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Should I stay in this relationship? Need perspective


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My boyfriend and I (both mid thirties) have been dating for eight months. We recently moved in together. He told me his last three long term relationships ended because he cheated. He has learned form his mistakes, and said they were all amazing, beautiful girls, and that the only reason these relationships ended was because of his cheating. I trust that he wont do it again, because he deeply regrets it. He's told me I was "the one" and I asked what makes him think that - I showed my insecurity by asking if he said that because he loves me more than he's ever loved anyone. He said he did not love me more, and that his exes were also the one, but that it hadn't worked out with them because of him. He said every relationship is special and unique, that he doesn't compare and that I am not better or prettier than any of his exes, and that his feelings for me are not stronger or deeper than they were in his past relationships. This deeply hurt me, and while I appreciate his honesty, I wonder if this is normal. A big part of me wonders why he's with me if that's how he feels - i'm worried he's with me by default. Please help give me some perspective./

Edited by Jenn715
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I think you are focusing on the wrong facts.

Its okay to have felt a prior gf/bf was "the one" at the time while you were in a relationship with them.

But to tell a woman - even if its true that she is "no prettier or better" than his exes - TACKY.

 

I think you moved way too fast if you are moving in after only 8 months. You have not addressed what made you do that.

You do not want to be the first person someone "practices" on to see if they are cured.

He did not cheat one time, learn, have a few relationships that did not work out for other reasons (they decided after dating a little that they were simply not a match or wanted different things), and then meet you. He cheated THREE TIMES. So basically ALL significant relationships have ended for him because of HIM.

 

I think that he is warning you loud and clear what to expect from him. He might not cheat, but don't be surprised. You are also very insecure and when you are, that attracts men who feed into that. You will always be looking over your shoulder wondering if someone he likes better will come along.

 

I really think you should not stay because you moved too fast, this guy has an awful track record.

I predict that he will cross boundaries with other women even if he doesn't actually cheat and will use your insecurities against you "remember, i told you i won't cheat. It was just coffee/it was only a compliment"

 

I suggest getting your own place, leaving and doing things to bolster your confident - like volunteering with a group that makes a difference for others, perhaps Toastmasters, counseling, etc, or a sport that gives you confidence.

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This is a character issue. He did not cheat once, but three times. He has shown you who he is. When did he inform you that he is serial cheater?

 

I also agree that you moved in too quickly.

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I would be very concerned that he's done this three times, OP. How recently was his last infidelity?

 

I have to echo the others that moving in so soon was not wise. You are still getting to know him, evidently. This is why you need to ask the hard questions before cohabitation.

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Feeling competitive with his ex-girlfriends is a sign that this relationship is unhealthy. People do not cheat because their partner is not "good enough" in some way. I think you need to get out before he repeats the behavior for the fourth time, because based on your line of reasoning, you are going to think his actions are due to a personal lack of worth.

 

Sometimes people turn over a new leaf. However, you are taking a serious risk with this guy due to his past. Do not be surprised if he continues to be the same person he has always been.

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Thanks guys, for your thoughts. I agree the past cheating worries me. He told me when we started dating, and let it go because he said that he did counselling after (and had been single for two years). He recognizes that what he did ruined the lives of those girls, and he deeply regrets it. He said he "didn't appreciate what he had" and that they were all amazing, beautiful women. In fact, he holds them in such high esteem that he told me I was their "equivalent." This hurt, but maybe i'm just insecure?

I agree we moved in quickly, but I thought we we're both in our mid thirties and I thought we were on the same page. I took him telling me I was "the one" as meaning he felt something stronger for me, and only realized that he didn't when i specifically asked him.

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Did he tell you about the cheating recently? 8 months/waiting till you move in together is pretty long to wait to spring that on someone. On the one hand he could have kept it secret, but on the other it smells a bit like making it hard for you to leave and then letting you see who he truly is. And now if he cheats on you he can say "well, I told you I have a problem."

 

Edit: Ah I see he told you earlier. And then you continued dating... Keep both eyes open on this one.

