Please advise – emotional cheating?

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    My fiance and I have been together for 6 years now and living together for 3. We have an 18 month old daughter. We have been having problems with various aspects of the relationship and I am looking for an outside perspective.

    My fiance was diagnosed as clinically depressed and has been taking anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medicine every day for 2 years now. He does not work a traditional job, rather is self employed and finds most of his clients online (he is in the music industry). He does not like to go out much and interact with people besides speaking with them online. Recently he’s also started interacting with people on a pod-cast format on an app called Clubhouse. He is calling this his new “business venture” as he has found a way to monetize it and charge clients weekly to listen in and interact on a conversation about various topics, including mental health.

    I work a traditional 9-5 job and have always been the “strong one” in the relationship. I was the one to purchase our home, take care of all the paperwork, set up all doctor’s appointments, pay the bills, etc. etc. He is also a very heavy cigarette and weed smoker. I have been in a never-ending battle with him trying to get him to stop smoking inside the house. He has stopped smoking cigarettes inside but continues to smoke marijuana in one room of the house he has designated as his “studio.”

    Since he does not have a set “work schedule,” we decided it would be best for him to stay with our daughter during the day, and then switch off when I get home from work. This seemed to be better than sending her to daycare, but I feel that he does not put in a lot of effort with our daughter. He used to allow her to spend excessive time in her swing/bouncer/walker and now keeps cartoons on for most of the day while on his phone.

    I have been asking him to put in more effort and prioritize her because I see that she is behind on her development. I also ask that he helps out cleaning and cooking, but he has never cooked a meal or cleaned not once.

    Another aspect of concern for me is trust issues (surprise surprise…) When I was 9 months pregnant, while cleaning his studio I saw on his computer a conversation between him and a girl he met online. He said to her, “I wish I was there to make you smile,” and, “I wish we could have coffee together.” He texted her good morning every single morning and occasionally sent her songs he thought she would enjoy.

    I was shattered and confronted him. He said that I’m crazy and misinterpretting what I read. He said that he is only friends with the girl, that in fact she is an acupuncturist and he was thinking of seeing her professionally. He said that in fact he always spoke to her about how wonderful I am and how happy he is to be becoming a father.

    To me, I considered this an emotional affair. It made me feel very insecure, especially because he was denying my attempts to have sex for a long time. We were having sex about once a month and sometimes less. He blamed this on the pressure of becoming a dad and his anti-depressants.

    After that incident, I started getting the urge to snoop in his phone. I saw that he did not block the girl like I asked. There was another time that he reached out to her to wish her a happy birthday. Our communication with him entailed that I understood that for his business he needs to speak with people and sometimes women, but I asked him to stop seeking emotional connections with women for my sake. I asked him not to start friendships with women online. There are plenty of men out there he can be friends with.

    Once he started this new “podcast” business venture, he found a female that he wanted to work with. He told me about her and I stated that he barely knows her, and I do not feel comfortable with it. There are plenty of men and his existing friends he can work with. I snooped again, and found messages between them where he said, “I want to see you while you’re in town, saturday/sunday works best for me.” In fact, those were the days that I was supposed to be out of the house to visit family.

    I confronted him, and around we went again with him getting mad for “invading his privacy,” and calling me crazy saying that I am misinterpreting again. He ended their business partnership, stating it was because of me but I know it was because SHE did not follow through.

    Then he found another business partner. Again a woman. Then another. Again another woman. This one he speaks to every day, day and night. He has been ignoring family time and taking every opportunity to be on the app. He decided not to go on vacation with me, our daughter, and my family so he could get some “quiet time and do business.” When I got back, there was no effort to welcome us home. Instead, he slept for most of the day. I snooped again and found his conversation with this new “business partner.” In the conversation he reaches out to her every day to say good morning, ask how she is doing, she sends selfies that he likes, she says “I miss your voice,” and he says to her, “I am so happy to be left alone. My fiance was making me miserable. I only wish that I took the opportunity to fly out to LA to see you.”

