Did he cheated? Should I move on?

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    Hello everybody! I found this recently and it amazed me, I haven`t been on a forum since I was in high school, I missed this so much! After I read a few questions and topics around, I decided to present my mind-troubling story. Hope you have the patience to read until the end. Thank you in advance!

    I all began 3 years back , in winter when I met this amazing guy. We had a date, one of the most amazing in my life, it was not the date but him, the person who spoke to me that awaken something inside me. It was like a version of me I was in the past, he would tell me lots of stories and it was like he was speaking about a life I wanted when was younger.

    I had sex with him that night and even though I knew that this was all for him, for me meant more…

    We would see each other again after a while and he made some stupid joke and got offended, and after a period we would not see each other, he was living in another city, one that I wanted to move ever since I was a teen, but never had the courage. Next year but I moved to that city  where he was. I did a lot of good changes in my life in that period, I was starting off brand new. He was still on my mind, but I knew he would move in another country, so I thought maybe it`s for the  best and we will keep a platonic friendship.

    I told him I moved there, I thought that maybe would be nice to have a friendly face around for awaile. But of course at some point when we saw each other we started to have sex. We were not in a romantic relationship tough… Yet every time we would see each other, I would fall in love a little more. We spent New Years Eve together, not as a couple, but still with sex… We created a nice bond, but at the begging of 2019, he left for a vounteering project in Italy for 1 year. I was hurt and cried, but thought it was over and I will move on.

    But after he got there, he would keep on calling me. At first one time a day, then more and more often. He would tell me all the stories, I would listen, I would tell him stories and listen. I liked this, it was like having a very good friend and since I didnt had many, it was nice and we always had a connection I never felt with anybody else. In May he came home for a week, made me a surprise and brought me flowers and we spend a few days together. Then he left but we continued talking. He called me 3-4 a day, we would speak for hours, but never called each other love, babe, e.c.c. It was a bit confusing and this whole time I would not engage in any other relationship,  actually crossed a tough period of my life because couldnt decide what to do, get a job, was thinking about volunteering, but I froze and did mostly nothing.

    He came back in august. And it got serious. He took me to his family, we spend more time together and told me the big I LOVE YOU. I told him back, but I was freaking out inside.. I knew hed go back and be far from each other again. Still we continued and in fall I decided to tell him that I cant do long distance anymore. So in winter he said to come to Italy because he got a job at the firm he volunteered.

    I am here since february. Now the problem is that I found out, more like, i got a confirmation that last year he had sex with 4-5 girls. At some point he sent me a picture with one of them. I am hurt… even if I know I should`ve asked him last year what is our status.

    I feel like he  manipulated the situation last year in his favor. I feel like I lost trust in him. He told me he didnt to anything after he told me he loved me, but found some flirting messages on the phone (I asked him to show me because I wouldnt believe him… and felt awful, never done this in my life before). It has transformed me in a person I dont like. I am afraid, I dont want to be afraid… I feel like he lied and the relationship was based on nothing… just so hard to let go of the past. Not to mention I was stuck last year and didnt even go out very much... I get a lot of intrusive thoughts and try to meditate for them, but its not easy… I keep thinking what if he is not what I thought he is… and all that.

    At the same time the past few months have not been easy. Its the first time we live together, it was difficult to get used to his way of being, spends a lot of time on phone, we wouldnt do stuff together, felt like I was her as a maid… I tell him what is bothering me, but sometimes I yell, because can`t seen to be  taken seriously, which again makes me feel bad. Still he tries sometimes to get better.  I know I have trust issues and because of that I try to see also his side of the story… I like many things about him and the fact that has helped a lot with my development and brought nice experiences to my life, but at the same time I feel that maybe we are not supposed to be together like this…

    Also I wanted to have an experience with a girl not sure if only sex, but very curious to know what is like.  (I thought about putting in the topic related to bisexuality, but makes more sense here). But now this is a serious relationship and think I will never be able to do that again if we stay together.



    Dear Madalina:

    Three years ago you met “this amazing guy”. He lived in a city you wanted to move to ever since you were a teenager, “but never had the courage”. He told you stories about a life you wanted when you were younger, and so, he “awakened something inside” you,  a version of you that you were in the past.

