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Hey all, I'm going to try to make this as concise as possible while still painting a full picture.

I have been with my partner for 5 years. We have a 3 year old, and the pregnancy was planned. We are not married, and have recently purchased a home together.

I've had ongoing trust issues due to a variety of factors. I'll try to capture them below.

While I was pregnant, I noticed his spam folder in his email was overflowing with emails about sex chatting, hooking up, etc. He said he has no idea why he started getting those, and thought maybe it was from being on dating sites or visiting porn sites, but I've been on both and haven't ever got emails like this.

When our daughter as a year old, a found an explicit photo, dated from the time I was pregnant. When I asked him, he first said it was from years ago. I said there was a date, and then he said it was from an old ex who sent them unsolicited and he then blocked her. However, I had remembered seeing her name pop up on my Facebook account's search bar, as he must have looked her up when day, so I messaged her and asked. She said he had told her that we were split up, and that the pictures were definitely not unsolicited. She did say that he eventually said, after our daughter was born, that we were going to 'work it out' and they hadn't communicated since. When confronted this issue, he apologized, and asked what he needed to do to fix it. He agreed to have transparency and access to his phone if need be. He said he lied because he didn't want it to mess things up, but it totally destroyed my trust.

Fast forward to a year later. We moved closer to his hometown, and he began hanging out with old friends. I began seeing messages to certain friends that were extremely upsetting. He talked about being at a bar and chatting up a hot waitress, who he learned was only 18, which he thought sucked, 'unless he's F**king one, then it's awesome" and about how maybe he could "convince me to have a threesome. There were texts talking about a new potential co-worker, who was very good looking, and how it's a "good thing he looks homeless most of the time and doesn't have to be in the office all day" and how he's not going to tell me about it because I'd "just be ing worried all day haha" There were lots of other texts like this. Commenting on women's looks, their 'fu**ability' including friends of ours, etc.

Finally, just two months ago, I saw he had been texting an old friend that he used to work with. I'd never heard him talk about her before, and so there was no indication that they were ever close. He said it was all friendly talk, but when I asked to see the messages, he had deleted them. He said he deleted them because he thought, given the past, it would worry me, even though it was just friendly talk.

His response to all of this is that it is 'just idle talk' and that he would never do anything physical. He comes home after work, is very involved with our daughter, is hardworking, etc. I don't think there's anything else that's happened, but all of this has really affected my trust and self-esteem to the point that I don't think I can continue the relationship. I just feel terrible for our daughter's sake. What do you all think. Is this salvageable? Are his actions just a normal outlet and not indicative of something larger/guy talk? What's the best way to proceed from here, if not, that will be best for our daughter? We won't be able to sell the house until, at the earliest, the end of this summer because we are doing renovations on it. Not sure if I should start looking for a temporary living situation until the house gets sold and I can get into something better, or just stay and stick it out for now. Thanks for reading this long post. Happy to clarify anything or provide more details.

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He has completely taken no accountability for his actions...there was always some excuse to down play it. He is a person that doesn't have any respect for you or women in general and has a narcissistic personality. All he is going to do is tell you what you want to hear to make it go away.

 

You can try counseling, and learn to be assertive in how you feel, and that this type of talk is very disturbing. I tell ya if I caught my husband talking like that his clothes would be on the front lawn on fire.

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It is so disrespectful-to me and women in general. For a while I was telling myself that he is more or less expressing a mentality that is common in all men, and justifying it as an outlet, etc. But the fact is that it is seriously affecting my mental state. I was really trying to be strong and more or less gloss over it for the sake of our daughter, but the other day, my therapist asked what I would say if my daughter asked me this same question, and my response was more or less GTFO of there, so why am I not modeling that?

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Sorry to hear this. You have a lot at stake. Do not let this go unchecked. Make sure he knows you are aware of things and find it unacceptable. Don't put your head in the sand if you are upset about this disrespect. Take a trip to visit friends/family with your daughter for a while, tell him you need time to think.

 

Talk to your trusted friends and family about this. Do you go out as a couple? Why is he at bars with guys checking out waitresses as if he's single? Make an appointment with your doctor for STD testing, in the meantime avoid sex and use protection. You only know what you uncovered and he minimizes that. Ask for a referral to a therapist. Do all this privately and confidentially. Do you work?

I have been with my partner for 5 years. We have a 3 year old, and the pregnancy was planned. We are not married, and have recently purchased a home together. His response to all of this is that it is 'just idle talk' and that he would never do anything physical.

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He definitely knows I find it unacceptable. His response to my frustration, though, is that I'm getting worked up over idle chatter, and that he would never act on those words. We do go out as a couple. We also take time to ourselves, and it is at those times where he has been at the bar. Never late or for long, just after work for an hour or so. I did get tested for STDs, and started seeing a therapist. I also work. I don't make great money, as I took time off to take care of our daughter and eventually picked up some remote jobs. Living on my own would certainly be challenging financially, but would be much easier once we sell the house and I have a larger cash reserve. I can also try to find a better job, as I am educated.

