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He dated other women in our first 6 months :( male opinions needed particularly

(44 Posts)
idontunderstandmen Sun 17-Mar-13 21:07:42

Hi everyone. So I am in a happy relationship, well fairly happy, I feel very in love and I feel he loves me, things are moving along nicely and we are considering moving in together. We have been together 1.5 years and we met on internet dating. However I have always had a bit of a suspicion that my boyfriend was seeing other women early on in our relationship, I checked his facebook last summer and saw messages which suggested that was the case. I confronted him and he said they were old exes, and friends of his ex and he hadnt been cheating on me. He apologised for flirting and deleted the person in particular he had been flirting with.

Just today I was on his laptop and thought I'd have a nose at his photos. I was surpised to see photos of lots of women from the internet, and internet conversations that he had photographed, arranging to meet up for drinks. When I looked at the dates I saw they were within the first 6 months of our relationship. I confronted him about this and he said that he hadnt felt sure of our relationship until we went on holiday together (at about 6 months in) and that he had been on some dates but not slept with any women. I feel very hurt because I was faithful to him after about a month of meeting him, I did go on a few dates after meeting him but was very honest to him about this. I feel he has lied to me when I confronted him first about this (he says he didnt tell me because "thats not what you tell people you go out with"). I understand that we werent in love at that time, we hadnt met each others families, but I still feel hurt and like he was disrespectful to me. He says that he hasnt seen any other women since that first holiday when he realised that he loved me and I do believe him. Am I a fool or is this normal male behaviour?

If it makes any difference, I am 29, had recently come out of a 6 year relationship when I first met him, he is 40 and had been single-ish for a few years (ie a couple of 6-1yr relationships but probably seeing loads of people at the same time). I was probably a bit naive of the real world, particularly the internet dating world sad

Roseflowers Sun 17-Mar-13 21:29:41

It's pretty horrible to have your perception of those first few months of your relationship so radically altered. I imagine its going to take time to get used to the shock of that and the feeling of betrayal. You can basically either take his word as it is and try and continue your relationship based on the facts you now know, or end things because you feel your trust in him has been betrayed (even if it was a while ago!)

Those first few months are supposed to be special and magical, and are also incredibly formative time in a relationship. The fact that he was seeing other women will probably make you question how secure the foundations of your relationship were/ are now. Do you genuinely believe that nothing like this has happened since? Do you honestly feel happy and secure? If so you can chalk this up to what he says and move on. If not, those niggling doubts can make your life, and your relationship a living hell. Hope this helps and you're okay!

Alittlestranger Sun 17-Mar-13 21:38:13

Roseflowers I'm not sure how making it sound like the worst possible act of betrayal is supposed to help!

A friend had a similar situation in his relationship and he was the bloke dating a few other people in the early days. (Not quite as long as six months). From his point of view it meant nothing, he liked the attention, he was very into his now partner but wsan't sure what was happening, didn't want to cut his options off prematurely etc. The point is for him it was nothing, but his partner absolutely blew her stack when she discovered it and has allowed it to needlessly poison their relationship ever since. And why? Because it tainted the idealised view she held of those "magical" early months. Doesn't matter that he's been completely faithful and is very committed to her since apparently, the rom-com has still crumbled.

badinage Sun 17-Mar-13 21:45:00

If he was in his twenties and didn't have a lying as well as an infidelity habit, I'd say it was possible that he was casting his net wide before committing to an exclusive relationship. Even then, it would have only been fair to have said so, and to have given you the opportunity to do the same.

In a 40 year old? No way.

He lied last summer and has only admitted the bare minimum now because the conversations you uncovered showed that these women were not exes. Of course he had sex with at least one of them.

I suspect you're a 'good for now' partner, but he's got no intention of being faithful to you and will keep looking for extra relationships either to supplement yours or until someone he prefers turns up.

It's highly manipulative to recall an outright lie as merely a failure to mention the details and presenting this as normal in a supposedly monogamous relationship.

TurnipCake Sun 17-Mar-13 21:47:04

Had you agreed to be exclusive in that time?

