1. Cosmos
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    Cosmos Contributing Member

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    How close is too close: some advice please!

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Cosmos, Apr 28, 2010.

    First of all, I’m going to hell. Please don’t argue this with me, I just feel awful and would rather a huge hammer came down on my head. Anyways…

    So my man and I are long distance and he came to visit me. He used my computer to log into his email and forgot to log himself out. Well, you can probably guess what happened when I discovered this after he was gone…I found myself overcome by curiosity, and as a naturally paranoid person, I wanted to make sure I wasn’t being played. He really didn’t seem like the type, and I really regret my actions, but split milk and all that.

    After reviewing some of his emails it became quite apparent he had some other woman in his life. Was it a fling? I don’t think so, but the content of the emails made me distinctly uncomfortable. He told her “I love you”…called her “my lady”…and said “love forever”. These are not the words of a close friendship but the kind of stuff he said to me once we dated! And while the conversation appear to have died out (because of her, since he definitely emailed asking her to respond) and he did mention me in the emails, there was a brief overlap of when he said he loved me and only me, and also told her “I love you” and all that.

    I’m sick to my stomach. On one level I feel like I don’t even have the right to complain as I violated his trust and checked out his emails. On the other I feel violated since I feel like if he had such a close friendship, one bordering on romantic, that he should have been upfront about her. I heard her name a few times, and there’s nothing in the email that specifically says he’s having a fling (no “last night was great” or “don’t worry the girlfriend won’t know) I still am in turmoil since he’s keeping this from me. I don’t know why he would hide it, except that he knows the average person would be uncomfortable with it and he probably feared the same with me.

    Far as I understand the email conversation ended, as I said, and he’s been extremely loyal to me otherwise. He’s a great guy, sweet, kind, caring and I love him more than anything. But I feel wronged somehow and I don’t know how to get over it.

    What do you recommend? Do I just fess up to reading his emails and demand some explanation about the too close for comfort friendship or do I keep my mouth shut seeing as I shouldn’t have this information in the first place?

    Any advice you could give would be appreciated—I’m totally reeling from this and need something, anything to help me.
     
  2. Halcyon
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    Halcyon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Ouch, that's tough one, Cosmos, and very brave of you to put it out here.

    As a man who, to my eternal shame, has not been a complete stranger to illicit internet romances with the opposite sex, (past tense, I hasten to add) I have to say that the majority of them don't amount to anything much, either due to one or both parties not actually wanting them to, or maybe even more practical matters such as distance. It's still the wrong thing to do, though, no matter how it plays out.

    Your situation is tricky, and without knowing your partner, it would be risky of me to suggest an approach since I don't know how he'd react. However, if this is really eating at you, I'd honestly recommend that you ask him about it. I hesitate to say "confront" because it doesn't necessarily need to go down that rocky road. But definitely seek answers from him in the way that you deem most suitable. You won't be at peace until you do. :)
     
  3. Eunoia
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    Eunoia Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've been in a vaguely sort of similar situation - not as serious as yours mind.

    From what you've said, and knowing how paranoia can make you feel etc., I'd suggest you talk to him about it. Not knowing will just drive you insane.
     
  4. hiddennovelist
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    hiddennovelist Contributing Member Contributor

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    If it were me, I would talk to him about it. If I found out about something like that and didn't say anything, it would just fester and fester and fester until it got blown way out of proportion and exploded all over the place.

    Also, regardless of how you found out about it, if you bring something like this up and his response is something to do with "I can't believe you looked through my email," that seems a bit sketchy to me. Yes, it's not generally looked at as a good thing to read someone else's emails, but if your first response when being confronted about possibly cheating on your significant other is to defend yourself by pushing the blame to someone else...doesn't look good.
     
  5. Evil Flamingo
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    Evil Flamingo Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm a guy who's only 19, so take my answer with a grain of salt if you please.

    I really have no toleration for that kind of garbage. Not. One. Bit.

