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In serious need of some outside opinions...

This is pretty long and detailed, but I really need some insight.

I met my now ex-boyfriend (36 years old, no kids, never married), whom we will call Tom*, at work on April 21 2015. We literally had to spend the day together for work-related purposes. I was in a relationship at the time that was going nowhere, and on the verge of breaking up with the guy, so when I met Tom*, it was refreshing to talk to someone that I seemed to have more in common with. For days after, I wondered why he didn't ask for my number and kept thinking about him as he left a huge impression on me. I also felt guilt for feeling this way but it was the charisma and easy conversation that hooked me with Tom*, as well as the fact that he was tall, handsome, and intelligent.

Tom* messaged me at work a week later, asked for my number. We texted back and forth for over a month, with him asking to see me, setting up several dates, but I kept flaking out because I had a boyfriend. Tom* would sporadically text me, we'd talk for a bit, then he'd disappear for a few days, mostly weekends, and would occasionally text me while out drinking. One night, before our first date, he texted me at 3am with "I'm drunk and you're the one I'm thinking about and want to talk to". At the time, I thought it was sweet, but now thinking about it, I should have wondered "in relation to who exactly?!"

We finally had our first "date" on June 11 2015. We went out for a bit and then back to his house. He gave me the tour, and upon going upstairs, he said "look at this" and showed me a room with little girl toys scattered about and the name Lily in pink letters on the wall. He said it used to be his old roommate's daughter's room before the roommate just up and left. I believed this, as there wasn't a reason not to. He said he'd been saving himself for me since he's been trying to see me for over a month, even though I kept flaking out, because he believes I'm a truly good person with a big heart that attracted him to me, and he didn't want to pass me by, but that there would be nothing wrong with having sex. He said people do it all the time and it isn't a big deal. I stuck to my guns and said no, that I'm not that kind of girl. When I left the house, he wanted to kiss me. I said okay, and he pulled me back in the front door, leaned me against the wall and we had one of those romantic, steamy movie kisses before I went home.

I broke up with my boyfriend, and Tom* knew all about it, wanting to give me advice too, since he "had been in that type of situation before and knew what it was like". He said he could truly focus on me now that I didn't have another guy in my life. Now, over the span of months from June to the end of October 2015, we spent a ton of time together, usually at my place or his, and he told me he loved me within the first month or two as well (albeit the first time he told me was through text while he was drunk) and we also became official around that time, saying that he wanted to marry me, have babies, etc. He also several times made comments about how other women were hot, how he's had several threesomes, had told me in the beginning before we became exclusive that he'd only have one with me if I wanted to but wouldn't if we were exclusive, that he's slept with and dated lots of women, even told me after asking me several times to be his girlfriend and I declined, that he could go pick up a girl at a bar whenever he wanted, but he was waiting for me. That never made me feel good, it always intimidated me, like it was so easy for him to replace me, but he also had a way of making me feel like the most beautiful woman in the world. However, another thing that threw me off was the fact that I was never allowed to sleep in at his house, he always made me leave in the mornings before he went to work. That never sat well with me.

He told me several times that marriages rarely last and he doesn't know how people make them last, throwing out divorce statistics, and saying he usually gets bored once he gets to know someone like the back of his hand...that he didn't like predictable..but wanted to try with me. He said he wanted to try to be like me in regards to only wanting that one person and no one else, and that he felt like he could never get bored of me. Tom* also seemed to have an issue with trusting me but were clearly just deflections of his own guilty conscience.

Halloween weekend 2015, he ended up lying about where he was going with this elaborate story about needing to go to a cousin's wedding but that I couldn't go due to a family fued he didn't want me involved in. I found out via Facebook that he lied, and upon confronting him, he dumped me. He said he needed the weekend away with friends to think but didn't want to tell me because I wanted to spend time with him, that he needed to break up for awhile to figure out what he wants and if what we had was real, if maybe I was just a fling, that we'd talk again one day, that he feels like he messes everything up and something is wrong with him, that he'd probably always regret breaking it off with me, and that he may not come back one day and that I didn't have to wait for him, but that he loved me.

