SL Letter of the Day: Cheater and Cheated


And NOW the Pope comes and says you didn't have to breed like rabbits.

We really do need to educate people that only children are not, in fact, selfish creeps who live wretched lives of bitter loneliness before finding an early grave. Science says they're just fine.

It's just sad all the people having another kid they couldn't have otherwise justified having because they believe a lot of nonsense about how being an only child fucks you up.

Having your parents split though? That one does kind of fuck you up...
I would not keep this person in my life as a romantic or sexual partner. He is the father to your children, so he should be in their lives as much as you can both negotiate it, but he has proven that he isn't capable of being honest with you.

I don't mean the monogamy per se, because some people manage non-monogamous relationships which are also honest. But he has been lying to you for your entire relationship and 2.5 kids together. A person who keeps lying after the first kid should be thrown out. Children require sacrifice, and this idiot has repeatedly refused to grow up and commit to the lives of the children he's sired.

Kick him out, move in with a relative or a friend, and go to counseling to help you with mourning the relationship you thought you had and figuring out how to move forward in a healthy way.

And yes, I too am so sorry you're in this shitty situation.
How is this not a DTMFA? Because seriously, he's a garbage person.
If he managed to pull it off for seven years without getting caught, he already was "discreet" about it. What he wasn't is "honest".

The LW should throw the BF out of the house (if she hasn't done that already) for, say, six months so she has time to see if the love she still feels now is really love for this guy, or if it's love for the guy that she thought she was with, who doesn't exist (realizing that I was in love with a notion rather than an actual person helped me break off two toxic relationships). That would also give her time to see what her legal options are in her jurisdiction, since they're not married.

Whatever path she chooses to follow, she must always remember that he's a liar. And in my experience, once a liar, always a liar.
For seven years, you have lived with this guy. You know what he's like, as a housemate, as a co-parent, as a lover. Is he good at those roles? Do you love sex with him? Does he make you laugh a lot? Is he great with the kids? Does he do enough of the chores and appreciate the ones you do? Is he sensible about money? If the only problem with this guy is that he's no good at monogamy, then maybe your relationship will be fine as along as you don't expect monogamy from him.
Another choice: she's two months pregnant. She doesn't have to have a third child with this shitheel. Agree about the time machine and hopefully she is happy to have her kids in her life regardless of their paternal DNA, but in this situation, she may want to think very hard about having this new baby.

And this is a sure fire DTMFA.
SOooooooo sooooooo sorry.

I wish I had a bus...
@1: only children...Science says they're just fine.

I'm curious what the science says about the happiness of their partners.
@ 6 - Sorry Erica, but the main problem with this guy is not that he's not good at monogamy, it's that he's a liar. He got into a committed relationship with a woman who was clearly expecting monogamy, but never even tried to respect that. From the very beginning. Can you imagine all the lies he had to tell over the years to explain his absence when he was with other women? Can you imagine him no longer telling lies? Coz now that she'll be suspicious, he'll just cover his tracks better with more and more lies.

The real question his: can she ever trust him again? Personally, I don't think she should.

To give a counterexample: I'm not good at monogamy in the least, as I've stated here before. But that's one of the first things I say to every guy who I might see more than once, so they know what to expect. I may have lost a lot of opportunities, but I haven't hurt anyone (at least not that way).
How does a guy with little kids at home find time for all that screwing around? Maybe he's not helping out much.
@ 9 - Good point.
LW, I couldn't read your letter yet, because this shit just boils my blood. However, you have a new baby coming. Being a single parent is no easy street. A woman, sometimes has to weigh up the pros and cons in these situations.
Take him back while figuring out how to make ends meet without him?

The options are all kind of crappy. LW is not going to get an actual monogamous commitment out of this guy, at least not one he will keep, and LW seems rather insistent on monogamy. And, being a single mother is hard.

One of these will be less worse, and only LW can know which is less worse for her. And, whichever decision LW ultimately chooses, she will wonder whether she made the right one. I'd say keep him -- you can always kick his ass to the curb later, after figuring out the financials.

Good luck, LW!
@9 @12

If only there were some kind of machine you could use to easily look up that sort of information. Well, there's not so better to assume the worst am I right?
@4: Because 2 kids with another on the way complicates the fuck out of things.
Where does this douche find these women with such low self-esteem? He's good at *something*.
BTDT. Raising kids after a hostile divorce (or equivalent) is awful. Putting up with someone you can't trust is also awful. I'm so sorry for you.
See a lawyer NOW. Find out how much child support you can expect, and try to figure out how well you can raise the kids with and without him around.
Is he helpful with child-raising? Good financial support? Do the kids love him? Do you enjoy being with him and he's still kind to you when he's with you? Then consider taking him back, at least until the kids are in school...IF he gets a vasectomy (and go to the urologist with him to make sure he gets it). The last thing you want is to find out that he's got to support somebody else's little ones as well.
You may want to get a legal agreement as to how much he'll pay for support even if you let him stay.
And don't give in to your urge to relieve your horniness with someone else; you don't want to give him any ammunition if it has to go to court.
Good luck; I'm sorry he broke your trust in him.
LW: Does your husband have life insurance?
@10, yes he's a liar. But it turns out you can live with a liar as longer as you don't rely on his words, but judge his actions.
#19: lol.
If she does stay with him, she might want to start using condoms and getting tested for STIs more frequently than she has been.
@ 20, what do you mean?
@ 20 - Quite frankly, I don't see the point. Not if you can avoid it.

You asked the LW if she likes sex with him. Yes, he could be a good lover, but she'll never be able to know if he uses protection with his other women, and it's not worth it to ask, because of course he'll say that he does. Then if she gets an STI, he'll say that it only happened this one time and that he'll never do it again. Etcetera.