    My last girlfriend cheated on me, but still denies it to this day (I know because the guy finally told me, along with others). We had been dating for a year before this happened. She had told me that she had cheated on someone else she dated before, but felt so ashamed about it that she said she'd never do it again. She cried while saying this (she was a girl who never cried), so I believed her whole-heartedly.

    Jump back to some six months later. When I came back after Christmas break, I knew something had changed immediately. It was like she couldn't find what to say to me, and every time she looked at me, she put on her fake smile (which I had grown to know from being with her so long). It was like she suddenly couldn't stand me. I found out a little later that a "friend" of hers had come to stay with her for Christmas break (I absolutely had to work so I couldn't). She had cheated again. So I've really come to realize that once you already do something like cheat on someone, or at least get near that point (if they're saying "I love you," it's probably there or not far off, sorry) I just can't continue things.

    Now I know I'm a little brash, and quite unforgiving, I blame it on my age haha, but tolerance for something like this is just welcoming it to come back again. You should confront him about it. So what if you found it out that way? Would you like to figure it out the second time around, or the third? Or how about in a much worse way? Talk to him. It's the best thing you can do.

    Thus ends crappy advice from a kid. =/

    oh and by the way, since this is very personal and I was being quite blunt, I do feel sorry for ya and I apologize for my demeanor. I wish the best of luck to you wish this trial, and truly hope it does work out in the end.

    Steve
     
  6. Lavarian
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    Lavarian Contributing Member Contributor

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    Truth.
    Also, he shouldn't have been stupid enough to leave it logged in.
    It's not like you were standing over his shoulder trying to read it and you're only human.
    So he doesn't have much right to be too upset at something that is his own fault.
     
  7. LordKyleOfEarth
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    LordKyleOfEarth Contributing Member Contributor

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    [devil's advocate]
    In my opinion nothing physical has happened. From what you mentioned, there is nothing to indicate that as the case. What does appear to be true, is that he has another woman in his life who is very important to him.

    What you need to decide is where YOU stand in all this. Not on his radar (he obviously has chosen you and loves you) but on your own. Are you alright sharing his affection? It's not as easy an idea as it may seem at first. Think of it as early Guinevere/Lancelot (pre-fling). They LOVED each other, albeit never in a physical way as they both loved Aurthur too.

    So ask yourself if this is fine. Can you be the main lady in his life, the one he has chosen to spend his days with, while there is a 2nd woman (a VERY close friend) somewhere else?

    My girlfriend and I have hit a mild bump over this same issue. I am fine with this sort of thing (I think it's healthy actually) but she is jealous and cannot stand the idea of 'sharing' me. It makes things difficult.

    Is he 'cheating'? No, I do not believe so. Does he love her? Yes, I do believe he does. Is it the end of the relationship? That is up to you.


    P.S.:
    Long distance relations suck. You are committed to a person whom is not part of your immediate life. Platonic love arises from this, as it allows a person to still feel the closeness of a loving intimate relationship, without the remorse that comes from sexual infidelity.

    P.P.S:
    Never read another person's emails. It only derails things. If you don't trust them, you have no business being in a relationship with them.
    [/devils advocate]
     
  8. Cosmos
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    Cosmos Contributing Member

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    I want to thank you all for your responses. They've given me a lot to think about, and if you had any more to say, please do share.

    I do feel badly about reading his emails. It was a horrible thing to do I know and he definitely deserves an apology. I do have paranoia, which we've discussed, but I actually was surprised to find these emails, so that might be a sign that I'm not completely wacked. I also agree that ‘the how’ I found it does not negate ‘the what’ I found out.

    I have an enormous amount of respect and love for this man, and would much rather resolve this peacefully than to have it blow up to satisfy some hurt feelings. But I need proper resolution because I’ve been betrayed by boyfriends before and I’ve been blindsided by it, heightening my fear of deception occurring behind my back again. And yes if his first response is an angry “you read my emails?” I’ll know that something untoward has occurred, since that’s essentially what occurred one of times I was deceived before (I didn’t read any emails, but a boyfriend’s deception was discovered by family and his main concern was that his privacy was violated, not that he’d betrayed me).

