My boyfriend and I have been together for almost a year now. Our relationship was open from the beginning. He was allowed to sleep with other women as long as it was just sexual. Then we both fell for each other and agreed that the sleeping around should stop. After that, he continued to talk to other women online, insisting that they were just friends. I found pictures of other girls on his computer and copies of conversations. He admitted he made a mistake and that he would stop.
I believe him when he says he loves me, and I believe that he hasn't physically slept with another women since we talked about it many months ago, but I'm afraid that talking is an addiction and that he will never be able to stop. I've asked him why he does it, especially if he knows it hurts me, and he couldn't explain it. I told him to break up with me if he doesn't want to be with just me, but he swears that he wants to stay together. After this last time I said I'd give him one more chance, but I can't help but think that he's still doing it. I just can't seem to get myself to trust him, and I'm afraid I'm going to lose him because of it. What should I do?
—Mistrusting My Man Mandy
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Dear Mistrusting My Man Mandy,
Strong and healthy relationships are built on trust and respect, and I'm sorry to tell you this, but you have neither. If your boyfriend truly loved and cared for you, he wouldn't be chatting online with other girls. It doesn't matter that he's not physically cheating on you — he's doing it emotionally, which in my opinion is worse.
He's got to prove to you that he's being faithful. I know you're giving him another chance because you love him, but unless he makes a solid promise that he'll stop, you're always going to have that doubt in the back of your mind. You need to put yourself first here. Make sure you have a serious talk with him before continuing your relationship like this so you can be certain that his intentions are genuine.