You asked her if he's great with the kids, and yes, he may be. But how often will he be there, with the kids, since he's constantly fucking around? And will he not use his time with the kids (for example, bringing them to their soccer games) as a way to get away from her and to spend some time with another woman (if he's watching his kids' game from the bleachers, he might just as well be somewhere else).

There are so many situations in which it'll be impossible to judge his actions - since she can't be with him 24/7 - and where she'll have to take his word for it, a word she will always suspect is a lie.

Really, how much mental anguish do you want her to suffer before she says "no more"?

I almost want more details about the circumstances of him leaving his ex for her.
Get an abortion (only 2 months preggers), and DTMFA.
So, why, exactly, did the "boyfriend's best friend" tell her all this? Is this a reliable source?
And, yes, I see that she confronted him and shit "unraveled". But, still...why?
I agree that the options are leave him or accept that he will be with other women. I just want to present the option other than ask for an exclusive relationship that you know he'll lie to you about. Which is ask for an open relationship, where you both get to be with other people, but commit to enough time together to maintain your relationship and care for the kids. The main benefit of that is if you want to be with someone else too, if you find someone at some point that interests you, then you have the ability to explore that as well. Since you know he won't be exclusive, if having freedom for yourself is at all appealing, consider that if you want to keep him around.
I like the questions from @6 and @18. At this point, it needs to be about you and about your kids. This fucking asshole has been out for only himself from the get-go, so fuck him. If this guy is not really all that great or helpful as a partner or as a dad, then get a very good lawyer and and get the hell out. Seriously think about how would it be for you to not have this third child right now. Figure out what you need, and what your options are, and pick what's best for you and the kids. I can see valid reasons for staying or for going, but without more details about him as a dad, I can't say what I would do. I can say that I was once afraid of how I would handle a pregnancy on my own, and decided to stay with the dad long enough to have our baby. I was very open about all of this with him and he seemed genuinely supportive. As soon as the baby was born, he first disappeared, and later resurfaced and filed suit. I've been dealing with nine years of legal action since then. The wrong guy can make your life, and your kids' lives, hell. Don't set yourself up for that because you're scared now.
@2 Amen!!!! I'm a very happy only child and married to another very happy only child.

I can imagine a few benefits to having siblings, but honestly, whenever I encounter adults interacting with their siblings I tend to be a little repulsed by it. Really sane, intelligent people revert to being adolescent idiots when their siblings are around. It's really disturbing and the non-only children just don't seem to see it.
First of all, GET AN ABORTION. Sorry to be insensitive. But the last thing anyone needs is another tot thrown into the mix. And three children is an unreasonable number even in the best circumstances. Limited resources, people.

Dude's going to cheat AND lie again as far as I'm concerned. If you're horny masturbate. Dissolve any pretense of having a romantic relationship. Figure out how to be successful, non-romantically entangled co-parents, and get as much of his paycheck coming your way as possible. As soon as you can make it work to live seperately, live seperately, then make a real effort to enjoy every other weekend child free without any guilt.

I.e. prevent the situation from becoming even more complicated and unmanageable, and move on as quickly as you can.

So sorry. It's a terrible situation to be honestly blind-sided by deception.

@ 27, 28 - She says she's two months pregnant, but we don't know exactly when she wrote the letter. So two weeks before christmas might have been the moment when she realized and told their close friends that she was pregnant, and the best friend might have felt she deserved to know what kind of a man she was with, or guilty for not having told her before, or perhaps he was too drunk to shut his mouth after his first party of the holiday season - some people start early.

Either that, or he's not exactly the best of best friends. But then again, the best friend's best friend, i.e. the LW's boyfriend, isn't exactly the best person in the world.
@24, her life is already entangled with his for the next 18 or so years. It is possible to live happily with someone whose word you don't trust. You just don't ask questions the person might be have some reason not to answer truthfully. My kids lie to me, and I manage to live with them okay.

-- "it's not worth it to ask [if he uses protection with other women." Exactly. So she could start using protection, or at least getting tested regularly so she can cope with whatever the bad news is.

-- "will he not use his time with the kids (for example, bringing them to their soccer games) as a way to get away from her and to spend some time with another woman." So what? If it bugs the kids or their kids' friends' parents, then she'll hear about it and can take it up with him then: "The kids say you were making out during their soccer game. It embarrassed them; can you be more sensitive?"

It works out. But only if the guy is genuinely decent, appreciative, sweet, kind, & good in bed, to make it worth her while. I just happen not to think that it's impossible to find all those traits in someone who lies.
@ 31 - I do see it. That's why I don't like family reunions. But on the other hand, I've always felt that the only children" I knew never actually grew up, and I tend to be a little repulsed by their adolescent, egocentrical behaviour.
LW, my suggestion is, keep your guy with you- just organize the child minding on a equal as possible timetable. Talk with this guy about his hopes and wishes for your kids.
He needs to own his share of the child rearing and I feel you should focus on that.
Not in a spiteful, punishing way- rather as one loving parent to another. Nagging him about these other women, is going to stress out your pregnancy and the kids.
Organize couples therapy, to look at the sexual issues.
@ 34 - The kids might not see him making out. He might slip out while they play.