    I can totally live with him having a close personal friendship—in fact, I’ve encouraged him to develop them. But I also encourage openness about it, and he was not very open about this. I’m not one of those girls that fumes at her boyfriend having close female friends, but when said friends are getting “I love you” and “Love forever” that’s when my blood pressure skyrockets.

    What I’ve always wanted is honesty, and I fear that I’m not getting it here. Perhaps he’s not crossed into infidelity per say, but considering how intimate the exchange was, I need some sort explanation, I agree.
     
  9. LordKyleOfEarth
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    LordKyleOfEarth Contributing Member Contributor

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    Not necessarily. You must have (even if not on a conscious level) expected to find SOMETHING or you would not have read them. You have been cheated on before, and that will condition you to expect more cheating. It's not a personality fault, it's just the way things are.

    Again, not necessarily the case. You are filtering the current event through the past again. If my girlfriend told me that she had been reading my emails/texts/school homework/underwear tags I'd be upset about the invasion of privacy and the lack of respect shown in not asking first. If she had concerns I'd gladly show her any of the items, but I'd appreciate the basic courtesy respect granted by asking first. I chose to date a loving woman, not the gestapo.

    Can you live with it? I tell 80% of my friends that I love them. And I sleeping with them? No. Love has many connotations, and you don't know which one he intended.

    If the exact same letter had been to "Steve" or "Ralph" would you still feel it was uncomfortably intimate? I think this is a case of your past coloring your present. You see a previous pattern emerging and you are determined to prove yourself correct.

    Man up and ask him politely, just expect that he will (justifiably) be angry. That anger doesn't indicate that he broke level of trust and respect in the relationship. You did that by invading his privacy.
     
  10. Cosmos
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    Cosmos Contributing Member

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    Well, actually I didn't expect to find anything but rather discovered a folder with her name on it and found it most curious as to why he had said folder. It was on the front page, right out in plain sight, and yes I could have ignored it, but why would he have a folder devoted to some woman? Wrong as it was, I couldn't resist.

    Perhaps not, but it wouldn't be a good sign either. He has a right to feel angry for having his privacy invaded, but the way I found it doesn't negate of what I found out. It's too late now--I know...whatever it is, and I need some sort of explaination.

    I lived with a previous boyfriend sending gifts to his ex, spending time with her and being close to her family. Yes, I can live with this. I don't want him to give up these close friendships, but when they involve "my lady", "my lovely", etc. yes, I do expect to be told about it and I don't understand why I wasn't in the loop about it.

    No I don't know the intent about which he meant the words, but the very fact that he was ellusive about it is what's got me bristling.

    I would be extremely surprised to see a letter addressed to a man with "I love you" in it. He is completely straight, far as I understand, and I have never heard him say such things to anyone else, ever.

    I want to clarify that I actually highly doubt he did cheat as everything else about him points to him being loyal, but that he overstepped a boundary I was comfortable with, a boundary I'm reasonably certain was made clear.

    That is my intent, though I'm not sure how to approach the subject. I expect anger over how I found out, but I do not intend to let that derail what I feel is at least a gross misunderstanding of the rules of our relationship
     
  11. Sabreur
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    Sabreur Contributing Member Contributor

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    Cheaters are (in most cases) scumbags, unfortunately. I have harsh morals at times (drugs and being disloyal are the two most prominent) and therefore, if a girl did this to me, she would cease being a part of my life. I would refuse to ever associate with such a creature again and with good reason.

    Speak to him if you wish. I don't know either of you or the situation fully so I cannot comment further, I can only tell you my own response. That response is suitably swift and harsh. Complete severance of all contact.
     
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  12. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    c...
    as a woman who's had more than her share of love affairs and close, commited relationships, as well as two husbands, i have to say you must ask him about it...

    to not do so will just leave the knowledge festering in you and sicken both you and the relationship... if it's a strong enough one on both sides, it'll survive... and if it doesn't, then you're better off ending it now, anyway...

    if you want a knowing/caring ear and shoulder, please don't hesitate to email me any time at all...

    love and healing hugs, maia
    maia3maia@hotmail.com
     
  13. Ashleigh
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    Ashleigh Contributing Member Contributor

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    Here's my opinion.

