It has become a playground for cheaters and others who become so obssessed that real life and real relationships take a back seat to fantasy.

    Being involved in a serious relationshp with this personality type will bring you nothing but heartache, disappoinment and potential hardship.

    Posted by marj August 19, 09 11:19 AM
  1. What is up with the nasty comments from some of you people?

    Posted by Regina Felangy August 19, 09 11:19 AM
  1. Everything people enjoy is not an addiction to be overcome. There is no disease to be overcome involved here - he likes porn and probably hookers because if you think that is not what is on craigs list you have a bigger problem than him. If you are going to snoop, go all the way and check his credit card and bank statements. I'd bet there are some suspicious charges/withdrawals there.

    Believe it or not to all of you therapy lovers out there, bad behavior is not an addiction. It used to be called being a cheater (and much worse!). No recovery necessary. Wake up!

    The person that needs the therapy is you to find out why you have such low self esteem that you would even contemplate staying with this loser. By the way, what exactly is there to love???

    Posted by Blaze August 19, 09 11:21 AM
  1. Take it from one who has VERY recently been exactly where you sit now, dear - he is a liar and a cheat. If he's been communicating with women for this long, I assure you, he has met them and perhaps interacted physically with them (as my *loving* BF of 5 years did to me). Shake the dirt off your feet, Girl, and move on. He is not worth it. It's not like you're married and found this out - he's a BF, and obviously a really horrible one at that. There are plenty of good, decent men out there who are kind, honest and truly loving. Find yourself one of them after you've left this bozo and healed from the whole mess. I'm rootin' for you (and me)!! :)

    Posted by SA August 19, 09 11:21 AM
  1. Just a quick note on yesterday's letter.
    Some readers have complained that a good number of replies to OTF were mean-spirited or cruel. Perhaps some were, but overall the tone of the replies reflected the reaction one would normally have for individuals who display immature or questionable behaviour. Sometimes a little tough love is needed and I believe this was the case here. Hopefully OTF read all of the responses and was able to get a general consensus that helps her understand and allows her to grow and mature. That's why Letter Writers come here. Most of us do want to help.

    Which brings us to today's letter.
    HMF, this seems to be a trend lately, where a poor woman comes to LL seeking advice when she already knows the answer and has indicated so in a round-about way in her letter. Again, in this case a little tough love is just what the doctor ordered. This guy is an obvious sneak and a liar. Most men like to rub off an easy one while perusing pics of lovely ladies, but this guy took it a step further and is actively participating in his activities with other people. This is key. Other people. Not you. Other people. I hate to tell this, but I'm pretty sure this activity has been going on since the first time he clicked on Search in his web browser years ago.
    He will not change, not matter how many times he goes to church or counseling.
    You need to move on. It's a matter of trust and you won't get it back with him.

    Good luck,

    Posted by DrK August 19, 09 11:22 AM
  1. Lance Romance sits at home alone and has No-Pants Romance....

    Posted by DavisKane August 19, 09 11:23 AM
  1. You are right: he is cheating on you! He could have at least asked you to watch porn with him (if he needs variety). He didn't, right? See, it's not like he wanted to fantasize about other women. He wants those other women in real life (hence, posting messages on craigs). He definitely has issues that he does not wanna discuss with you. And i would not try go to therapy with him. What's the point? Ok, so he admits that having sex with you is just not enough for him. Are you willing to change him? Why? I would be insulted. I am sorry, but this guy is gonna have to hit the road :(

    Posted by pumped August 19, 09 11:23 AM
  1. If it was just browsing the ads it would not seem like a big deal but posting and responding is too much. If he'd go that far he has almost def gone even further. I would cut my losses with this guy..

    Posted by techdood August 19, 09 11:24 AM
  1. The idiom of the day is:

    Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

    Run, do not walk, too the nearest exit and get the hell away from this seriously flawed individual.

    Posted by Darwin August 19, 09 11:26 AM
  1. Get tested and get on with your life.
    He doesn't love you, you aren't "the one". That's the bottom line. Better to find out now while you only have 2 years invested. You deserve to find someone who is "addicted" to you and your happiness!

    Posted by just_cos August 19, 09 11:26 AM
  1. HMF,

    I don't think there's an easy answer here. I lot of people are going to say he's a creep, and a liar, and you should get away. Although the pornography thing probably isn't that big a deal, he definitely crossed a line when he actually started interacting with people. This is not something that is easy to forgive.

    As Meredith said he is what he is. I think you and he need to figure out what exactly it is that he is, and what it is that he gets from this. It is just some titillation? Is it basically phone sex, but with random strangers on the internet? Does he actually want to meet with people to have affairs?

    Whatever it is that he gets from this, he's going to want some sort of outlet in the future. Is there anyway for you to incorporate his kink into your relationship? Or, is it something that you will demand he shut down? You may feel justified in demanding that he shut it down, but if he has strong desires that aren't being met he will become bitter and/or go behind your back again. I'm not saying this is right of him, this is just what the likely future is.

    You now know this part of him that he was hiding from you. You need to decide if you can live with this. Don't expect him to fundamentally change.

    Posted by two sheds August 19, 09 11:28 AM
  1. Sally and valentino - where ARE you? Waiting impatiently for Sally's re-write of the letter and for valentino's haiku! And is Hoss on vacation? :-(

    Posted by Linda August 19, 09 11:28 AM
  1. The problem clearly lies with you. The reason men turn to pornography or to other things like Casual Encounter is because they either are not getting adequate sex at home or the sex they are getting is just not good. So you are either not giving it up enough or not doing it right. If you want your boyfriend to change you need to adjust your behavior first.

    Posted by Kay-Man August 19, 09 11:28 AM
  1. RUN, do not walk, to the nearest testing center to be tested for STD's and HIV. Then tell him bye, bye and move on with your life. Yes it will hurt, but it will hurt more if you marry this loser and 10 years and 2 or 3 kids down the line you have to confront these issues. You deserve better.

    Posted by linda August 19, 09 11:29 AM
  1. Same as my response to the George predick yesterday - PBOA and move on. Longing for the LW who will say in his/her letter, I with purpose dissected their computer. It's juvenile to state otherwise.....

    Posted by MaryRo August 19, 09 11:30 AM
  1. LOL, sure Therapy is not always the answer (#27), she doesn't NEED to have a therapist help her break up with this guy. But since she is already in therapy with the guy anyway, and says that she is committed to continuing to go with him, and that she loves him, the therapist could help in this situation. My thought was mostly that the therapy could help for the guy in dealing with the break up, not so much for her. She should run.

    Posted by daw August 19, 09 11:32 AM
  1. Help Me Forgive, you need to exit that relationship so fast you should be leaving skid marks! You also need to get tested for STDs immediately. He sounds like a sex addict, not just a pornography addict. And sadly, sex addicts do not put protection at the top of their list of priorities. If he's been having "casual" encounters with strangers on Craigslist, you need to be concerend about your health. Think of what diseases he may have contracted and passed on to you.

    Also, I'm nearly 100% positive he's still lying to you. He claimed to tell you the truth but then more lies were uncovered afterward. I guarantee you he will continue with this behavior. You're not even married, and you DO NOT need to work through these kinds of things with someone who you've only been with for two years. Run, seriously. Get out of the relationship and do it NOW. This guy is pond scum and is not worth any effort.

    Posted by MB August 19, 09 11:35 AM
  1. What is with all of the snooping letters?

    Posted by LoveRico August 19, 09 11:35 AM
  1. I have nothing against porn either. I'm all for porn. But this isn't about porn, and it isn't about Craiglist casual encounters. It's not about forgiveness, or snooping, or church, or graduate school in Western Mass. It's about a woman whose self-esteem is so low, Gloria Steinem woud roll in her grave--if she were dead, which she is not--if she read this letter. Listen HMF, if you are lucky, you get a good 75 years or so on this planet. 18 of those years, you have to do what other people tell you, 10 of those years you're old and crotchedy. So that leaves 47 years during which you can be a woman in charge of her own life, happily unattached to a life-force sucking booger. That's a long time. Be like me: Enjoy every minute of it.

    Posted by Sally August 19, 09 11:35 AM
  1. If you need to ask how to forgive,then it isn't going to happen honey. Chalk this one up to a learning lesson and move on. And knowing somebody for two years isn't long enough before moving in together.


    Posted by Chloe-OBrien August 19, 09 11:35 AM
  1. I'm in this same situation only I didn't find out until 5 years and three kids later. Get out now - being in this situation is so horrible - trust me you do not want to be in it w/ children. I love the post that says you can forgive and move on - please take that advice. My husband swore up and down it was only cyber sex... guess what - it wasn't. We were even in therapy for a year and he was lying to the therapist too.... get out now. Get therapy for yourself so that you can move on and not project this experience onto your next boyfriend/husband.
    There are a lot of opinions here.. I suggest that you print them off, highlight the ones that state they are or have been in this exact situation and pay VERY close attention to what they are advising you to do. Go start a fabulous new life for yourself.... I only wish I had been afforded that opportunity. Good Luck.

    Posted by sader than sad August 19, 09 11:35 AM
  1. Here's the validation you need: No need to forgive - it's over. Move on.

    Posted by Alvin August 19, 09 11:36 AM
  1. First time poster here - this issue really got to me...

    HMF - I don't think it's an issue of forgiving him. You also need to start the healing process for yourSELF.

    - On a different note, he has been a bit of a slacker professionally and in our relationship.
    - This is the man that I thought I was going to marry and grow old with and raise a family with. And I was so excited to struggle with him and overcome things with him and I thought he was it for me.

    Being thrown from your comfort zone just sucks - and then to see all of the little issues popping up is even more hurtful. I honestly don't think it's a matter of forgiving him - that will come with time. What you need to do is forgive yourself, and realize mistakes are mistakes. Then you will be able to move onwards and upwards.

    I wish you the very best of luck!

    Posted by BeenThereDoneThat August 19, 09 11:37 AM
  1. no Rico? I don't believe it.

    Posted by shelly August 19, 09 11:39 AM
  1. I think you have all ready answered your own questions. You could forgive but how long to want to wait to see if he changes? You obviously are okay with waiting for him to finish school, etc, which is great. But this is like dealing with a drug addict or alcoholic. It is not easy and there could be many relapses.

    I think if you really want the answer, ask yourself what advice you would give to a friend in the sistuation. I can almost guarantee it would be to leave him and move on. It is easier said than done, I know. But if you can;t get past this now, it is only going to get worse, trust me. A hurt that deep does not go away easily and takes possibly years to get over.

