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sadgirl03 09-04-2003 12:30 AM

trust issues are killing my relationship - need advice, esp. from computer savvy folk
Hi everyone. I am at a point in my relationship where I am really at a loss for what to do. I have been with my boyfriend now for more than two and a half years and for a majority of that time, I have had major trust issues with him. I am 24 and he is 26. He moved more than 2,000 miles to be with me but early on in our relationship, I found out about something he had done but then he lied to me about it. (It did not have anything to do with cheating). Though he was very sorry about it, for the past two years I have had a hard time believing him for even the smallest of things. Basically, I think he's lying to me, even when he's not. Much of my insecurities deal with other women, whether he looks at them, whether he goes onto questionable web sites on the Internet, etc. Yet through it all, he has remained relatively patient with my insecurities, which really can be overwhelming. I tend to question him repeatedly, and sometimes he gets very angry that I don't believe him when he's sworn he's telling me the truth. Recently, he's said he just wants to break up with me because I have no faith in him, and because it seems like I never believe what he tells me. We did start going to church after the dishonest disclosure two years ago. So, we try to rely on faith to get through our troubles.

Then, last November, I found a link on his laptop (through Internet Explorer, not AOL, which is what he uses) for an escort web site. He swore he had nothing to do with it. For months, until now even, he has sworn that. He says he has no idea how it got there and that he deletes any unknown e-mails or reports it to AOL as spam. He swears up and down he really does not know how that link got there. Then, today, while he was away, I did a search on his computer.

I basically did a search of his files and folders using the letter combination 'esc' for escort. The search called up various files (originating from Internet Explorer) with that letter combination but I also found three files, which after you click on it, leads to escort web sites in the metropolitan area where we live. I was shocked and devastated. I was on the verge of tears for hours until he got home, and then I confronted him tearfully finally. He said he had no idea where the sites came from. There were also other innocent files (which linked to web sites) to which he said he didn't have anything to do with, but these other sites were not bad or questionable.

Now, he basically says he wants out of this relationship. He says he will move out and is just so tired that I never believe him. He was so adamant that he had nothing to do with how those files got on his laptop, that he didn't click on anything that produced them, that he never did a search for those sites, and that he has never even heard of those sites before. He says he can't give me an explanation as to why those files are on his laptop (no one else has access to his laptop besides me and him).

I don't know what to think of all of this. There are so many things I love about him. He's intelligent, caring, generous, family-oriented, hard-working, etc. etc. It's just I don't know if he's telling me the truth. I am so confused. He doesn't want anything to do with me anymore because he says he's tired of living in a relationship where there is no trust and such a lack of faith. Please, can someone help me? Maybe someone can give me a technical explanation as to how files can appear on your computer without your knowledge? I always thought that whatever you clicked on is stored on your hard drive and that it can't be disputed. I'd appreciate any advice, especially if it can explain these inexplicable files. I'm feeling really depressed about this whole situation. :(

[This message has been edited by sadgirl03 (edited 09-04-2003).]

pcan22 09-04-2003 01:36 AM

I can't offer a technical explanation, nor do I think you need one. You have trust issues with your bf. You need to make a decision and live with you trust him or not. I think his looking at escort websites are a far cry from cheating...but that is just my opinion and I do not have to live with his actions. Personally, I think you may be a little hard on him for looking at escort websites and women in public. If he is disrespecful, treats you poorly, has erratic behavior or is inconsistent in the way he treats you than I would be concerned.

How is his treatment of you? Do you think he is cheating? Is this the type of behavior you can live with? I think you need to answer these questions and make the decision to trust or not. If you choose to trust I strongly suggest you act like it. If youcan't trust him I think you need to consider leaving the relationship.

cee27 09-04-2003 07:06 AM

if you forgave him for his can't keep picking at him..(it's annoying).

if there is not trust in the relationship it will fail.
if you feel deep in your heart that you can't trust him (fully)..just let him walk out the relationship,,it will hurt, but at least you got your sanity back

good luck!

Kimianne 09-04-2003 08:36 AM


I agree that any relationship is bound to fail unless there is trust. Trust is a basic element of any relationship.

You need to find away to regain trust unless HE breaks it.

All it takes is a pop-up add and the address will be in the bar.

If he goes onto ANY sight there can be pop-ups that register on the computer. If he's like me, he probably finds pop-ups annoying and just clicks off them without even looking at them.

