Dear Cheryl, My boyfriend and I have been together 18 months. We live together. He's 51; I'm 44. He's been divorced twice. His first wife cheated. He and his second wife "grew apart."
We have sex about once a week. He's had occasional erectile dysfunction, which we've never discussed.
Five months ago, he began a high-stress job and started spending much of the evening online. I was suspicious, so I checked his browsing history. He looks at sex webcams daily. He has also looked at lesbian personals ads on craigslist. He looked at one ad for a woman seeking a man and an ad for a marriage counselor.
I felt sick and decided to look at his Facebook account. I found archived messages from a woman he worked with before I knew him. The messages indicated they were having webcam sex. He was with his second wife at the time, and his sex partner was also married. From the messages, it appears his wife busted him for it, but he was back at it a year later.
The last message to him was in November just asking how he was. He said he was awesome and that was the extent of the conversation. But why did he bother to respond?
I checked his email account and phone records. He isn't sending or receiving any inappropriate messages, but I'm wondering if it's just a matter of time.
I'm heartsick because he's the love of my life. He treats me very well and tells me he loves me all the time. What should I do? —CONFUSED IN COLORADO
Dear CONFUSED IN COLORADO, He may treat you well and tell you he loves you, but he's a liar and a cheat — some would consider him a pervert — and you have to acknowledge that.
His second marriage didn't end because he and his wife "grew apart;" it ended because she caught him cheating. Cyber cheating is still cheating. And who knows what really ended his first marriage?
Confront him with your evidence. (And don't allow him to attack you for spying. You did what you had to do to protect yourself.)
Give him an ultimatum. If he's not willing to admit that he's addicted to porn and get immediate help, the relationship is over. It may sound harsh, but it's better to end it now than waste any more time on something that will only cause you heartache.
Dear Cheryl, My best friend just found out that the guy she's been dating for 15 months, the man she trusted and is madly in love with, is married, living with his wife and has four children, a couple of whom appear to be illegitimate!
She started to suspect something fishy when he wasn't available on holidays, wouldn't answer his phone when they were together and disappeared regularly for long spells. She learned the truth when she started doing a little investigative research online.
Can you please tell us single, vulnerable gals how we can do a background check before we get involved? Also, why do men have a need to do this to us? —NEWLY SKEPTICAL
Dear NEWLY SKEPTICAL, With all those red flags, your girlfriend should have known something was wrong without a background check. Nothing can protect you if you choose to be stupid.
And women are just as likely to scam men as men are to scam women.
Readers, what are the best ways to do a background check? Got a problem? Or a question? Send it to email@example.com. Check out my new website askcheryl.net.