I can't get over the past

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-21-2013
I can't get over the past
Tue, 05-21-2013 - 10:29am

Hello everyone, I'm going to keep this as short as possible. I just need to get this off of my chest. I have four kids; Two from a previous relationship and two from my current relationship. I've been with my current fiance for almost 3 years. I am generally very happy with our relationship. He is also happy and says that he is all the time, and we are all looking forward to moving into a new house very soon. But admittedly, I have a serious problem with snooping online. (I can't afford to see a therapist.) So, here I am, just looking for some advice and possibly how to cope.

I have caught my fiance a total of three times (that I know of) doing something online. The first time in early 2011 he was flirting with a high school friend on Facebook. It wasn't just a simple little flirt, it was a "hot and heavy" type of conversation. He since then discontinued speaking with this person, and he did that on his own.

The second time later in 2011, he left his email client open and had gone out. I found numerous dating site emails and some Craigslist posts (I wasn't very familiar with how Craigslist worked at the time.) I didn't get to open these up to look at them because I feared my fiance was returning home at any moment. We discussed what I had seen and he said that those were just spam emails and that he wasn't doing anything. He decided to close that email account and open a new one and even changed his phone number (so obviously, there was something more in-depth going on there and I figured as much.) Even though I felt more at ease knowing that the email and phone number were changed, it was at this point on where I, to this day, continue to snoop.

The third time, just a few months ago, was the worst one. My fiance was acting funny one weekend and was especially fond of his phone. I was worried since it had been over a year that I had noticed anything online. Well, as soon as he left for work that Monday I logged onto his email account and looked through every folder and there it was, Craigslist ads and some dirty sites (the ones where you go there just to look for a quick f***.) The dummy used his real name on all of the sites and phone number and even changed his age a couple years younger stating he was single and looking. So of course I blew up and I was ready to walk out the door, even while pregnant with his second child. Well, after a long talk and a few family members finding out everything (they didn't know about the other stuff in 2011) he was very apologetic and all that, blah, blah, blah. Yet again changing his email and phone number.

Since I made this discovery, I have yet to see anything else online. But, I continue to snoop almost every single day. I never see anything, not even anything slightly questionable. I can't stop it. I know I shouldn't but I just can't stop looking. I told him if I find just one more thing I was done with him forever. But then, I must have some sort of will power in me since I've never looked through his phone, not once in our entire relationship. I am honestly very afraid to look. It's not that he's doing anything (now) to make me suspicious, I am simply afraid to look and I'm not even sure why that is. I feel like I am a crazy person. =(

My XH cheated on me a number of times. Physical, emotional, cyber............ You name it. HIS phone was the ultimate cheating tool, and perhaps that is why I've never looked into my fiance's. I've been nothing but faithful and never been with anyone else, not even looked at anyone else in both of these relationships. I don't understand why I seem to be a target for their unfaithfulness. Even though my fiance three times that I know about did this to me like my XH, I still feel he is right for me. No one's perfect, right? Besides what he's done he's still a great dad, a great provider, says he loves me and kisses me all the time and is very family-oriented. My XH was very distant and hardly ever acknowledged me and wasn't loving or caring at all. I can't stop the snooping though and I don't think I ever can. Can one lead a successful life, even while snooping? I know that sounds like a ridiculous question though I couldn't say it's unheard of.

Any thoughts, ideas or advice are welcome. Thank you for taking a moment of your time to read this.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Tue, 05-21-2013 - 10:46am

The question is can you trust him any more because if you feel like you have to be a snoop for the rest of your life together to constantly check up on him to see what he's doing, then you should just not be with him.  I don't know if I could continue to stay with someone who seemed to be looking to cheat on you--esp. at the time you are pregnant--that's really low.  It could possibly be that somehow he likes the excitement of online flirting and never actually meets anyone, but do you know?  Maybe you even need to be tested for STDs--he doesn't sound like a trustworthy person.  As far as the 2011 emails, it's possible that he could be getting emails from dating sites to ask him to join if he was ever on there before--like I haven't had a membership in a certain OLD site in a long time but they are constantly emailing me to get me to rejoin.  I have never heard of Craigslist sending spam emails--people only will email you if you have an ad on that site.

Now my exH cheated on me briefly when he was considering getting a divorce (which really surprised me since it didn't appear to me that we were having problems).  He confessed it--I didn't find out.  He also said that it made him feel very guilty & he ended it.  if he hadn't told me, I never would have found out.  This was before the days of the internet & cell phones so there was no way I could check up on what he was doing after that.  of course it was very devastating to me, but when we decided to try again, I had to trust that he meant it when he said he'd never do it again.  I do believe that he didn't cheat again, even though we still broke up later, but it wasn't because of another woman.  