    Print off the emails and show him.

    Dump that arsehole like the garbage he is. I have absolutely no tolerance for cheating - whether it's in person or by email is irrelevent. The infidelity and lack of respect for you is there, and he has absolutely no right to try and twist the argument into it being about the fact you read his emails; if he wanted to conceal a fling, he should've remembered to log out. Don't even allow him the opportunity to do this, because knowing cheaters, he'll give it a go.

    You do not need to put up with this. And i'm sorry, but if you two share such deep, intimate feelings - then this is a massive betrayal. Don't cheapen yourself by following him about like a little lost sheep in the name of 'love'. By doing this, you're trashing your own dignity and self-worth. How are you ever going to be comfortable in this relationship again, knowing that he respected you so little that he said those things to another woman?

    My second point is this: Why feel guilty about the emails? He shouldn't have had anything to hide. I agree that privacy is important, but frankly, 'trust' isn't about allowing your partner to have flings behind your back, just as long as he keeps them quiet. Trust should mean that you guys could sift through eachother's emails all day long, and neither of you would bat an eyelid. It shouldn't matter. You've nothing to feel guilty about at all.

    In fact, you know what? You've done yourself a favour - now you have the chance to give him precisely what he deserves.

    Stop being afraid of your own feelings and his reaction. You're angry, upset, hurt, confused? Show him. You don't owe him descretion.

    Tell him how you truly feel, and leave with your pride intact.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    That there is my advice to you. I understand that not everybody is able to deal with issues like these in the way I see fit to, but I personally believe that you're completely entitled to this reaction. I know you'll still be left hurt, and probably feeling lonely if you left the (cheating, nasty swine of a) man, but you can be strong. You can deal with it.

    Please don't become another sad, tormented victim of a relationship. There will be plenty of struggles and sorrows in your life - and this will probably be the least of them. Don't waste your energy and move on.

    Sorry if this sounds harsh, but people who cheat are pondscum to me. Whether you agree with me or not, I genuinely hope you make the right decision.

    Be happy :)
     
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  14. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I'm not sure about the timeline, or the nature of your relationship witn him at the time the emails were sent, so I'm not going to jump in and judge him.

    As for hiim not logging out, there are schools of thought that some kinds of accidents are a subconscious desire to be caught.

    In a way, you did violate his privacy, so that is an issue the two of you will have to work through as well. Unfortunately, the circumstances guarantee that issue will be inseparable from the matter of his relationship with the other woman.

    I've been cheated on, and it hurts like hell. Even so, there are usually two sides (or more) to it. He may consider it harmless flirting. Or he may be a deceitful scumbag. I don't know, and I foresee a series of long, not very pleasant conversations ahead.

    As Maia said, though, this all needs to come out into the light, In darkness it wll fester, and grow like a tumor.

    It may be this is too great a hurt to mend, but there will be no healing without bringing it out into the light,
     
  15. LordKyleOfEarth
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    LordKyleOfEarth Contributing Member Contributor

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    She doesn't even know that he WAS cheating. What if it is simply a friend whom he is close to. It can be a totally asexual "I love you".

    During long distance relationships people get close to other friends. It doesn't mean he is a scumbag or terrible person, just that he is lonely.

    Am I the only person who has his back in all of this?
     
  16. Ashleigh
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    Ashleigh Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think it's pretty clear that he is! Who tells their friend, 'I love you' alongside other statements such as, 'Love forever', and 'my lady' etc?

    Besides, even if they were just close friends, which I think is made clear that they're more than that, it's totally inappropriate for a man in a relationship to use those phrases with another woman. It's not on, no matter how 'asexual' they profess it to be.