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He definitely knows I find it unacceptable. His response to my frustration, though, is that I'm getting worked up over idle chatter, and that he would never act on those words. We do go out as a couple. We also take time to ourselves, and it is at those times where he has been at the bar. Never late or for long, just after work for an hour or so. I did get tested for STDs, and started seeing a therapist. I also work. I don't make great money, as I took time off to take care of our daughter and eventually picked up some remote jobs. Living on my own would certainly be challenging financially, but would be much easier once we sell the house and I have a larger cash reserve. I can also try to find a better job, as I am educated.

 

I think what you need to make clear to him is that this idle chatter will end up with you leaving him with half his paycheck and only seeing his daughter every other weekend if that. On that note, yes you need to get in gear to leave, look for a better job, etc. Make sure he notices so that when you have that come to Jesus conversation with him, he knows that not only do you mean it, you have the means to enforce your words and will.

 

Life is just not that black and white when you have children and a house. Sometimes you have to stop talking and actually resort to an ultimatum - either this bs stops or these consequences will come down hard on your head. Choose...or in this case....grow up. There is another word for that - relationship boundaries. As long as he thinks you can't afford to leave him or won't leave him, he'll carry on because...no consequences. He isn't afraid to lose you because he doesn't think you can leave him, so why should he change his behavior? This is really very typical human thing. Change that narrative and see what happens. If still same, then just leave him and by then you'll have that job and financial means.

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He is a person that doesn't have any respect for you or women in general.

 

This seems to be the clearest takeaway.

 

His comments about women, his tone? I wouldn’t call that “guy talk,” at all. I’m a guy—one who drives a lifted old 4x4, rides a loud motorcycle, and enjoys cheap beer—but you could spy on me at my most single and most inebriated and I don’t think you’d be offended by what comes out of my mouth or what my fingers type into a text box. Same goes for my friends. We are men, not pigs.

 

That said, I think the crude talk is the least of your worries. Not sure how things were prior to you becoming pregnant, though I can’t imagine he was the personification of grace and dignity, but dude clearly jumped the rails around that time. He was looking for action and getting it, at least in pixels. Sounds like you confronted him on the specifics, but the reasons why were never addressed, save for: him being him. Shrug. Zero accountability.

 

You guys have a young child, some history, so I understand that pressing the eject button is complicated. But something needs to happen here, and the time for subtlety, denial, and gritted teeth is in the past. Your daughter is watching—you, him, you two—for guidance and she deserves a better model than this. In your shoes? I would take some steps to prepare for an exit, for your own security, while calmly letting him know that, if things don’t change, this relationship is ending. I’d make therapy—individual for him, and couples for you two together—a mandatory step so you can explore what happened years ago and why he continues to behave this way.

 

Hardest part? You have to really mean all of the above. While changing people is impossible, we can change ourselves and see if others have it in them to keep up. So far you’ve been bending to him. Time for a new story.

 

I know that doesn’t sound fun, and I admit to being pretty skeptical about his basic character. Hard for me to imagine how you could possibly respect him, to say nothing of the trust stuff. Still, I think you’ll thank yourself later for approaching this as pragmatically as possible before making a big move.

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Thank you all for your responses. The biggest problem is that he makes little to no effort to address these things in a productive way. At this point, when we try to talk about it, I'm just 'dredging up the past' and he 'doesn't know what else to say about it'. He swears up and down that he does have boundaries in terms of physicality, but doesn't seem to see the issue in the things he's said. I am currently in therapy, and my therapist more or less has told me, leave. I am skeptical that a person like this would even truly change, especially given his tendency to hide/lie. I think people like this just get better at being sneaky.

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How did you get to the point of having a planned out of wedlock child with this man? he has been the same all along from day one. The fact that you didn't feel he was good enough to commit to is telling and the want for a baby must have shouted over that. Because you were pregnant after just the first year of the relationship, maybe you were still in the honeymoon phase and that's why you missed it. I honestly would put the house back on the market and coparent as two single people.

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So we had been together for two years when we decided to have a child. Neither of us were ever really jazzed about the idea of marriage, as we both come from families whose parents don't get along/split up. We had talked about it, but were never very motivated to do the planning required. I do agree with you, though, that we were still in the honeymoon phase. He didn't ever act this way in the beginning, but I think as the charm wore off of the early stages, his true colors started to show through. I think he started getting bored and has been looking for excitement in these other ways.

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Stop nagging and talking about your feelings and dredging up the past and make it simple - x behavior will lead to y consequences. Make it that simple. Otherwise you are in a standoff where in his mind, he isn't cheating and you are policing his thoughts/behavior with other guys and he will resist that.