    If you do decide to stay with him, get yourself a strong support network and help for yourself. And know when to draw the line and get ouyt before it is too late.

    Posted by meg August 19, 09 11:40 AM
  1. Rico has a simple answer for you but he is sure you are not going to like it very much...here goes:

    Rico thinks you need to get some self esteem and start thinking more about yourself and your own needs. Be selfish, get what you want not what you think you can make him. There are plenty of better men out there to choose from, open your eyes (go on craigslist) :), get out and enjoy the rest of the summer WITHOUT HIM. He is the past and that is great he is getting therapy and going to church. Priests go to church too and what do Rico and everyone keep reading about them??? Rico thinks you are being crazy if you decide to stay with him and see him through his issues. He is a cheater and mostlikely will continue to cheat. He'll just use Church and Therapy to cover up his tracks better.

    Rico is so sick of hearing these stories that already have their answers in them. You can live without him and probably live better without him. He is a loser and and is deserving of a loser. Are you a loser? Ask yourself a question. What would you do if you found out he HAD MET some of these people and maybe even some weren't women? What do you do 10 years married with 2 kids and find out his curiosity got him when you went to visit family with the kids for a week while he was working or while he was travelling for work?

    Rico thinks you already know the answer and it is time to execute the solution right now. DO NOT MOVE IN WITH HIM, DO NOT STAY WITH HIM, DO NOT STAY FRIENDS WITH HIM AND DO NOT WASTE ANOTHER MINUTE WITH HIM OR THINKING OF HIM. He'll find another on craigslist as soon as you are not around so why wait any longer get out now while you can with some dignity.

    Rico is not going to repeat this as it is too clear what you are dealing with. You stated everything needed in your letter so no need to write in about how much you love him and he is working on things and how much he is trying blah blah blah. Rico doesn't want to hear it. Stop being a doormat and move forward without this troll.

    Rico also agrees porn is ok and actually would prefer to hear he was "taking care of himself" while watching it while you weren't around. BUt the fact is he took it too far and that is totally unacceptable. He is a liar, a cheat and unworthy of your affection. Does Rico need to be any clearer or do you understand this? Only write back if you are ready to take a step in the right direction, do not write in to defend him like the moron yesterday.

    Thank you all and have a great day...

    Love always,


    Gears not Gas...Keep your head up and live life to the fullest. Realize your potential!

    Posted by Rico August 19, 09 11:41 AM
  1. Chalk it up to different strokes for different folks. Obviously he isn't ready for you are looking for in a relationship, HMF and he's coasting along until he knows what he wants. The only crime he's committed is not being honest about his direction in life with you and either leading you to believe that you'll have the fairy tale in the end or he's just plain nutless to tell you that although he digs you, he isn't ready for the whole til death do us part gig, which I happen to believe is the latter answer. Break away from him, live in your seperate living spaces and date other people. We all have our "skeletons" if you will, even those of us who don't cheat, but there are also things here behind the scenes that none of us will know and facts that probably aren't being brought to light either, but I suspect there's more than meets the eye here. Remember, there are three sides to every story:: yours, his and the truth and I think we're getting yours and half the 3rd. If he's straying off the ranch, he's looking for greener pastures because he's not getting what he needs with you or it may just be that he's the jerk you portay him to be. You'll find out sooner or later.

    Posted by BrotherFromAnotherMother August 19, 09 11:42 AM
  1. HMF, jump ship while you still can! This loser has been lying to you for the better part of your relationship!
    This is bad news and you definitely deserve better. Cut the fat!

    Posted by run!!! August 19, 09 11:42 AM
  1. I think your boyfriend is not necessarily a bad person. I even believe that he has progressed from viewing porn to answering ads, but not (yet) to meeting anyone --- probably. But, whatever the truth there, he clearly has some problems and some real work to do with himself before he can be a real partner to you. It's great the he seems to know that and is willing to do it. But it is important that you are not married. And so, you don't owe it to him to stick with him through this, given the fact that he has deceived you (and probably himself) and is likely to continue to do so despite his best intentions. You owe it to yourself to move on. Find a guy who has similar good qualities, but without these mental health issues. You have permission -- that was all you probably wanted when you wrote in.

    Posted by JC August 19, 09 11:42 AM
  1. I agree about being tested. You know several things to be TRUE:
    1- He lies to you
    2- He was on "Casual encounters"...not CHAT encounters
    3- He has acknowledged it's a problem and an addiction
    4- He has a history of relapse

    So the FIRST question becomes not can I forgive, but can I live w/ a sex addict.

    Posted by jhall13 August 19, 09 11:47 AM
  1. time to move on! he's a liar. why would you bother setting up email accounts to talk to people if he wasn't going to be physical with them. In fact, you should get yourself tested for STD's

    Posted by dtam August 19, 09 11:48 AM
  1. Wicked loser!

    You can do better.

    Dump him, get tested, and have a good life.

    Posted by four fried chickens and a coke August 19, 09 11:51 AM
  1. Lance Romance (#3, #5) and Kay-Man (#70) are a hoot!

    I'm laughing, picturing what they'd say if their girlfriends (if they had any!) were secretly watching porn and advertising for men on Craig's List.

    Would Lance and Kay-Man admit that they're not good enough in bed for their women? Would they tell themselves to "loosen up" and stop "smothering" their girlfriends?

    No, those loser guys would be saying, "She's a filthy slut! A skank! Women are all b*tches!"


    Posted by TallGirl August 19, 09 11:51 AM
  1. Sounds like a total loser, run and run fast shelly says.

    Posted by josh August 19, 09 11:52 AM
  1. #54 is spot on... "CL creeper" haha

    Posted by I concur August 19, 09 11:53 AM
  1. Get rid of him. He's probably done much more than he admits to you and has in all likelihood physically cheated with more than one women. Porn isn't wrong, but a boyfriend who liked porn wouldn't hide it from you.
    I think on some level, you know this, or you wouldn't be so smothering of him: on some level, you realize that he's not trustworthy, but you think if you are clingy enough, you'll prevent him from straying.
    You're better off without him.

    Posted by jchris August 19, 09 11:53 AM
  1. I agree with Rosie - walk away while you still can. He will come to resent you more each day you stay together. That is not love. Why would you want to put yourself through that. It will never change.

    Posted by Sleepless in the Country August 19, 09 11:54 AM
  1. He's not cheating on you. He's finding an outlet for urges and desires that are not being satisfied in your relationship. Would you prefer he go to a strip joint? Or talk to his friends about how much your sex life is lacking? No, you'd probably prefer he just keep all this inside and pent up, which is essentially what you've asked him to do.

    Women forget that these "addictions" start with unmet needs. So if he's on Craigslist and chatting with people, why don't you ask what he's chatting about, and how you can satisfy that in your relationship instead of just saying "STOP." If he says "I just want to bang other women", that's one thing. But I bet that's not it.

    My bet is it's because you're insecure. You know there's some things you're not willing to do in bed, and maybe he's asked you to do them already and you said no. Life's too short to be with someone who doesn't satisfy you sexually. It's not you who should be moving on, it's him.

    Posted by Andrew August 19, 09 11:54 AM
  1. You are still young. Dump him and move on. He is a liar. You deserve better.

    Posted by JustForComments August 19, 09 11:55 AM
  1. OMG - you aren't married. you aren't engaged. you are being lied to and cheated on. why in heaven's sake would you even spend one second of wasted energy on this guy? he is and always will be a liar and a cheat and if you wish to spend your life looking over your shoulder, then stick with him. you have invested too much energy and too much time thinking and rethinking about what you should do. you say you love him. what do you love about him? his character? his goals in life? are they similar to yours? you WANT to struggle with him? you want to be miserable and sleepless wondering if he's sneaking off to the computer after you're asleep? you want him to be the father of your children? you need to tell him that you cannot trust him anymore and no matter how much he tries to convince you that he's reforming, he's probably more trying to convince himself. Once an addict, always an addict, even AA considers "reformed alcholocs" as addicts. Please, please walk away, and get some help sorting out why you even questioned staying with a man with all of his flaws.

    Posted by californiadreamin August 19, 09 11:57 AM
  1. spm... you owe me breakfast. I just threw it up

    Posted by korriv August 19, 09 12:00 PM
  1. I think #30 has provided some very sound insight. Before staying with him mention SLAA and see if that's something he'd participate in long-term. Might give you some insight into how serious he is about changing his ways. After all, going to church is pretty easy... comfy pew, easy to tune-out the preacher, free coffee and pastries afterwards.

    Wouldn't it be nice if youngsters these days had the foresight to come to agreement about his and hers computers, i.e., my computer is for me alone, your computer is for you alone. If you go into my computer and find something you don't like then you violated a core agreement in our relationship.

    That would frost a lot of womens' panties!

    Posted by Sigh August 19, 09 12:00 PM
  1. leykis101, you're a moron.

    Posted by sm1231 August 19, 09 12:01 PM
  1. What a s*** show. I'm sorry.
    Think risk vs reward. He sounds high risk. He may be a waste of time.
    Go live your life and take care of yourself, let him fix his own issues.

    Posted by pb August 19, 09 12:04 PM
  1. People, sometimes there is snooping (yesterday's latter -- oops, I opened and read all these texts!). But that isn't today's letter. Back off the LW. When you are staying at your partner's house for the weekend, do you never go on his/her computer? When my hubby and I were dating, we would each use the other's computer sometimes to check email. And it is not snooping when a previously types web address comes up -- they always do -- and the LW, thinking it relates to their apartment efforts, checks it out. Sheesh -- let's calm down. You people are paranoid. Plenty of couples have such arrangements.

    LW, you can only forgive him if you believe he has been honest and regrets the *actions* (we know he regrets getting caught, but that's all it seems to me). Personally, I don't believe him for a second anyway. Posting ads = meeting up with women. He has been physically unfaithful. After just two years, this sort of heartache means doom. There are other fish in the sea.

    Posted by jlen August 19, 09 12:05 PM
  1. Oh dear. Please listen to me, and the others....you MUST dump him. There is no other option. You will NEVER be able to forgive him and he will NEVER change, ever. He is a sick man, not to mention an extremely sneaky and dishonest guy. You need to move on. No other option. Period.

    Posted by beenthere August 19, 09 12:06 PM
  1. Run. Run far and run fast.

    Posted by kc August 19, 09 12:06 PM
  1. OHMIGOD there is nothing more of a turn off for me than a man who watches pornography! Not all men do it - that is a myth! Of course the man is going to lie about it and sneak doing it because he knows that it is wrong, indecent and immoral. She needs to READ THE HANDWRITING ON THE WALL - it is only going to get worse and why should she have to go to therapy because her loser boyfriend is sick...just get rid of the tumor and the cancer hopefully won't come back.