The weekend before my ex and I decided to be exclusive, he was tagged in some rather 'lovely' photos, in a bar, surrounded by women, showing off his six-pack, and even some with his shirt off.

Some men continue dating until their exclusive because they want to keep options open which is fair enough. Others just use women to prop up their egos, dating exclusively or not.

idontunderstandmen Sun 17-Mar-13 21:49:49

Hi both, thank you for your responses smile I dont want to over-react to this because I know now that we are happy and I trust him. I hope that it was nothing to him and that he was just keeping his options open for a while. It might have been my fault for not keeping mine open. Yes in my little mind I always hoped for love at first sight and the guy being blown away and dedicated to me from that moment but clearly that hasnt happened. I can see that he loves me now. I feel sure that at least since last summer he hasnt cheated on me. I guess I dont know whether or not he still chats to girls online or on facebook, he says he doesnt and that he's really happy now. I know that in the time he was seeing the other girls (he said he only went on a couple of dates and didnt sleep with them, he only went on one date with each girl) we didnt used to say that we loved each other. I would be much more upset if I had thought he had seen people after we had said that we loved each other

idontunderstandmen Sun 17-Mar-13 21:52:08

We didnt actually say we were exclusive but we had said we were boyfriend and girlfriend, to me that meant exclusive, apparently not to him

badinage Sun 17-Mar-13 21:54:56

You don't trust him now.

Otherwise you wouldn't have looked at his laptop this weekend.

Saying you love someone isn't the same as actually loving them. Lying and minimising pretty shitty behaviour really isn't love. It sounds like he's still lying and minimising too.

This man is 40 years old. If he's still doing this now the behaviour is very ingrained and very unlikely to change, whoever he's with.

TurnipCake Sun 17-Mar-13 22:03:25

Tbh saying you're boyfriend and girlfriend is stating exclusivity, and if I had found out about anyone keeping their options open past the point of that, I'd be pretty pissed off

badinage Sun 17-Mar-13 22:12:46

Also, if you've been together for 1.5 years, that means you started dating in September 2011. If he was still meeting other women last summer, that's beyond the first 6 month period you mentioned in your OP.

boomoohoo Sun 17-Mar-13 22:24:29

agree that boyfriend / girlfriend means exclusive. otherwise what.. not exclusive till married??

he sounds a bit suspect to me. as for youre friend and his partner, well its a different situation, and its his side of the story not hers. dont be scared to rock the boat, if youre not happy with something dont be happy with it. it doesnt matter what we all think (though i appreciate the need for reassurance) or what we all would feel in that situation. YOU are in it, how YOU feel is important.

he is 40 and has never had a long term relationship?m alarm bells ring im afraid.

LemonPeculiarJones Sun 17-Mar-13 22:26:15

Don't say you have a 'little mind' because you hoped for someone faithful from the off! Respect yourself woman! I know you were probably just being light about it but still.

He has lied to you. Six months is a long time for him to be hedging his bets, shagging around (which he obviously was), especially when he probably knew that you were totally focused on him.

I would be deeply hurt and feel very unsure about continuing the relationship. In fact I would end it. And DH and I both, in the first few weeks of dating, slept with other people (those first few weeks were a bit on/off and exclusivity was not mentioned or assumed, no bf gf status etc).

That was a few weeks. Six months?!

He sounds so untrustworthy. Sorry sad

HollyBerryBush Sun 17-Mar-13 22:26:44

You should put your other posts on AIBU into this thread which highlight the relationship wasn't mutually exclusive at the beginning.

LemonPeculiarJones Sun 17-Mar-13 22:49:23

True, OP?

Although a few weeks of testing the waters is ok I think as I said earlier. The gf/bf agreement obviously then suggested exclusivity and he happily deceived you.

It's not good. Neither is it 'normal' behaviour to sleep around in secret after you've agreed to be gf and bf.

Bogeyface Sun 17-Mar-13 22:58:22

What would piss me off more right now is the lying.

If it really didnt mean anything then why lie? Why not just say straight off that he was still having some dates?