I can't tell you what to do but I think you have to make a decision (maybe after counseling).  Either you trust him and stop snooping or you decide that he's not trustworthy and you leave.  He can still be a good father while you are separate but it doesn't mean that he's a good partner.  His track record right now doesn't look that good.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-21-2013
Tue, 05-21-2013 - 2:47pm

Hi Musiclover12,

That is funny you said that! He did, in fact, say what you said about the "excitement of online flirting." He told me (and a billion other guys worldwide when they're busted in this situation) that he never had any intentions of meeting someone face to face, just what's stated above for the most part. Another reason is, as childish as it sounds, is that he wasn't getting any attention anymore from his family members, and that me (at the time of pregnancy) and our first child were. He said he wasn't used to that, and therefore he did what he did. I'm not trying to protect him when I say this, but he is and never has been much of a people-person. I'm not sure how you'd put it, but he'd rather not be near anyone. He's even a little awkward when family members see him. He is also extremely self-conscious about himself. I would honestly be blown completely away if he ever met up with anyone online, but I can't say he would never do it.

The emails that I saw the second time could have very well just been random, but I doubt the Craigslist stuff wasn't. I have to assume something bad was going on since he changed his email and phone number, even though he said it was just spam emails.

I know the snooping isn't healthy and something I shouldn't have to live with. I realize it means I don't trust him 100%. I wish I could talk to a therpist but I cannot afford that. I, however, will not marry this person until I can trust him 100%, nothing less. I know it sounds stupid, but I am very happy in our relationship, it's just that the snooping lives on.

Incase someone should stumble upon this conversation, I should point out (and I realize it doesn't justify my actions) that ever since our relationship he has always left everything open to me online, logins and such. I was surprised he was one of the willling to do this. Maybe because I was always open he felt comfortable enough to do that same? I don't know.

I hope he doesn't mess up again. It will absolutely just about kill me, but I will be leaving him if I find one more thing. 

Avatar for xxxs
Community Leader
Registered: 01-25-2010
Tue, 05-21-2013 - 8:26pm

 Well there are several things here.  It sounds like he has a fantasy life where he is someone who is more comfortable with people.  When in fact he is not.  Being self conscious can be debilitating as one is rarely in the moment.  Perhaps a therapist is warranted at this point.  This is not something I would trust to a mere counselor as the situation call for more expertise. 

  On trust.  Trust is way overrated.  No one can be completely trusted as they are not you.  Cannot be expected to be you.  Now what about his fantasy life did you learn?  In his dream of himself what is different from they way he is.  That is your doorway; use it wisely.


iVillage Member
Registered: 04-16-2008
Wed, 05-22-2013 - 1:26am
Well if he was actually on numerous dating sites and posting ads on Craiglist using his real name and phone no. it's hard to believe this was all just looking for attention and not trying to score hookups. I mean its one thing for a guy to go on dating sites and maybe just look at the women that are on them just out of curiosity, but it sounds like he was actively searching and participating. And if he was actually paying to join these sites and place ads then he wasn't just looking. You've caught him 3 times doing this now. Seems to me if a man gets caught once and is truly remorseful for his behavior then that should have ended the behavior. Dr' Phil has a quote that "The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior" So after 3 times I think if you stay with him you are probably going to spend the rest of your relationship snooping and not trusting him, and to me that's really no way to live. Plus the snooping itself really does become an addictive behavior once you start doing it. So if your willing to spend the rest of your relationship snooping and not trusting him, then stay. And what would make him convinced that you'd really leave the next time if you've already forgiven him 3 times for this?
iVillage Member
Registered: 09-09-2008
Wed, 05-22-2013 - 2:12am