    Posted by daizy August 19, 09 12:09 PM
  1. Listen, if you don't like the porn, leave him, because he likes the porn! He can go all church and therapy, but soon enough he will be watching HBO late night, then on demand, then a magazine. Or he will just blame you for making his life miserable. So if you don't like the porn, get out!

    Or stay and enjoy with him, try some new stuff, use it as a tool, like most adults!

    second if you think he is a slacker, then he will always be some sort of slacker in your mind. better off leaving now, than wearing him down and really disturbing your own life trying to make him something he is not. Just leave him now!!

    as an aside: I don't understand men and women that try to make someone into something they want them to be instead of liking/loving wanting to be with the person they are! Get past this, or you will always be disappointed with your mate and think the grass is always greener in some one else's pasture. Find what you like and love it. Don't go deciding that you found a piece of clay that you can form into what you want. There is no such thing as a "love Artist"

    You're just dumb if you think a person will make and stick with substantial changes in their character for a long time!

    Posted by BlameMe August 19, 09 12:13 PM
  1. Memo to all women: Man enjoy looking at the female form. It's in our DNA. We can't help it. We can be madly in love with our wives or girlfriends, have absolutely no desire for any other women, but we will still look admiringly at the female form and ... fantasize. It is who we are. If your boyfriend is not physically cheating with another women, then accept what is normal and a reality. When we are unattached, we will sleep with any women that we find interesting or desirable. We do not need an emotional attachment, which women do, to sleep with someone. Consider yourself fortunate to have a relationship with someone who is honest and truthful and is not cheating on you.

    Posted by Eastie'sBest August 19, 09 12:13 PM
  1. Seems like he has an answer for everything. Maybe you can live with him, but I couldn't. I don't think I could trust him. And that is no way to start a marriage.

    Posted by Carol August 19, 09 12:17 PM
  1. Quit being such a nosy person and you won't go finding stuff you don't want to know in the first place. Going through his website history on his computer? That's akin to reading his diary, which anyone would agree is a breach of trust and a violation of his privacy.

    He should be so lucky as to be rid of you.

    Posted by jamalke August 19, 09 12:28 PM
  1. Meredith is 100 % right....
    Liars and cheaters NEVER change. You absolutely can live without him...and I do speak from very recent personal experience. And also why would you want to start a life-long 'committed' relationship (at least on your end) with someone who hasn't been able to commit to the values and ideals that I am sure you want and deserve? I'm sorry to say it, but I do not believe he is capable of change....move on.

    Posted by Southie Girl August 19, 09 12:29 PM
  1. These excuses for snooping on your BF/GF are really getting creative.

    Posted by Sean August 19, 09 12:29 PM
  1. Good lord, HMF. He sounds like a slag. Dump his curb-crawling a** and move up. It's not a matter of forgiveness (that's a term that overused and overrated); it's a matter of valuing yourself. You're wasting your time with someone who has repeatedly lied to you, cannot answer your questions honestly, and has been very disrespectful to you (doing this for over half of your realtionship?? Pul-eeze). Stop wasting your time. Toss him away like the trash he is. Now.

    Forgiveness has nothing to do with it. Respecting yourself does. Find a man who respects himself--and you. Find someone worthy of your time and effort. This guy isn't it.

    Posted by PM August 19, 09 12:29 PM
  1. Without reading any of the other comments, I'll give you my advice. The thing that would bother me the most, which seems to bother you a lot too, is that he's been lying to you. It's great that he's making strides to change his ways, but it sounds like he has a long journey ahead. If I were you, I think I'd take a break from him for awhile. If you can still remain friends, or help him in therapy, and you don't think doing so would mess up your head, I'd go ahead and do that. Otherwise, I'd check in on him every couple of weeks, over the phone, to see how he is doing (you obviously care about him and want him to get help). Separate yourself from him - not with the intent on dating others, but if it happens, it happens. Focus on yourself for awhile and getting your head straight, and if you still feel you are in love with him and can learn to trust him again after 3,6,9 months apart, give him another shot. My thought is that you can probably find better out there, and that its going to be really hard to forgive his lying and trust him again. And if you do forgive him, don't forget. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.

    Posted by youdeservebetter August 19, 09 12:30 PM
  1. This girl is so easy to say how she was looking forward to "working through the bad times", yet here comes a bad time and she's ready to bolt.

    Clearly, it is HER who has the issue here.

    Just leave and find a guy who will cater more to you princess.

    Posted by YA I KNOW RYTE? August 19, 09 12:31 PM
  1. I think you're probably better off leaving him, but that's not what you asked. You asked how can you forgive him and how can you and him move on from this. So I will address that.

    First, it's only been a few weeks since his cheating came to light. (And yes, I think you should consider it cheating - for every rat you see, there's hundreds more you don't see). If he's genuinely committed to changing, I do not think it is in his best interests if you forgive too quickly. He needs to see and experience your pain - he needs to really get it, the consequences of his actions.

    To that end, you need to be free with your emotions and let him feel the full fury of your anger, grief, disappointment, and so on. Do not hide any of it. It would be a disservice to him. Rant, rave, cry, ask pointed questions, rant and rave and cry some more. Let it all out, don't keep anything back. Tell him about your nightmares, the anxiety heaving in your chest, about how you can't eat or sleep, how you obsess every minute you are apart, wondering what he is doing. This is your role in his recovery. Play it well.

    I would highly recommend you insist he accompany you to your gynecologist for STD testing. I would have *him* be the one to tell the doctor why you are there, explaining how he has exposed you to STDs by having sex with high-risk strangers he met through craiglist. Why should you suffer the indignity and embarrassment of that moment? He needs to handle that for you, so he can really get it, what his selfish, thoughtless actions have done to you.

    Then let him see you pacing and worrying as you wait for those test results. Drag it out... as long as you can. You aren't in the clear after this first HIV test - you have to continue sweating another 6 months for the second one. Insist on safe sex practices for a long, long time. That is the price he pays for cheating on you. Oh, and every now and then, complain of itching and ask him to see if you have developed a sore "down there."

    I am an idealist and I do believe people can change. But often it takes:

    1) Truly understanding the full consequences to others... which often cheaters can't bear, so they walk.
    2) Losing everything important to a person.

    In other words, you may have to walk away at some point. It may take that, for him to finally clean up his act. If you truly love him, you will do this for him. But you can try #1 first. You need to lay it on really thick. You will know it's time to forgive, when he's sweating more than you are, when he can't sleep or eat, when he is crying. When he knows that achieving your forgiveness will never really erase the pain he has caused you. When he realizes that his truly changing and never hurting you again is the only way to make any sort of amends. That even if he still loses you, he can't live with himself unless he changes. In other words, he comes to view it as changing for himself and nobody else. He doesn't change to keep you there. He changes because he can't bear the thought he is such a horrible person who could do such a thing to anyone.

    Whether you ultimately move on or not, I'd say you've got a good 6 months at least of withholding your forgiveness. Don't let him get off easy on this one. Make him work for that forgiveness.

    Posted by Anecdotal Evidence August 19, 09 12:33 PM
  1. "My boyfriend cheated on me. Not physically, but emotionally for more than a year (we’ve been dating for just over two)."

    LW, what would you tell someone who said this to you? What is the foundation of your relationship if he was either long distance, cheating on you, or both? How can you build the type of relationship you are looking for on all of these lies? Also, the part about him going to church for a sex addiction was very funny. Its like going to a dentist for advice about your car. I'm sure they'll reinforce to him that its a sin to wear a condom.

    Posted by sexual chocolate August 19, 09 12:34 PM
  1. Dump him and don't look back!

    You won't regret it.

    Posted by Clare Dingwell August 19, 09 12:36 PM
  1. This letter is ridiculous, and you need to grow up. He isn't addicted to anything, he's a guy. And he didn't cheat on you, emotionally or otherwise, he was roleplaying on the Internet. Newsflash: if anything you find in a browser history can end your relationship, you're doing it wrong.

    Posted by Meredith J. August 19, 09 12:37 PM
  1. Like finding a drug addict with fresh tracks up his/her arms and a needle hanging out of one and says...oops, it was just this one time, I promise I'll go for more therapy and go to church. Stay with him = DUMB

    Posted by Happy to see Rico wrote in August 19, 09 12:37 PM
  1. #106, looking at someone else's web browsing history and following the links is "snooping'.

    Although today's LW didn't intentionally seek the web browser's page visit history, she nonetheless followed it when it was presented to her. That's snooping.

    Couples these days should be smart and agree upfront if "snooping" in the other person's computer is permissible. Spell it out. "You're OK with me reading your emails, including what's in the sent folder, trash folder, etc, aren’t you.?" You don't mind if I view your browsers' cache and visit the sights that are in there, do you?" That way when a guy says "no" to snooping the woman can walk away or be on notice that if she snoops she’s the one in the wrong.

    How manyy of you women have specific agreements that it’s ok for you to read your partner’s emails (including deleted messages, sent messages, etc), peruse the caches and history so you can visit those sites to see what your partner has been up to, and go through your partners text messages?

    Posted by Sigh August 19, 09 12:40 PM
  1. I've watched a friend of mine go through this scenario (replacing craigslist with on-line chat) and she keeps "forgiving" him every time he lapses back into the porn, and they try to work through his issues. Well guess what? She really only forgave him the first time and now every time it happens it's just a slap in the face that his addiction will never go away and that even though she's the supposed love of his life he feels the need to let on-line fantasies come between them. I agree that he needs help but she shouldn't stick around for it. He needs to get the help for himself, not because he wants to make her happy, which is clearly the only reason he is doing it.

    Posted by Sam August 19, 09 12:42 PM
  1. LOL... #106 has been renumbered to 102!

    My apologies to the new #106!

    And LW... though some might find it worthwhile to stick around with the guy, you seem pretty clear that he wasn't living up to your expectations even before the Craigslist incident(s). Based on what you've said in the original letter it seems what you think is best for you is to move on and date new guys.

    And please, clarify with them what boundaries they have about prying/snooping into their computers before playing the "I accidentally found he's been visiting/watching/viewing/communicating with" game with him.

    Posted by Sigh August 19, 09 12:49 PM
  1. The question is not can I forgive but rather can I trust again? You will be able to forgive and some folks on here believe you will forgive too quickly, but really forgiveness is not your question. You need to figure out what needs to happen in order for you to trust him again and if that is even possible.

