Is this cheating and should I leave him?

My boyfriend and I have been together for about a year but I’ve known him most of my life. He’s had some addiction issues with alcohol in the past, and unfortunately did some prison time for it years ago. As his friend I supported him. I’d go to AA meetings with him, I visited him in prison and I know a part of me has always loved him since I was a little girl. Anyways, our friendship grew and became more after he was released. He’s been sober for almost two years now.

He’s a flirt. He always has been and I’m aware of this. It’s mostly innocent and it’s just who he is. He’s a Gemini if you believe in all of that :sweat_smile: we officially became a couple around six months ago, but have been exclusively sleeping together for about a year. He’s never really been in a serious committed relationship and he’s 32. I on the other hand was married for six years and had a family. I separated from my husband when I found out he was having an affair. I’ve always given my boyfriend the benefit of the doubt. I’m patient with him because I know with his addiction and recovery, things can be tough. I watched my father suffer with the same disease and pass away from it at an early age.

This last Christmas he gave me a promise ring. This is something I honestly never expected him to do. He’s very closed off and rarely opens up. He doesn’t show affection in the traditional ways and I’ve grown to accept this and accept the little things he does for me to show affection. Recently I went through his phone. He was active on tinder and he had been texting a few random woman. Most of the conversations consisted of “do you have a boyfriend” and a little chit chatting back and fourth. He did ask one to send him a panty picture. Like I’ve previously stated, I’ve known this man for over 20 years. I know he has some kinks with what you’d call “sexy pictures” I’m not sure if it’s a attention thing of if it’s the pictures themselves. I’m not sure. I know he doesn’t seek out sex with other woman necessarily or meets with them because when he’s not at work, he’s with me the majority of the time.

He knows this type of stuff hurts me. He knows that it hurts my feelings because we have an amazing sex life, at least for me. Could it be that I’m just not enough? I know this is a conversation I should have with him, and I plan to but I’m just curious if anyone else has gone through anything similar. I love this man, and I want to make things work but I also know my worth. I know what I have to offer and I know that I should be treated better. Any insight or advice is appreciated.


Hey friend,
First of all welcome to the community , second though only you can determine if you consider this cheating. Personally if it was me, i would because that’s just shady and like why is he on tinder chatting to only other woman? If he was on there to make friends then it would be guys as well not only girls, and a panty picture from one? Like no sorry that’s crossing a freaking line, cause the only person he should be asking for panty pictures from is you.

I would seriously talk to him, because even though he isn’t cheating now it could lead to cheating. An just because he gave you a promise ring doesn’t mean anything, i was in the same type of relationship with my emotionally abusive ex who said “oh yeah this girl is just a friend” even though this girl hit him up like she dated him. Found out after we had broken up which was good, but beside the point that he was cheating on me with her. So i would save yourself the trouble now, and confront him an lay down some rules before you get seriously hurt.


While I agree with some of that, I think you should give him some doubt. You have known him for all your life, so you know if he would be that type of person. My consideration of cheating is once they go out with a person. If I was in your situation, I would talk to him (in a relaxed way) and ask him about it. Don’t judge yet. See if maybe there was something “missing” that he thought he needed. And see if you guys can work through it. If you truly want this to work, you should talk to him first before making decisions. My first bf broke my heart by dumping me over “lack of effort”, without ever talking to me. Just talk to him. If you still think he’s being unfaithful, then do what you think is best. But from the sound of it, I believe you really want you be with him, and he might just need some support through this. Hope this helps💖


Talking about this on here makes me really uncomfortable, but that’s why it’s anonymous right? Here we go.

I love my wife. I’ve had committed relationships, observed plenty of others, and I know what we have is extraordinarily special. That said, due to a bunch of hangups in dating and general life, I crave validation. My wife praises me plenty, and I believe it’s genuine, but she’s just one person who, as I see it, is biased. Long story short, I wound up kissing another girl at a party shortly after we were married. That girl knew I was married, she was in a committed relationship, and I let it happen anyway. I wanted it to happen. It felt good to know that another woman saw some value in me, even if it was a cheap illusion.

I confessed this to my wife. I answered all her questions as honestly as I could. We moved past it in pretty short order. I identified all the pitfalls that led me to that point, and have made sure to avoid them. My wife and I drew new boundary lines together. The incident made me stop and think, am I so insecure that I would risk hurting the woman I pledged my life to? Still, while I’ve done good work on creating my own validation, the desire for approval and even the thrill is still there.

I would never get a Tinder account for the sake of attention, because I know that’s unsafe territory and a it would be crossing a major line in my marriage, but people with addiction issues tend to be bold while thinking they have things under control. That said, while there are all sorts of possible things he could be after, from my perspective it could be trying to validate that he’s desirable. He didn’t have a relationship for 32 years, he was drinking away feelings of worthlessness in the past, and doing time in prison may have done permanent damage to his sense of self worth. You’ve known him for 20 years, so maybe in his eyes you’re “biased.” He loves you and wants to be committed to you, or else he wouldn’t have gotten you a promise ring or agreed to be exclusive with you. He may be trying to find that he has sex appeal elsewhere to prove to himself that he’s worthwhile, or maybe even to prove to himself that you’re not “just settling” for him–that he’s an objectively sexy guy you can be proud to be with.

