Cheating (ex)Boyfriend – Save My Sanity

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    Hi fellow buddha’s – i really need some unbiased opinions of a situation that has been draining my life for over four years. Here goes – and i will try to keep to the facts:

    – met guy – lets call him “Dan”
    – Dan was naturally flirtacious and was in relationship that was ending (apparently) due to her trust issues with him
    – We grew closer yet i made it clear i didnt want involvement in any half-finished relationship. He assured me it was done and dusted
    – he is a Personal Trainer, suspicions are rife he is bonking half his clients
    – he was shady about social media at the start (i.e. accepting my friend requests / not having pics up of gfs etc)
    – We had a conversation – instigated by him – about exclusivity and agreed we would be monogamous
    – After about 12 months, i get niggling doubts about his truthfulness – little lies about seemingly meaningless things. He also admitted he had cheated in prior relationships but was a ‘changed man’ – more on this later
    – One evening, out of the blue, I catch him with another girl in a local supermarket buying a cosy night in meal for 2. I say ‘hi – i SAW you so i thought i’d say HELLO” which throws him as he wasnt expecting it but couldnt risk a massive show down in the shop so leave
    – he then proceeds to go home with this girl and she stays over, no contact
    – next day, we speak and he says sorry, he didnt know what he was doing, blah blah, didnt think we were serious (seriously!!) etc etc
    – we split but he then pursues me for months until i relent, believing his broken promises but the trust is gone
    – i constantly snoop, anxiety goes through the roof, never feel good enough, check his phone, see half-conversations on Whats App, notice he turns his notifications off when we are together, has a POF profile he claims is not him… , I am cringing writing this but you all need to know
    – i snoop and see he stayed in a hotel but when questioned, he claims it was with his guy mate on a night out#
    – i get a random instagram friend request from  a girl he knows
    – i ask her who she is, he says he went for a drink with her behind my back but “nothing happened”  *rolls eyes*
    – His mum dies unexpectedly. I comfort him (obv), help beyond belief, holding a 38 year old man crying (he was very close to his mum and thought she was mother theresa)
    – he claims he is a changed man and this has realised to value those closest to you
    – We muddle along, things are never that great and i never feel he wants to really embed me in his life, i always feel like he wants to be flirting and not really proud to be with me or value what now seems like immense amount of support from me to him but not vice versa
    _ i am made redundant and he supports me, i guess, as much as he can (little do i know is cheating again)
    – we start talking about planning a holiday but he is reluctant to book flights, seems distance, spending less and less time together (we dont live together)
    – we have a ‘break’ for all of  a week
    – i go to support him at an event and see a girl talking to his dad. I approach the girl and ask her how she knows ‘Dan’ – she has been dating him apparently. Makes two of us. Turns out they have been together since meeting in Aug (this is now April)
    – massive show down ensues the next day, when she and i turn up at his. Turns out he has been seeing her for 7 months and they have talked marriage / kids etc – her words, not his . He doesnt say much whilst this really life Jeremy Kyle is going on around him
    _ he ‘chooses’ her, she seems smug and happy i am out of the way (despite not knowing about me and dismissing that her ‘bf’ has had another gf for the whole time they have been together). She initially asked me some questions but decided she didnt want to see the truth i guess, and blocked me on social media – despite me not contacting her?!!
    – She now posts copious social media pics of them together – on her media, not his. Phrases like “he is my world” etc, you get the gist. He appears totally gf-less (as always), no trace of her. Only a couple of pics on instagram I am told but only because she pressured him to post them. I dont know whether it implies they are together or if its a group. does it matter!!
    – he still messaged me after ‘choosing’ her saying he wasnt sure etc etc and me being stupid, felt reluctant to let go on the situation. We slept together a few times in this period from April to June when he was trying to sort his sh*t out.
    – i now, nearly 9 months later – find his live profile on POF despite him being still with her and her family paying for him to go to South Africa!
    – oh – and i forgot to mention that a family member, found out where her family lived and ‘informed’ her parents (when this initially all kicked off) that he had another gf with evidence of us being together (trying to warn them of who their 27 year old daughter was getting involved with!). I wish someone had have done this for me and it wasnt a malicious move. Protecting the sisterhood however this has since been dismissed by the now gf, her family. He has spun them some web of deceit about me being a ‘psycho-ex’

    I dont plan to tell his now-gf about his profile on POF. She had her chance to find out all the details from me about his deception but chose the ‘dream’ – she is hellbent on marriage, kids. Oh and she is 10 years his junior and an air hostess.