    My situation is different than yours as your relationship never had an “open” aspect to it, but I can tell you I have been where you are. My relationship is “open” with a set of definitions that we have agreed to together. At different times in the relationship the “open” has meant different things and at one point the relationship was “closed”. During the “closed” time I discovered the same thing as you. An email account and correspondences with folks from the casual encounters section of CL. It hurts like hell when this is dropped on you, but you can recover.

    In knowing your partner you can tell when they are genuinely sorry. In my situation I was offered access to read all that was in the email account. In reading the account I was able to confirm for myself that the interactions had not gone past email. That part allowed me to forgive, but that didn’t rebuild the trust.

    Lots of talking and listening needed to happen and even as the trust is replaced needs to keep happening. The fact that he asked you to go to therapy with him in my eyes is a fantastic sign. Please do yourself and him a favor and only go if you are truly willing to be open yourself. You are not the one who broke the trust, but that doesn’t mean your side of the relationship is perfect.

    Some questions that might help you decide if you can trust again. Why did he do this? What does he need in relationships in general? Can I give that to him without hurting myself in some way? Did something change in him while this was going on? Was there an instinct I was ignoring that I might be able to tap into in order to trust him?

    Trust can be rebuilt. Remember that he needs to trust you too, meaning if you say you are going to work on rebuilding the trust you really need to do it. You can take your time with it and learn even more about each other than you did before. Above all be honest with each other and if you both still love each other after the honesty you have a chance.

    Good luck

    Posted by my2cents August 19, 09 12:52 PM
  1. HMF, you described your boyfriend's issue as an addiction. If that's truly what it is, then you need to recognize that his behavior reflects that of a true addict. Many people don't believe that you can get addicted to pornography, but do some research. Unfortunately, I come from a family of addictive personalities that have given way to everything from alchoholism to serious hard drug abuse. I can tell you plainly that addicts will do whatever it takes--lie, cheat, and steal--to get what they want, even when they do it to the people they love. It's not their fault. Addicts need professional help to get a grip back on their lives, and it sounds like he is taking that step. My advice is that if you really love him, keep going with him to counseling and continue to be there for him, even when he f's up. Do not expect him to be cured overnight. Good luck.

    Posted by Paul August 19, 09 12:54 PM
  1. Youre all over analyzing this to death....it's a computer for Gods sake, He wasnt cheating on a person, Did he meet up with anyone NO he was simply reading the ads for enjoyment, I as a women also read them so stop the man haters club and give it a break. (mental cheating you've got to be kidding me)

    Posted by Sheryle August 19, 09 12:54 PM
  1. While I don't think there is anything inherently wrong with porn or checking out (or even posting) craigslist ads, I do think it's a major red flag when it's done secretly in the context of a committed relationship. Single people looking for hook-ups is one thing, but someone in a (supposedly) committed relationship posting their own ad secretly is totally different! It would also be different if two people in a relationship shared these activities together such as watching porn cuddled up on the couch or reading craigslist postings as a shared activity (whether to get a good laugh, get ideas, or even meet another person/couple).

    I also don't think occasional glances here and there by yourself is wrong if someone is in a commited relationship either, but any indulgence becomes problematic if it's a compulsion or interferes with a life activity such as work and persoal relationships. And since you have an issue with it...bingo...it's a problem then.

    I don't think people with addictions (whether it's porn, drugs, alcohol, etc) need to be ostracized or avoided like the plague, I think there's something to be said for people who can own up to their addictions and be forthcoming about it to people they are involved with and be in the process of working on their addition through counseling and/or a 12-step program.

    I'm with Meredith in that you need to consider leaving this relationship....not so much because he has an addiction, but because he wasn't honest with you and has kept a significant aspect of his life hidden from you for about 3/4 of the life of this relationship. That's pretty major. You say you love him, but a relationship needs more than love....it requires honesty and shared goals for the relationship. And if one of your goals is honesty and he's not able to give that to you 100% RIGHT NOW...and that you trust that is the case, then this relationship isn't going to go anywhere.

    I think he needs to work on himself while he figures out where this obsession is coming from....(such as what are his views on women and sex...and why does he have them). Give him the space to do that.

    Posted by bklynmom August 19, 09 12:55 PM
  1. Ugh! Who knows where he's been and who he's been with? Run. Now. Fast.
    Haven't had tim to read the previous comments since I don't want to be late for chat at 1PM.

    Posted by Nada August 19, 09 12:56 PM
  1. It's a big step from thinking about posting an ad, to posting an ad, to actually meeting up with someone. It's entirely possible he hasn't met up with anyone from these ads. On the other hand, where there seems to be smoke there can be fire.

    As to his being a slacker professionally--maybe I don't get it but he completed his grad degree and then got a job--how is that slacking?

    However you believe he is a slacker, which probably implies that you have a certain lack of respect for him (because it's not like you're saying, with a big happy appreciative smile on your face, " well Bob *is* a slacker but I really love him anyway!," which would be *very* different. Not everyone needs to run the country. Sounds like you want a man who will *work* for you and you're not seeing that in him. If so, by all means you should get out of dodge rather than attempt to hector him into doing something he doesn't want to do.

    However, getting to the most important point--it sounds to me like you want to leave. it sounds to me like it is causing you pain to stay in this relationship and go against what a big part of you is saying, which is "eeeeew!!".

    I won't advise you either way. If you stay with him, it could turn out well. Or it could not. You really don't know. What you face now is "conscious choice time". Do your best, make a choice, whichever it is, and move forward is my advice

    Posted by Steve in W MA August 19, 09 12:57 PM
  1. Run! And I say that as someone who has perused Craigslist. CL is rife with people in relationships. Even if they can't get to the point where they physically stray, they like the titillation and the taboo. If they've been caught online by a suspicious spouse or GF, they don't stop...they just become more covert about what they're doing. Do you want to always be wondering if he's really working late, do you want to be sniffing his shirts for traces of perfume? How is this trust? It's an addiction, like anything else.

    Posted by Juno August 19, 09 12:59 PM
  1. HMF, I think you answered your own questions here... you say yourself, you know you can live without him. Do it! Go find someone else, someone who may be a better match for you. Someone looking for the same things you are. At best, think of your time together as a learning experience.
    I have to say there is a part of me that is not entirely convinced with your story... especially where you say "And I was so excited to struggle with him and overcome things with him and I thought he was it for me. " Who gets excited to overcome and struggle anything? You tell us a lot about his problems, but you never go into any detail about your relationship with him. You say he requested he join you in therapy, why is that? Is there something you're not telling us? Were you available to him, emotionally and physically (or even via phone/ internet when he was away)? I'm not trying to blame you, just want you to really think about what went wrong in this relationship... reflect within, and it may help in your next relationship.

    Posted by hmmm.... August 19, 09 01:02 PM
  1. Yeah, going to church will stop it... what is wrong with people?

    In any case, move on. He won't change a lick.

    Posted by Edzo August 19, 09 01:04 PM
  1. Sometimes love just ain't enough!

    Posted by so true August 19, 09 01:04 PM
  1. Lance Romance,
    Are you serious, your pathetic! She deserves more the he can offer and you apparently have no respect for women that you think that is appropraite behavior! Not all men are like that!! Maybe you and him, but there are wholesome good men around!

    Posted by just a little something August 19, 09 01:06 PM
  1. The people all eager to just focus on the perceived 'snooping' are probably guilty of something themselves. If you have nothing to hide then its not an issue. Someone that is a psycho about snooping, that's a separate issue. They are probably psycho about a lot of other things too. But like this? No. I could care less if someone i'm full on in a relationship with looks at my phone, computer, etc. If your in an adult committed relationship you should not hide things from one another. If you do..prepare to be caught eventually. And just to note, I don't care if my friends do that either. You can't live your life with something constantly to hide. Its too difficult.

    Posted by notguiltybutyoumightbe August 19, 09 01:08 PM
  1. I disagree with those that say that "unmet needs in a relationship" are the reason for men (primarily men) using pornography etc etc. and that somehow if the woman would just be open enough those needs/desires would be met within the relationship.

    The fact is that adult people have sexual histories (I am including fantasy here as well as developmental sexual stuff, not just one on one adult sex) before they met their current partner that go back to puberty and before, including desires that may not always fit into the roles of their primary relationship, and that they *may not want* to put into their primary relationship. It could be a masturbation fantasy that really they decided should stay as a *masturbation fantasy* not as a partner activity, for example.

    What I'm saying is it's not the partner's "fault" that her guy or his girl wants or does x y or z that seems to her to be something that he should be doing with her inside their relationship. People have private lives and the idea that *everything* should be shared is an ideal that often is unrealistic and bears little relationship to reality.

    Now what you decide to do if your partner turns out to be into stuff you aren't comfortable with is another question entirely. But if he does, it doesn't necessarily have to be *fixed* nor does it necessarily reflect on your relationship per se.

    Posted by North Shore August 19, 09 01:11 PM
  1. Are any of the people spewing addiction nonsense under 50? More importantly, is the boyfriend missing work because of his "addiction?" Has he lost his job? Not paying the bills?


    Porn isn't an addiction, it's an activity, and a pretty enjoyable one for millions of Americans. But the way people talk here, it makes me think I should be scheduling an intervention for my wife's quilting "addiction."

    Posted by Brian R. August 19, 09 01:15 PM
  1. He lied. He lied repeatedly. Even if you can get over the content of the lies, porn etc (I know I couldn't) he will continue to lie. He avoids sticky situations by lying. He will always lie. In 10 years from now he could lie and say he's been paying the mortgage and you won't find out until the foreclosure notice comes. Do you want to live your life with someone who you can never trust?

    Posted by CouchMouse August 19, 09 01:20 PM
  1. Porn has nothing to do with Craigslist casual encounters. Your bf likes to get some strange every once in a while. If you want a faithful husband, you'll need to dump this loser.

    Posted by Bee August 19, 09 01:22 PM
  1. First, I want to say that this really sucks and I feel for HMF. Been there, done that - was in a similar situation, and it did not work out in the end. My ex was JUST like yours - emailing ex gf's, asking for sex tapes they made together, casual encounters on the web, porn (and no, he had plenty of sex at home, so it wasnt an issue with me, he was just addicted and prob. could not see it). I am glad it ended, there was a better man out there for me - as there will be for you. Now some other poor woman is dealing with my ex, I feel bad for her. GET OUT....as someone else said on here, a leopard does not change its spots. You will be happier when you do.....good luck.....

    Posted by GETOUTNOW August 19, 09 01:25 PM
  1. Don't take this the wrong way, but you sound like a nag, and a prude to boot.