I just hear an ongoing mess that HAS to stop.  I don't see how either of you could trust the other.  I don't have a problem with snooping IF you already are sure something wrong is going on.  Often that's the way we "find out", often the ONLY way we find out.  (Like me.)  If he continues to go to those sites, though, it's going to keep this going.  He's being secretive about them and it's not going to a porn site to LOOK; he's reaching out to live, warm bodies and as you said getting hot and heavy; he's playing games with phones, as well.  This would not fly with me AT ALL (been there myself).  If your ex cheated on you, it's easy to throw blame for THAT onto your current partner, too, so you have to learn how to separate the two.  To me there's good reason to doubt him, esp. if he keeps ditching one phone and getting a new one, things like that of course will keep this going.  But isn't it time to stop all of this by getting some solid counseling together?  You're both doing things that are hurting the relationship, something that's common on these boards, but a pro will pick up on body language and other cues by watching your interactions, you two need help ending this mess.  If a partner cheats, though, it's not about YOU.  It's about them, something inside of them that they think entitles them to cross the line.  It sounds like I'm talking out of both sides of my mouth with my response here, but it's just that both of you are messing up things, it's not uncommon.  My DH crossed the line twice with two separate women 12 years apart, the second one was serious enough I'm still trying to put it behind me.  So don't feel "crazy" - that's the end result of you realizing you don't trust him and you being obsessed now with snooping.  You're going in circles. 


Avatar for Kendahke1
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-09-2012
Wed, 05-22-2013 - 4:14pm

The only thing that stops snooping is for the one being snooped on to change his information.  Do you have the discipline to tell him to change his access information in order for you to get a grip on your snooping? After three tours of inappropriate communiques and you blowing up at him, it doesn't really look like he's of the mind to stop what he's doing out of respect for you.  Perhaps being with this particular guy means that you're going to be going through this over and over and over again.

Do you like the person you have to become in order to deal with this?

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-12-2008
Tue, 06-11-2013 - 1:51am

I am having the same problem and feel very lost and confused.  A week ago i decided to look at my fiances email account. 

First we have been together 13months and we were supposed to be married this coming October.

When looking through his email i came across Cragslist messages.  He was emailing ads off of craigs list and talking to these people back and forth.  Some he emailed pictures of his c**k and she would email photos of herself to him.  He would flirt and talk dirty to the women.  He would ask them if they wanted to meet up.  Then he would email the massage craigs list ads and ask them how much it costs.  He would ask girls if they were available this week and to send him pictures.

When i saw all of this i was very hurt and all i could think was that he was cheating on me.  After all he was asking these girls to meet up and when they are available.  This was going on before we were together and continued up to just two  months ago.

When he came home i had a long talk with him and asked him about everything i found.  He said he was very sorry and he knew it was wrong and would hurt me.  He told me that he has been doing this since he was a teenager and it was an addiction.  When we got together he started trying to stop and it was alot less then usual.  He said that two months ago he finally was able to stop and he has not done it since.  He finally stopped having the urge.  

About 3 months back i looked at his phone one night and saw a number,  I called it because the previous night he was acting weird and said he was somewhere and i felt he was lying.  When i called the number it was a asian spa.  Known for not your normal spa stuff.  When i asked him about it he said he just called be cause it was exciting.  He said he would never go.  I told him this was wrong and i did not want him calling places like this.  But yet i now have found emails as well to places like this.

I have decided to cancel the wedding date on Oct 5th.  Since we have trust issues.  Now i am deciding whether we can stay together or if it is not worth it.  I have dealt with problems like this in the past.  With an EX who had personals profiles and stuff while we were together.  I do not know if it was an addiction, if he slept with these people, or what was going on.  I just need help understanding it all.  I felt like he was the one.  Honest, Faithful, and much more.  I have been nothing but that for him.  I have never had anything to hide from him.  Does anyone have any helpful advice.  I could use it right now.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-14-2013
Fri, 06-14-2013 - 9:49pm

Go and buy yourself a good pair of running shoes and RUN FORREST RUN! There are too many guys out there for you to put up with this and life is too short. You have no children it seems and that is a good thing. Get out whiile you can. You will never be able to trust this man and the consequences on your health from being in a sick relationship are very costly.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-25-2006
Wed, 01-08-2014 - 5:51pm


If you read my post, I have experienced similar problems, even a Craigslist issue.  I don't know how to get over the trust issue.  All I can say is that when things like that happen I feel not wanted or that my husband is not attracted to me.  Our sex life is fine, and in every other respect he's a good husband.  I guess my advice to you and to myself is either accept things as they are, or make a change and leave.  But the leaving part is hard.  And that is what I struggle with.  I feel that technology is ruining relationships and that it takes a very honest and strong man to respect himself and his wife/girlfriend/fiance enough to not succumb.  Unfortunately, oftentimes I don't feel as though I married a man.  I post poned the wedding twice. I don't even think I really wanted to marry him deep down.  Why do we accept this behavior?  Why do men have to do this to the women they supposedly love, are attracted to, blah blah blah.