I’m analytical, I know that logic is completely flawed, but my feelings of insecurity and inadequacy prevail over that flawed logic if I don’t actively work on believing in myself. That may be what’s going on here. It’s objectively unfaithful, but it may not be as simple as it appears. Whether or not it’s unforgivable is up to you to decide. Is he remorseful or dismissive, and can you work through it or is the hurt too great? Just because he may have self-esteem issues doesn’t invalidate your own sense of self-worth. You owe it to yourself to do what’s best for you, whether that’s healing the relationship or moving on.


Hey Friend!

First of all thank you for writing and welcome to the community!

I am so glad to hear that he has had a friend like you to support him through all of his troubles. I am so sorry to hear that your ex husband was having an affair, that must’ve been extremely heartbreaking to hear.

Ultimately, I can’t say whether it is cheating as I don’t know the relationship dynamic between you two. I would definitley see if he can explain himself for his actions, and if needed give him an ultimateum. Either he fixes himself or you leave.

I know ultimateum’s don’t always work, but try.

Know you aren’t alone friend.

With Love



Hello, @Amanda0823, thank you for posting! Welcome to the community and congratulations on your very first post. This is really brave of you to do because this is a tough topic. I know you’re asking advice but also ask advice from yourself. Look within yourself and what are you feeling? You were married six years but separated because your husband was having an affair? I feel like you have a pretty good idea of what you consider cheating and what makes you uncomfortable and it sounds like, I am going to call him Promise Ring, what Promise Ring is doing is making you uncomfortable. It is hurting you and your feelings. Promise Ring knows this and is still choosing to do this anyways and that is unacceptable. If you two are exclusive and care for each other he should be respecting your boundaries and wishes.

Personally I say yes, yes this is cheating. Even if you think you know he hasn’t slept with anyone yet he is still cheating. He is emotionally cheating on you. I am putting my foot down and saying he is just crossing so many lines and there are so many red flags here. You need to know your worth and this is not it. You don’t deserve to be with someone who clearly doesn’t appreciate you. He is already being sneaky on Tinder which is a red flag and asking for a panty pic is also a big red flag. You don’t trust him which is why you are checking his phone. I would end the relationship, personally. You deserve to be with someone who loves and respects you.

If you really want, do sit down and talk with him. Let him know he is hurting you and make it clear. That you want to be exclusive, so that means no more Tinder, etc… but honestly I wouldn’t even do that. I am glad you know your worth, know what you have to offer and should be treated better because ABSOLUTELY. I hope you can figure this out but this is not it. Good luck and I hope I offered some help.

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Hi! I’m sorry to hear about your situation, and hopefully my words can help you at least somewhat @Amanda0823
For me, any relationship relies heavily on communication. Others have suggested having a calm conversation with your boyfriend, and I agree! While I’m not sure why you were on his phone (make sure you say something about that), explain why him being on Tinder and getting those pictures upset you. Have a calm conversation with him. If either of you starts getting too upset, take a break to calm down before coming back to it (so neither of you say or do anything you’ll regret).
Another thing is it depends on his meaning of the promise ring. Did he mean to marry you? Stay as your partner?
To me, Tinder is an app to get hook ups and have sex. I think most people recognize this. (I had some weird experiences on that app!) If he hasn’t met with any of these women, is it because of the pandemic and that it’s unsafe or is it because he wants to stay loyal to you?
It’s a lot to think about and muse over, so take care of yourself!


Hey there Amanda,

I’m so sorry to hear that you’re struggling with this, It’s clear that this is creating a lot of doubt for you.

I first want to say that no matter what he does, it’s not a reflection of your worth or value. You deserve to have a committed partner who is just as supportive of you as you are of them. Remember that relationship takes two people, and if one isn’t “pulling their weight” so to speak, it’s not going to work.

While I’ve never been in this situation myself, I think the post by @SheetMetalHead has a lot of insight into one perspective of how he might feel. Addiction causes people to go out of their way to satisfy it, often at great risk to themselves and those around them. I think this conversation is twofold, primarily it’s about how you move together in the future, and secondarily it’s about an addiction if one is present.

An addiction isn’t defined by how often one does something, but by the impact that is having on their life. If this is having a negative impact on their life (it sounds like it does considering what it’s doing to the relationship) then it is an addiction, even if he’s not doing it frequently.

I would personally define this as cheating, as in my eyes, he’s actively seeking a connection with other women when he should be working/focusing on the one you have right now. However, even if he is cheating, it doesn’t mean that he isn’t struggling himself, and I think it’s VERY important that when you approach this topic with him you are open, accepting, and really pull away from sounding like you’re blaming him for something if you can. You want to focus on an attitude of “This is how it is, this makes me uncomfortable, how can we move forward together?”. People tend to close up when accused, so you want to make it as comfortable of a conversation for him as you can, which will in turn hopefully make him feel happier about opening up.

If this seems to be a really serious problem, and you’re both committed to the relationship, I would highly recommend couples therapy. A professional has insight that none of us here can match :slight_smile:

The most important things in a relationship IMO are trust, communication, and mutual respect for one another, and unfortunately I feel like two of those are in question right now, potentially the third. As @legendofamaya mentioned, you are absolutely deserving of someone who treats you right. I know you’ve had your eye on him for a long time, and moving away from that can be incredibly difficult, but it might be worth it in the end. Don’t stick around just because you’ve known him for ages, there are other people out there.

I wish the best for both of you, and we’re here to chat if you need us. This is a very delicate situation but from the way you talk to him, you’re keeping anger in check and really working on moving forward together. In my opinion that shows the incredible strength of your heart, and your love for him. Just try to make sure that love is well placed okay? It’s not worth giving that to someone who doesn’t treat you right.


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