We didn't talk at all from November 1st to around Christmas that year, when he reached out to me during Christmas, telling me he misses me, wants to hold me again, and needs to see me. When I saw him at his house a few days after Christmas, he seemed totally changed. He was ecstatic to see me, said he thought long and hard and realized that he can't live without me, that he spent the time apart on his own, no other woman was involved, and he couldn't stop thinking about me and couldn't pretend like I wasn't apart of his life. We got back together soon after. He spent tons of time with me, weekends and everything I had wanted the first go round. The only issue was that, during our time apart, I had rebounded with a coworker of mine. Tom* had expected me to be as I were before he hurt me and left, and wasn't at all happy knowing I had been with someone else. He made me feel guilty for it, saying he had been single and alone during our time apart. It took me until the end of February to make up my mind about truly being with Tom*.

Tom* didn't trust me after he had come back into my life, worried I'd cheat on him with the guy I had been seeing while Tom* and I were broken up, so I began staying at Tom's* house everyday, actually able to stay at his house without him being there unlike the first go round...and eventually he said, March of 2016 to be exact, that I should move into his house with him. So I did.

However, the lies began again not even by the end of that March. He started lying about his whereabouts, like going to the casino but really going out drinking with his friends. This happened several times, and he got caught each time, always saying it was because I'd get upset and he wanted to avoid arguments. Then June 2016, we were talking about going to a family outing of his with a bunch of his family (I had already met his parents and sister earlier in 2016, just not his whole extended family), and he asked me, if anyone were to ask when he and I met, to say we met the beginning of 2016, like we hadn't known each other in 2015 at all. I didn't get an exact reason why at the time, and it really bothered me.

A few weeks later I found out that he had had a girlfriend the entire time we were dating in 2015, whom he had been with for about a year before he met me, and dumped her January 2016. He apolgoized profusely, saying he was confused, didn't know that he could feel the things he felt for me, didn't know if it was too good to be true, and that he was confused, and didn't want to tell me for fear that I'd leave him. And stupidly, in my low state, I stayed with him as he seemed to sincerely want to work on things and be with me.

Fast forward, February 25 2017...I wanted to give Tom* more trust so I told him to go away for the weekend to visit his parents without me, that it would be good for us. He leaves, texting me around 11pm that he was going to bed at his parents' house. I thought nothing of it. the next day he seemed hungover and slept all day at his parent's house, claiming he had not gone out drinking the night before. A few weeks later in March, he went out with friends and ended up staying out until 3am. I called him, and he accidentally answered the phone, not knowing that he had. I overheard him in a car saying I was at home pissed off and that a few weeks prior, he had met some girl from "back home" who was hot, they had been talking for a few weeks but she quit talking to him for a "black guy", and then he made a racist comment, which was totally unlike the person that I knew. When I was able to confront him when he got home, he denied everything, saying he hadn't said any of that stuff and it was the guy next to him who had said it. I did a little digging and was able to speak to someone who confirmed that Tom* had went out that night in February and met some blonde at the bar. When I confronted Tom* with this information, he admitted it all, saying that he went out but didn't want to tell me because he just wanted to have fun without me getting upset. He said the girl he met had bought him a drink, he didn't tell her he had a girl friend, and they texted for about a week as a means to escape our intense relationship. He said he wasn't happy, although I had NO idea that he had been as unhappy as he was. I also found out that he had actually went to a club the night I overheard him and gotten some girl named Brooke's phone number. Once I found the phone number, I called Brooke and she told me that Tom* had approached her that night in the parking lot of the club around 2am, saying "I really hope you get home safe, you should give me your number just in case" so she had put her number in his phone and that was that. He had called her a bit later, but she hadn't answered. When confronted, he put the blame on Brooke, saying she was drunk and immature, didn't know what she was talking about, that he only got her number in case he needed a ride home from the club, and that he hadn't told me about the club because, yet again, I would have gotten mad. He broke up with me after this, said he felt the need to "act out" and do things that he hadn't wanted to do anymore, all because our relationship was intense and he wasn't going out with friends as much. He went out, got other girls' numbers (always saying they were just in case he needed a ride home), had one girl bring him home one night at 3:20am who had NO idea that I lived with him. When I confronted her, she said Tom* had been flirting with her, told her he had dumped me weeks prior, had no idea I lived with him, and that he had texted her telling her that she is beautiful but that nothing happened that crossed the line. Of course, Tom* denied flirting and telling the girl he had dumped me.

After all of this drama, Tom* finally agreed to get back together officially (I was still living with him at his house) and work on our relationship. He started being sweet again, doing sweet things and seeing a therapist with me, doing relationship-building things, telling me he is in love with me, wants to marry me, seeming protective of me at times....just things that made me believe that we were getting better and he was happier. I even felt happier.