Good luck and keep us posted.

Life is a gift. Your loved ones are the benefits.
Respect them both and you will reap the rewards.

Dai 09-04-2003 09:18 AM

Hi sadgirl03,
I agree with above posters. You do not need a technical explanation, although Kimianne just gave you a good one. The problem is your own insecurity. And even if your boyfriend had been surfing some dating websites, what would have been the harm? Surfing the internet does hardly qualify as cheating. Besides, how about you, would you be ready to share with your boyfriend each and every page you surf and each and every word you write? I don't think anybody would be ready for that.

As for other women, a healthy heterosexual male glances at other women. It is simple biology: Looking is normal, touching is another matter. You notice nice looking men too, don't you?

Seems to me your boyfriend's patience is wearing very thin and he wants to leave. It is hurtful to be doubted and tested, particularly if you have done nothing wrong. I think you should focus on improving your own self esteem now, maybe getting a few years will help you a bit... if you can patch things up with your boyfriend then fine, but you really need to get over with your insecurities as they are the root of all evil.

Monday1954 09-04-2003 09:29 AM

Sadgirl, how would you feel if the shoe was on the other foot?

Anytime I have been faced with problems of trust it has been my own insecurities raising their head. To be constantly accused or suspected of something has got to get old in a very short while. It would drive me insane if I though my husband was looking through my computer, checking my email or searching for something to be out of the way.

Calm down, talk to him and explain your insecurities to him, ask him to give you a chance to work on this. If my husband is looking at porn sites I don't know because we each have our own computer and if he wants to look it doesn't hurt me in the least. He comes home from work every evening and is here when I go to bed and he is there when I get up every morning.

I do have to admit I was not always this mellow, it took years for me face the fact that most of the problems I imagined were the result of insecurities I had about myself.

sadgirl03 09-04-2003 09:56 AM

It's not so much that he may have looked at these sites. I can deal with the fact that he did do it. What I am having the hardest time coping with is the fact he doesn't seem to be able to admit it to me. That, I believe, is so painful to me, irregardless of whether he looked at it or not. The fact that he can't disclose it to me, denies it and maybe is lying to my face is such a painful thing for me. It's really tearing me up inside. :( I would give anything in the world to be happy with him (and I know we could be) but I just can't deal with dishonesty. I don't care if he did look at the sites. I just care the he can't tell me the truth if he did. Please, can anyone put this into perspective for me? Should I just believe him and move on or should I see if he will admit it to me?

HoosierBj 09-04-2003 10:08 AM

Sadgirl, please re-read the other messages here!
It's entirely possible that the escort websites showed up with one of the pop-up ads mentioned.
He may be telling the truth.
And, if he isn't, maybe I'm wrong but I don't think that just because I am a couple with a guy that he has to open his entire brain to me. He has the right to some private thoughts, don't you think so? Don't we all?
It may be to late to repair the damage your constant accusations have done to your current relationship. Can you learn from this or will you be checking your next boyfriend's computer before he's ever given you reason to mistrust him?
Sorry if this sounded harsh - you asked for a new perspective and I hope I've been of more help than harm...

Monday1954 09-04-2003 10:14 AM

Sadgirl, here is another thought - could he be afraid to tell you because he hates or fears your reactions?

I don't know if he is telling the truth and you don't either, but is it a big enough issue to break up over?

You never said what the other lie he told you was, so I can't judge wheter you over-reacted. In this particular case I would say you have. I don't like to be lied to either but if I am accepting of what he says then he doesn't have to fear telling me the truth.

Trooper 09-04-2003 10:44 AM


Sorry, this is long.

Are you looking at the temporary internet files that are on his hard drive? If so, it stores all urlís from a website. Meaning that even if a pop up ad comes up, that url will be listed. Any ads on a website will be shown. Keep that in mind when you are doing your investigative work. Iím not condoning it, but you are going to make yourself absolutely crazy if you continue in your ways, and him too.