    I still feel sad to let go – absolutely stupid i know – after all the investment. Please help me with reassurance i am best off single than using my time with this man!! xx


    Dear lostcloud:

    You asked for reassurance that you are best off single than using your time with this man- well, you got my assurance  that you are better off single- you made a long list of items to support it being better for you to not be in a relationship with him.

    If you don’t like to be single, maybe you can find a man who is willing and capable to have an honest, exclusive, loving relationship with (one) woman?




    Stop right THERE! And yet you did become involved and continued to be involved despite that and all the subsequent behaviors.

    This makes me wonder about your background. Did you grow up with a father that regularly cheats? Did you feel insecure as a child who did not get the nurturing and attention from your father? Did you have previous failed relationships?

    You used the word “investment.” I would reframe that time you wasted with this guy. The only investment you made is in your education of (hopefully) learning about yourself and how you do relationships.

    If you need reassurance that you are better off without this person, I suggest you re-read your post.

    I see that almost each of us revisit our childhood relationships in order to learn that we need heal from it. I grew up with an angry mother. I keep unconsciously attract angry women (go figure). I know this keeps giving me the opportunity to 1) be aware of my pattern, 2) be more conscious of the women I date, i.e. learn more of their background, 3) deal with their anger “better” so I can learn to set boundaries, be more compassionate and not let that bother me so much.



    Hi lostcloud,

    The supermarket incident baffles me. You catch him there with another girl, he brings her home with him anyway, and the next day apologizes to you for doing this. How is this not a deal breaker for you?  He has zero respect for you, can’t you see that?

    Aren’t you tired of the suspicions, doubts, anxiety, and never feeling good enough?

    Unfortunately you’ve earned a large negative return on your 4-year crappy investment. This means your costs have greatly exceeded your gains. Don’t waste another minute thinking about this guy. Cut your losses now.



    Thanks Anita – I appreciate your comments. It is so easy to think you know what you’d do but when it happens to you – it’s like you are blinded!! I have definitely learnt to see the red flags. I guess my disappointment stems from never having met someone so deceitful and it being so contrary to my own beliefs of fidelity 🙁


    B – i know, why wasnt it a deal breaker? How did he manage to convince me it was a ‘bad judgement call’ – if i was speaking to my friend i would be saying what you are to me.

    I think the thing that infuriates me is that he is doing it again. And i am painted as the crazy one. I guess i have to believe in karma and focus my attentions on other things. Without sounding whingy- it seems unfair. He has continued his life, no pain, just lots of sex, fun and now a blonde air hostess to hang off his arm. Where is there any retribution in life!!


    Hi Mark – thanks for your response, good to see from a male side. I have no cheating father (in fact parents are happily married) and never felt neglected as a child. My previous bf just upped and left one day citing ‘depresssion’ and ‘needing to find himself’…  I seem to attract (or seek?) these needy people who dont serve me.

    I know i wasted my time, i know you all think im an idiot, but has no-one ever had a situation where you gave someone a second chance (or in his case many more). or felt drawn back to the very thing that burns you?

    I am not after sympathy. I know what i would be saying to anyone about this is i was on the outside. I guess i am just so disappointed in the human species given i have never cheated, told minimal white lies in my time and would feel sick to the stomach to do even 10% of what he has….


    Dear lostcloud:

    “I know you all think I’m an idiot”- I don’t. Intelligent people do idiotic things, I have done idiotic things for decades, unfortunately. The reason we do idiotic things is that we are primarily motivated by emotions, not by logic, just like other animals from which we evolved.

    When we are not aware of our emotions, we aren’t able to use logic so to make wise choices. For example, you “never felt neglected as a child”, you wrote. But maybe you did feel neglected as a child, but you don’t remember, you buried that feeling so that you are not aware of it. Children do that.

    And it is so very common that a child is not neglected as far as food, clothes, shelter and other material things, but the child is neglected by let’s say, the parent is focused on other people, not paying attention to the child, not noticing the child is scared or sad.

    I have a comment regarding what you wrote here: “I guess I have to  believe in karma… it seems unfair. He has continued his life, no pain”-

    -when I read your original post yesterday, one of my first thoughts was: what is wrong with this man, he must be suffering. I think that the karma you wish he suffers in the future already happened (not that his suffering justifies his behavior, or that you could have helped him).

