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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5808
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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I have 2 small kids and have been in a common-law marriage

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I have 2 small kids and have been in a common-law marriage for 5 1/2 years. My fiancee is widowed (once divorced) and he cheated on his deceased wife with the ex-girlfriend that I recently found out he has kept in contact with since we've been together. When I saw the phone bill, I found hundreds of texts they exchanged and phone calls while he was at work or class. I never said anything because I only knew by snooping; however, she ended up calling him when I had his phone and I spoke to her. I told her how inappropriate I thought their relationship was and if it was innocent, why did they have to hide. As far as I know, they stopped contact for 9 months until about 2 weeks ago. What should I do?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 6 years ago.

Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.


It sounds like your boyfriend has a history of cheating and continues his behavior even now. It does not seem that he feels he needs to stop cheating, even when you know about his behavior.


It is important that you talk with him about your feelings and let him know what you intend to do about the situation. If you are feeling that he has no intention of fixing the situation, then it is completely up to you to decide what to do. However, a relationship without trust as a basic foundation has almost no chance of being successful unless it is dysfunctional.


You have a few options. You can stay, and live with the behavior. This is not a healthy choice because it means you do not have trust in your relationship and it also puts you at risk for sexually transmitted diseases. It also creates an unstable home for your children. But for some people, this is a viable option so it needs presented.


Two, you can stay but insist on counseling. You both can try to work on the issue with a therapist to determine his willingness to stop his behavior and work on your relationship.


Three, you can leave the relationship. It depends on whether or not you feel you can do this. However, seeing a therapist on your own and building support with family and friends can help you make the transition from the relationship.


Here is a book that may help you with your decision. It is called Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay: A Step-by-Step Guide to Help You Decide Whether to Stay In or Get Out of Your Relationship by Mira Kirshenbaum. You can find it on or your local library may have it available.


I hope this has helped you,




Customer: replied 6 years ago.
First, thank you for your answer. Just one more thing, do you think that he is still in love with her? That is also one of my biggest issues. I wouldn't know if he hadn't used the phone, his behavior towards me is the same and if I hadn't figured it out, I would have thought we were going extremely well. But after learning that he had contact with her again, I feel there may be an eternal flame burning for her and maybe I should leave. She is over 2,000 miles away but I still don't want to be with someone who would rather be with someone else. So if you can share based on your professional knowledge, would you say that he is still in love with her and always will be? And if that's the case I really need to end it because therapy won't help. Or do you think its an ego boost to think an old flame wants you and that's why. He has no history cheating with anyone else as far as I know.
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 6 years ago.

Without being able to speak to your boyfriend directly, there is no way to tell for sure how he feels. However, you may want to take his past behavior and current behavior as a sign of how he feels. Any relationship outside of your relationship with him, even if it's emotional, is a sign that he is not committed to you and his relationship with you. It is also not a good sign that his relationship with this person has gone on this long.


Also, you had an excellent point. If this relationship was nothing more than a friendship, there would be no reason to hide it. And, if it was a friendship, you would be included in the friendship. This is what you need to take a look at when deciding what action you want to take.


You have good insight into this situation. It is just a matter of what you want to do with it.



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