    The year after, you did move to that city where he lived, “started brand new”. You thought about having a platonic friendship with him, but when you met him in the new city, just like when you met him the first time, the two of you had sex.

    “every time we would see each other, I would fall in love a little more”. You were not in a romantic relationship, “not as a couple, but still with sex”.

    At the beginning of 2019, he left to Italy for one year, for a volunteering project. He kept calling you from Italy once a day and then more and more often. He told you stories, you listened; you told him stories and he listened, “it was like having a very good friend.. we always had a connection I never felt with anybody else”.

    May last year he returned to the city where you lived, brought you flowers and you spent a few days together. After he went back to Italy, he called you 3-4 times a day, spoke for hours, but didnt use love words for each other. During this time you were confused about what to do next in your life, get a job or volunteer; you “froze and did mostly nothing”.

    August 2019, he returned to the city again, and “it got serious”. He took you to his family, you spent more time together and he told you “the big I LOVE YOU” for the first time. You said it back to him. He went back to Italy, and in the Fall of 2019 you told him that you “can’t do long distance anymore”.

    Winter 2019, “he said to come to Italy because he got a job at the firm he volunteered”. February 2020 you joined him in Italy. Some time after you arrived in Italy, you “got a confirmation that last year he had sex with 4-5 girls”. You realized that a photo he sent you last year included one of the girls he had sex with. You now feel “like he lied and the relationship was based on nothing”.

    My thoughts: the key words in your story, for me, are these: “I was freaking out inside” –

    -(he “told me the big I LOVE YOU. I told him back, but I was freaking out inside”).

    Fear is fueling your “trust issues” and your “intrusive thoughts” that you mentioned, as well as the desire to run away from your relationship, because that’s what we do when we feel fear- we instinctively want to run away.

    Because no commitment was made between you and him before August of last year, he didn’t cheat  on you when he had sex with other women before August of last year. I think that you are using his sexual activity prior to Aug as a reason to run away, while the true reason is your fear.

    According to my understanding at this point, part of your fear is about living with him and feeling stuck, like an animal in a cage. The reason why experiencing sex or a relationship with another woman/ women is appealing to you now (but not enough before you moved to Italy, when you were “frozen and did mostly nothing”), is because it represents freedom to you, and freedom is appealing to a person stuck in a cage, so to speak.

    Maybe the version of you that this man awakened was the non-afraid version. This version, awakened, made it possible for you to move to a new city. But after a while, the fear/ anxiety returned and you were “frozen” there, in the city. Fast forward, in Italy, the anxiety is back again.

    Are my thoughts correct?




    Dear Anita,

    Thank so much you took the time and responded me so soon. Yes, I have to admit that lately fear was very present… The things I didn’t do Last year I didn’t do them not because of him, but because of my fear… Not to mention even when I first arrived to the City a nice boy wanted to date him, I liked him, we’d had a lot in comon but didn’t let him get closer to me…

    II do have to be careful with this as I had an alcoholic and mostly absent father, also my past relationship were not very healthy… And from 2015 I haven’t had a stabile relationship…

    Thank you again, you are really Kind. May your life be filled with all the good you are trying to spread here. Take care!

    I will probabily write again, on other topics or similar. 🙂


    • This reply was modified 12 months ago by Madalina.

    Dear Madalina:

    You are very welcome and thank you for your appreciation and good wishes for me. I wish you the same.

    I lived my life afraid much of the time, so I can relate to you being afraid. Whenever you want to share more about your life experience, as a child and onward (on this thread or in a new thread), I will be glad to read and reply to you further.


    • This reply was modified 12 months ago by anita.

    Hei again!
    I am having a hard time trying to calm my mind. From time to time I go back to this and I make it a problem and talk to him and want to cry, because I am so afraid he’ll cheat or lie.

    I know we cannot be sure of anything on this life, only our responses. I read many psychology books, I am amazed How hard it is to control myself. Fear takes over and makes want to run.