May 19th, he went out with friends, stayed out til 3 am. I offered to pick him up when he was ready to come home too. He got home on his own and I saw him looking at his phone in a weird way, so I walked up behind him and saw a text message from a woman saved in his phone by the name of Sarah, saying "Hi Tom* :)". I immediately felt my stomach drop. He finally said, after denying, that he had gotten her number in case he and his friend needed a ride home. I reminded him that HIS GIRLFRIEND had already offered to take them home and he had even promised me, several times, no more random numbers in his phone....and I demanded a real answer as getting a drunk woman's number is NOT for a ride. He insisted it was only for a ride, but then let me see the text conversation between he and Sarah. He had texted Sarah that night at 2:18am with "It's Tom*" and she responded at 2:41am with "Hi Tom* :)". In my disbelief and being crushed all over again, I made him text Sarah, telling her he has a girlfriend and not to contact him again. The next day, I had him show me her response, and I only got to see a glimpse of Sarah's response, which was a paragraph text, and the only thing I saw from what she had said was something about "taking her back". Tom* refused to let me read her response, deleting it and her number, saying she meant and means nothing, and her response was just because of the instigating text that I made him send to Sarah the night before. 

I packed a suitcase and left, to stay at my sister's house for the rest of the weekend and the following week, to think, because I was honestly thinking about my options as far as breaking up and moving out. He called me and texted me all that Saturday night, and began again Sunday morning at 7am. I finally responded Sunday morning around 9am, explaining how hurt I was. He was responding back to me, saying he will never do it again, but he ended up saying we need to break up, that he isn't "ready for a relationship", out of the blue. I drove to our house and he said he doesn't think he's in love with me anymore, because he keeps hurting me and feels that if he were in love, that he wouldn't do things to hurt me, things that he agreed he wouldn't want me to do behind his back. He admitted, that he not only has done these same things with me and the girlfriend he had cheated on me with, but also in every relationship he's had, that he doesn't know if he's ever truly loved anyone, that he isn't happy with his life or himself and he feels like a bad person, that he feels he has problems that he needs to fix because he is getting old and doesn't want to keep hurting people, that he does want a marriage and kids, but doesn't know if he will ever have any of that. He said he's been saying and doing things the past few months to make things work between us, but didn't always mean the things he said and did, and mostly just wanted me to feel better and to feel special. He said when he was texting me the night before, he meant everything he said about not wanting to live without me, that I am in every part of his life and he wouldn't know what to do without me, that he wants to spend his life with me but when he was texting me that morning, he didn't feel the same and what he was texting me just didn't feel true. He kept assuring me this has nothing to do with any woman or any outside influences, that he's not happy with himself and he needs to be a better person, and he needs to stop doing the same things to women and hurting people, because nobody, especially me, deserves any of that.

After awhile of talking, he said we should take a week apart to process things and see how we feel. I reluctantly agreed, and spent the week at my sister's house, only talking to Tom* that Tuesday, with him saying it was so hard for him not to text or call me, that he wanted to be with me but knew we needed time apart. That Friday rolls around and I hadn't heard anything from him since Tuesday, so I drove to our house. He was home, upstairs alone in his office. He hugged me and told me that he had thought things through, and he missed me and cared about me but that he ultimately decided that we can't be together. He got upset when I said I feel like he's happy and just wants me out like I don't mean anything to him at all. He showed me our bed, where had placed pillows where I always slept, saying he is hurting and misses me lying next to him, that he isn't happy and this isn't easy for him, but that he needs to be alone and we can't be together. He did say, while crying, that he doesn't know what's wrong with him, why he keeps hurting people, why he keeps doing things that he knows is wrong, that he wants to be better for me. He ended up saying he was going away for the weekend, to spend time with family and to process his thoughts. I was so upset, and didn't want him to leave, and he ended up running out the back door, to his truck and driving away, with me crying, standing in the doorway. He said before he left, that he'd help me figure out where to move to and he'd help me with whatever I needed, but that he wouldn't be back until the following Monday (this was Memorial Day weekend).

I packed all of my things and moved out that weekend, and haven't seen or talked to him since. He never contacted me, even upon going home to an empty house. His mom has contacted me a few times, seeming concerned for me and wanting to talk, but never mentioning anything direct about him. I never responded to her.

