Sneaking Around With His Ex

Q: I have been together with this man for five years now. In our first eight months, we got in a fight and I told him to get out, after which he was gone for five days. I called his ex's house, and she said, no, she hadn't seen him and for me not to worry, that he would never cheat on me. Come to find out later that he was sitting right by her side when she said that to me! We got back together anyway. Since then a lot of things have happened that were never really proven. I have caught him in lies and also caught him three times hiding XXX mags and pornos, taped behind our dryer, under the backseat of MY car etc. Also unexplained missing hours on his paychecks, scratch marks on his back that he says were from his work (!). Plus his ex works .03 miles from his work too. Things like these have been a constant, though I can never prove them because he's very sly and sneaky. But I love the jerk! Now recently my gut is OVERWHELMED with the feeling of him cheating behind my back again. What do you think I should do? Do you think he's cheating from his background I just told you? -- Dawn, 42

Dr. Susan: I usually believe it makes sense to trust your gut when it comes to whether or not a mate is sneaking around on you. But first, forget the hidden pornos, since most men make use of that stuff and if their wives don't "let" them, they'll eventually do it anyway behind their backs. That alone is no reason to break up a relationship or lose total trust. He did lie outright to you the time you told him to get out, which is never a good thing to do, even if it's just because you're fighting. For most people, if you've been told to "get out," you're free to use that as an excuse to visit exes or whatever. However, you say you've also caught him in other lies, and that there are lots of other things that are suspicious. I don't know if he's seeing his ex or someone else, but yes, believe your gut. Something is very likely going on. Confront him as gently as you can, so he doesn't go hide in a corner and clam up. If honesty is crucial to you, you have to let him know that he's not getting away with his sneakiness. And then, it's really up to you. Love him or not, you need to figure out whether your misery will be greater taking him at his untrustworthy word, or leaving him entirely. Can he change? Perhaps, but only if he values you enough.

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