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9 year relationship, partner 'cheated' again. Leave or open relationship?
#1
My partner went to a gay sauna twice a couple of weeks ago, and he didn't plan to tell me. I only found out because I came home early the second time, and he wasn't there - and seemed so guilty looking I said he should just tell me. He said he'd never had the chance before, and really wanted to try it. It's true that when we became a couple 9 years ago he'd only had a few sexual experiences, whereas me being 5 years older and more open, had quite a lot more.

A few years ago he met someone online, had sex with them, and even allowed some naked photos of himself. I was mortified then, but we went to counselling and seemed to get over it. I suspected it at the time, and he convinced me otherwise - to the point I bought him flowers to apologise, which he accepted. Only later did I find the photo evidence.

In the background, the whole time I've been with him, there's been a tension where he's liked to use gay dating websites and apps. He's always scoffed that it was just him being nosey, despite acknowledging that in one case clearly it wasn't.

This second time around I've slept in the spare bedroom, and my partner actually cried about this. It makes me think he really cares about me, but then I wonder if I'm just being a mug?

He says that he knows whatever he says about it doesn't mean much, and he doesn't really understand the reasons he's done this.

I'm really torn between just giving up, despite that being an enormously painful prospect. I worry he's just afraid of being alone.

If we do stay together, I'm sure now that realistically I have to make this 'ok' in some sense, whether that means just him or both of us being able to have sex with others. If that's the case, I have loads of questions about how that works - but first I need to answer the more fundamental question, do I even try?

Anyway - confused, and looking for some advice. To be clear, I'm not expecting anyone to answer the subject question for me, but I would find some guidance useful!
#2
I assume you two love each other dearly, so if you are going to stay in a relationship, get back to couples counseling.
Those who have HATE in their heart are HATEFUL PEOPLE
#3
To me he sounds like the guys I used to work with, they loved their wives and girlfriends but would constantly cheat. I really believe some of them could have a legit sex addiction, even after being caught and forgiven they would go back to cheating. On the other hand he could just need to be single for a while to explore on his own. If you do want to stay together then I would try couples therapy again or if he can be honest with you then talk to him and find out why he wanted to do it.
[Image: tumblr_n60lwfr0nK1tvauwuo2_250.gif]
#4
johndoe76 Wrote:- but first I need to answer the more fundamental question, do I even try?

You should definitely keep trying..
9 years is not worth tossing. .

Talk it out..
You two might need some space..
Trust can be rebuilt over time..
Not easily. . But it can be.
If you need monogamy. . In your relationship to secure a balance..
That's what you should aim for..

If he wants polygamy. .
Then you two have some compromises make.

Cheer up ..
You have work to do..and hugs.
#5
He was lucky to get a second chance after the first cheat. Clearly he has no respect for you, or plans to be faithful. If you have any self respect for yourself at all you'd move on before wasting any more of your life on this parasite.

Find someone who will love and respect you as you deserve, and won't bring home any STD surprises.
#6
Rather than try to decide what he wants you might try deciding what you want.These days guys who want to be faithful to each other get married. However, before either one of you goes to proposing, it would be a good idea for him to say what he wants and for you to decide what you want and for both of you to be talking to a professional who can gage honesty and give a clear picture of what is going on to the two of you.

I have an inkling that you are reluctant to give up your younger and less experienced prize, as well as your dominant status, but the professional counselor should help you work through that.
I bid NO Trump!
#7
johndoe76 Wrote:...He says that he knows whatever he says about it doesn't mean much, and he doesn't really understand the reasons he's done this.

I'm really torn between just giving up, despite that being an enormously painful prospect. I worry he's just afraid of being alone.

If we do stay together, I'm sure now that realistically I have to make this 'ok' in some sense, whether that means just him or both of us being able to have sex with others. If that's the case, I have loads of questions about how that works - but first I need to answer the more fundamental question, do I even try? ..

I'm of the opinion that men in general (not just gay men) are not "wired" for monogamy. Some are, of course, but I think they're more the exception than the rule. I've been in both monogamous and open gay relationships. They each have advantages and disadvantages. In either case, relationships take work. Communication. Trust. All else aside, without communication and trust they're bound to fail.

The first step toward honesty and communication is knowing one's self well enough to know what is "true" for yourself. Your partner is saying he doesn't know why he's done this.. but clearly he's done it because he WANTED to do it. Right? No one forced him to do it. He did it because that's what he wanted to do... and in so doing he's risked the relationship. That's how badly he wanted it. (Or, one could argue, how little he values the relationship.)

