Moving past online cheating

Dear MTN,

Hi. I am hoping you can help me solve a very difficult problem...

About 6 weeks ago, I asked my boyfriend if I could look through his phone. I came across some messages on a GMail account between him and some girls, whom he had "met" on Ashley Madison, a site which promotes infidelity.  I was crushed!

That day, he promised me that he made a mistake, but that it would never happen again. He told me that he felt terrible for failing me as well as my two young daughters, that he was disgusted by his own behavior and he would never do it again.

Last week, I just had an inkling and asked him to go through his phone again...Again, I found the same kind of conversations... This time, it was a bit worse though, as he had actually made plans with one of these women to meet. He had to go about 400 km from home for a work interview and had arranged to meet this woman while away. She e-mailed him, saying she wouldn't be able to make it and thus they didn't meet.

The problem is that I truly love him. I don't just want to leave him! This time, when I confronted him, he immediately fessed up and apologized. He also said that he feels he has a problem (an addiction one could say) to these kind of affairs. He gave me all the passwords to his computers, e-mail addresses (he has several, for work, social, study etc) as well as tracking to his phone and access to his bank records. It has only been a week since, but it honestly seems like he wants to make this work...

My question is how do I trust him again? What steps can we take to ensure that it doesn't happen again? He said he'd see a therapist if that would make me feel more secure.

I really want to trust him. He is the guy I was planning on growing old with...

Please help!

Lonely Nici

Dear Nici,

I can tell that you love this guy and I wish I could tell you what you want to hear, however, in my experience with men that have cheated before is that men do not change. Once a cheater, always a cheater is a phrase that comes to mind.

I would strongly recommend that you dump him and find a man without an addiction to cheating. I am not trying to brag about my service, but I can assure you that men that join my service pay to find a lovely woman that they too can grow old with. In my service, with 1200 of the very best single people in New York, no one would use my service and be a "cheater."

If you absolutely are not strong enough to dump him as I suggest, then I strongly recommend that you both go to therapy together and see what the therapist tells you. If you hear from a trained therapist that your future is going to be a roller coaster of cheating, betrayal, and unhappiness, then that will probably give you the strength to move on to a man that doesn't have such an addiction. In my opinion, your boyfriend should be in therapy on his own working on this problem and not in any committed relationship until he is cured. This is not fair to you. Lastly if you both go to therapy and the therapist thinks that he can change, that will put you at ease. Just know that even that news will still be a long, difficult road ahead for you.

I wish you the best of luck. Please keep me posted as to what you decide to do and check in with me in about six months. Thanks for writing. - MTN