My father would take me to whatever game I was playing in when I was a kid, but I never actually saw him watch me play. He wasn't exactly supportive either, and since I was really bad at team sports, I soon decided to quit. Strangely enough, my dad got really angry at me. I couldn't understand why (since he'd never been supportive), but a few years later I learned that he had had an affair in those days when I was playing. This is all conjecture, of course - and my dad no longer being with us, I'll never know for sure - but I've often wondered if he didn't take those 90 minutes to go see his mistress.
Lawyer up honey, find out what his legal obligations are to you and/or his children. He kept this shit quiet for 7 years!! You would still be in the dark if his friend hadn't spilled. If you can tolerate him having a separate life now that you know about it then set up parameters in your mind because demanding any type of honesty from him is useless. He's a good enough liar that you will not see it unless you want to. From the tone of your letter though I doubt your ability to separate your expectations for a relationship from the reality of being with your partner. Speaking from my (far less horrific) experience with a cheater it creates a serious cognitive dissonance that tears at you. I think you deserve better and I am so so sorry that this happened.
@ 34 - As for the possibility of finding a liar who is a decent and kind person, in my experience, these are mutually exclusive categories, so we'll have to agree to disagree.
Yeah, yeah, the BF is a shit. And she should give herself permission to reconsider the abortion option given the new (knowledge of the) situation.

It is striking to me that he's just a BF. He had a need for kids, but not for marriage?!? Sure, people might make that choice for all kinds of reasons, but coupled with the massive and continuous cheating, he sounds like a dog marking all the fire hydrants and humping everything around. Tying her down (with three pregnancies, two kids so far and a lying room mate, while not tying himself down (with marriage, one lover, etc).
@ 40 - She may not be American, and there are many countries where unmarried couples have pretty much the same obligations as married ones.
Holy shit, where does he get all the time for these extra relationships?
At 39 I found myself in a marriage with a cheater. There were no kids, for which I am grateful. I don't know if there was more than one person he had the relationship but over the years since my divorce, I can pretty much name at least 2 other women that he was probably also fucking.

Like this woman, at the time I was pissed and heartbroken and I remember wanting everything to be as it was. At the time, he seemed like a "good guy otherwise." It was devastating to realize that what I thought I knew about my life wasn't as it felt and appeared. The ex also claimed to have fallen in love with the other person---who was busy having a family with her husband.

The ex wanted it all as well. He didn't want a divorce, but he did move out. He didn't want to give up his girlfriend because he loved her but felt he couldn't decide what to do. My filling for divorce seemed too quick for him because he seemed to enjoy pining after both of us who weren't quite his.

For years after, I would get long, sincere letters of how much he missed us and me... it was awful. I can't imagine wishing that sort of broken-hearted limbo on anyone. And it feels like you'd be getting a 1/3 sort of existence if you stuck it out with your partner. You know you'd never have the relationship that is important to you. There's nothing wrong with wanting what you want. To settle for something exclusively on his terms knowing what you know and knowing what to expect seems--- lonely. Do you want to feel lonely, heart-broken and angry with this guy? Is the security that he might bring for children worth that sacrifice for yourself? Kids pick up on that sort of pall of unhappiness.

EricaP's tolerance for deception is Clintonian.

Get an abortion, DTMFA, and sue this shitheel for child support. That will give you the best chance to raise your kids to have self-respect, without him being around to be a bad role model.
@39 yep, my experience speaks otherwise. I haven't found any perfect people out there. Some people get real angry, some people get nasty, some people coast through life without passion, some people can't be bothered to show up when it matters, some people cheat, some people lie, some people are lazy. I have my flaws, too. For instance, I don't listen well when I have something to say and I always have something to say.

So I repeat my advice -- if you've found someone you live well with, who is kind and attentive to the children, with whom you have great sex, and who is sensible about money, then it's entirely possible to live happily with someone who has been known to lie to you and probably will again.

On the other hand, if he's been a jerk to you in many ways... Then this is absolutely the time to kick him to the curb and figure out your legal rights.
@44, as for why a guy would want to keep both wife and mistress ("pining after both of us who weren't quite his"), this is a good essay on the topic:…
While an abortion does seem like it would simplify things a bit, what if she's already told the kids "you're going to have a baby sister/brother?" If the older one is still too young to really remember that in the long term (around 3 years old, maybe?) then no problem, since she can bullshit them in the short term, as needed. If the kid's likely to remember, is that kind of reactor-grade pro-choice logic going to be troubling for them? I don't know.

Hopefully, she knows enough about the rather high rate of first-trimester spontaneous abortion that this has not been a topic of conversation yet.
@ 46 - Lying is the method by which liars try to protect their own interests. By definition, this goes squarely against all the important virtues needed to make a relationship work. I truly don't see how it could be possible to live happily with someone like that.

There aren't any perfect people, sure. But liars are at the bottom of the barrel as far as I am concerned.
@49, wait, so non-lying humans don't try to protect their own interests? I'm pretty sure all humans try to protect their own interests. I also understand that sixty percent of people can't go ten minutes without lying:…

The question is whether liars are by definition more willing to hurt their partners in order to protect their own interests. And in my experience, except for the lying itself, liars are not especially more willing to hurt their partners, than, say, the sanctimonious. Who will hurt their partners at the drop of a hat.
I'm very close to pulling the DTMFA trigger on this one.

With kids, I lean toward seeing if you can work things out. But only if you really, honestly, can figure out a way to make it work and be happy. Don't stay in a terrible relationship indefinitely just for the sake of the kids.

The main part of Dan's answer I disagree with is the demand for a monogamous relationship. That obviously won't happen, and demanding such a condition will only lead to more lies. Instead I'd say to give some thought to living with him if he won't be monogamous. Can you live with that? Can you negotiate realistic terms for non-monogamy that you can both live with? If not, then maybe DTMFA is the answer.

And talk to a lawyer. Find out how much you could realistically expect to get for child support if you boot his cheating ass to the curb.
@ 50 - Oh come on. You're being facetious. Everyone tries to protect their own interests, of course. But you can do it without misleading others.