    I held this in for a week and yesterday confronted him. He dared to raise his voice and say that I invaded his privacy once again, that what is on his phone is not for me and I am crazy for saying this is a form of deceit or cheating. I stood up for myself and confessed that I have committed to therapy because I am extremely unhappy. He then broke down and cried, saying that he is sorry that he has made me unhappy and would do anything to fix it.

    I am numb to the words at this point because I have heard them every time I confront him. It seems to me that I am stuck in the cycle of emotional abuse but would like an outside perspective.


    Dear momstrength:

    There is a long list of his wrong behaviors. The top two on the severity scale are: (1) neglecting his 18-month old daughter while you are at work, especially knowing that she is behind on her development (because of neglect..?), (2) repeatedly telling you that you are crazy when you confront him with undeniable evidence, aka gaslighting: making you doubt reality/ what you saw with your own eyes. You shared about three such incidences, first: “I was shattered and confronted him. He said that I’m crazy and misinterpreting what I read”, second: “I confronted him.. with him calling me crazy saying that I am misinterpreting again”, and third, with a raised voice: “He dared raise his voice and say that.. I am crazy”.

    The fact that before the third time you “held this in for a week and yesterday confronted him”, and that during the third time he raised his voice, suggests to me that on one hand, he now feels stronger and more comfortable about lying and gaslighting you, and on the other hand, you are feeling weaker, having been weakened by his repeated lies and gaslighting.

    The bottom two of his wrong behaviors on the severity scale is that he never cooked or cleaned your home. This would be a big deal for any woman who works 9 to 5 while her partner is at home, but compared to  his other very wrong behaviors, these two are not as bad.

    As far as his character goes, his dishonesty and irresponsibility are troubling not only because of the things you found out on his computer and observed in person, but for the things you don’t know about. For example, maybe he smokes cigarettes while you are at work, being okay with harming your daughter with second-hand smoke for as long as you don’t know about  it.

    What are you  going to do?



    Dear momstrength,

    I believe the most important to focus on and consider in this situation is your daughter’s well-being. If she’s not getting proper care and attention, i.e. he’s not engaging with her enough and leaves her alone in her swing/bouncer/walker, or in front of the TV for many hours, while spending time on his phone, and even possibly smoking in her presence, that’s child neglect.

    I understand he doesn’t really qualify for a stay-at-home dad, because he does have a job/source of income, or is trying to build his business at present. So in that sense, it should be clear when he’s working and when he’s fully engaged with your daughter. If the lines are blurred and he doesn’t really fulfill his responsibilities as a father, the situation should be changed ASAP, for the benefit of your daughter.

    One possibility is to take her to daycare only for a few hours par day, say 4 hours, to allow him time to work, and the rest she could spend with him. But then he would need to engage more with her and perhaps cook a meal here and there, and do some cleaning perhaps.

    All that is possible if you have a sensible, responsible partner, who is committed both to you and your daughter. Daily schedule could be worked out for the benefit of all, and mostly your daughter. But your fiance doesn’t seem like such a person unfortunately. He isn’t responsible, and he doesn’t seem to be committed, neither to you nor your daughter. He flirts with other women and then gaslights you that it means nothing, or that it’s strictly business-related.

    You say you’re the strong one in the relationship: you have a traditional 9-5 job, you bought your home, did all the paperwork, you pay the bills, arrange doctor’s appointments etc. It seems to me you’re the adult in the relationship, and he’s like a youth having a good time and expecting “mom” to take care of him and all the adult stuff. It’s never fortunate to have an unequal relationship, where one party cannot take their part of the responsibility.

    So I think you should do something to change the status-quo, primarily for the benefit of your daughter, but for your own sake too.


    • This reply was modified 1 day, 23 hours ago by TeaK.
    • This reply was modified 1 day, 23 hours ago by TeaK.
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