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. At this point, when we try to talk about it, I'm just 'dredging up the past' and he 'doesn't know what else to say about it'. He swears up and down that he does have boundaries in terms of physicality, but doesn't seem to see the issue in the things he's said. I am currently in therapy, and my therapist more or less has told me, leave. I am skeptical that a person like this would even truly change,

 

So, your husband is okay with emotional cheating and you aren't. That's essentially it in a nutshell. He's not sorry and he keeps doing it. That's WHY he has "nothing else to say" because you have told him how it makes you feel and the fact is that he just doesn't CARE enough to change or make real effort to change. And he is not going to. Yeah, he might "back off" for a while, but he goes right back to it when he feels "safe" OR has just gotten better at lying and hiding it from you.

 

So you really have two choices-

 

1. Accept that your husband is an emotional cheater and likely always will be. Even if he never "touches" another woman, it can still be considered cheating and is definitely disrespectful and undermining your marriage. Though, IMVHO, what if he just found a woman that was willing to bridge that gap and go physical, would he say no? I'm not so sure he would. If you're okay with this, go ahead and stay in the marriage. But you are kidding yourself if you think this will ever change. One time can be a mistake- patterns are BEHAVIOR.

 

2. Get a divorce.

 

It's really all about what you are willing to live with. You mention the example of what you'd say to your daughter. It is ALWAYS easier to tell someone else to do something challenging than to do that thing yourself. I remember doing that with my EX. If he only did THIS or stopped doing THAT, we'd be great! Problem is- that's a fantasy of who you WISH the person would be, not who they ARE.

 

You need to think about what you want and what you can live with based on who he IS and likely will remain to be.

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So we had been together for two years when we decided to have a child. Neither of us were ever really jazzed about the idea of marriage, as we both come from families whose parents don't get along/split up. We had talked about it, but were never very motivated to do the planning required. I do agree with you, though, that we were still in the honeymoon phase. He didn't ever act this way in the beginning, but I think as the charm wore off of the early stages, his true colors started to show through. I think he started getting bored and has been looking for excitement in these other ways.

 

If someone is not jazzed about marriage (i am not talking about the big party - the wedding - but marriage) - its not surprising they are not too jazzed about commitment and behave in an uncommitted way.

It works for two people like that to exclusively date eachother for years - maintain the autonomy of doing your own thing a bit whether its maintaining separate residences and social calendar -- but anything with a whiff of commitment - buying a house together, having a kid together - the "psuedo marriage" you have provided - one or both people are going to run or dismantle it. The first sign of trouble, they are going to follow whatever other shiny thing comes their way.

 

When he heard you really didn't believe in marriage, he probably was attracted like a bee to a flower - because you would accept not being committed to.

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If someone is not jazzed about marriage (i am not talking about the big party - the wedding - but marriage) - its not surprising they are not too jazzed about commitment and behave in an uncommitted way.

It works for two people like that to exclusively date eachother for years - maintain the autonomy of doing your own thing a bit whether its maintaining separate residences and social calendar -- but anything with a whiff of commitment - buying a house together, having a kid together - the "psuedo marriage" you have provided - one or both people are going to run or dismantle it. The first sign of trouble, they are going to follow whatever other shiny thing comes their way.

 

When he heard you really didn't believe in marriage, he probably was attracted like a bee to a flower - because you would accept not being committed to.

 

You really hit it on the head. Commitment is required for any long lasting relationship. Moving in together is not commitment. Having a baby is not commitment; however, there SHOULD be commitment before you engage in either of those things.

 

Many people ignore the red flags because they're so misty-eyed about love, but your advice was right on. It's best to remain single and not engage in marriage-type events until you're absolutely ready to commit body and soul.

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he has completely taken no accountability for his actions...there was always some excuse to down play it. He is a person that doesn't have any respect for you or women in general and has a narcissistic personality. All he is going to do is tell you what you want to hear to make it go away.

 

You can try counseling, and learn to be assertive in how you feel, and that this type of talk is very disturbing. I tell ya if i caught my husband talking like that his clothes would be on the front lawn on fire.

 

lol!!!!!!!!!!!!

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I definitely see what you are saying, but I don't even think marriage is commitment, otherwise there wouldn't be a 50% divorce rate and so many married people cheating. Commitment is a mindset as well as a promise both people keep and make every single day. I think that for many, marriage is symbolic of that, but for many others, it's just what you do, and an excuse to throw a party and be the center of attention, without any real thought to the day in and day out commitment and work it takes. Regardless, I think you're onto something about 'like attracting like' and that my nonchalance about it all probably made it seem more permissible or excusable. He has never been very good at committing to anything his whole life-a place to live, a job, so it really shouldn't have come as such as surprise reflecting on it now.

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