For instance, when in a relationship, my strategy is to negotiate honestly so we can both get what is important to us, even though we each might have to sacrifice a little of what we want.

Liars are only concerned with their own interests. Very often, they'll even convince themselves that they're lying for the sake of the other person - "to protect them from hurt" - but it's all BS, as the LW's situation clearly illustrates.

Full disclosure: I have had two relationships with liars (the two toxic relationships I mentioned earlier).

Whereas I would negociate in good faith, they were lying, so they never respected what we had agreed on. When we would discuss what we wanted in life, they were lying, so I was working toward a supposedly common goal that they only pretended to care about, while they were directing their energies at selfishly satisfying their personal desires. Eventually, I realized I was living with a person I didn't know at all and who was in no way the kind of person I wanted to be with, because all along, they had lied about what their values, goals and desires were, about the type of relationship they wanted, about their reasons for being with me, about what they liked to do in bed... about everything, really.

They most definitely both had qualities. But in the end, their only real talent was lying, and the fact that they did their part of the housework didn't stop them from being total pieces of shit who brought me a lot of problems (guess who had to deal with the consequences of all their lies, since I wasn't the only person they lied to?) and made it very difficult for me to trust other men.

Is that really what you want out of a relationship? Is that really your advice to the LW?

I'm sorry to say that you're not being very wise today.
@34: Oh EricaP, come on. My kids lie to me, and I manage to live with them okay.

You know this isn't the same thing.

You keep repeating a variation of what you said @6: For seven years, you have lived with this guy. You know what he's like, as a housemate, as a co-parent, as a lover. Is he good at those roles? Do you love sex with him? Does he make you laugh a lot? Is he great with the kids? Does he do enough of the chores and appreciate the ones you do? Is he sensible about money? If the only problem with this guy is that he's no good at monogamy, then maybe your relationship will be fine as along as you don't expect monogamy from him.

It's not just that he's "no good at monogamy;" he cheated on her for seven years. You ask twice about his sexual skills: is he a good lover and does she "love" having sex with him.
Yet you didn't mention the word "love" in any other way. Does he love her? Does she love him? Will she still love him as the true magnitude of his betrayal really hits and sinks in--when she thinks back on any wonderful memory only to think "and while that was going on, he was fucking X or Y . . ."

It's far from ideal to split up now when the kids are young, but others have done it and if she has enough of a support system, I think she should. She's still young enough to have a shot at finding someone decent to make a life with. Let him be a financially responsible, involved parent (if he's either of these things) without living with her; let her move on with her life.
@53 in continuation: EricaP, @6 you said, "For seven years, you have lived with this guy. You know what he's like." I would say that MFAC is thinking "for seven years, I lived with this guy. And for every one of those years he was lying to me in the most fundamental of ways. I never really knew him at all."
@52, I am absolutely not being facetious.

I've been in a relationship with my husband for over twenty years (collared to him almost that long), and I've known him since we were both 18 years old. He's not lying to me about his values, his goals, his desires, his reasons for being with me, what he likes to do in bed. But he has lied to me on numerous occasions. Pretty much each time was because what he wanted had changed, and he was embarrassed or didn't know how to bring up the change.

Twice he lied about sex. (Neither time was it fully consummated, but, well, he was off doing sexual things with someone else and lying to me about where he was.) Both times he told me the truth (months later) without me having caught him in a lie.

Once he lied about starting smoking again. That was so stupid, since his breath gave him away. He lied about it repeatedly -- as I got more and more suspicious.

There have been other smaller lies over twenty years, but those are the ones that stick in my mind.

I wrote Dan for help, and he advised me to evaluate the whole person, not just the lie. Similarly, when I reached out to my parents for help when I started catching my children in lies, my parents recommended not focusing on the lie, but just on listening to the kid talk about whatever the real issue is, the issue they had lied about. I use that with my husband too. A revealed lie is an opportunity to talk about some emotional issue, and maybe find out ways that I made it hard to come confide in me.

nocutename, I find the term "love" complicates matters. Yes, I love my husband and I believe he loves me. But people can love each other and still be incompatible together. Finding someone with whom you are sexually compatible, with whom you live well, co-parent well, laugh well, sleep well... That's an achievement. That's worth holding on to.

Ricardo, you say I'm not being wise today. But this is the wisdom I have earned by living my life. Maybe it's not wisdom to you. But it works for me.
This woman says she still loves his lying, cheating, ass- so he must be doing something right. This guy needs some therapeutic help-
To help him find some truthful way of living his life And do right by his children.
EricaP: I see a difference between children's lies and adults' lies. I see a difference between the lie of a child who wants to avoid blame or wants to do a prohibited thing and is still learning, and someone who habitually carries on multiple affairs for the entire duration of a romantic, sexual, familial relationship.

I don't think it's in any way germane to consider the lies of children as being analogous to the lies of a romantic partner. And I don't know what your children have lied about, but I doubt that their lies had the ability to devastate you in the way that MFAC is devastated now. No doubt you were concerned as a mother that your children didn't value truthfulness, and I assume you wanted to find out why they lied and have them learn that lying isn't okay and that they can be truthful with you, and all those kinds of lessons that parents care about if/when they discover their children in a lie. I very much doubt that your kids' lies made you question your entire relationship for the past seven years. I doubt that you were left as confused and shitty feeling as MFAC is when she writes about "this fucking lying asshole who has been cheating on me and fucking around on me the entire time we've been together": "I feel so fucked, I feel so angry. I feel like my life with him has been a farce. But I need help with my kids. I can't imagine being single with two toddlers and another baby on the way. . . . I feel weak and disappointed in myself for still loving him."