Because they werent just dates, there was probably sex involved and because he is a liar. Sorry, but that is a deal breaker for me now. I fell for the "I didnt tell you because I didnt want to hurt you" BS before but I wont again.

Liars show themselves up pretty early on, so what happens now is up to you. Do you want to live with a man you know to be a cheat and liar? Or do you, at 29 and with plenty of choices, want to bin him off and find someone who is actually good enough for you.

There is a reason he hasnt had a long term relationship........

boomoohoo Sun 17-Mar-13 23:02:11

Fwiw, dp slept with another woman 5 weeks into our relationship. We were not exclusive, had not had 'the talk about us' and he told me straight away. We actually broke up (but he begged me back) and it took a long time of me being guarded, us talking about it (alot) and him listening to me, respecting how I felt, and apologizing for hurting me. And we were not even boyf / girlf at the time..

cronullansw Mon 18-Mar-13 00:23:58


For 'about' the first month of your relationship you were still seeing other guys and not being 'faithful',

He saw some others for another few months into the relationship, but sex might not have occurred,

You hadn't had the 'exclude all others' conversation at that point,

And now, over a year later you are pissed off?

I don't get this.

badinage Mon 18-Mar-13 00:41:46

Well you wouldn't, would you?

notthesamenametoday Mon 18-Mar-13 00:53:53

I suspect you're a 'good for now' partner, but he's got no intention of being faithful to you and will keep looking for extra relationships either to supplement yours or until someone he prefers turns up.

This is rather cruel and making massive assumptions based on little information. I question the motives of someone who says something so extreme in the name of giving advice and thinks it's even OK to do that, let alone helpful.

That said, I'm not really sure why the OP has posted if as she says 'I know now that we are happy and I trust him'. If that's the case there is no issue. But 'having a nose' is not normal in a trusting relationship. And looking for problems where there are none is a strange thing for a 'happy' person to do.

badinage Mon 18-Mar-13 01:27:32

I think there's quite a lot of information in the OP's posts actually.

And the reason she posted is because having been lied to in the summer, she found evidence of those lies today and was met with a refusal even to acknowledge them as lies.

Therefore I don't think it's a huge leap to summise that a 40-year old man with no history of long relationships who was still seeing lots of other women and hiding that fact nearly a year into this relationship, might have a problem with monogamy as well as an aversion to the truth.

Where I do agree with you and said so earlier, is that an 18 month relationship that has been characterised by mistrust, unfailingly accurate yields derived from snooping and repeated lies, does not suggest happiness or peace of mind.

What rather puzzles me is that the OP wanted to hear from men particularly to learn whether they considered this behaviour considered normal or acceptable.

What would it matter if they did?

Isn't it more important whether the OP herself finds it normal and acceptable? Clearly she doesn't, or she wouldn't have posted or decided that her own behaviour should be different in this relationship. I'm baffled at why there should be different standards for men, or if there are from the random ones on here, why their opinion should have any effect on the OP's personal standards.

Yogii Mon 18-Mar-13 07:50:45

You have some evidence about what he was up to from what you saw on his computer. Based on what you saw, do you believe it was two women one time each, or whatever he said? If so, then a relevant piece of info is how quickly he attempted to get you in the sack. If he's a first date type then it's reasonable to speculate that he tried it on with them, but if not, then it's reasonable to assume he didn't. If you are looking for a way to put your mind at rest, then I would follow that track.

He seems to leave all this past history easily accessible to you. If that's the case, and if his reaction to you 'snooping' was calm, then it's reasonable to assume he's not been up to anything else as you'd have found the evidence.

You're in a relationship that apart from this issue you are very happy with. You think he is too. It could well be that by the age of 40 he was used to a very casual approach to relationships and carried that through to the early part of yours.

I agree with another poster; there are huge leaps being made here based on little info. People are utterly convinced he shagged around, and someone thinks you are a 'good for now' option. I wouldn't spend too much time worrying about that. Find peace of mind, and if you can't do that within a short space of time, you know what to do.

BTW, this is from a person who would have exactly the same reaction to early relationship fooling around as Boomoohoo did.