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Yes, I definitely have to keep my eyes open. I think though that what bothers me most is that he said I'm not better or prettier than any of his exes and that his feelings for me are not stronger or deeper than they were in his past relationships. I feel like if i'm "the one" there should be something about me that is more special - so it was a hurtful to hear he felt the same way about all of them. Am I just insecure or is my hurt warranted?

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Thanks guys, for your thoughts. I agree the past cheating worries me. He told me when we started dating, and let it go because he said that he did counselling after (and had been single for two years). He recognizes that what he did ruined the lives of those girls, and he deeply regrets it. He said he "didn't appreciate what he had" and that they were all amazing, beautiful women. In fact, he holds them in such high esteem that he told me I was their "equivalent." This hurt, but maybe i'm just insecure?

I agree we moved in quickly, but I thought we we're both in our mid thirties and I thought we were on the same page. I took him telling me I was "the one" as meaning he felt something stronger for me, and only realized that he didn't when i specifically asked him.

 

He is not ready to date if he is comparing you to his exes. Like i said, you don't want to be the first person someone dates after being "reformed".

And nobody realizes someone is "the one" except in retrospect. i.e., you are married 10 years and someone says "looking back, everything clicked when x happened. I knew she was the one i wanted to marry at that moment". because if the relationship ended, they would not have been "the one". You don't know in 8 months of dating if someone is "the one". You might be in love, you may hope that the relationship lasts and you marry them - but you really don't know. Calling someone "the one" after such a short time speaks of commitmentphobia. Coming on too strong too fast.

 

Do you really want to be with someone who "destroyed the lives" of THREE women.

 

Even if you decided to overlook it, a guy like that would be on a LONG trial. A way longer period of time for you to agree to be exclusive, to commit, etc.

 

If you stay with him, its a bigger sign of insecurity than having boundaries and deciding that you are worth better and leaving. - its not "insecure" to feel uncomfortable that this guy really doesn't see you as any better than the women he cheated on, and made you aware that he's a cheat

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Yes, I definitely have to keep my eyes open. I think though that what bothers me most is that he said I'm not better or prettier than any of his exes and that his feelings for me are not stronger or deeper than they were in his past relationships. I feel like if i'm "the one" there should be something about me that is more special - so it was a hurtful to hear he felt the same way about all of them. Am I just insecure or is my hurt warranted?

 

you are focusing on the wrong thing. This guy cheated THREE times. He wrecked the lives of THREE women. Being that he thinks you are on par with others he has dated is meaningless compared to that. if someone thought i was the most radiantly beautiful, intelligent, talented woman he has ever dated or met, and he's a drug dealer or slept with my sister, or is a serial cheater, does it matter that he thinks i am a Greek goddess?

 

He might have phrased it better - "my EXES were not prettier or smarter than you" but at the end of the day - does it matter?.

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If anybody makes back handed statements such as “You’re no different then those exes of mine” it’s time to step back and evaluate the fact if that’s the case? What will stop him from cheating on you? Sure he regrets it, but to me he hasn’t changed nor sounds like he’s ready to fully commit. If you were indeed the ‘one’. He wouldn’t lump you into a group of girls.

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Quick involvement/moving in, chronic cheating and particularly combined with this remark are red flags. Can you move out? You've only been dating 7 mos. Can you move back home or wherever you lived before? Cut your losses. This will only end in heartache.

he said I'm not better or prettier than any of his exes and that his feelings for me are not stronger or deeper than they were in his past relationships.
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My read—aside from agreeing with basically everything that's being said—is that he hasn't really processed his past. The fact that he talks about these woman enough for you to know about them, that he holds them in "such high regard"—well, all that is just him still turning it over in his mind, which is to say he is kind of using this relationship as a means of processing.

 

Not great.

 

He sounds like he's still in a place where he identifies as "bad," which he reinforces, sideways, by making these women all kind of holy. If he is still identifying as "bad"—well, that's not great for you, or any woman.

 

And if he uses expressions like "destroyed their life"—sigh. He's not that powerful. He's just a dude who cheated, a lot. Those women, if they are two percent as great as he believes, will be just fine and will go on to live very full, very rich, very non-destroyed lives.