You say your husband lied twice about sexual things. Twice in a relationship that has spanned more than twenty years. You also say he confessed even though you didn't catch him, months later, presumably because he wanted a more open, honest relationship with you, wanted to have sex with others and didn't want to lie and sneak and cheat for that to happen. You got advice to weigh the whole relationship against the lies and you chose--rightly for you--to forgive and adapt.

But that's not the same as what's happened here. This is not a case of 2 lies many years into a good solid relationship. This is a relationship that has been sitting not on a strong foundation, but on quicksand. MFAC found out about her boyfriend's lying and cheating not because he decided he wanted to be open and honest with her, but because he was ratted out and had no choice but to confess.

And not everyone can handle having an open marriage. It works for you but it might not work for her. It wouldn't work for a lot of people.
I don't think the relationships, the situations, or the men are comparable.
I am not telling her to stay with the guy if she doesn't want to. But if she likes and loves him and they have a nice life together, that doesn't turn to shit just because it turns out he was fucking other women. Pretty much most marriages throughout history have involved the guy fucking other women, and often without the "nice life together" part.
@Ricardo, @EricaP, @nocutename: We've all had it beaten into our heads that Lying Is Bad to the point where it's become an axiomatic truth. I don't think it's that black and white, and I think it's good that @EricaP is pressing for a closer examination.

@Ricardo, it's clear that your partner's lying created a painful, toxic situation that you had to get out of. There's a good chance the LW's relationship is similarly toxic. There's also a chance that the lies are the only way this guy knows how to harmonize the expectation of monogamy with the realities of his sexuality. If that's the case, it's definitely worth it for LW to consider the man as a whole as she decides what to do.

As a side note, what bothers me about this particular letter was that the guy encouraged his girlfriend to get pregnant, possibly with the intent of making her dependent on him. If that's true, then he manipulated the rest of her life, and that's unforgivable.
You're right, nocutename, I like my husband's shaky relationship with the truth better than what we've learned of the LW's partner. I don't hold out enormous hope for them making it work.

But she'll get plenty of advice from commentators here and in the rest of her life to dump the lying bastard. There's no shortage of that advice. So I'm just one voice saying that lying and cheating doesn't automatically make someone garbage. You have to look at the whole picture.
@seandr, I don't think in terms of black and white. I acknowledge that what EricaP and her husband did works for them, and I'm not doing a knee-jerk DTMFA. I would never do that for one instance of infidelity, especially when there are kids involved.
It sounds as if this guy has never been faithful, not even for one year of their relationship, and he's had multiple partners. That tips things a little further out of the grey to me. It still may not to someone else and that's fine.

Sean, obviously this guy is a dick. If he got her pregnant on purpose, it may very well fit in with his other bazaar behaviours.
This guy is damaged goods. No doubt. This woman just has two and a bit children with him.
Lies. I've always had a private self, my husband used to think I was secretive. I never cheated or anything, just had my own way of doing things. My mother was way intrusive and neglectful. I could roam the streets of my suburb as a six yr old. Yet she'd be on my case about life. I learnt to slip between the cracks.
Having kids is a hard gig. Having several toddlers is mind bending. This guy has got to help with the children, LW.
If that means him staying in the home, and you can handle it- ok.
And talk. Talk and share the kids.
Your children's lies are unlikely to get you pregnant, unlikely to infect you with an incurable or fatal disease, and unlikely to land either of you in court (if you are at all doing it right). They're not even remotely in the same league, and it's disingenuous to pretend otherwise.

This guy is a pathological liar and a narcissist. He didn't slip up and fail at monogamy once or twice, he's never once been in the same room as the bullseye. If she doesn't dump him she's a fucking idiot and is setting a terrible example for her children. Plenty of constitutionally nonmonogamous people have found ethical ways to navigate this stuff, it's not exactly rocket surgery.

Jesus Christ. There'd be fewer assholes in the world if there weren't so many people desperate to excuse their faults and reward their bad behavior. Heaven save us from the enablers. Forgiveness is not always a virtue.
Chase. You a parent? Cause if you're not, then this situation isn't just black and white. Yes. This guy is an arsewipe in that he has betrayed his wife sexually. I'm not excusing him, I'm just looking at this pragmatically. Children bind you to the other.
"a seven year committed relationship. Two weeks before Christmas 2014, I find out from my boyfriend's best friend that he has been fucking five different women. I was shocked and heartbroken when I found out."

How do you even have time for that? Does he work? I like spending time with my partner, so I don't know how people just disappear for so long.

"At some point, he convinced me that we need to have a baby. So we buy a townhouse, we have a baby, and he is still fucking his ex."

I don't know for certainsies, but I've got a hunch that a fourth baby will really cement the relationship.
But gah, she needs him around to help him raise three babies, but where the fuck was/is he for the first two? They're obviously not a big priority in life.

The sad thing is that the 25 year olds probably realized he was a douchebag lonnnng before this woman came to that conclusion, if she ever did.
@63 He doesn't seem to have infected her with anything, or gotten anyone pregnant. Lucky, or careful, but probably both. It may not be "rocket surgery" to ask for non-monogamy, but there are a lot more cheaters than people in open relationships, even now. So it's not that easy an ask.
You set the bar low enough, he might trip over it.
Chase referred earlier to EricaP’s tolerance for deception as being Clintonian.

I actually think that’s a pretty good example of evaluating the whole package. They seem to have been good together.
After reading this very rough SLLOTD. I think the best solution in a horriible situation is this...

LW should talk to a family law lawyer.

She should tell spouse she is considering filing divorce papers..

This should start some sort of mutual agreement on custody, child support and alimony agreements..