    Newsflash: EVERY guy does stuff like this. Every man has a healthy need to.... ya know... be taken care of down there. It's normal, it's healthy, and boy is it fun.

    Especially when 300 miles from you and only seeing you every 2 weekends. Can you blame him? I have the same equipment he does, and I can guarantee you he was doing in Philadelphia too.

    Now you're berating him about his life goals? Having him go to CHURCH? I suppose you tell him that his hand is going to fall off and he'll go blind if he touches himself down there?

    Do HIM the favor and dump him, he will thank youf or it.

    Posted by danny G August 19, 09 01:31 PM
  1. #3 Lance Romance: You are so WRONG! Such a man-type of comment.

    Forgive: Don't listen to Lance Romance. There's a lot more to a lasting relationship than to "loosen up in the bedroom." Look at what you wrote. If a friend of yours wrote this to you for advice, what would you tell her? This guy is not about to be faithful to you, and that he continually lies to you proves this. This guy isn't ready for a one-on-one relationship, but you are. So, move along and find other pursuits. This guy wants you to be there for him, while he goes out and "scores" with other women. Don't be a doormat for his dirty boots.

    Posted by Rider3 August 19, 09 01:32 PM
  1. Break up with him and move on. It's a huge red flag if you have to work on all these things now after only 2 years of dating... think of what issues will come up down the line? When you have kids...etc. Also, going to church won't do anything to help him with his pornography problem and it's dumb if he thinks it will... therapy sounds good but you shouldn't be going w/him. There's probably some deeper issues there that's causing him to turn to craiglist relationships and porn to solve them. Having you there might prevent him from really opening up to a therapist.

    Posted by Boston Reader August 19, 09 01:33 PM
  1. Um ... yeah. Sorry LW, but you don't have a snowball's chance in hell. And by the way, don't listen to these donkeys who keep trying to blame this on you - it doesn't matter how many grilled cheeses you make, or how much of a wannabe 'ho you are in the sack -- it's really not about you at all. It's about HIM. Bottom line: you're done. Move on. I was you, except I was married when I found out. We had a baby and it got worse. I tried to forgive ... and stayed 8 more years while he lied to me repeatedly, spent hundreds of dollars in strip clubs and on porn sites and yes, played on Craigslist. Bad plan. It doesn't matter about the church or the therapy -- the selfishness doesn't go away with either of those things, and as some have said, they often lie to the therapists anyway. Long story short -- there is someone better for you out there.Go find him.

    Posted by Ancela's Ashes August 19, 09 01:34 PM
  1. A lot of people are posting here under false premises.

    - "He's not getting what he wants in the bedroom."

    You don't know that. The poster may be perfectly lively and fun in the bed. In my experience, however, (and I'm a 30yr old guy w/ many friends) that doesn't mean he'll never look at porn. For some of us it's a childish little kick we haven't given up on. There's curiosity as to just what previously unthought of combination the porn industry is going to produce next. But it stops there. After we've wiped up there's a feeling of slight embarrassment and then it's on to the rest of the day (or just going to bed).

    Soliciting people on craigslist, however, is very different. And you really, really need to ask yourself whether or not he's been honest in saying that he never met up with someone. I'm sure the people he contacted had exactly that in mind.

    - "He'll never reform."

    Without having the first misconception cleared up then it's impossible to say just what level of addiction he has, if any. If it's just been some porn and idly scanning through "casual encounters" then maybe he can be shocked straight. But if he truly did have a "porn addiction" that was interfering with his life and has now "graduated" to craigslist (and possibly sex with strangers) then there is a good chance you will never know for sure what he's up to in his off hours.

    You've asked about how to forgive.. Before forgiving, make sure you feel REALLY comfortable that you know the whole truth. If not, or if the truth is pretty scary, then I would say you should walk away. It's scary and uncomfortable being single when you've been in a relationship but you *will* find someone else. Good luck.

    Posted by tora22 August 19, 09 01:44 PM
  1. so your boyfriend is Phillip Markoff? am i right or am i right?

    Just leave, pack your bags, and start your new life.

    Posted by Monopoly Man August 19, 09 01:46 PM
  1. This one is too easy. Drop him now and move on. You will never trust him, and marriage and children will create stresses that will absolutely send him back to porn, Craigslist and more. Not all guys do those things. Find one who doesn't. They're out there.

    Posted by moveongirlfriend August 19, 09 01:49 PM
  1. Encourage him to go to an Every Man's Battle workshop. (everymansbattle.com). They deal specifically with pornography addictions. Many here will tell you there's no such thing, but your boyfriend will tell you differently, and you've experienced the fallout. You might still need to run, as you might with an alcoholic, but he is making good overtures, and could use someplace that really helps. Good luck.

    Posted by good luck August 19, 09 01:56 PM
  1. Lol, at all you people who think watching porn is an evil addiction! Stop being so uptight. It's perfectly normal.

    Posted by Dumb Broad August 19, 09 01:57 PM
  1. Hi everyone! Dad's taking another day off from responding so I'm going to fill in.

    OK. So it looks like we have another woman who "mistakenly" found some things on her boyfriend's computer (namely, CraigsList and other objectionable stuff), which is no different from yesterday's letter. However, it's my belief that even though they have no right to look at their boyfriend's/husband's phone/computer/etc., the suspicions of infidelity and general curiosity COMPEL these women to go and look anyway. Clearly, the same curiousity killed the cat but for the girlfriends/wives, it just makes them boil over. Enraged, the jilted woman confronts the man about his behavior. These series of events spark a huge argument and cause feelings of anger, loathing and resentment in both partners. What happened to being able to trust the other partner? What happened to honesty? Or respect? The bottom line here is that erosions of said trust and respect have occurred over time and the relationship bonds are tested to very high levels. Will the bonds break or merely bend? The answer is up to those people who are in these kinds of relationships. Any self-respecting individual would rise up, confront their lover in the face, and stand up for their own morals and beliefs. They would learn that being in a loving and caring relationship does not mean to compromise one's own feelings and beliefs for sake of staying together. True happiness is achieved when both partners remain open, honest and loving.

    Without going into too much more, I will agree with the consensi about what the LW should do. Leave the relationship. Do not settle for anyone. Go after your prize! You will find someone who will love you and cherish you - and then you should marry them. Don't let your trust issues affect your future relationships. Further, do not ever try to convince yourself that you love someone who clearly doesn't get what being in a loving and committed relationship requires of them.

    Now, onto the comments.

    #10 - Linda, you really hit it on the head. Well said. I agree with you 100%.
    #12 - SPM, my Dad agrees with you as well. He is a firm believer in the love does not equal sex creed. However, it's because people mix feelings with sexual pleasure - it's the way that parents tell their kids about sex. "When you lie next to someone very special..." and that kind of stuff. It's put in our (collective) minds that we need to love someone before sleeping with them. Often, though, we forget that we should be in love with someone and then we go right to sleeping with them. Or even worse, we sleep with someone in hope that they will LIKE us or later learn to LOVE us. This is the worst thing of all. As my Dad would say, "WHERE'S THE SELF-RESPECT???"
    #19 - Your husband is probably bored and he wanted to feel alive again. Just because he takes on a different persona doesn't mean that he doesn't love you any less. So long as the dog stays in the cage...once he's out, he's not coming back.
    #28 - Also agreed with your post. Well said.
    #48 - don't try to talk Meredith out of her beliefs. She has nothing against porn but I'm willing to bet that she doesn't LIKE it.

    Overall, we have some really good advice (e.g. #53, 57, etc). So I don't need to go on, but I will maybe later though. Dad and I are going golfing.

    Good luck HMF

    Posted by Son of Admiral Antgro August 19, 09 01:59 PM
  1. Whoever said cheaters never change is absolutely wrong. A cheater will stop cheating when he finds a woman capable of satisfying him. I cheated on every girl I ever dated until the last. She is so incredible I didn't have too. Most women are just selfish.

    Posted by F All Yall August 19, 09 02:01 PM
  1. Dear LW,

    First of all forgiveness is the best, most wonderful gift you can give yourself. Why spend time hating him for what he is? Also, I think that till he works through his own issues (if he even really wants to), you are better off being his friend than his g/f. So forgive him, let him know you still care about him and move on with your life (including being tested for stds.) The really big issue is that he has lied to you every step of the way. Usually I find leykis100's responses ridiculous, but today I think he hit the nail on the head. I find it really hard to believe that he created the special account and was responding online, but didn't actually meet up with anyone, puhleeeze.

    Also, I think all the responses about snooping are pretty funny. Like Sigh said everyone should have an agreement in place whether snooping on electronic devices is allowed or not (heh.) That way, you can know which relationships to avoid upfront. If there is absolutely no looking at anything on their computer/cell phone - either a) they have every intention of doing stuff they don't want you to know about - or b) they have huge privacy/intimacy issues and who needs that additional drama?

    HMV - good luck with whatever you choose!

    Posted by sundiego August 19, 09 02:04 PM
  1. I disagreee w those who wrote that they see nothing wrong w porn. It's something teenaged or college boys do. Real men don't need to be cruising the net to get turned on. LW - would you really want to bring an innocent child, especially a little girl - into your home with a porn addict. He's filthy, dump him. FAST!

    Posted by Anonymous August 19, 09 02:07 PM
  1. The lesson from the last two days is set your browser to retain no history.

    Posted by Smart Guy August 19, 09 02:07 PM
  1. I'm afraid that it will only get worse. I like what Meredith did by pulling out those things that really do count. Run for your life.

    Surround yourself with your closest and dearest friends and let them help you get through breaking up with him. Doesn't mean he's a bad person, doesn't mean your a bad person or not good enough. It means that you respect yourself and know that you will not be happy living in his addiction, because as sure as the sun will shine, your life with him will not be happy.

    May I also suggest that you see a good therapist to help you through this? I promise, the sun will shine for you again. Take care & best of luck - let us know how you do.

    Posted by Kat August 19, 09 02:08 PM
  1. Hm. I had to read the letter again to get the facts straight after reading all the comments.

    What most people haven't pointed out is that this has been a long-distance relationship. You were in Boston - he was in school out-of-state. Let's not be naive to think that he hasn't slept with anyone else, because that would be foolish. He has some serious issues - and they're NOT YOUR PROBLEM. Church and Therapy will not help someone who feels bad for getting "caught" ... It will only give them justification to continue their "addiction" (a term I use loosely when applying to this situation,) and it gives them something to point at and say: "but look - I tried! I went to church/couseling!!!" after they "relapsed"... It's actually kinda funny.