 

Anyhow, it kind of sounds like you're making some clumsy choices to feel secure with someone you don't yet feel secure with, like moving in. Is there a way of moving out, slowing things down a bit, so you can have some time to authentically gauge if this is someone you can trust? Gun to head, do you think this is even someone you could trust?

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It sounds like you feel that his cheating would somehow be "justified" if he felt that these women were worse or less pretty than you. What does that say about you? It sounds like you are one of these women who feel the need to compete with other women for a man, which is not healthy and is probably the reason why you made the informed choice to stay in such a risky situation. Now that he burst your fantasy you are struggling. Imo, this indicates that you have low self-esteem and you seriously need to work on that in order to be able to foster a healthy relationship.

 

I would seriously struggle to trust someone who was capable of betraying and hurting so much not one but THREE fellow women. You trying to seek validation from such an individual doesn't sound promising. Imo, you both have issues you need to fix and your respective issues don't make a good combination. Imo, your relationship as it currently stands has the potential to become energy draining and ultimately toxic for both of you. Both of you need to work further on your respective issues.

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I don't believe anything justifies cheating. I gave him a chance because he said he felt deep remorse for his actions, as he should, and I trusted he would not do it again, that he had changed as a result of his losses. What began to bother me was that I felt he had so much guilt over his actions, and spoke so highly of these women, that I wondered how he felt about me in comparison. I felt he was with me kind of by default (he said these relationships were basically perfect). It's why I asked him what he meant when he said I was "the one" - I wanted to believe, naively maybe, that he felt something more for me because we were making life decisions (moving in).

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Sadly this guy thrives on being a bad-boy ladies man. He also enjoys fooling women including using lines like "the one" (basically a meaningless term) to trick women into getting what he wants. Free housekeepers and sex. Move out asap. The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. Do not think you will be the one to conquer and fix him. All the others he cheated on thought that too.

Edited by Wiseman2
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I don't believe anything justifies cheating. I gave him a chance because he said he felt deep remorse for his actions, as he should, and I trusted he would not do it again, that he had changed as a result of his losses. What began to bother me was that I felt he had so much guilt over his actions, and spoke so highly of these women, that I wondered how he felt about me in comparison. I felt he was with me kind of by default (he said these relationships were basically perfect). It's why I asked him what he meant when he said I was "the one" - I wanted to believe, naively maybe, that he felt something more for me because we were making life decisions (moving in).

 

Why is moving in a life decision - what does it mean in particular to him in addition to sharing physical space? Does it have anything to do with a deeper emotional commitment? I didn't live with my husband till we were married -totally fine if you want to share living space with a boyfriend but make sure you both have the same reasons for doing so.

 

I think his way of comparing you -and your questions -are not a healthful way of interacting especially in a fairly new relationship.

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Very insightful read on it, thanks. I guess I just feel like i'm partly to blame for having asked him to compare. It was insecure of me. And when he answered honestly, I couldn't handle the answer.

 

Stop blaming yourself. True. don't ask if you don't want to know. but a healthy guy would say "i don't really think about them. They are in the past. YOu are the one i love"

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Big mistake to be involved with a chronic cheater. This wasn't a mistake but some selfish hurtful actions he made repeatedly so it shows a major major character flaw. Just cos you feel bad about your last actions DOES NOT suggest you'll never do it again. In fact, somwone that can cheat on three great women during a long term relationship shows he should be someone you shouldn't even give a chance to. He's going to cheat again, rest assured...That's just who he is.

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Too much there. I'm very sorry. A relationship shouldn't be filled with so much doubt, jealousy and insecurity. I agree with a lot with the other members especially the points made by SGH and Bluecastle. There are a lot of red flags that just can't be ignored and your feelings towards a lot of the information (no matter how much you want to rationalize it and have everything perfect) is not reconciling with your idea of what a relationship should be.

 

I specifically don't feel like he's processed enough at all and if he can't tell the difference between any of the women he's known or if he isn't able to speak about it with some candor (those differences and make you feel special as you ought to feel special and present in his life), it's very telling what space he's in. I also don't encourage you to pry any longer because in your insecure state, you're going to come across as threatening and it won't be a safe place for him to open up. It becomes a very negative and unhealthy cycle between the both of you. Both of you need to cool it and acknowledge the past is in the past.