I'm hurt, angry, feeling duped and stupid for not trusting my intuition about him. He always told me he'd never look outside of our relationship if we were having issues, that he'd never cheat or lie...well, he did everything he promised he wouldn't do, including saying he can't imagine his life without me the day before he dumped me this last time. I know this all sounds ridiculous, and I clearly should have left him when the shady stuff first began, but I'm in the throes of this break up that I should have initiated, feeling like I'm to blame partly for how he acted due to feeling insecure and sometimes wondering I could have done things to prevent all of this from happening. But then I realize that's a load of crap, that I'm not to blame for his behaviors, that clearly he's been doing these things way before he ever met me. My therapist thinks it's because his mother coddled him and he learned how to manipulate women by first manipulating her while he was growing up.

What do you guys think? Any (respectful) opinions and advice would help.



I know, and I have been working on myself for years and seeing a therapist. I really did love him, but I think part of what is getting me through this is remembering all the bull he put me through and hearing others say how they perceive him to be. It just seems to help me not feel so badly about myself and how stupid I was.

Yes he is a big player. You let him in your life. You fell for him. He tried to make use of you. It was bound to happen with this guy. Before understanding anyone, we need to give some time. We need to have strong mind set. We should not fell stright away.

Now you understood what happened. Don't think too much. It wil make u feel bad. Move ahead. Ignore him

What Bridgie said.

I agree with Bridgie as well.

You're trying to make sense of nonsense.

Yes, I could have written a very similar story. I'm sorry you've given so much of yourself to a selfish, uncaring man. You are young. I am separated from my husband (7 years, he lives with a woman), very lonely with my children all off at college. I think that we are similar in that your guy kept saying that he loves you, treating you with love and attention, spending time with you, saying all of the right things; then lies, cheats and breaks your heart. My man was such a good liar that I would believe him almost every time after sketchy stuff happened. It usually was him sending me a text meant for another woman. It was often in Spanish. I don't speak Spanish. It was several times intimate. He told me it was only an on-line relationship. Would never meet anyone. Has never touched another woman. Loves only me. It happened at least a half dozen times over our year and a half together. Some messages were just a good morning baby. He'd tell me it was for his daughter.... It just wouldn't end with my intuition screaming at me. Why couldn't I just walk away. I knew what was happening. But when he would lie, tell me how much he loved me, only wanted to be with me, we were meant to be together, we have a wonderful future to live, etc. He said all of the things that I wanted to hear. I am/was lonely and didn't want to be alone. I was also told "don't be crazy", "you're paranoid" and I was almost convinced that I was! It's men like this that make trusting women like us appear crazy/paranoid. We are in hyper mode waiting for the next untruth. This is no way to live but when things are going well, it's just what I wanted in life.

At any rate, I can't get over how well some can lie. It's amazing that they have no sympathy at all for the people that they lie to.

I hope that you can move on from this man. It will probably be really difficult to trust a man in your future. Hopefully you can meet a man that will be open/loving/caring and prove that he is deserving of your trust and love.

Some men may find this aggressive and angry or bitter. If you've been fooled by a man or woman like this, you will understand. Maybe many men would never put up with this situation. SOME of us women are living with low self esteem and may feel unworthy of another. That may be what keeps us hoping and believing in love.

I wish you luck in your recovery from this relationship. As long as you have family and friends near you, you can lean on them whenever you get low.

Thank you all, I really appreciate your words.

@bridgie101: Your last message really made me laugh, that was just what I needed. I'd like to think I'm still young but as I'm turning 30 next year, no relationship, no kids, none of that in sight....I am beginning to feel old and....rushed? I definitely have wasted a lot of my youth being hurt by guys, and I'm really tired of it. I think everyone is deserving of love, at any age...but for me, sometimes I wonder if I'm even cut out for it given all of my past experiences. But at any rate, I appreciate you.

@jimthzz: Yes, you said the very same thing I've heard someone else tell me, and it's exactly what it feels like, being able to objectively look at the entire relationship now. It's all total nonsense.