The above a male opinion, btw, if that makes a difference.

puds11isNAUGHTYnotNAICE Mon 18-Mar-13 08:01:23

Have you been STI tested recently? It would appear he can be successfully deceitful, so I would be less inclined to trust him when he says he didn't have sex with anyone else.

bobbywash Mon 18-Mar-13 09:06:37

Male perspective, and I'm sure I'll get flamed for having it.

You asked him and he told you, you then look on the pc, and as you said in the OP all the messages are in the first six months when he told you he saw others. Unless you had the talk about exclusivity, and there's no indication in your post that you did, I don't see that as an issue. You also mention that "you weren't in love at the time" so I'm slightly puzzled by the angst, as you said the messages are all in the first 6 months and not current, he told you he decided after 6 months you were right and from then on what's he done to make you suspicious.

This is either going to eat away at you, or you are going to get over it and move on, seemingly it's eating away at you as you want to check after a year of nothing that what he said to you was true. It was, jeez you either like the bloke for what he is or you don't just make up your mind and go with it.

As you can tell I really don't see it (on the information provided) as an issue, except with insecurity.

cronullansw Mon 18-Mar-13 22:31:58

Glad to see Bobby and I are on the same page, you know, the page of, erm, reality, not the page of vague, intangible impressions and assumptions prior to declarations.

badinage Mon 18-Mar-13 23:13:23

There's no disputing the facts here, which is that when asked about the women he was messaging up until last summer, he lied that they were exes or friends of exes and that he hadn't been unfaithful. Or that he changed his story when the OP got evidence that this was an outright lie. Unless you think the OP is lying or presenting an alternative reality, those are the incontrovertible facts.

What might differ are people's judgements about those facts, because people's moral compasses differ especially if lying and deceit is the norm for some and is acceptable in themselves and in their relationships.

Mondrian Tue 19-Mar-13 06:02:47

I have been with DW for 25 yrs & am in love more than ever. We have 2 beautiful daughters and lead a very happy life, as a man i could not have asked for anymore in life. While we both had little indiscretions in the early years we have both remained (technically) faithful to each other throughout all these years. Of course our life could have ended up very different to what it is now had one of us not dealt with one of those indiscretions way back then, neither of us was serial cheater or anything like that - what happened, happened because we were/are not perfect. We all make mistakes, what's important is how we deal and learn from those mistakes. Relationships are hard, very hard and you have to work at it continuously as no two people are a perfect fit, best we can hope for is a good fit and then it's upto us to make it into a perfect fit and to do so there is going to be lots of abrasions. Only you can tell if there is a future in the relationship and if its worth the effort and the heartache.

idontunderstandmen Wed 20-Mar-13 14:35:58

Thanks for the posts, interesting. He has assured me that nothing happened with the people that he dated, that he only met them for drinks. There was one slightly dodgy one where the girl was apparently drunk and he brought her back home because she missed the last train. He insists they didnt even kiss, he was very upset that i had found out. I told him that I had spoken to the girl (I hadnt) so I am fairly sure he was telling the truth but I guess I'll never know. He says the dates that he went on made him realise that I was right for him, and then things became more serious after our holiday. I guess I was slightly suspect that I had seen that he was arranging to meet up with his ex last summer, and hadnt told me (he said he didnt meet her but again this could have been a lie). I do meet up with my ex every few months but Im very honest with him about this and he says hes ok with it and of course Im not unfaithful.

There was actually one time when I had stayed round a male friends house when I was drunk and couldnt get home (nothing happened) and I told him the next day and he said "without trust we are nothing babe". There was a picture about 2 weeks before this of him arranging to meet a girl for drinks on the internet (for some reason he always took screen shots when they agreed, doh). It hurts me that he said this as a way of reassurring me but was acting untrustworthily at the same time.

I suppose Im just worried that he found it so easy to lie to me, until I could really prove things. It does make me worry what else is there for me to find. I did tell him strongly that if we are going to live together there cant be any more secrets and I dont want to have to find out anything more and he said he would tell me if he could think of anything else that I might not like (but he hasnt ventured anything). I suppose I worry that he felt it was ok to see other people when he wasnt sure about me, and that he might do that again next time we have a rough patch.