 

I don't think the cheating history is worth focusing on (it's knowledge and information but it's not sane to focus on it). It's nothing that you can change and if you focus on it you're also focusing on something negative and destructive, something out of your power to change and you simply don't have enough insight (you both don't seem to have bonded in your love or your love isn't deep enough to provide any understanding of why the past occurred). In other words, this is opening up a can of worms or picking a battle that you cannot win. To me, it holds totally no value - psychologically, emotionally nor does it add to your health or wellbeing. You are also allowing someone's past to dictate your future decisions. To me this would subversively rob me of some power I'm not willing to relinquish. That's just not who I am and I don't think it's healthy.

 

If I were you I'd be focusing more carefully on the way the relationship's dynamics are presently and focus on your present tense and your reality right now, the way he makes you feel (or doesn't make you feel), the direction the relationship is headed in and what you want out of life. If this isn't for you, you then make the decision to end it on your terms.

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Playing devil's advocate, maybe because he recognises that he destroyed decent women who did nothing wrong, he doesn't wish to diss them now that they're exes. Lots of people think they've met "the one" until it all goes wrong and someone else becomes "the one" further down the line.

 

He could have been a lot more tactful but he shouldn't have to make you feel better about yourself by putting others down. You are your own unique person with your own fabulous qualities and you are just as gorgeous as anyone else. You don't need to be better than them, you just need to be you (which includes knowing your own worth and not setting yourself up for heartache and insecurity).

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Playing devil's advocate, maybe because he recognises that he destroyed decent women who did nothing wrong, he doesn't wish to diss them now that they're exes. Lots of people think they've met "the one" until it all goes wrong and someone else becomes "the one" further down the line.

 

He could have been a lot more tactful but he shouldn't have to make you feel better about yourself by putting others down. You are your own unique person with your own fabulous qualities and you are just as gorgeous as anyone else. You don't need to be better than them, you just need to be you (which includes knowing your own worth and not setting yourself up for heartache and insecurity).

 

I definitely agree with this second paragraph.

 

My issue with his cheating - plenty of people who do bad things™ feel bad about doing them. An alcoholic feels bad that they can't control their liquor - doesn't stop them from drinking. Feeling bad that he has hurt other women (every other woman he's been with...) is not sufficient to show that he has seriously worked on what caused him to cheat on them in the first place. He said he's learned from his mistakes... what exactly did he learn? How did he learn those lessons?

 

Him feeling stronger about you than he did with the others would not prevent him from cheating. Neither would him thinking you are prettier. Feelings can change over time. There's always going to be someone prettier. Cheating isn't about feeling, it's about boundary control and commitment.

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Is sharing all that supposed to make you feel secure? I think not.

Not sure what his motivation is, but his delivery is a little weird.

 

Based on that, I'd say pass.

If he was really remorseful, he should feel somewhat ashamed.

 

One or even two times is a mistake.

3 times is a lifestyle.

He may be conformed, but why risk sticking around to find out?

 

Besides, don't we all go into most relationships thinking that this is `the one'

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Ah the good old myth that cheaters cheat because their partner isn't pretty enough, doesn't have sex often enough, doesn't keep a clean house well enough, doesn't make enough money, doesn't do enough of....insert whatever you want here. All completely false bs.

 

Reality is that cheaters cheat because they enjoy the very act of deceit. It makes them feel clever, powerful, superior. It's one heck of an ego trip.

 

Incidentally, he didn't just mess about with three girls, he messed about with many. Don't forget to count all those he cheated with and duped into either believing he is single or believing his boohoo poor him stuck in a horrible relationship with a horrible girl bs.

 

This guy is a manipulator and a dangerous liar. You are yourself being duped as we speak. He told you some sob story how he has changed and you are buying it blind. I really hope that you open your eyes and run like the wind. He is already working on destroying your self esteem. He knew well what he was doing when he told you that you aren't really all that to him. He dangled the "you are the one" and then turned around and cut you down with "there were other only ones too...and he cheated on them". Talk about talking out of both sides of his mouth and a total mind fck. Please please run from this. You are posting here because deep down you already know this. Your gut is screaming at you, so please listen to it and get away from this man before he destroys you too.

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