@ChelseaLeigh: Yes! I did research sociopath profiles a few days ago, and it partially seems like him. I mean, not all of the symptoms pertain to him, but he definitely has no moral code, no integrity, can lie without giving himself away most of the time, etc. I'd like to believe that he does have a mental problem, because for the life of me, I can't make sense of how someone can treat people (mainly women) the way that he does. But I can tell, and based off of some of the things he's told me about himself, he is insecure about who he is and his body, and I think he's been overcompensating for those things for many years, and now it's just ingrained in him, which means he most likely will never change. I agree with you, it helps to think of all the BS they put you through, and to be able to know what you will and will not put up with in the next relationship. And yes, I did fall in love partially with his potential, because he was always talking about it and building it up...but ultimately, it didn't amount to anything at all.

@yougotthis: That's awful how your ex treated you, very similar behavior to my situation. It's scary, how these people can lie as well as they breathe, and I agree, those with some level of insecurity and low self-esteem put up with this behavior more than those who are confident and secure with themselves. One part I can't understand is, with all of the lying and cheating behind your back, why the guy still tries to be sweet, tries to "make things work", doesn't just give up when clearly they already have a toe, foot or half of their body already out of the relationship. Sometimes I wonder if they do love their significant other in their own way, but it ultimately is never enough. I'm sorry YOU have dealt with what he put you through, but I have to believe that, being alone is better than being with someone like them.

I think what we women are failing to see, at least with some of these men, is that there are some out there truly are needing and wanting to be with us. And the circumstances are beyond easy solutions, or repair. If this is the case, I'd say let it go, but if you see someone is in transition, in between being hurt and genuinely trying to love again, do you drop them? do you consider them "damaged goods" and move on? that's a serious question in determining what to do with that person.

In this case, I 100% think that the lies, the cheating and the drinking and trust issues are too far gone for any repair. In my case, there is a solid SOLID man and human being, and unfortunately I got in it at the wrong time. I'm much younger than he is and I quickly said to him after one year, because of who is and his depth of character, that I loved his wrinkles and balding head, and his surgery scars and his pot belly. I meant it. You can be as beautiful as anything, and fall in love with someone that's aging and not on top of his game. You don't see any of it, except that you love him.

@earlysteps84: I agree with you. I'd tell him I loved his greying hair and other things he didn't like about himself. I truly loved him, and that's part of why this is so hard. It was real to me, at least.

Question: why do you think he's too far gone for repair?

Omg I'm actually eating dinner while I just read that.

Well, not anymore.

I'll microwave it later if and when the std statement works it way through my brain and leaves my head.

Please don't imply that I have contracted something from him. He was actually clean and so am I. And I wasn't excusing his behavior for sex. That's insulting.

I know I'm at fault for believing him but there's no need to be so harsh about it. And I'm absolutely not implying that he's a victim. I just think maybe he didn't have proper upbringing to instill morals and integrity. I mean, all issues arise somewhere. However, it is true that he's an adult and at this point knows right from wrong, which he doesn't care about because, like you said, he gets away with it because he can. Which is why I'm so mad at myself because I did know better.

I'm beginning to harness the anger that you hold, bridgie101, for the simple fact that I deserve better and shouldn't care about him whatsoever, because he is nothing but a liar living unconsciously.

You're right, I didn't love him, I love the person he pretended to be. Silly, silly me.

Well I'm going to say that you need to explore the reasons WHY you love him, because honestly the red flags were flying, he treated you badly and not just once- you kept allowing him to get away with it

It's kind of hard to read your original post and not see the obvious, yet you didn't (or chose not to)?

I'm not sure what you're looking for here?

And while bridge was a little...graphic, for my taste, this guy is totally playing everyone and getting away with it because why?

My advice is to never see or speak to him again. If you ever entertain the idea of seeing him again after what you've posted here, please don't expect too much sympathy when you get hit with the inevitable consequences. That writing is on the wall.

If it were me I'd want to explore why I had such low regard for for myself that I allowed myself to be treated so badly and work on myself so as never to allow it again.

I see you added to your last reply.

Your making excuses for him like him not having a proper upringing is just that- an excuse.

And sounds like you just keep making them.

Codependent. The board's full of them

Excuse me? As I've stated that is not an excuse. Don't be rude here. You don't even know me so don't pretend to.

You know I was just coming back here to delete my replies because you edited your last reply and now there appears to be no continuity.

First you're pissed at bridgie and now me?

Listen you asked a question.

I respectfully answered

Please don't chastise me. If you don't care for the reply put me on ignore.


People reply to one comment and by the time they're done you've changed the whole thing
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