I’ve been with my boyfriend for five months now and I’ve never been happier in my life. I am 48, he is 34. We met online on two sites simultaneously. One a dating app, the other a hook up site. It was an instant attraction on both of our parts physically at first, then mentally and emotionally. We have a tremendous relationship and although it’s been only five months. it feels much longer and more significant since we see each other 4-5 times a week and he sleeps at my place 2-3 times a week. I can’t stay with him due to his roommate situation and the size of his place. I don’t mind. Nor does he.
We’ve been so open and honest with each other about everything. Sex. Careers. Life goals. Hopes. Plans. Family. Emotional issues. Everything is discussed and nothing is off the table. Ever. Except this one issue.
Two months ago I was watching a video on his phone that he gave me and an alert came in from the dating app we met on. I had deleted both of my profiles on both accounts the day after our first date. I was hooked from day one. We both discussed having an exclusive monogamous relationship after the first month. So when I saw that “like” my world came crumbling down. I confronted him two days later at dinner and he apologized saying he had not deleted the app yet and would do so. He says he has not met up with any other guys and has no intention. He is only seeing me. Ok. He was up front, he apologized, we were fine.
But, last week, I had a feeling of dread and uncertainty and I went back on the two apps and there he was again.
Same profile: Single. Updated photos and still browsing! Worst part, he hit me up! On the hook up app! He chatted me up. He sent me a dick pic and talked about what he wanted. But when it came down to meeting up, he said he was not able to make it work without a face pic. I had only sent him a torso of some random guy I found online. He has not tried to reach back out to me on the app despite a face pic I sent him—which was fake. But he did say handsome pic. I'm not happy. The next day I asked for a dick pic from him myself, as me, in advance of him coming over. I never got one. Still haven’t. He hemmed and hawed and said he only had one and he wanted to take a better one for me. But he sent the one he does have to a stranger.
While I doubt very highly he has ever met up with anyone, I’m still upset, saddened, and confused. Do I tell him I know or do I not? Do I try to talk it over with him or just stay silent? I don’t know what the rules or expectations are. I don’t want him to feel trapped or like he can’t talk to anyone else, but at the same time, it’s just eating me up inside to think of losing him to some other guy. I thought I could have an open relationship but it’s not for me. I’m not cut out for it. I’m too insecure and too jealous.
I love him with all my heart and I am only his second boyfriend. He came out late in life and had a horrible first relationship. He was dumped after three years of being engaged. So I strongly suspect his online cruising is to build up his ego and to get some extra attention from guys online. If he isn’t either with me, he is at home or at work. We talk or text daily and check in with each other all day. He really is kind, sweet, smart, sexy, and we’ve never argued or had a single fight. We stimulate each other intellectually and the sex is great.
Please give me your perspective on how I should deal with this. Do I tell him I know or not? Can I ask him to delete his profiles on both apps as a condition of our staying together? I was cheated on by two of my exes so I am super sensitive. Both had affairs while in a relationship with me ranging from six months to two years before they ended it. I was clueless. So I am very sensitive to this issue. Any thoughts or ideas, please share. I want him to stop and just realize how much it affects me. My longterm plans are engagement and marriage. We are both on the same track. In it for the long haul. Or that's what I thought.
Thank you for reading and I’m sorry for the length of this question.
Curiously Observing My Man's Internet Texting
You say you've never had so much as a spat with this guy, COMMIT. Well, now would be a pretty good time to have your first big fight. (General note: It's a bad idea to commit to, much less marry, someone you've never fought with. If your R goes LTR, you're going to have the first of countless fights sooner or later, about something major or something trivial. You don't want to discover that your new/true love doesn't fight fairly—or, worse yet, fights abusively or violently—until after the wedding.)
You know what you know, COMMIT, and you can't un-know it: he's lying to you. We don't know if he's lying to you about fucking other men—lots of partnered folks lurk on dating/hookup apps for the ego boost and the erotic charge, not because they intend to actually meet someone IRL and fuck them IRB (in real butts); that's why people complain so much about fakes, flakes, and pic collectors—but at the very least your new boyfriend is lying to you about deleting these apps. And if he's lying to you about that, the odds that he'd lie to you about something else... something like, oh, fucking around on you... are somewhat greater. Again, it doesn't mean he is fucking around on you, only that your new boyfriend is likelier to be fucking around on you than a new boyfriend who hasn't lied to you about being on hookup apps and didn't send dick pics to at least one stranger on the Internet.
Zooming out, COMMIT: if a Grindr/Scruff/Hornet "like" on your boyfriend's phone causes your world to crumble, then monogamy is definitely the best fit for you. (Although your preference comes from a place of fear, not joy.) You've communicated this to your brand new boyfriend and he made a monogamous commitment to you. But as you've learned, COMMIT, your new boyfriend has it in him to lie to you and, hey, that could be the only lie he's ever told you—the lie about deleting the apps—or it could be one lie among many. (Did he ever tell you why his last relationship ended? I'd be curious to know.)
Obviously, COMMIT, you can't avoid having a conversation with your boyfriend about this shit—it's a conversation you should've had right after you downloaded the app and noticed his profile, not after you catfished him for incriminating information. When you do talk/argue/fight, COMMIT, insist on total honesty. And if he tells you, in all honesty, that monogamy isn't for him, you'll have to part ways. But if he tells you he's only on Grindr or Scruff or Recon to flirt and swap pics (like so many other guys), you'll face a more difficult choice: keep the boy and tolerate the flirting and somehow conquer your insecurities (perhaps through sex-positive/gay-realistic therapy) or dump a boy who makes you happier than you've ever been—a guy who can honor a monogamous commitment but can't resist flirting, swapping pics, and fantasizing about other guys—and get back on the apps yourself.
Finally, COMMIT, a little thing I'm hung up on: why can't you spend the night at his house? Because he has roommates? Because his apartment is too small? I'm assuming you fit on his bed with him, COMMIT, so I'm having a hard time seeing why you couldn't spend the night. Unless it's because he's busy, say, Grindring? Or Roommatring? Something else to talk about.