    He is 38 and he doesn’t know what he is doing. He puts all this energy for nothing, “pursues me for months”, pursues other women… compelled to pursue women, lies, promises to be a “changed man”, breaks his promises, never satisfied with the woman he is with, not with you, not with the current woman in his life, messaging you recently that “he wasn’t sure”, still on POF … doesn’t read to me like an emotionally healthy man having fun. Reads more like a man in pain trying to distract himself from his pain.

    You wrote regarding his mother that he “thought she was mother Theresa”- do you know anything about why he thought that and about his experience as a child with his mother and father?



    Gosh Anita  you are so right – i am so grateful for your insight, for some reason knowing you dont know me but can comment is really useful 🙂

    Perhaps i did feel neglected, i certainly dont recall it like that but as you say, we repress memories and maybe it could be small things rather than one big event of neglect or abuse. I feel guilty even saying that as my mum and dad are both lovely and as an adult have been so supportive – emotionally and financially.

    It is really sad, i kind of feel sorry him. He was home-schooled for a while – because of bullying but i also think his mother was over-bearing and definitely wore the trousers. The whole family doesnt speak to his brother because of a family rift. His mother  (i did meet her numerous times!) was a woman with strong morals but also excused his behaviour. She would say he was a ‘silly boy’ for cheating etc. She would reprimand him but he didnt see to care he was disappointing her – maybe because he always knew she’d excuse it.  He was clearly the ‘apple of her eye.’  His dad was a figure in the background – present but with no real influence over him or his brother, i dont believe anyway. I thought when she died it would have changed him… but it has made no difference…  he seems hellbent on seeking adoration / pleasure / thrill even though he has had a string of attractive & successful (and loyal) girlfriends.  He is definitely not emotionally healthy!   At one point (given his mum nursed her own mum until she died), his mum had suggested that her and her husband and ‘Dan’ look for a property with an annex, so (as they are in their 70s), ‘Dan’ could care for them in old age. I wasnt overly happy with this but viewed a few properties given they are an ‘all talk no action’ kind of family…  it never went anywhere and she died soon afterwards. There wasnt any ‘give’ with this arrangement – ie. we couldn’t have lived just near by, it would’ve been on his parents terms but he was indoctrinated by this ‘view’. For example, he thought it was absolutely disgusting my mum lives 100 miles away from her mum – she should really be caring for my nan in her old age… anyway i digresss

    I cant help but take this personally but i try to remind myself he is not ‘right’ mentally and will never be happy x



    Dear lostcloud:

    You are welcome.

    Regarding your childhood/ your parents, you wrote: “It could be small things rather than one big event of neglect or abuse”- I agree, except that for a young child a small thing is a big thing. It is only retroactively that we say things were “small things”.

    “I feel guilty even saying that as my mum and dad are both lovely and as an adult have been so supportive”- don’t worry, they will not know that you are looking at those “small things”, or considering those, if you do. If they don’t know, no harm is done to them. The reason for you looking into your childhood is to make your life better, and it is a good aim, to improve your own emotional health and function better and better in life.

    Regarding your ex boyfriend, you wrote that his mother “excused his behavior. She would say he was a ‘silly boy’ for cheating etc.”- I wonder if you ever considered that she did not excuse his behavior but encouraged it, that is, approved of it?

    It is likely that he cared about his mother’s approval of him and tried to please her. After all she was the person in the family “who wore the trousers” and a child wants to please the parent who is in power. It is not likely that he didn’t care about her approval (“he didn’t seem to care he was disappointing her”).

    “He was clearly the ‘apple of her eye'”- and he wanted to stay the apple of her eye by continuing to behave in the ways that pleased her. She reprimanded him but she didn’t mean what she said when she reprimanded him. “They are an ‘all talk no action’ kind of family”, you wrote. Maybe the talk is indeed just talk. He knew his behavior pleased her regardless of what she said.

    I suppose how she said what she said was more convincing than what she said.





    Hey Anita! I dont think his mum encouraged him because she seemed genuinely appalled by his behaviour. He always said she wanted a daughter to do ‘girl things’ with and i think she wanted a daughter-in-law so was a bit gutted he sabotaged things. In fact, she kept in contact with his ex-gfs long after they had split from him. I am not saying I MYSELF was the perfect person to be that d-i-l but she liked the concept of family & doing things together etc. I think she couldnt control him and i dont think he did what he did to please her, she never knew about things until i spoke to her to tell her what he’d done. He is super secretive in every way. His dad only ‘discovered’ air hostess by knocking on his door one Friday night – god knows how he introduced her to him given i was very much – in his dads eyes – his girlfriend and was there throughout the whole period of bereavment, organised the funeral… wake….. you name it. I even helped the dad swap all the details of banks over. In hindsight, i gave too much but i was just being me and trying to help in a time of need. Equally his mum organised all the finances so his dad and ‘Dan’ were at a loss.