Divorce filing and finalization of the Divorce should happened.

LW can find someone better than her spouse, no matter how painful. Her current spouse isn't going to change. He didn't come forward with his infidelities, his friend came forward. He was caught. He isn't going to learn to stop cheating. He is going to learn to hide the evidence better, so he won't be caught... He will find a way to justify his infidelities....

LW's spouse will have a role in raising their children. He shouldn't have a role being her spouse... It is a horrible situation, but continuing with the status quo is worst...
Sigh, I'm sorry this happened to you LW. I've been cheated on too, so I recognize those feelings you wrote about. Fortunately I didn't have children with the lying sack of shit, so I was able to get away after a few months, but it wasn't easy, it's hard to just turn off love.

I think though, from what you wrote about how the cheating and lying is affecting you, you need to dump him. He won't ever stop cheating, and staying with him will destroy your self esteem. Some people are able to live with cheaters if all the other things that EricaP mentioned are good. I don't think you can. The only reason you are considering staying is because you're afraid you won't be able to care of your kids alone. You're already down on yourself because you can't stop loving him right away, think how much worse you'll feel each time he's working late or travel out of town or go out with the guys, and you're sitting home wondering if he's actually at some hotel room with some random woman. You'll hate yourself for putting up with it. That kind of torture you don't need. It'll be very hard to raise happy, well adjusted, capable children if you're miserable and angry and feeling worthless because you allow yourself to be disregarded and disrespected. Relationships can work without love, they can't work without respect and friendship and consideration, which can't exist without honesty. And while you might not be able to provide as much material goods for your kids as a single parent, it's worse for your kids to grow up seeing their dad constantly cheat and lie to you. They'll might think it's okay to cheat and lie or to put up with being cheated and lied to. You don't want that for your children, there are good men out there who don't cheat and lie because they love and respect their partner and wouldn't hurt them that way. You want your kids to hold out for such men. Believe in yourself, you CAN take care of your kids alone. You CAN give them a happy childhood and a good life without having to stay with him. He's damaged goods, you and your children deserve better.

Go get Child Support Enforcement to garnish his wages, don't rely on his paying voluntarily. He might be someone who recognizes his responsibility and pays gladly, doesn't matter. You need to simplify your life as much as possible - children are a lot of work, especially when they are that young - so whichever task(s) you can divert or delegate, do so. CS Enforcement only costs $25 per year and save you a lot of grief & frustration. They have ways to force him to pay if he turns out to be a dead beat. They'll collect money each month and deposit it to your account. You don't ever have to talk to him about it.

You mentioned buying a house with him. Get him to sign a quit claim on it, put the house in only your name. If you can't afford the whole mortgage, rent out a room or two in your house. Or sell and rent/buy a smaller place.

You might want to consider an abortion. I know this is a tough decision, but you are in the first trimester, it is only just a small collection of cells. Having children is a great responsibility, you need to make sure that you can take care of them well. With two kids you can still work. With three and you might not be able to make enough money for childcare.

Don't be ashamed to ask for help from your friends and families. That's what they are there for. If you live in King County, ask Public Health to assign you to a Public Health Nurse. They can help you apply for resources/programs and give you emotional support.

Forgive yourself for being fooled. These types of men are very very good at hiding their real selves. It is not your fault, you weren't stupid for not seeing the cheating. You loved, so you trusted. Happens to all of us.

Good luck, have courage, be strong. Remember, one day at a time. Be good to yourself so you can be good for your children.
Also, go get tested for ALL STDs (don't forget hepatitis), then go buy a vibrator, buy several vibrators. Stay away from the walking petri dish.
Also, LW should abort her 8-10 week pregnancy... work out a custody agreement and child support with family law attorneys, and work out a settlement on the townhouse..
@ EricaP, while there is wisdom in what you say, the LW's BF's lies still seem magnitudes more deceptive and indicative of a horribly selfish individual than your husband.
I'm surprised the advice didn't include:
1. Get tested for STDs immediately.
2. You'll have had three kids with this guy. Call that enough, and if you do take him back, never have unprotected sex with him again. If he's cheating and lying, you can't trust him to be honest about whether he's using condoms with his other lovers.

Otherwise, good advice -- she'll never have a monogamous relationship with him. Perhaps she can use this knowledge to move into an open relationship, one where she can benefit as well.
I agree with a lot of what's been said here--everyone lies, but not everyone lives one for years on end. Lying and cheating might be forgivable, if they're sufficiently minor, but she doesn't even know this guy, because she's never known him when he wasn't lying to her. 7 years of dating the person he's only pretending to be means he's basically a stranger, and the only thing you really know about him is that he's profoundly dishonest.

I vote for the plan Seandr's hinting at that involves life insurance and well-disguised murder. Best of both worlds.

This whole thing makes me think about the state financial assistance we should be providing, but aren't. Nobody should have to stay with somebody like that just because they can't otherwise support their kids.
I will weigh in with EricaP on this one. But I think this needs to be said: their relationship needs to be essentially reinvented if it is to continue in any form. And I'm sorry, I hardly ever disagree with Dan's advice, but he is dead wrong about saying she needs to demand monogamy (again). If they're to go forward raising their kids together, she can't pretend to not know who and what he is. This relationship has seen too much deceit already.