As others have suggested, it is imperative that each of you stop fooling yourself and one another. Truly get in touch with your own inner being, your inner core, your essence. What do you really want? It's imperative that you know this so you can say it to one another, speak your truth to one another. THEN... then decide whether or not there is enough common ground there for you to continue to define yourselves as a couple. Then you can make a mutual decision about HOW you want to deal with this situation. There are all sorts of ways one can structure a relationship whether it be monogamy or something else.

But it can't work if you (both of you) don't know what you want or can't be honest with yourself and one another about what you want. Once you let yourself know what is TRUE FOR YOU, you won't feel confused any more. You'll know.
.
#8
I understand that a relationship of 9 years is not something you want to dispose of lightly. As you can see, I have a similar thread regarding my similar issues. First thing that stands out from this post is that he went to a gay sauna, so it's apparent he is looking for sex and not to replace you emotionally. You mention this has happened in the past and you two went to counseling. What did the counselor equip you two with to deal with this going forward? Certainly, something like sexual desire can't be stuffed in a box and assumed never to surface again. And that box had opened once when he first stepped out of the relationship for sex. In my situation, it was the fact my husband was chronically lying (dozens and dozens of partners behind my back for years while I was working). Lying is the real killer for me because it leaves the other partner feeling betrayed, tricked, left out, and if I am honest--jealous. While it seemed "wrong," I was secretly jealous that I was monogamous when I could have participated in various sexual experiences too after the discovery of his outside sexual encounters. I realize my husband was probably lying out of fear of how I would react (i.e. leaving) if he would have just admitted to wanting an open relationship. However, regardless of the "good" intentions people have, that doesn't take away the negative effects of the lies when discovered. In addition to the emotional disruption and rift lies cause is the risk of STIs, which I did end up contracting from my partner, which was the initial time all this came out but fortunately it was treatable.

I can definitely understand your feelings of being torn and wondering whether you should stay or go, but I think the answer is going to have to be on whether you're able to process this and move past it. Unfortunately, for me, I am not able to and my husband and I are moving toward divorce very soon because after everything, I agreed to an open relationship provided we're open with each other going forward (meaning letting one another know before anything outside the relationship happens), well, that didn't work out either--just more lies. So that leaves me in an ethical lurch...what would the long term effects on my health be if I know I am allowing someone to lie? I am all about leaving the past in the past and moving forward, but that also means that the old habits (lying) need to be left behind too; if it all continues, we haven't reached a true understanding. I definitely think it's great when couples can work through these issues and come to a situation that works, but it does require honesty; and situations like this can even lead to a greater degree of honesty and a stronger relationship.
#9
Pacific Wrote:I understand that a relationship of 9 years is not something you want to dispose of lightly. As you can see, I have a similar thread regarding my similar issues. First thing that stands out from this post is that he went to a gay sauna, so it's apparent he is looking for sex and not to replace you emotionally. You mention this has happened in the past and you two went to counseling. What did the counselor equip you two with to deal with this going forward? Certainly, something like sexual desire can't be stuffed in a box and assumed never to surface again. And that box had opened once when he first stepped out of the relationship for sex. In my situation, it was the fact my husband was chronically lying (dozens and dozens of partners behind my back for years while I was working). Lying is the real killer for me because it leaves the other partner feeling betrayed, tricked, left out, and if I am honest--jealous. While it seemed "wrong," I was secretly jealous that I was monogamous when I could have participated in various sexual experiences too after the discovery of his outside sexual encounters. I realize my husband was probably lying out of fear of how I would react (i.e. leaving) if he would have just admitted to wanting an open relationship. However, regardless of the "good" intentions people have, that doesn't take away the negative effects of the lies when discovered. In addition to the emotional disruption and rift lies cause is the risk of STIs, which I did end up contracting from my partner, which was the initial time all this came out but fortunately it was treatable.

I can definitely understand your feelings of being torn and wondering whether you should stay or go, but I think the answer is going to have to be on whether you're able to process this and move past it. Unfortunately, for me, I am not able to and my husband and I are moving toward divorce very soon because after everything, I agreed to an open relationship provided we're open with each other going forward (meaning letting one another know before anything outside the relationship happens), well, that didn't work out either--just more lies. So that leaves me in an ethical lurch...what would the long term effects on my health be if I know I am allowing someone to lie? I am all about leaving the past in the past and moving forward, but that also means that the old habits (lying) need to be left behind too; if it all continues, we haven't reached a true understanding. I definitely think it's great when couples can work through these issues and come to a situation that works, but it does require honesty; and situations like this can even lead to a greater degree of honesty and a stronger relationship.

Thanks for all the responses - it's been really helpful. We have ended up agreeing to give things a chance, and trying to make sure the communication we've started because of this carries on.


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