Lucylloyd13 Wed 20-Mar-13 16:11:29

The lying is not acceptable.

Seeing others in the embryonic stages of a relationship is.

badinage Wed 20-Mar-13 17:21:52

The main issue all along with this has been the lying.

It still is.

I'd be worried too OP.

And I'd metaphorically shoot a man who called me 'babe'....

Birthdaychocolate Wed 20-Mar-13 18:59:39

The signs suggest that he is a liar and a cheat.

Why are you asking for male opinions in particular?

bobbywash Wed 20-Mar-13 19:44:51

You have trust issues, you can't move on. It's your choice. It seems you're looking for a reason to say its not right for you. These incidents are over a year old and as I said before what's he done in the last year. Clearly you believe something.

It doesn't matter whether as a bloke I say what's the issue, as it is you that can't get it out of your head and move on. You've already made up your mind and you're just seeking support for your decision IMHO

LemonPeculiarJones Wed 20-Mar-13 21:54:09

Drunk girl missed the last train home?! Oh dear. He's a liar, has pursued other women - this little story doesn't hold up well in the light of that, does it?

The "Without trust we're nothing, babe," is <boak>worthy. He must have seen it as a gift that you'd stayed over at your friend's place. A get-out-of-jail-free to store up against his indiscretions.

cronullansw Thu 21-Mar-13 00:29:40

Well, if you keep looking under stones for long enough, I'm sure you will either find the slugs you are looking for or you will imagine you've found them.

bobbywash Thu 21-Mar-13 08:01:56

Lemon whilst I see what you're saying the OP did the same, drunk, stayed round a male friends flat. Why when he says the same thing happened as it did to the OP is he automatically lying.

The OP wants an out, and is looking to justify it on the grounds that during the first 6 months when she states they were not in love yet, he did something and didn't tell her. There is no indication during the following year he has even put 1 hair out of place, blimey men and women are fundementally different in terms of attitude as everyone is aware. To me as a bloke, it's a nothing. I look at it as a woman with trust issues. If someone walked away from me over something that had happened over a year ago, when their lifestyle had been very similar, apart from the "share it all" part, when seemingly it hadn't even been agreed that we were a couple I would think the woman had real issues.

If the OP has (and she clearly does) it's best to walk away, there is nothing in the OP to say affair or cheating, since they have decided on being a couple. It's her insecurity and that is it. This is something that should not be pushed onto him, it's the OP that can't cope.

<tongue firmley in cheek> Maybe she's punching way above her weight <tongue firmly in cheek>

madonnawhore Thu 21-Mar-13 09:16:07

Anyone else think it's weird and a bit creepy that he screenshots conversations with women when they agree to go on dates with him?

I'm on the fence about non exclusive dating early in a relationship.

But the disturbing thing is that OP asked him directly and he lied to her face unblinkingly. If it was no big deal, why didn't he just admit it then?

It's only now she's confronted him with undeniable evidence that his story's changed. It was 'only one date each'. A drunk girl went back to his place with him but 'nothing happened'.

Now that you know he's capable of lying, how could you ever believe anything he says? Especially on this topic?

Smells dodgy to me OP.

LemonPeculiarJones Thu 21-Mar-13 12:01:02

Bobby I think it is different though, because of how much lying he has done, secret dating, flirty messaging etc. In that context I do think it makes it entirely different. Staying around at a friend's house when you can't get home is rather different to going on a date without telling the woman you are seeing, and then having the drunk date stay over, claiming nothing happened....DYSWIM?

Agree with you about the creepy screenshots madonnawhore! Like a collection of little conquests. Definitely a bit hmm

Roseflowers Thu 21-Mar-13 13:00:23

The thing is, the op says that he was seeing some of these girls AFTER they said they were boyfriend and girlfriend. Its right there in her second or third post. So under no circumstances do I think she's 'looking for a way out', I think she's genuinely hurt because this guy was still dating around after making that commitment. She was always honest about dating other people in the first month of their relationship whereas he was secretly seeing other girls much later on that he never admitted to. There is the betrayal.

skaboy Thu 21-Mar-13 13:51:53

Bloke here. Surprised he's behaving like that at 40. When I was a teenager I might have carried on like that although there wasn't really any internet dating (I'm 36) and I might be abnormally loyal / honest. The decent thing is to be honest about what's going on at the time otherwise you can't really build up much trust.

