Loving -- and Leaving -- a Cheat

Dear Sherry:

My boyfriend of seven months says he loves me, and I believe him. He also says he'd never lie to me, and I believe that too, because he tells me every time he sleeps with another woman. Even though he's 32, he says he's not ready for monogamy. He knows his attitude upsets me, but he says that because he uses protection I shouldn't be concerned, as his flings are just physical. He says I'm free to sleep with other men, but so far I haven't. I'm a one-woman man -- and, unfortunately, he knows that about me. What should I do? P.S.: We have a great sex life.



Sherry Amatenstein

Sherry is the author of The Q&A Dating Book and Love Lessons from Bad Breakups. She has taught dating seminars, appeared as an expert... Read more

Dear Ann:

Do you really want my advice? I mean, do you really, really want to hear my TRUE opinion? Because it's to dump the dog. Okay, maybe he's not a dog. But if he's not ready for monogamy after seven months (seven years in dog time -- whoops, sorry!) and insists that it's okay if you sleep with others, then honey, this is not a man worth keeping.

You're probably cringing, thinking, "But he's the love of my life!" Trust me, he's not. The love of your life will respect your needs and wishes, and won't disrespect you by sleeping around indiscriminately (condoms or no condoms). If you're still not ready to give him the hook, at least give him an ultimatum: "Either you stop sleeping with other women or it's over between us." Tell him that even though his "flings" are meaningless to him, they give you tremendous pain. If he truly cares for you, he won't take your threat lying down.

But, as I've said in previous columns, if you dilute an ultimatum by going back on it, you lose your power position and he'll continue dipping his well in non-company ink, so to speak. Since he's not the lying kind, you'll know soon enough whether or not he can keep his pants zipped. Sorry to end on a downer, but ask yourself if a man who has to be coerced into being faithful is likely to remain faithful over the long haul.

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