Dear Readers - When it comes to living with cheaters, the "snoopers" have a lot to say in response to my June 10th request for personal accounts:
Reader - "I'm still in a relationship with a cheater who's trying to change. I understand how paranoia can destroy someone. I snooped and regret it; it lowered my expectations of myself... I accepted a relationship with someone who wasn't credible.
"Snooping was worthwhile by verifying that I wasn't nuts. I'm now resolved to not check, it's time for him to step up and do the verifying.
"I only ask myself: "Do I trust him?" If I can't, without snooping again, I'll know it's time to pack my bags."
Reader - "I knew for 35 years that something wasn't right but, without proof, I looked away.
"Last fall I caught him searching dating sites, which he lied about. I saw a text about hooking up for dating. He denied any involvement. Then I found his list of sex/dating sites. I asked him to leave, he got angry, destroyed everything of mine.
"He has no remorse, after 35 years of marriage. So, please, always trust your "gut instinct."
Stayed Too Long
Reader - "Recently, I found an e-mail sent from my wife of 11 years. She wanted to be coached by a consultant in dating online, on how to get the attention of this man she likes.
"We have two young kids. I calmly asked her to tell me the truth about the e-mail. She started yelling and telling me how useless I am and that it's not true. When I'd previously thought something was wrong and raised it, she slammed the door on me.
"I was rejected sexually many times but when it came to giving her jewellery for Christmas, she was all love.
"I'm tired, and soon I'll have to leave the house and my kids. My wife says, "I want to be 23 again and do what I could not do then" (now? with two little kids?). It's sad that the kids are the real losers....
Cheating Hurts Many
Reader - "Twice, men have cheated on me. A boyfriend of one year told me about videotaping sex with his ex and that he'd destroyed the tape years before he met me.
"I was alone at his house, saw a video tape on the shelf, and viewed him and his ex. Knowing he lied, my guard was up. I then checked his voicemail, heard frequent, overly friendly messages from his neighbour.
"He picked a fight with me shortly before a planned weekend away together, said he was going alone. I later found out he took his neighbour. When I broke up with him he cried like a baby, saying everything was my fault.
"Years later another boyfriend told me about his long-ago ex and that he had taken only innocent pictures of her, now discarded.
"I came across a stack of photos that were extremely disturbing. I looked further and found pictures of him with a stripper, discovered he gave women his email address, phone number, etc. - all while we were dating.
"When confronted, he turned it around on me, but swore it wouldn't happen again. It happened repeatedly. I broke up with him.
"I don't snoop under normal circumstances, but if someone finds a red flag, it should definitely be investigated. I also think if you have doubts or feel the need to snoop, you'll find something.
Reader - "I spent 10 years with a sex addict. For five years, I suspected nothing ...yet he cheated shortly after we got married and never stopped.
"One night an unknown woman called asking for him, then hung up. I looked at his web history -- dozens of girls, photographed nude, saved sex chats, etc.
"How would I have known without looking? He denied everything, even the proof. For five more years, I'd become suspicious, confront him, he'd deny, I snooped, he'd eventually crumble, blame me, eventually apologize, promise never to repeat... and did so within 48 hours. He even lied to marriage counsellors.
"Without proof, how can you leave a marriage? Especially when you have children.
"Before him, I never snooped. Nor since. I'm still, by nature, a trusting person, though less than I was, and I didn't like the paranoid and suspicious person that marriage turned me into.
Still Glad I Snooped
Tip of the day:
The topic's too hot to drop: Read Part Two tomorrow, July 3rd.