They're already in an "open marriage" - she just discovered that recently. So she has no obligation to be faithful to him. And I think that while she and he are raising the kids, she should try to maintain some sort of social life, and keep her eyes open for a better guy. Just like you shouldn't quit your job until you have a new one lined up, she shouldn't quit this relationship until she has a new, promising boyfriend ready to go. Because those kids need the financial and logistical support of two people with jobs and cars. That's just practical reality.
@iseult: What a great post @71.
If the lw can think of doing so, an abortion is a good idea.
Ferret, they're not married, so can't divorce. I don't know what the lw's options are for support where she lives, and of course the father would still have to pay child support.
It's entirely possible to co-parent without being part of a couple or cohabitating.
I hate to shit on this woman when she's already at a pretty low point but I did notice this:

"During the first year of our relationship—after we discussed wanting to be exclusive—he was fucking the ex that he left for me."

So was he fucking the LW at the same time he was seeing the ex? Or did he wait until things were over with the ex before he and the LW hooked up? I suspect it's the former. Whether the LW knew or not is a different matter, I hope she didn't.
@73: "LW should abort her 8-10 week pregnancy"

I didn't want to say it, but this.

And why does everyone keep thinking she's married? They have kids, but she has no legal obligations to the man.

@70: "LW's spouse will have a role in raising their children."

Does he? She's concerned about him not being there, but for all the "convincing" her she needs yet another fucking baby, she doesn't mention anything about how he's ever been there while she's been at home taking care of the kids.

Sounds as if she's a stay at home mom and he's using work, errands, "hanging out with friends" to do everything but be a good father.
The advice to abort isn't just insensitive, it's also ignorant. I'd bet that not one person making that suggestion is a parent. I'm trying to think of another explanation for how you all missed the obvious subtext that she's already decided to keep the baby.
"she's already decided to keep the baby."

Because she wants to, or because he "convinced" her like the other two? She doesn't sound like she has a lot of autonomy or independence in her life choices.
@ 81, it he wasn't there before she wouldn't be concerned about him not being there now.
@83, the reason doesn't matter. Not when she's so far along that she's unlikely to change her mind before the first trimester is over.
Matt, I'm a parent, and I suggested she consider abortion. In fact, most women who have abortions are already mothers--mothers who understand how much work and financial drain a child is and know that they can't afford enough of either at that time.

I am pretty sure that MFAC won't actually abort this pregnancy. She is running low on time, for one thing, and of course she may already feel a bond and want another child. But each child she has with this man is just one more tie she will have, and it seems obvious to me that whether they stay together in any capacity or not, she's doing most if not all of the work. One more child to have to provide for is one more incentive for to stay with a man who will continue to make her miserable.
@84/85: "I need help with my kids. I can't imagine being single with two toddlers and another baby on the way. I am so horny lately because of raging hormones as well."

This doesn't really speak to his fathership skills or current presence, though.

"the reason doesn't matter. Not when she's so far along that she's unlikely to change her mind before the first trimester is over."

I'm sure. It's just terribly sad to see her "giving him" yet another baby at his request to save the relationship for yet another time. I don't think we're at all giving her direct advice, just wishing the initial decision wasn't made for seemingly terrible reasons and that it wasn't yet another ongoing fetter to the dbag.
@ 86, aside from the additional time to wait for the third child to reach 18, it's not "one more tie." Not in any significant sense given the other two kids.

I see your point, but have to ask if you'd do it if it were you?
I mean, he's terrible for her, and she hates herself for loving him despite all of this, but she's not offering any facts in this summation that indicate that there's any actual reason to stay with him other than fear and loneliness. I see no reason to invent any facts that'd justify staying with the guy, if she breaks up with him, she can still have him help raise the babies.

If he's not a total asshole, wouldn't he still be involved in the kids' life? Maybe he'd have more time without this farce of a relationship.
@ 87, there's nothing much to conclude that that's why they're having a third baby. Clearly she got pregnant from a purposeful intent before she found all this out. Some people just like having kids. She may have needed convincing the first time around, and possibly the second, but speaking as someone with two kids who knows a lot of one-child couples, it actually is less work to have multiple children - once the youngest is old enough to play with the older kid(s). Any infant is a hell of a lot of work, but once they can walk, they don't need mom and dad exclusively to keep them entertained. So the LW may be looking at it that way.
@ 89, here I agree. She's offered no evidence that he's a lousy father. Maybe she just has trouble envisioning a future where he isn't there every day.
@ 59 - "it's definitely worth it for LW to consider the man as a whole as she decides what to do".

Did you read the letter?!? The man as a whole is a lying sack of shit, not matter what his excuses for lying are. If it's difficult for him to "harmonize the expectation of monogamy with the realities of his sexuality", he should simply avoid relationships with people who expect monogamy.That's what intelligent, mature and respectful people do - you know, those people who are actually worth knowing and having relationships of any kind with. And he most certainly should not try to convince the people he lies to to have children with him so it'll be difficult for them to leave him. He's a lying, manipulative piece of shit.

Seriously, how could she ever trust a guy who has lied constantly for seven years? You want the man to be judged by his deeds? Here's a run-down of his deeds for the last seven years: lying, manipulating, lying again, lying some more, manipulating again, repeat ad nauseam.

If she wants to avoid trouble, she needs to avoid the man. Let him work on his own on trying to be less of a sack of shit; that's his problem, not hers.
@ 55 - "Twice he lied about sex."


I don't think I need to say any more.
I'm with EricaP here, inasmuch as a reactionary DTMFA is a bad idea. yes, the guy is an ass. but no one is perfect, and people can change for the better. I think being an ideologue is a recipe for disappointment. They're already eyeball-deep in a relationship, with kids, so an angry separation and lawsuit or whatever is hard on everyone. But yes, this relationship, its foundation, and all expectations need to be reworked and more explicit. there's a lot of work to be done by both of them.
"The advice to abort isn't just insensitive, it's also ignorant. I'd bet that not one person making that suggestion is a parent. I'm trying to think of another explanation for how you all missed the obvious subtext that she's already decided to keep the baby."

