Dear Amy: A couple of days ago, I caught my boyfriend cheating on me.
I found an entire text conversation, where he was clearly cheating on me. When I confronted him about it, 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 (whom 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 like this — yet, there's so much evidence.
I'd like to hear your perspective.
Painful: Someone can tell you he loves you, wants 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 via your contact with other women (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 that a dog once ate a child’s homework and that your boyfriend’s computer was in fact hacked, but it is extremely unlikely.
My insight is that someone who has “plenty of enemies from his past” has probably 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, then that’s on you.
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?
I never would have sat and watched my mother in this situation.
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 up this subject because I worry that I won't be taken seriously, but I also don't want to keep having this experience over and over. If I were frequently invited to my children's homes where they could cook and clean for me, I guess that would be an equal trade-off, but that is not the case.
— Sad & Frustrated
Sad & Frustrated: 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 one or more of 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.
Dear Amy: "Desperate" declared that she was going to "take" her parents' car keys if they didn't agree to hide in their house during the pandemic.
Thank you for reminding her that she cannot just sweep into a household and control her folks' movements. They have the right to make their own choices.
— Free Will
Free Will: ... Even if these choices are poor ones.
2020 by Amy Dickinson distributed by Tribune Content Agency