I was exactly like you, still am a little bit, but Iím getting help. When I first met my boyfriend, I knew he was the one. I cannot go into all the details due to time, but most of our problems stemmed from my own insecurities. I did what you are doing. I snooped, I nagged, I asked a million questions, I always thought he was lying to me. After a year of it, he was sick and tired of me not believing in him that he left me. I had no one to blame but myself. I knew he loved me like no other but my constant accusations, etc., was destroying how he felt about me. I spent the Holidayís without him and it was horrible. I knew we were meant for each other but I couldnít prove to him that I could change. The breakup lasted almost 2 months, but we did get back together. Things were great, but it didnít take long for my old patterns to surface (about 4 months). We were talking about moving in together and we were almost there, but then I started with the accusations again, and he did what I pushed him to do once againÖ he broke up with me. And decided to move into a couples house instead Ė people I am not very fond of. Anyway, I knew it was over. Keep in mind that I knew of the problem and we discussed it, and I had wanted to go to couples counseling for a long time. He never wanted to. We had some heart felt talks before he made his final move. In fact he had the rental truck already reserved and all plans set. Then out of the blue the weekend before he was supposed to move, he came back. He wants to be with me and marry me, he just cannot and refuses to put up with my lack of trust. He agreed to counseling. And he did move in with me.

Now Iím leaving out a lot of the story, but I just had to let you know that I was at where you are now. Itís not fun, I feel your pain. If you continue to do what you are doing, you are going to lose him. I am one of the lucky ones and have had 2 chances with him. I realize that if I spend all my time thinking that he is lying to me, cheating on me, surfing the net, etc., I waste all the good times that we can have. I am truly blessed to have him in my life and donít plan to go back to my old patterns. Yes, we still have different ways of viewing things, but thatís what our counselor is for Ė to help us through them and get out of the ugly patterns that we were in.

As far as the trust issue. I understand your point that itís a bigger deal for you that he is dishonest about what he is doing than actually what he is doing (if anything). Honesty is number one with me. My boyfriend has done some things in the past that he wasnít honest with me about. He didnít offer information and I had to repeatedly ask to get the information. I view it as lying, he doesnít. We are still working on this issue with our counselor. I just wanted to let you know that I understand your point. In counseling though, I discovered that he was terrified to tell me because of my reaction. And he had every right to feel that way because of my past behavior.

I just want you to seek counseling. You say you go to church and I know there is someone there that can talk to you and your boyfriend. Take this as a warning (and I mean no offense), but if you havenít already, you are guaranteed to lose him. Someone can only put up with so much distrust. Get yourself help, work on your insecurities, work with him on your insecurities. You have to change in order to make it better.

We have been in counseling of a little more than a month and I have to say that things couldnít be better. We are able to communicate more and we have learned how to share how we feel without being accusatory, etc. I know a lot of work has to be done on my end still and Iím doing it. I trust my boyfriend and always did, I just didnít show it. Now I show it. And if Iím happy, heís happy and I reap the rewards of that.

Again, Iíve left a lot of my story out, so ask any questions that you want. One more thing, usually when I accused him of things, especially things on the computer, there was a logical explanation and I ended up looking stupid. Again, my own insecurities.

Take care of yourself and seek counseling.

sadgirl03 09-04-2003 11:04 AM

Trooper, thank you SO much for sharing your story with me! It means so much to hear from someone else that they have been through the same thing as I. I am happy that you were able to get another chance with your bf. My boyfriend has threatened to break up with me and move out of our place many times because of my insecurities. Yet he never does. I think he has hope that I will get over these issues of mine. He does treat me well when we are not arguing over my insecurities.

We have been seeing a couples counselor for a few months now. She has been helping us try to communicate better with each other. Unfortunately, sometimes in the heat of an argument (he has a short temper) we fail to employ the suggestions that she gives. I know this is a fault of both of ours.

I am curious to know whether the stuff you found on your boyfriend's computer was inappropriate stuff, and how he explained it? My boyfriend has not provided me with any explanation (other than "I don't know"), and he says he does not remember any pop-up ads or the like that could have produced the escort sites. What I find disturbing is that there were three such files on his laptop leading to escort services in the city we live in. That seems too coincidental for it to just be from random pop-up ads. Plus, he tells me he doesn't go into "inappropriate" sites and always deletes spam mail. I just don't know what to make of this. Since you have been through it and are happy with your relationship now, do you think I should believe him? Thanks in advance for your (and for everyone else's) feedback - you don't know how much it makes me feel better...any more advice would be great

sadgirl03 09-04-2003 11:11 AM

To put into perspective, and to answer the post from Monday1954, the big thing that my boyfriend lied to me about in the past involved him going into an adult chat site. Again, it was through my snooping (I know that was bad, but I don't think I would have found out about it otherwise). When I initially confronted him about it, he denied having even gotten a membership to the site. I found out later that he did get a membership. Then he told me that he only went into one chat room. I found out later he went into multiple chat rooms. Anyways, since then, he has expressed remorse and said he would not lie to me again. That's why I have a hard time believing him here, especially since the escort sites are for services right where we live.