How about if I am financial planner?!? Does that make my advice less ignorant?!?

Dude, it is a horrible and no win situation whatever the LW makes.. She has two small children, 8-10 weeks pregnant with another, her life with her boyfriend/de facto spouse is pretty much in ruins, whether they try to work it out or she splits with hm..

In this situation, get an abortion. It is not a baby, it is a bunch of gametic material developing to be an baby/human being by 40 weeks.

Many guys who cheat, kind of spill the beans all at once, as many ways as cathartic therapy for all the years of pent up lying and hiding their infidelities...In many ways it is a huge relief, and they think their spouse will forgive the cheating spouse after a short period...

The Cheating Spouse was caught. He would had continue if he wasn't caught. He is most likely scheming again after a grace period to go back to his old ways. He will be just better hiding it, and if he is caught, he will pull out the excuse, "Well, why so shock?!?, you know it is in my nature"..

In this no win situation, the LW should take as much control of the situation as possible. Financially, legally, morally and medically. She should talk to a family law attorney about her options, she should make sure she has paperwork typed up for child support, and legal trusts for the children plus college funds set up,

The LW should abort her third pregnancy ASAP. She has two children, financial resources will dwindle in a break up, but it can be manage. The Cheating Spouse has a legal and moral obligation to support and care fore his children. He could win back some of the trust by being a good dad, but he destroy any semblence of being a spouse to the LW...

This SLLOTD reminds me of the Tiger Woods imbroglio with his now ex wife, Ellen. The difference is $750 million to $1 billion dollars involved. The way to make things better for the LW is take control as much of the situation. Have a legal framework set up that the Cheating Spouse has to answer to the law for child support, an agreement on the Townhouse, no more children and no more sexual bond with the cheating spouse. The LW can do better than settle for this out of control homewrecker, there is no point in continuing her life's journey with the guy..
@ 95, thanks for proving my point. You have no idea what the LW thinks or what the parenting experience does to a person. And yes, your profession has zero bearing here. (She has made no complaints about money - that should mean something to you.)
@88 (Matt in Denver):
I have two children, and while I agree that once they are past infancy, the parents can take their eyes off them for a minute here and there, I disagree that parenting gets all that easier.

*Not all siblings get along or entertain each other.

*Each additional child puts additional strain on the family's overall resources of time and money. Each additional child means more reasons for each parent to feel resentful that the other one isn't doing as much. If MFAC becomes a single mother in fact, she will be spread that much thinner; she will have that much less time not only for taking care of the other two children, but for herself, as well. She'll need to find a bigger place to live and rent will be higher. It might make it harder to date, not only logistically, but the number of young children may help to rule out/drive away potential partners who find 3 kids just too much chaos.

*You're assuming that the third child will be healthy and that the other two already get along well and will get along with this one, too. This child might require significantly more work than the previous two (that's always a possibility, but when your situation is as screwed-up as MFAC's is, I think it should be considered differently than if she were happily and functionally partnered).

I doubt that she will abort this pregnancy, but I think she should do whatever she can to clear the debris surrounding the decision she has to make away. That includes masturbating to deal with her increased horniness, rather than starting an affair with someone or getting sucked back in to thinking things will work out with this guy because of some great orgasms and oxytocin. It also (ideally) includes taking the unborn baby out of the equation. She says: "But I need help with my kids. I can't imagine being single with two toddlers and another baby on the way" and "I wonder if I can manage my pregnancy and kids by myself." That sounds to me like she considers the pregnancy and a third baby to be reasons for staying with a man who has betrayed her consistently the entire duration of their relationship. I think that if at all possible, she should do what she can to remove those reasons so she can think more clearly.

I love my kids more than anything--beyond my own life. They're not little any more--the older one is 20 and the "baby" will turn 16 in a few months, and they still need me emotionally, financially, and to help them with logistics (I'm still a chauffeur a lot of the time). I still have parent-teacher conferences to make time for, sports events and theater/music performances to attend, crises to respond to, arguments to have, ethics to continue to impart. I still have worry. I still have involvement. Just because they outgrew toddlerhood doesn't mean that parenting became a low-commitment pastime.

You ask what I would do if it were me. Well, if I had discovered that the man I thought I knew and loved had been cheating and lying since day one for seven whole years, I'd want to do whatever I could to help me cut ties to him and to remove those children I already had from his influence. I'd mourn but I'd consider aborting the pregnancy (I don't know that I'd actually abort, but I'd at least consider it), because I don't think I'd consider it to be doing a child a favor to have this man for a father. I foresee a childhood for these 2, maybe 3 kids in which he doesn't come through repeatedly for them, whether or not he continues to live with their mother. He doesn't appear to have the necessary self-sacrifice ability that is required of parents. He lies, not occasionally, but habitually. I doubt he's been much of a presence in their lives and I really doubt he'll be much of one if/when this couple splits up, as I think they should so that MFAC has a shot at romantic/domestic happiness, or if not that, even if she never finds a new partner, at least a chance to a life more peaceful and doubt-free as being uncoupled from this bastard would be. I'd talk to a lawyer to find out what my rights are, I'd talk to my family to see what kind of emotional, financial and practical support I could count on, and I'd take my two existent children and leave.
@96.. Your point is what? it appears your point is sophistry..

Money is always going to be an issue with two children and another on the way.

We have had plenty of butting heads in the past, and you tend to troll.. If you want to lower this to your common "hey kids get off my lawn" rants go ahead.
So what I'm hearing is that having kids makes some people's brains stop working. Thank science that isn't true of everyone.
MattFramDenver: if one more doesn't make a difference, you’re doing it wrong.…