    Yes, my childhood was bad, my father is an alcoholic Who had also this problem with trust, anxiety, depression and he became very violent with my mom. My entire childhood was made of 2 weeks of good dad and then 3 weeks or more of drunk dad Who beat mom repeatedly…

    I know that what’s happening is because of that and I am scared he’ll hurt me… Still my impulses are pretty strong lately.

    You said you struggled with Fear, how was it for you?



    • This reply was modified 11 months, 2 weeks ago by Madalina.

    And another question: How can I forgive my parents and stop blaming them?

    I blame my father for how he was, even this means I am also blaming myself now for how I am… I blame my mother for not leaving when she saw how much pain he caused her…  I should have the ability to understand both, I want to, I try to, but still… a part of me, is hurt, is thirsty for love and safety and wants everybody to take care of her.

    This is another thing I didn`t put in the previous message.

    I dont have many people around and I am living with my boyfriend, as I mentioned and when he doesnt give me attention, I really snap and go into bitch mode. And he also has had some family trauma and sometimes is a bit distant and I tell him he can talk to me, but it`s very hard to open up… eventually he tells me, but after I tell him that he behaves strangely and that I know there is something on his mind…

    And other times, when I am blaming myself, when I see I am not that good of a person, I just wonder if would be better of without me. that my negativity and way of thinking might pull him down, especially since he thinks kinda big and wants to have success and be prosperous. While I am struggling with my emotion and find it hard to manage other aspects of life…

    My thoughts are kinda messy, looks like a diary page…


    Dear Madalina:

    You shared that your childhood was bad, that your “entire childhood was made of 2 weeks of good dad and then 3 weeks or more of drunk dad who beat mom repeatedly”.

    “I blame my father for how he was.. I blame my mother for not leaving.. I should have the ability to understand both”- no, you should have the ability to understand how terrible your life was, how scary it was for the little girl that you were. It was your parents’ job to understand you, to understand how scared you were because of their behaviors. It was not your job then, nor is it your job now to understand them.

    They had the opportunity of years to understand the mind and heart of their little girl and they didn’t bother to take advantage of that opportunity. It is time for you to understand yourself because your parents didn’t bother to understand you.

    “a part of me is hurt, is thirsty for love and safety and wants everyone to take care of her”- understand this strong part of you, have empathy for this part of you. Don’t blame yourself for being thirsty for what you did not receive for so many years, as a child.

    “when (boyfriend) doesn’t give me attention, I really snap and go into bi** mode.. And other times.. blaming myself.. I see I am not that good person, I just wonder if (he) would be better off without me”.

    You asked me in your first, recent post: “You said you struggled with Fear, how was it for you?”- it was bad for me, most of my life. This is how it got better for me: I attended my first quality psychotherapy in 2011. My therapist at the time focused on teaching me what is called emotional regulation skills, which made it possible for me, over time and practice, to feel fear and anger less intensely, to regulate intense fear and anger, so that they are not so  intense and overwhelming. When overwhelmed, I reacted to fear and anger in destructive ways, similar perhaps to you going into the bi** mode you mentioned.

    Emotional regulation skills are such that when you feel your fear or anger going up, you take it down by taking a walk outside, a hot or cold shower.. listen to calm music, a guided meditation, adopting a daily routine of exercise, etc. It is the ongoing practice of lowering your distress level/ regulating your emotions so that you can choose how to react in ways that are not destructive to you and to others.

    So, when you feel angry at your boyfriend, instead of reacting in ways that make you feel like a bad person later, take a time out (a walk  outside, a hot shower, etc.) and calm yourself down. After you are calm, think what to do  next.

    We do our worst thinking when distressed, this is why it is wise to postpone our thinking until we are calm.

    Is any of this potentially helpful to you?



    Yes, you are very, very helpful! I will look into some emotional regulation skills and implement them. It is pretty hard not to cave into my impulses, some time ago I thought I was better at this… actually, I was the opposite, I used to keep it all in so I guess maybe can be a step forward.

    I attended some therapy myself last year, a few sessions only, then I had to move and money was also tight. I know sometimes what I have to do in critical moments, it is a bit difficult when the me child comes out and acts on impulses, its like I rebel for all those years I didnt, but to the wrong person. He is not guilty for my childhood, he has his own baggage. He just reacts different.