    I don't buy one word of anyone who says it's completely fine to treat friends in alot of the same ways they would their lovers - especially if those people correspond with their sexuality. It poses an unnecessary threat, and if they honestly cared, then it woudln't be there at all.

    I think it's a completely selfish attitude, if i'm honest. However, I think he's cheating...and I have no sympathy for people like that. Even if they are lonely.

    Sorry Kyle, but that's how I feel. No mercy.

    P.S I'd also like to add that lonliness is a poor, pathetic excuse for infidelity. If they aren't happy in a relationship, then they should do the best by their partners and break it off, instead of trashing their dignity and ability to trust.
     
  17. hiddennovelist
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    hiddennovelist Contributing Member Contributor

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    Haha poor Kyle, it's lonely over there in Devil's advocate land.

    I don't have anyone's back...to expound on my original response, I wouldn't recommend jumping to conclusions and saying "oh my god, I read your emails, you're cheating on me, you asshole!" However, if Cosmos thinks something is going on, she should ask him about it. If there is an issue and he tries to justify it by pushing off the blame, then that's messed up. Sure, he has a right to be upset, but if there's something going on, it shouldn't matter how she found out about it or if his reason for it was being lonely...if you don't want to be in or can't handle a long-term relationship, you shouldn't be in one. It's as simple as that.

    On the other hand, you're right in pointing out that she doesn't know for sure that anything is going on, so it is important to make sure assumptions aren't being made. This is exactly why I would recommend talking to him as soon as possible. I know for me, if I think something might be going on, the longer I have to sit and think about it, the more I build it up in my head. Joel could get a text from a number I didn't recognize that said "hey, cutie!" and if I just sat there thinking about it all day, by the time I talked to him, I will have convinced myself that it was his ex girlfriend and be ready to go on the rampage and destroy her while, if I had just talked to him right after I found out about it, I would find out that it was a text from his cousin. Communication is key. And even if there isn't something serious going on, the fact that he is this close with someone who Cosmos has never even heard about is a little worrisome to me. I don't mind Joel have female friends, but I sure as hell better at least know about them...for me, that's the most off-putting thing about this whole situation. That he never even brought her up before. That just seems weird to me.

    Finally, maybe it's just me, but I have a firm belief in women's intuition when it comes to things like this. I've been in situations before where there wasn't even really any clear warning signs or indications, I just felt something was off. Ask about it, and then it comes to light...something was going on. Like I said, maybe it's just me, but in my opinion, feelings about this sort of thing go a long way...
     
  18. Ashleigh
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    Ashleigh Contributing Member Contributor

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    Maybe I am jumping to conclusions, I don't know. It's just in my nature to be a bit neurotic. But if it's true, and he is cheating, then I would follow everything I said through with a vengence.

    I also agree with Hidden's point about intuition...if it doesn't seem right, then it probably isn't. I think the advice from everyone here overall is to approach him with the emails, and get to the bottom of things before taking any cut and dry actions.
     
  19. KP Williams
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    KP Williams Contributing Member

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    Um... I do. :rolleyes: I have more than one female friend I'm always referring to by ridiculous nicknames like that. I frequently call one of them my "desert rose" (because she lives in a desert), but despite how... uh... romantic that may or may not sound, there's nothing happening between us. Even "my lady" has come up once or twice, and while I haven't used the exact words "love forever," I've said things that carry the same basic meaning. More than once she's commented on my extravagant text message farewells, like "May the stars forever shine upon you" or something silly like that. Granted, about 99% of that isn't serious, but still, I answered your question.

    Jumping to conclusions is never a good thing to do. Ever. If you could read or hear some of the things I say to some of my female friends, you might assume I'm crazy about them. But that's just not the case. Basic intel gathering is required before action can be taken. Something that provides more real understanding than some emails.

    A lover is a friend. A very close friend who you can explore physical elements with. I'm not going to start treating my other friends differently just because my date doesn't like it. Because really, it'd be completely selfish of her to expect me to do that.
     