Trooper 09-04-2003 03:11 PM

Sadgirl, I'm a little torn on this one.

Here is my first response.
Iím glad that you two are seeing a counselor. But in order to make it work, you both need to stick to the commitments that you make in the sessions. Itís the only way that you can move forward and break the cycle that you two have been in.

Some things that I found/thought were inappropriate were porn movie files, visits to what I view as a distasteful website full of crude jokes, porn, etc., links to some porn sites. However, those were in the beginning of our relationship. I didnít snoop then, I just saw them because he allowed me on his computer. We talked about it and most of the stuff came via e-mail from this one friend of his. Since then, he just deletes the files. No biggy.

Then later, other things like singles sites, like Ďmatchí and Ďvictorias secretí, etc. Those I found while snooping. I was convinced that he went to those sites looking. But each of them came thru as a pop up ad. The Victoria Secret one is a pop up ad on Plane website that he visits. He showed me. I looked stupid. Same for the match one. It was a pop up ad.

Sadgirl, I think you have no choice but to believe him. You WILL lose him if you continue. You wrote that he threatens to leave, but hasnít yet. Trust me, you are going to be so broken hearted when he walks out that door. I was lucky. You might not be.

What are you gaining from this? Nothing but misery and making him angry. You arenít getting the answers that you want either. Have you admitted this Ďproblemí to your counselor? What does she say about it?

You have to make the decision to trust him. And I mean trust him completely. I did and let me tell you, there was such a huge weight lifted from me. No more anxiety, no more worrying, no more investigating, no more twisted thoughts, etc. And not only did it help me, it helped our relationship. Things are the way they should be now. And once again, Iím reaping the benefits of him being happy, because I finally am making him happy. Because I trust him and he knows it. I think thatís all your boyfriend wantsÖ

Just let it go. Life is to short for all this non-sense. And if you really, really canít let it go, then end it with him. Then there will be two less miserable people in the world. Can you honestly see yourself living the rest of your life like this?

Make the decision to let the past go. Itís in the past. You cannot change it.

I just read your explanation of why you don't trust him. I can see where you are coming from.

I still stand by my original post though. You should let it go if you want to continue to be with him.

Another idea, is that if you haven't told the counselor about what you have found, do it. You said that you already confronted your boyfriend about it right? Well, bring it up in your next session. Say "so and so did this before, which leads me to mistrust him. Then I found these type of web sites on his computer, and because of what happened before, I don't trust him". Bring it all out in the open and seek help to get thru it from your counselor.

I have to admit that I have laid everything out on the table and I probably have embarassed my boyfriend. On the other hand, when he tells the counselor of my actions, not only am I embarassed, it really makes me think twice before I react and open my mouth.

Just some thoughts,

sadgirl03 09-04-2003 03:58 PM

Thank you for your response, Trooper (and others). I have spoken with my counselor over the phone and told her about what I just recently found on my boyfriend's laptop. My counselor knows all about the stuff that I have done in terms of snooping. She also knows about the lie my bf told in the past. If my bf is willing, we will see her tonight for our regular weekly session. I was wondering how you find the strength or the will to just "let go" of your insecurities? Has your boyfriend ever lied to you about something major, like what my bf did early on in our relationship? Also, what do you do when or if you are tempted to snoop? Sometimes I fear that if I don't snoop, I'll never know if he's hiding something. I realize this may be the wrong way to approach this. Should I just let fate run its course? For example, if he is doing something bad it eventually it will come to light, like bad karma? I just don't know.

pcan22 09-04-2003 04:17 PM

I snooped and I was right. My gf was seeing someone behind my back. I was NEVER able to be comfortable with her again. The reason I snooped is because I asked her if everything was OK and she lied to me...repeatedly.

Your bf has a website link not an affair.

Let me ask you (or anyone) if your bf had a history of lying to you and cheated, would you be so patient?
What would you do if your bf asked you for time to sort out his issues, knowing that he had been unfaithful?

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