    The facts - no, let's say TRUTH - of the situation are simple. He lied to you, and is probably continuing to lie to you to justify his behavior. If you can live with a liar, go ahead, but you'd be a fool to trust this guy again. Especially since you haven't even spent a whole year in a real relationship with this guy - it's been long-distance!!!

    Dump him, then proceed to execute the following "battle plan":

    1) Get tested for STD's
    2) Call all your girl friends - vent.
    3) Get wasted with above-mentioned girl friends
    4) Hook up with a *real* rock star

    Repeat #1 as necessary.

    Oh - and regarding the snooping - let us all learn a real lesson here, folks - It's a recurring theme on LL. Please ladies - DO NOT SNOOP. I don't care how you "justify" it. If you find files on your boyfriend's computer that look suspect - walk away. If you're asked to respond to someone's text message - say no. If you see random links on his laptop - don't click on them. Chances are all men are scum and have dirty little secrets we don't want to know about them. In some (or all) of these cases, ignorance is bliss.

    Cats not Dogs

    Posted by Rica August 19, 09 02:16 PM
  1. Hey Everyone- stop harshing on snooping. It serves its purpose...especially during nasty divorces. Which- dear LW- is exactly where you're headed if you stay with this tool and marry him. Save yourself all the trouble and leave now!!!

    Posted by He's a dirty dirtbag August 19, 09 02:19 PM
  1. Big, big difference between liking porn and addicted to porn. It’s the difference between liking a drink now and then, and being an alcoholic. And addiction has nothing to do with not being satisfied at home. And addicts will swear to give something up, but 95% of them just find better ways to hide it.

    HMF, welcome to your life. He’s only going to change if he wants to change, not if you want him to change. Take a long hard look at him right now, as he is: porn addict and all, and ask yourself: can I accept him for who he is, right now? If your answer is “no”, then its time to move on. It doesn’t make you a bad person, it just makes you not compatible with him. Contrary to popular belief, poetry, bad romance novels, and songs, Love is not the Cure All/Fix All. Love him all you want. Love him with all your heart and soul, and every fiber of your being: IT STILL WON’T CHANGE HIM.

    Posted by wakeupandsmellthecoffee August 19, 09 02:29 PM
  1. I realize you were picturing growing old with this guy, but you probably weren't picturing spending the next 50 years waiting for this to happen again...which it will.

    Run, don't walk to the nearest clinic and get tested for everything you possibly can. Then find your own apartment, hang a mirror and repeat to yourself over and over in the mirror that you deserve better.

    Invite yesterday's letter writer over for coffee and practice saying it together.

    Posted by QMLB August 19, 09 02:29 PM
  1. To "hagbag"
    If you mess around and leave a bread trail, WE WILL FIND IT!!!!! You are either trusted and there are no secrets, or you are lying and need to hide it better. Take your pick, but don't act like she is at fault for finding his dirty little secret.

    Posted by Just don't call me late for dinner August 19, 09 02:30 PM
  1. Don't carry on a relationship with someone who doesn't respect you.

    Posted by AG August 19, 09 02:37 PM
  1. HMF two words: Craigslist Killer!
    Okay perhaps a bit dramatic yes but the last time I checked I didnt think that craiglist was famous for building strong "emotional" relationships between people but rather strong PHYSICAL relationships. You need to stop having sex with this guy right away and send him packing! Meredith is totally right!
    I don't care how much he asks God to "heal him" I am sure that what he is really asking god is to forgive him and let him do it again. You need to respect yourself enough to get out of this situation and really find someone that is worth struggling with! Best of luck!

    Posted by HK24 August 19, 09 02:38 PM
  1. Just to clarify for some confused posters here:
    This has absolutley NOTHING to do with porn.
    He is lying to this poor girl and arranging to meet other women behind her back.
    That is the reason she needs to free herself from this destructive relationship.
    Porn is OK. Lying and cheating is NOT.

    ps - Sally, are you sure it's only 10 years? I've been old and crotchety for much longer and I'm not even 50 yet : )

    Thank you.
    That is all,

    Posted by DrK August 19, 09 02:40 PM
  1. Speaking of Porn ... all that objectifying and unrealistic images can really be harmful when your real partner doesn't measure up.

    I'm talking about those harlequin romance novels and a lot of the shows on the Lifetime channel.

    And all that obsessing about Brad + Angelina, etc.

    Real Men are not like that ladies. Stop your addiction to it now.

    See? It goes both ways now doesn't it?

    Posted by sean August 19, 09 02:42 PM
  1. If you're still unconvinced, pause for a moment. Imagine staying with him and in five years:
    - after unprotected sex you come up HIV positive, maybe you find this out when your pregnant and have to take an HIV test.
    - you come down with genital herpes which you'll have for the rest of your life
    - you file for divorce because of years of heartache. It costs you thousands of dollars to divorce this jerk.
    - you've lost many friends because they've listening to your sob stories over and over and over and finally they've moved on.
    I could go on and on...

    Posted by elizabeth August 19, 09 02:42 PM
  1. this can't be for real. speaking from a person who is divorced standpoint, why is it so hard for people to leave / remove themselves from relationships? obviously these two are extremely immature to begin with, and the long distance thing too. getting divorced was hard, and having my ex mother in law (who I adored) come over and "suggest" i move out was brutal.....but gave me a new lease on life...the greatest thing ever. a blessing.

    get out of bad relationships!! its amazing how free you will feel..!! get out now, while you're not stuck and married with kids with no money to be on your own. I am convinced 95% of people get married because we are raised to believe its the be all end all in life. puke.

    Posted by RichG August 19, 09 02:42 PM
  1. Just for laughs:
    Dear Meredith,
    Yesterday, while folding socks in the laundry room, I fell off a chair and accidently opened my gf's laptop. Then, without thinking, I double-clicked a bunch of strange looking icons. They were little pictures of wedding bells and angels. Thinking they were related to her upcoming bridal shower, I tried to open them. Since they had a password, I figured they weren't that important, until when I was folding a pair of her pants and a small note fell out of the pocket that just happened to have the passords on it. Well, to my surprise when I fianlly got the programs open, it turns out......

    Posted by Snoopy August 19, 09 03:01 PM
  1. DrK, in your case -- and in mine -- it's a lifetime of crotchediness. Fortunately, we have some sense of humor, so the crotchediness is charming and lovable.

    My post to Val yesterday got lost: Val, have pleasant marriage and call me with the divorce is final. In all seriousness, I wish the best for you and your lighthouse. May she guide you home in the darkest hour and all that other stuff.

    Posted by Sally August 19, 09 03:03 PM
  1. I don't have a problem with porn . Guys will be guys. If they like it, good for them. What your boyfriend did was not just emotional cheating... people don't go to craiglist for that... there's a highly likelyhood that he has had a physical relationship with some of the women he met there. You should definitely get yourself tested and insist he get himself tested too.

    You don't have to forgive him for what he's done on the craigslist casual encounters site. It sounds like you don't believe him anyhow "After several iterations of his story about how this all came to pass, I finally got the truth, or at least I think I did..." Move on with your life and find someone who shares the same values as you do. You'll be better off on your own.

    Posted by EM August 19, 09 03:04 PM
  1. HMF
    Move along, there's nothing to see here!
    I can never understand why loser guys like this waste the time to make women's lives miserable by playing like they want relationships.
    The man will continue in this vein, he'll do some stupid ish like try to hit on your best girlfriend.

    Posted by Vinman August 19, 09 03:08 PM
  1. There's a High Creepiness Factor involved when one is trolling for random s*x on Craigslist. I'm sure there's A LOT more you don't know about your boyfriend. Sometimes people can hide who they truly are for years. It's scary. I know you think he was your end all, be all, but he's not. You have a long life ahead of you and most likely, more ex-boyfriends.

    Posted by trueluv4eva August 19, 09 03:24 PM
  1. Looking at porn is one thing. Women who think "their guy" doesn't are fooling themselves. And, yeah, if you are separated from him for weeks on a time, well, a man has needs and he sometimes needs to take matters into his own hand.

    The posting on the Craigslist thing is FAR more worrying. That's pretty much a foot out the door. He may not quite have left the house, but he's damn close to doing so -- and despite what he said, I don't think you can believe him.

    I'd move on, though. Sounds like this guy is trouble waiting to happen, and let that trouble happen to someone else -- becasue after you squeeze out a couple of kids with this guy and you're always "tired", it's going to be right back to casual encounters for him .... you can bank on it.

    Posted by K August 19, 09 03:29 PM
  1. I understand why people are accusing other LW's of snooping, but here, really? Are couples now supposed to have separate computers because one might be hiding something? I'm all for privacy, but IF YOU'RE NOT DOING ANYTHING WRONG, YOU DON'T HAVE ANYTHING TO HIDE. Really, it's that simple.

    Posted by sm1231 August 19, 09 03:46 PM
  1. Smart Guy #141 is correct. Spend a few minutes with your web browser and email client's documentation to learn how to automatically, and on demand, clean up all of your history files, cached data files, cookies, and deleted emails. It's very simple and cna be found in the Settings, Options or Preferences sections of these applications. Select to empty your deleted emails folders when exiting. Select to NOT keep browser histories after exiting. Select to "automatically" deleted all cached files in your browser. By erasing all traces of your surfing and email histories you can save everyone the trouble of trying to figure out what you've really been doing.

    Posted by TitMouse August 19, 09 03:47 PM
  1. There is this interesting thing women do - I don't think men do it as much, though perhaps I’m just not aware - when we decide we love someone. We seem to set love apart from the reality of the relationship, as though it were an independent fact: I love this person, therefore I will twist myself inside out and do everything I can to force our relationship to work, even though doing so requires that I compromise my beliefs, morals, and well-being, because I love this person. It’s circular reasoning, and it gets us into all kinds of horrible relationship tangles. When the loved person does something that severely challenges the relationship, we go into Save the Relationship! mode, because we have decided to love this person, rather than saying huh, maybe I don't actually love someone who would treat me this way. Maybe I don’t want to save this relationship; maybe I can build a better one with someone who respects me more, is more trustworthy, values honesty, and shares my moral outlook. (I say this with all sympathy, having done this more than once myself.)

    Well, what on earth does love mean, after all? Does it mean putting up with all manner of hurtful behavior, accepting apologies you don’t trust, worrying that all this is simply waiting to crop up again as soon as your boyfriend is stressed out, gets tired of church, decides he’s done with counseling, gets pissed at you, or just plain misses his porn?