    How do i give my mind some rest / ‘accept’ this is how he is? i keep ruminating over it, im in disbelief yet i have known now since last April (and before) what he is. A cheat. Why cant i just shut the mental door in my mind and think ‘good luck to you’.

    Why do i even care? In a way, i am kind of relieved he didnt get his perceived ‘happy ever after’ . it would be more hurtful if he’d have settled down and found my replacement to be his Miss Perfect (he probaby will i guess, eventually – his current gf is someone with a plan i.e. marriage by 30, kids by 32). As awful as it sounds, i kind of think “good luck” to his current gf who had ample warning about his behaviour. I never had anyone to actually ask about the depth of his deceit…  She has dismissed me and seems ‘smug’ with her ‘prize.’  His behaviour now cements actually that for me, it wasnt personal, he has never been faithful and to see him ‘browsing’ online making out he’s Mr Wonderful… i just am in shock there is no stopping his level of self-promotion and infidelity….

    sorry for the rambling, this is quite carthartic x


    Dear lostcloud:

    I suppose the possibility I brought up regarding what motivates him was not correct. Looking for another then.. you wrote that his mother wore the trousers in the family and “His dad was a figure in the background- present but with no real influence over him or his brother”-

    -maybe he empathized with his father and was angry at his mother for demasculating his father, for taking center stage and pushing his father to the background. So he did purposefully do what he could do to help out his father, sending a message to his father: see, she doesn’t control me! I don’t do what she wants me to do! And you can too can stop allowing her to control you!

    It is amazing to see how children adopt behaviors that look despicable but those very behaviors are born out of love. In this case, if I am correct this time, it is his love for his father that motivates him to be the cheat that he is.

    If this possibility is correct, how sad it is that he is stuck in a behavior that harms him long term and brings misery to the women involved as well as to the children he may have in the future.

    You wrote about his current girlfriend (one of a few girlfriends perhaps), “She has dismissed me and seems ‘smug’ with her ‘prize'”- soon enough, sadly, she will see herself the quotation marks in the sentence you wrote, she will find out the prize is a “prize”.

    Likely she already knows.

    Where are you going from here?



    See, i kinda think its a bit of a get out clause and i dont always think everything derives from the childhood school of thought. I dont really see how his dad motivates him to cheat (although i think his dad did cheat on his mum a longggggggg time ago). Anyway, i kind of feel actually maybe he is just selfish, greedy and lacks empathy / emotion to really ‘connect’ with anyone on anything more than a surface level.  Why does it need to be explained away by theories although i think what you said about him being confused, he doesnt know what he is doing etc is totally true. You can look at some of the most beautiful women in the world – Cheryl Cole, Beyonce – who i am sure are decent human beings and if they get cheated on, then what hope is there!  I actually think its more to do with the primal need to mate than him somehow trying to please his dad…

    My next steps is try to maintain no contact. This guy has drained me, for so long, its not going to be easy because in a fairytale world – i would want to think he realised he made a mistake or regretted his actions. Regret or guilt dont seem to feature for him – not to a level that stops him doing the same thing over and over…

    I appreciate your comment Anita – and any other contributors – sometimes you just cant see when something is toxic. You are drawn in like a moth to a flame… i might’ve been burnt but im not dead and i feel i can try to use this to create fresh boundaries and NEVER be treated like this by another human again xx




    Good for you on using this experience to learn and do it differently next time.  I believe that it is more important to learn why you acted and thought the way you did than the other person.  This way you can be more mindful next time.



    Hi lostcloud,

    You did make an inordinate investment of your time and energy into this guy. Also, on a deep level, you want to WIN. You want to be The Chosen One, if you can’t be The One And Only. You invested so greatly it reminds me of the government saving failing businesses that “cannot fail”. Very human. Very, in a warped way, reasonable.

    But good news! Karma DOES exist! He is thirty-eight. Now, most men get better looking as they get older. But one day I PROMISE he won’t be cute anymore.

    He won’t be able to GET the blonde air hostess (she will dump him or get Un-Chosen, don’t worry). He won’t be able to HAVE options. He’ll be stuck with The One. The Only One That’s Left, that is. Who might have one foot out the door.

    Happened to every self satisfied bachelor I have ever known. Even men in my family weren’t immune. Cosmic Law, baby!



    • This reply was modified 4 years, 11 months ago by Inky.
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