Dear Amy: A couple of days ago, I caught my boyfriend cheating on me.
I got into his iPad because I had a suspicious feeling — one of his ex-girlfriends had called him the night before. He shook it off as her wanting him back.
I found an entire text conversation, and he was clearly cheating on me. When I confronted him, he acted like he had never seen it before.
I broke up with him, but he still refuses to admit he did anything wrong, even after I messaged a different ex-girlfriend (who I figured out he had also cheated on) as well as his mistress, who agreed to help me catch him.
They sent me proof.
I don't want to believe it's real because he always talked about marriage and wanting kids, and he never showed any signs of not loving me.
I still love him and want to trust him. He has plenty of enemies from his past that he claimed would love to hack him and ruin his life, yet there's so much evidence.
I'd like to hear your perspective.
Amy says: Someone can tell you he loves you, want to marry and have kids with you and still cheat.
Some people who are unfaithful are able to own, apologize for, and rectify their mistake with their partners. Building back trust takes time and tremendous effort, but it can happen.
However, from your description, your guy sounds like a serial cheater with an aptitude for drama.
You acted on your suspicions. Unfortunately, all of your fears seem to have been justified (you could open a detective agency, by the way).
The "my computer was hacked" excuse is just a modern version of "the dog ate my homework." Yes, it is possible, but extremely unlikely.
My insight is that someone who has "plenty of enemies from his past" has likely earned his reputation the old-fashioned way: by lying, cheating and gaslighting his way through relationships.
This is where you have to trust yourself, your judgment and your instincts. None of his behavior is your fault, but if you choose to override your own judgment, that's on you.
No help in the kitchen
Dear Amy: After Thanksgiving dinner with my husband and three adult children (and significant others), I'm wondering what is the protocol for cleanup duty?
The children brought food, but as I stood in the kitchen filling the dishwasher and putting away food as everyone sat and talked, I asked myself, where did I go wrong?
My husband has never offered to help me in the kitchen and rarely thanks me for meals, but I thought I had taught my children better.
I don't know how to bring this up because I worry that I won't be taken seriously, but I don't want to keep having this experience over and over. If I were frequently invited to my children's homes where they cook and clean for me, I guess that would be an equal trade-off, but that is not the case.
Amy says: Maybe you helped your mother because she (or someone else) asked you to one or more times, until you absorbed this helpful attitude as a core value.
Your husband has obviously set a terrible example, and you don't seem to have marshaled the power of your own voice to ask for help.
Holiday meals tend to be busy and chaotic as family members get caught up in conversations.
After the next holiday meal, you should sit at the table and ask your grown children: "Could you lend a hand by clearing the table and getting the dishes started? I'm going to finish my coffee and catch my breath." And then you patiently wait, while those around you look at each other, grumble, and (hopefully) rise to the occasion.
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