    I know you loved him, I know you saw your future with him, but in reality you didn’t have all the facts. Now you have some more facts. Are they the facts you want to carry into the next several decades of life with this man? Are you prepared to worry about whether or not he’s either cheating online, or cheating for real, every time he’s late for dinner? Do you want to worry about what your children might come across on his computer? Euw.

    Move on. Say goodbye. Accept that it will be heartbreaking and sad. It happens to us all. Thank your lucky stars and your guardian angel that you learned about all this now, instead of marriage and a couple of kids later.

    Posted by MelissaJane August 19, 09 03:49 PM
  1. One other thing- I haven't read all the comments so maybe this has been said. But honey, Casual Encounters is NOT a porn site. It's a site for *arranging hookups.* If he was really addicted to porn, you'd see other porn sites in his history; there's much better stuff, if simple porn is what you want, than cl ads. CE has a particular purpose, and it is extremely hard for me to believe that he has not been using it for that purpose. He's lied to you over and over again, and he's lying about not setting up meetings, too.

    Posted by MelissaJane August 19, 09 03:59 PM
  1. Please save yourself from a life of misery..run. Like they always say, for every rat you see there are 10 you don't. Your boyfriend is not the exception to this rule. You will find someone else you love who won't subject you to a life of lying and cheating and when you do you will wonder how you wasted two years with this person. People do not change..he won't. Casual Encounters on CL is not porn..it is a method to meet people for sexual encounters...big difference. He ceratinly has cheated on you and while he may have a porn addiction he also has a cheating problem too. These are fundamental personality flaws that won't go away.

    Posted by DC August 19, 09 04:00 PM
  1. @ Just don't call me late for dinner:

    I'm not acting: she IS at fault for finding his stuff. It's pretty clear that she doesn't want to admit to herself what has was really happening; people don't go to CL Casual Encounters for "masturbatory material" when there are much better alternatives (maybe to look...MAYBE...but to POST...Nah, I'm not buyin' it). If she doesn't want to accept what was going on, and have the guts to kick him to the curb, than why bother going down this path in the first place? As far as he goes, well...I just don't know what to say except: Stupid rookie mistakes! Erase your browser history/cookies (or use Firefox’s Private Browsing features), and never surf porn (or Craig….pppffffttt…..snicker….Craigslist) without first checking your default privacy settings.

    Me? I never look at that stuff. My wife would kill me.

    Posted by thehagbag August 19, 09 04:00 PM
  1. Snoopy, #154, that's priceless!

    I'm assuming the boyfriend in your hypothetical story feels justified in snooping through the protected files because the girlfriend wouldn't have put the password in her pant pocket and then let him wash them had she not wanted him to go through her personal, password-protected files ;-)

    Human beings deserve to be allowed to set their own privacy boundaries without being hounded and belittled by insecure women.

    Posted by Sigh August 19, 09 04:00 PM
  1. Its hard, but end this.

    Posted by Robin August 19, 09 04:06 PM
  1. In this case, snooping may have saved this girl a lifetime of misery! Good work, LW!!!!

    Posted by Goodwork August 19, 09 04:11 PM
  1. Things I learned from this letter...

    There is so little porn on the Internet that you can see it all in a year, and then it won't "do anything" for you any more.

    Craigslist's Casual Encounters don't work very well. You can post messages on and off for more than a year and not actually meet anyone.

    Craigslist is more addictive than cigarettes, but there's no patch to help you "kick the habit." However, church may help.

    If you post messages to Craigslist's Casual Encounters, you're not one of "those people." But everyone else who posts is.

    If you don't get a fake email account, "those people" from Craigslist WILL track you down.

    When in doubt, don't blame it on the vodka or blame it on the Henny. Blame it on the p-p-p-p-porn.

    Posted by Jasper's Buddy August 19, 09 04:26 PM
  1. Meredith you just don't get it and should not be giving advice on love. Pornography is evil. It basically objectifies women turning them into nothing but body parts for Men's pleasure. Not many but a few good points made here. Pornography can most certainly be addictive. It can also lead to men becoming more aggressive with women and moving to harder core porn, prostitution, etc. It most certainly hurts relationships as often a mans true love can not compete physically with these air brushed and enhanced body parts. I hear people every day say there's nothing wrong with pornography but when you ask if they would be OK if there daughter, sister, or mother where in the industry they all say no. Very telling as far as I'm concerned. I spend much of my leisure time working with teens. The biggest problem effecting teens is not drugs or alcohol it's porn and a society of sax as a leisure activity. I have literally seen a couple young men turn from protectors to predators because porn has them believe woman were created only to pleasure them and they are body parts not people with dignity. The fact people turn a blind eye to this whole hook up culture we live in is genuinely sad. Our girls are being emotionally crushed and STD’s are out of control. You can believe in God, Science or both a clear message is being sent that sex as a leisure activity is doing tremendous damage to our society. It may even have a lot to do why fathers are leaving their children without Dads as they move onto a different woman trying to satisfy their lust. There is a big difference between lust and love. Lust is selfish Love is giving.

    Posted by Henway August 19, 09 04:37 PM
  1. Rico's added thoughts of the day:

    Rico also wants to add that the snooping is a bit of an issue in itself. The snooping may not be right and Rico may not agree with it however the cat is already out of the bag and the cat is not wearing any clothes. Rico is sure by reading your letter there are plenty of other reasons for you to end this relationship. What you have uncovered is only a small piece of the puzzle but even without seeing the rest of the pieces Rico already can tell you the puzzle just isn't worth finishing.

    Rico knows of people that are in relationships or have been in some that they knew weren't right but they couldn't help themselves because they thought they could change a person or this person would suddenly redeem him or herself. Craigslist casual encounters as someone else said is for hooking up not for porn surfing. Craigslist pictures are small and lack detail, just look in the for sale sections and see what Rico is talking about. Rico doubts this guy was looking to "chat" and his posting adds fuel to the fire. He either hooked up with or at least tried to hook up with someone on there. Whether he did or not is not the issue, the issue is he at least tried and that in itself is the problem.

    You said you don't need him. Well, prove it and just end it and find someone else that you do need. Rico would be miserable without his wife and can't imagine life without her and she feels the same about Rico. Isn't that what you want? What do you need with a guy that disrespects you on so many levels? He is a slacker? Imagine when 10 years from now the lawn needs to be cut or the house painted or the baby needs to be changed. Where will this guy be? Surfing porn and craigslist in the basemant? If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck and looks like a duck then it's probably a duck.

    Rico is ready for a better letter tomorrow from someone with the slightest of common sense hopefully writing in for advice. Rico is growing very tired of annoying letters that have the answers in them. Advice to ALL letter writers/advice seekers: Write the letter then read it out loud to yourself. If you still don't understand what to do then send it in for Rico and friends to evaluate. There is plenty of porn on the internet and in magazines, casual encounters is NOT A PORN SITE. Heck, your gf or wife probably gets enough VS catalogues to browse through you may not even need the internet. ha ha and isn't Cosmopolitan a porn mag?

    Love always,


    Gears not Gas...be safe and have a nice night...

    Posted by Rico August 19, 09 04:38 PM
  1. “Clinton is (depending on what the definition of "is" is) you?” Haiku

    My guy loves people
    The she-male on-line fooled him
    He did not inhale

    Posted by valentino August 19, 09 04:41 PM
  1. *sigh* Poor thing.

    Forgiveness is a sacrificial act. You've already sacrificed your sense of trust and possibly more (the medical tests advice was right on) -- I think you've given away enough already. What could he ever do now to regain your trust? Will you always question him? I for one could not go forward in this relationship with this much damage to my sense of trust. It will count for too much in the future.

    I think you're hoping someone here will say, "don't worry, he hasn't actually DONE anything." But that's not how you feel.

    You thought you had one thing, and found out you had quite another. It's reason enough to make the decision you know you have to make. Breaking up will suck, but an uncertain future would suck even more.

    Posted by BirdieKate August 19, 09 04:50 PM

    Posted by YOU ARE A LOSER IF YOU FORGIVE HIM August 19, 09 04:52 PM
  1. Rico is a woman. Knows too much about VS & Cosmo.

    Posted by Alvin August 19, 09 05:12 PM
  1. Thank you, Sally. Three days left and no lap dance could ever bring me the joy of knowing that you'll be there if things fall apart. I'll be away for a while, but I may check in from the Left Bank to get some tips on "tu vs. vous". May all LL contributors enjoy the ride that is love.

    Posted by valentino August 19, 09 05:47 PM
  1. Honey, if you forgive him and take it back you will be giving him permission to walk all over you for the rest of your life.

    He will know that you will forgive him for the worst of offenses. He will know you have no confidence or sense of dignity.

    Note to all people saying "Guy will be guys. Guys look at porn." The difference is he is the one CREATING some of these casual encounters ads. That is a lot different than simply looking at the occasional porn.

    Posted by beantownbaklava August 19, 09 05:54 PM
  1. I have oddly enough just gone through the same situation this past Sunday. My boyfriend (or is he now my ex?) has been emailing with a woman for nearly two years (we've been together a little over a year) flirtatious messages with intent of getting together "to see what happens". This e-mail relationship is both disgusting and highly inappropriate. If he didn't leave his e-mail open and allow me to discover it, it would still be going on today. I am hurt beyond belief. He claims that he loves me more than anything in this world and wants to marry me? How could I marry someone who is obviously dysfunctional? He is also slow on getting his career together and has only made progress because I had threatened to not put up with it otherwise. He needs to help himself before any of this can work. I am struggling because he has become my best friend in the past year and this feels like a death. I still love and care for him very much, but I know I'm better off without him in the long run. HMF, I am going through the same struggles, and I know it hurts and it's hard, but just how much are you willing to put up with? You need to put yourself first and move on.

    Posted by HurtingBadly August 19, 09 06:11 PM
  1. To the women who think their man doesn't watch porn, get over yourself and grow up. What does he think of when he masterbates? A vision of......you? LMAO! Oh that's right, he doesn't masterbate. LMFAO!

    Posted by Flash August 19, 09 06:12 PM
  1. Sure, go ahead - forgive him. But forget? That's another story. Time to say "'bye, now" and get away from this liar. He will not change because he cannot change.

    I'm betting that you really only know the tip of the iceberg with this winner. He's only come clean about these things because he was caught. Wonder what else is lurking out there? I promise you, there is more.

    I stuck around and married a guy like this. I figured he'd clean up his act to hang onto me, and that I could provide the guidance, support and motivation for him to overcome his issues. He told me he changed, and I believed him - guess what, he hadn't and was concealing even more things. Once I was in too deep, he convinced me that his problems were my fault. I then went through the living hell of a bitter divorce and custody battle because when I finally came to my senses and got out, he was so angry that my leaving him exposed him for the fraud that he really was that he used the divorce as revenge. And my life has never been the same.