    He has to fit a lot of roles, father, friend, mother, father and its not fair. I do realize that it is so bad... but when he does something that he knows bothers me, I want to revenge myself... But its a duality in this relationship, because I also grew so much in the last years since I met him…

    Thank you again for listening! I wish you the best. Everybody says the road to recovery it is a long one… I am thinking it is a never ending one.

    I am glad you are doing this!


    Dear Madalina:

    You are welcome and thank you for wishing me the best. I wish the same for you.

    “It is pretty hard not to cave into my impulses”- the right practice will make it less and less difficult. But it takes the right practice, expecting slow progress and difficulties/ regressions along the way, lots of patience and of course, time.

    “it is a bit difficult when the me child comes out and acts on impulses”- imagine you were a mother to an impulsive young child, what would you do, how will you parent your impulsive child? Parent yourself the same way: don’t give in to what the child-you wants, but don’t punish her in any way. Instead talk to her clearly, with authority and with empathy.

    “He is not guilty for my childhood”- when you feel the need to blame someone for your childhood, state to yourself: my parents are responsible for my childhood. Just hand them the responsibility, don’t sink into overthinking and trying to understand them, etc.

    “when he does something that he knows bothers me, I want to revenge myself”- can you give me an example or two about him having done something that he knows bothers you, and how you reacted?



    That is a good example, with me being a mother for an impulsive child, it will stick with me. Thank you.

    I keep in touch with both my parents. My mom also helps me out financially from time to time. I had times when I argued with her because of the past. She also left to Italy to work and left me with my father at home. She did it so she can sent us money, because things were bad in my country. I had to understand that at the time and I behaved, growing older I started to tell her stuff about my feelings and that I felt hurt and abandoned, also we kinda fought because I would be mean to her when she wanted me to do stuff her way… like a teenager. Now I moved from that period, she also has mental/health problems because of the past, we live far from each other and we get along pretty well long distance. I don`t want to fight and blame her again…

    As for examples of his behavior there… He kinda makes me feel like a child, even though it might sound cute, it isnt, like hes teasing me like a child – and I told him he should see me as a woman, not as a girl.

    Sometimes he kinda doesn`t pay attention to me when I say something, he spaces out and when I ask him he tells me he just thought of something else – this one flips me off.

    Then I dont know, simple things like to help me out clean the table, wash dishes and so on - if I ask him, he will do it, but I dont want to have to ask every time for this, just to maybe think about it. Cant help then to think of me like his mother. I have time, so it doesnt bother me, still, it would be nice to him to at least try, we are two people eating in the house.

    Him not taking initiative in doing things together – walks, or go out for a drink. He`s more excited if more people come along.

    Good parts I like:

    He is patient when I flip out.

    He is very smart, book smart as I never was – he help me see things from another point of view.

    He is courageous… and there are some more, just didn`t wanted you to think that is all bad.



    Dear Madalina:

    You are welcome.

    “Sometimes he kinda doesn’t pay attention to me when I say something, he spaces out”- I can’t think of anyone who doesn’t space out from time to time, no longer listening to the other person, but getting lost in one’s own thoughts instead.

    “simple things like help me out clean the table, wish dishes, and so on- if I ask him, he will do it, but I don’t want to have to ask every time.. it would be nice to him to at least try”- maybe you can place a little, colorful sign on the wall facing the dining table with the words wash dishes or the like. Maybe it will help?

    “Him not taking initiative in doing things together- walks, or go out for a drink. He is more excited if more people come along”- I suppose he doesn’t like walks or doesn’t feel like taking walks or going for a drink. You can initiate it yourself from time to time, not too often if he doesn’t like to do these things, but from time to time.

    You shared that he is patient, smart, helps you see things from another point of view, he is courageous. I say that he sounds like a quality man! He is not 100% perfect for you, but no  one is, no one could fit your preferences perfectly, or even close to perfectly.

    I understand that you don’t “want to fight and blame (your mother) again”. I suggested earlier that you “state to yourself” that your parents are responsible for your childhood because stating this truth to yourself may help you in regard to your occasional anger toward your boyfriend.



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