He clearly wasn't serious at the start but might be now. Unlikely he's going to change much at his age though so I'd be wary. Unfortunately I know enough about liars to know they generally carry on lying.

CuChullain Thu 21-Mar-13 16:18:24

Another chap here.

While there is no set template as to when your relationship should become exclusive I would imagine most people would assume some kind of exclusivity the moment you start sleeping with each other on a regular basis (unless you agree in advance to some kind of friends with benefits type of relationship). You don’t always have to have the ‘are we exclusive chat’ in order to define acceptable relationship boundaries, if someone is obviously investing time and emotional capital into the early months of a relationship it does not take a genius to work out that fucking other people is going to cause hurt and disappointment to that person and basically advertise the fact that you were not that serious about them. I did the whole internet dating thing and it is not uncommon to find yourself going on several different dates with different people over the same period of time. I think a bit of an overlap in the early days is to be expected. Some of those dates will advance to second and third meetings that might finish with a naughty fumble on the sofa with two different people on consecutive nights, but there comes a point when you have to choose one person with whom you want to move forward with. After my first date with Mrs I actually had no interest in dating other people as I was so smitten, and I thought it would have been a bit mean to arrange dates with other women if my thoughts at the time were on someone else. We did have the ‘exclusivity’ chat after about 8 weeks; although I knew we were both committed to moving forward with each other I thought it would be polite to ask her if I could call her my girlfriend before I started to introduce her to people as such.

badinage Thu 21-Mar-13 19:20:14

This just shows (thankfully) that there is no such thing as a 'male opinion' because like women, men are not clones of eachother and will have different values and judgements about situations.

I really do think the whole 'internet dating/was this an exclusive relationship' business is a red herring though.

The main issue is that this bloke lied, by omission first and then overtly.

Social conventions around dating might change, but lying never goes out of fashion or becomes more acceptable in relationships.

nosferatu Thu 21-Mar-13 19:29:02

I would keep my eyes open

idontunderstandmen Sat 23-Mar-13 13:43:23

Thanks for the messages. I agree its the lying that upsets me most. Even if he has changed and is faithful now, it doesnt take from the fact that he lied to my face and made me feel stupid for questioning him. He says he felt he had to lie because I would have assumed the worst if he had told me "as I am doing now"

Well I told him on Thursday that I need some time to think about things so I havent spoken to him for two days now. I think I might arrange to meet with him next week. This is quite a big foot down as we see each other usually every other day and we text all the time normally. I also cancelled going out with his work friends on friday and house viewing today. I am hoping that he will understand that he needs to be truthful to me in future. I am I think willing to forget this but decided I needed to make a bit of a stand about it to hopefully make sure it never happens again (the lying. Obviously he had better never date another woman behind my back again!). I hope you are wrong that liars cant change :-/

idontunderstandmen Sat 23-Mar-13 13:45:32

ps I asked for male opinions particularly in case it really is true that some men think this is acceptable behaviour (the early dating, even when he'd said I was his girlfriend - it was like he had me lined up and faithful but wanted to just check there wasnt anything better out there whilst he was still fairly free...nice)

badinage Sat 23-Mar-13 14:13:22

Listen love, even if every bloke on here had said ''s no big deal' that shouldn't have mattered.

Try to get to the point where it's only important what you think is acceptable behaviour.

Your radar is just fine about the lying. It's not acceptable to you. It's made you re-think his character and put you on high alert.

Everyone tells lies about something but lying about other women and even when found out, lying to your face and then repackaging it as 'not really a lie' is what makes this more serious. To move on from this, at the very least I think he's got to own up the the fact that he did lie.

People can change, but only when they acknowledge the wrongdoing in the first place. It doesn't sound as though he ever has.

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