    Hey, you're not running a mental health agency for this guy or for anyone else.
    Buck up, get over it, and save yourself a world of heartache, trouble and legal fees. Run, don't walk, to the nearest exit. You already know it's the right thing to do - now, just heed all of us posting here and realize that NOW - actually, like 5 minutes ago! - is the time.All the best.

    Posted by Jetta August 19, 09 06:53 PM
  1. Somehow my earlier (and long as usual) post didn't show up...

    I agree that this issue is more than what people personally think about porn and Craigslist's Casual Encounters. The real issue is dishonesty and not being authentic about one's true self.

    If someone likes porn and is authentic about it, then they should be able to tell their partner and indulge together. And posting personal ads in the casual encounters section is a whole 'nother issue! It would be one thing if he were single, but if the two of you were in a committed relationship, and he's got all this underground activity going on that he wanted to keep secret, it says a lot about him that he would even want to have such a secretive side to him. That requires a lot of work and energy to cover-up...and shows just how important that facade was to him, ...and on the flip side, how detrimiental it is that something so important to him is purposely withheld from you.

    Like many have said...(and which I can attest from living with an alcoholic boyfriend), addicts lie....to others and to themselves. Deep down, they don't want to have the addiction and are shameful, and there are lot of deep-seated issues that drive the addiction, so it's not just about stopping the addiction cold turkey, but about getting to the reasons that led to it in the first place. And addicts have to want it for themselves. Sounds like the only reason this came about was because YOU discovered the Craigslist link, not because he woke up and had some sudden epiphany one day that HE wanted to change without an external force (you) forcing that change. Big difference!

    I really think you need to let him go on his recovery journey alone. 3/4 (if not more) of your relationship has been based on lies and dishonesty....not a good foundation. I get that you love him, but love in and of itself is not enough for a long-term relationship.....you also need trust, honesty, reliability, and shared vision of what commitment means. You don't have any of those things with him and you can't force it to be there when he's obviously not able to give you those things. He's had 2 yrs to give you those things and he wasn't able to....for whatever reason. Let him go with love and give yourself that love to work through the sadness and loss you will feel. In the end though, it will make you a stronger person who has courage to honor yourself when others can't/wont. Best of luck to you.

    Posted by bklynmom August 19, 09 07:44 PM
  1. # of times Rico refers to herself in the 3rd person today: @26

    # of times we all groan at this: @26

    Rico regurgitates Mer's advice:
    Mer: "Imagine what some of these problems might look like in 10 years."
    Rico: "Imagine when 10 years from now ..........."

    Gee Rico, Insightful.......Not!.....YOU'RE 15 SECONDS OF INTERNET NOTORIETY ARE OVER!!

    #175... you're right

    Posted by RicoCounter August 19, 09 10:40 PM
  1. Is this man in or has he had treatment for his addiction? If not, it sounds like someone who is using the language of illness to excuse some bad behavior. Since HMF is asking HOW to forgive him, not WHETHER to, I say it must occur under the auspices of professional guidance. They need to go into therapy together. If he's serious, he will. If not, well, she will have important information.

    Posted by Susan August 20, 09 07:00 AM
  1. RicoCounter is mad creepy.

    Posted by Monty August 20, 09 07:53 AM
  1. Ricocounter has way too much time on her hands. must be an out of work loser living in her parents basement using her dad's laptop connecting to the neighbors wireless internet.

    I think Rico is great and his regurgitating was only repeating the words "10 years" for the sake of his argument. Get your facts straight if you want to make a comment. Try actually commenting on the letter instead of the other bloggers. Maybe your parents should punish you and take away the computer for a while?

    Posted by Glad Rico is Back August 20, 09 10:45 AM
  1. Val -- just look at your new wife and keep saying "toi".

    Posted by Alvin August 20, 09 11:27 AM
  1. What do you mean, "I have nothing against pornography"???? Just where our you coming from?????

    Posted by Chuck Lauby August 20, 09 12:47 PM
  1. Got a question for ya broadski...if you're sitting there saying that you you know you don't need him and know you can live without him, why are you wasting all of our time with this pointless letter?

    P.S. if you REALLY think some dude is gonna be 6 hours away from you and see you every 14 days and he's NOT gonna have a little fun on the side, you seriously underestimate the power of a penis.

    Posted by Baconator August 20, 09 01:01 PM
  1. Wow, this boggles my mind. You are not even living with or engaged to this guy, half the time living in separate cities/states, and you are this controlling? No wonder he keeps so many secrets. This is clearly not a guy you should even consider wanting to spend your life with. Your horse is limping seriously at the starting gate, and you want to run a race with him? Potentially have kids with him? This relationship has no real future. Break it off before you waste much more time with someone who clearly is "just not that into you" and find someone who better shares your ideals and definitions of commitment. Fortunately, even if you don't have the strength to follow through with this, I doubt you will end up getting married to this guy anyway. I see you driving him away long before that.

    Posted by SarahJane August 20, 09 01:10 PM
  1. If you want to see what your life will be like in ten years just look at mine:Tearfully catching the man who "loves" you in repeated lies, on porn sites, on dating sites which openly offer sleazy hook-ups and cheap affairs which grow progressively more disgusting and blatantly pornographic...all this while your children know but keep it quiet because the shame is so great and they can't help their mother who is suffering in silence. If you respect yourself at all walk away from what you already know.

    Posted by Lisa August 20, 09 02:35 PM
  1. I want to say this in the best possible way but...

    The women who post here are what make me afraid to have a woman in a position of power in our government. Very few of you use logic and most of you live and die by your emotions.

    This guy isn’t a creep or addicted to porn, he is a young man. Probably 23 - 24. Plenty of guys look at craigslist; there is nothing wrong with it. Trust me; if he wanted sex all he would have to do is go down to the local bar.

    This girl is a controlling snoopy slop tart. She needs to stay out of his business, as I am sure that is what you have all said before when it was a guy snooping on a girls text messages.

    There is obviously a lot more going on here than meets the eye. The author is clearly writing with a partisan slant in her letter. To be sure, she already knows the answer to her question and is only looking for positive reinforcement to carry out what she knows is morally reprehensible.

    So in short Love Letters women, it is clear that the same people post here everyday with all your man hating. Someone should do a study to see if all your cycles have synced up yet.
    You women scare me.

    Posted by Wow harsh August 20, 09 03:24 PM
  1. Repeated studies have shown that pornography, like advertisements, fuel excess. As a physician, I've seen time and again how pornography has stimulated sexual abuse and incest (am now dealing with a case in which a 16 year old abused his 2 year old brother because of his porn-fed sexual addiction.) I caution all folks out there--whether it's a welcome comment or not--avoid porn.
    Note how the boyfriend said that porn no longer fed his addiction: A wise man once told me that overindulgence in lust leads to boredom, which leads to perversion.I'm afraid this is typical.. And lest we judge--each of us is equally vulnerable.

    Posted by Randy August 20, 09 06:34 PM
  1. What planet do all of these young people live on? Animal Planet? Preoccupation with porn and "casual relationships" is a train wreck coming round the bend. I would advise you to disengage from this "youth culture" you're dealing with, focus on the important things in life, go to church yourself and find someone who doesn't think he's a character on Sex and the City.

    Posted by Grandmom August 20, 09 06:48 PM
  1. Can you say Emotionally Unavailable? You can go round and round on this hamster wheel until the end of time, but the writing is on the wall. Break YOUR cycle of dependency on a man you think YOU can cure and GET OUT NOW!

    Posted by Duh! August 20, 09 11:44 PM
  1. We raised wonderful boys, who really wanted to be the knight in shining armor on a white horse, rescuing a damsel in distress. They thought they could reform a woman who needed help, and I told them that marriage isn't the way to do it because it doesn't work. One of them learned his lesson and got a good woman. Three of them went ahead, and they all got burned. Therapists don't get involved with their clients for a reason. It just doesn't work. A man who has what he wants, a woman who will let him do anything he wants and then let him crawl back, has no motivation to change. And yes, porn IS a big deal. It's how this stuff gets started, and it's destructive.

    Posted by PatG2 August 21, 09 02:58 AM
  1. "...the man I deserve"

    Would hate to have to fill those shoes

    Posted by mike in salem August 22, 09 04:30 AM
  1. Never ceases to amaze me how many women stay in these completely useless relationships. He's probably physically attractive so that's why she doesn't want to let go. It's all about image.

    Posted by DC August 24, 09 01:49 PM
  1. I'm in the same boat, my boyfriend did several times, he apologize me million times, and to promising me not to do it any more, but he did it, one more time. I don't trust him, I need help because I want to get out of the relationship but I'm still in it.

    Posted by marie August 28, 09 04:07 AM
  1. I'm in a very similar situation with my boyfriend right now, and what it all comes down to, is whether or not you believe him about meeting up with anyone. If he met up with anyone, you can't fix the relationship. It's cheating, its wrong, its continuous, and he doesn't love you. However, if he was just chatting on a web cam(or whatever the case is), he should be forgiven. My boyfriend was doing the same on Craigslist as well, but he never met up with anyone, and we've worked through it. When I confronted him about it, he told me he only thought of it as "interactive porn." I disagreed, but he promised he'd never do it again, and as far as I know, he hasn't. I was EXTREMElY hurt and betrayed, but I'm in the process of forgiving him now. Relationships have problems, and love hurts. If you trust your man to never do it again, and don't think that he met up with anyone, than work on it. Love is never easy, and maybe this will be a lesson learned for both of you.
    P.S. Unless you find anything to lead you to believe that he is still doing it, DO NOT snoop through his things, or repeatedly bring up the problem. I did this with my boyfriend, and it only made him angry. Respect and privacy are essential in a healthy relationship, and this is not an excuse to throw those two things out the window. If you feel that this is something you can't forgive, or that he is still lying to you, leave. But personally, I'd forgive him and move on. HE IS A GUY. Even the greatest guys are all dirty. Haha. He probably won't do it again, and if he is an otherwise great boyfriend, than he deserves your forgiveness. Good luck!

    Posted by Ariana August 29, 09 11:55 AM
ABOUT LOVE LETTERS: Welcome to Love Letters, the place for love advice (giving and getting). Globe relationship columnist Meredith Goldstein and Boston.com readers are ready to take your letters and tell you what's what. Have a question? Click here to submit or email us at loveletters@boston.com.
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Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.

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