  20. SonnehLee
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    SonnehLee Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm kinda with you on this.. Reading what she took from the emails, I've said/heard things like that between close guy friends. Even when they were dating other people. It wasn't because we had anything going on between us, it's just how we are with each other.

    I would definitely check it out and talk to him, but I wouldn't be so quick to jump on the "you're cheating!" bandwagon.


    (But if he is, Dump him like a sack of potatoes.)
     
  21. Ashleigh
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    Ashleigh Contributing Member Contributor

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    A date is one thing, being in love is another. I've been with my boyfriend for a year and a half now, and I can tell you, he wouldn't dare say such intimate things to another girl. Not only that, but he wouldn't want to. Just 'cause he's close friends with someone, doesn't mean he needs to be all over them just to prove it. I can understand if it's just some person you're 'dating', and it isn't serious. But otherwise? Hell no! There are boundaries that need to be respected on both sides. In my opinion, that's one of 'em.

    FMK, you should realise that this isn't a debate about whether guys should be allowed to flirt with other girls...and to be honest, the fact that you do doesn't change my opinion one little bit.

    It's up to the OP how she feels, and I was just freely expressing what I would do in that situation. If the OP can't deal with him saying those things, whether it means something or not, then she absolutely has every right to be angry.
     
  22. Torana
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    Torana Contributing Member Contributor

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    The best thing to do is talk it out. A relationship is based on trust and being open with other. Once the lines of communication are blocked in any way, or there is any slight doubt, the relationship will begin to fail and all parties involved will walk away hurting.

    As for cheating on you, don't jump to that conclusion yet. It is perfectly normal for friends to say they love each other, and call each other pet names. A guy I grew up with from a very early age has always called me darling, even after marriage, he continued to call me darling. He would also tell me he loved me, though not in a lover kind of way, more a brother/sister kind of way. We would email for a long time, text each other, etc. Many people do the same thing.

    I strongly urge you to approach him in a calm manner about it, talk rationally, don't let your emotions or fears of something going on with this other person, get in the way. Talking things out like adults is the only way to resolve any problems.

    I wish you all the best, Cosmos. I am very sorry that you came across emails like that, I can only imagine how much shock it would have put you in at the time. But don't jump to any conclusions until after you have spoken to your partner and heard what he has to say about it. If need be, give yourself a few days to mull it all over after the chat, or even before the chat. Just go into the conversation calmly.

    Lots of hugs to you, I hope everything works out.
     
  23. Lavarian
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    Lavarian Contributing Member Contributor

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    Also, I don't think it's reasonable to apply "Well, saying X to another man/woman is completely unaccetable" to everyone.
    I think most relationships are fairly unique in that what might be okay for one couple, would not be for another.
    Essentially, you've got to adhere to the expectations that were set at the start or during the relationship.
    And if none were set, set some.
    If it turns out that he is not cheating, let him know that this sort of communication bothers you. If he did not cheat and she was just an old friend, I think it would be unreasonable to expect him cut off all contact with her.
    If he is cheating, definitely drop him as he isn't worth your time.

    (Bear in mind that I don't mean to say "Because there was no expectation set, you can't get angry at him for cheating." That would be absurd.
    There are definitely some obvious universal expectations that go without saying. Such as loyalty.)
     
  24. Ashleigh
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    Ashleigh Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm not being funny, guys, but if she was comfortable with the words he used towards another woman, then this thread wouldn't have been made. It doesn't matter what his intentions were.

    Sure it's fine to use pet names with friends, but it's obviously made her uncomfortable. 'Love forever' is a bit strong. I thought that was pretty clear from the original post.

    Btw, I pretty much agree with Lav.
     
  25. KP Williams
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    KP Williams Contributing Member

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    I also agree with Lavarian on pretty much every point he made. Cheating is never okay, and if that's what he's up to, I'd get out. But a bunch of emails with ambiguous wording aren't proof of that. If it turns out that everything's okay, let him know that this sort of talk bugs you. Set limits, for both of you... I'll be honest, the message I've been preaching here doesn't seem all that likely from the way you put it, but it's still possible. You need to check.
     

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