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Dublin: 15 °C Monday 17 June, 2019
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Dear Fifi: I found my boyfriend on dating apps but he said he was just bored... What do I do?

It’s that time of the week again. Ring a ding ding.

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Hello from Phu Quoc in Vietnam! In just a few days I’m heading off for pastures new: Korea and Japan. I’m very excited! It’s definitely making up for the woeful bout of food poisoning I just battled my way through. 

But enough about me. Looking for some advice? Get at me right here.

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I’ve been dating my boyfriend for 6 months. He has dated a lot of women before but I wanted to give him a chance because I think everyone deserves one.

Everything was going well until about 2 weeks ago. He has always been affectionate and told me how crazy he was about me. Then I noticed he started getting a bit distant and not replying to my messages. However I put this down to his work schedule.

When I saw him 3 days ago, he told me how much he missed me and was excited to see me. When he left the room however I noticed a notification from a dating app popping up on his phone.

I know this is wrong but I checked his phone and he was active and chatting with women on two apps. When I asked him about it he initially denied it but eventually confessed. He said he had been bored and had no intention of meeting these women. I immediately got up to leave but he stopped me, told me I was the most important thing to him and apologised.

My friends are disgusted and said there’s no other reason to use these apps unless you’re going to hook up. I feel very confused now because I feel he does love me. I don’t know how to proceed.

First of all, I’m sorry to hear you’re dealing with this. Second of all, you should dump this clown. 

Usually, I am equivocal with my responses when it comes to staying together or breaking up – it’s always a deeply personal decision and it’s hard to know unless you’re in the person’s shoes. But in this case? I really think you need to dump this man. 

Let’s break this down to get a bit of clarity on his behaviour.

  1. Your intuition told you something was amiss
  2. This was confirmed by him being on not one, but two dating apps
  3.  He was actively matching with and chatting to women on the apps
  4. He was perfectly willing to deny all this until he had to admit his actions

You must know how this looks. These are the facts as they stand – you saw the messages for yourself so you know he has certainly broken your trust, if not actually physically gone and cheated.

By the way – his excuse was he was “bored”? Bored? If you’re bored, download Candy Crush, not Tinder. This is not a credible excuse. It’s an insult to you, a further attempt to distort or excuse what is a huge breach of trust. 

The high water level for betrayal of intimacy and confidence doesn’t have to be meeting up in person. It can be this: drifting from you, playing the field in a virtual sense, setting himself up for who might come next, considering an affair, seeing what his options are, sexting randomers. You name it. 

This behaviour is not the mark of a dependable, honourable man you can trust. Remember: that’s what you deserve. You are faithful, you deserve it back. These aren’t massive things to ask from a committed partner. It’s basic. Don’t sell yourself short for a hurried apology. 

I don’t think his apology even rings very true. This is evident in his choice to first deny his actions, then admit them only when backed into a corner with proof of his misdeeds. That’s not a good sign. It’s another big red flag of casual dishonesty. He lies under pressure, basically. No bueno. 

So, now you know two things – he is playing the field with apps AND he’ll lie when cornered. The worry and resentment about this may eat away at you. Are you sure this won’t boil over into constant suspicion? Could you trust his word again? And if you forgive him, don’t you think he’ll just hide it better next time and take for granted that you’ll always take him back, no matter how flagrant the indiscretion? 

It’s only been 6 months and he’s already treating you (and your relationship) with a massive amount of disrespect. Right now, you must take him at his actions, not at his words.

Don’t allow him to ingratiate himself back into your good books with compliments and effusive declarations, trying to cloud your judgement about the cold, hard facts of his slimy app bullshit. (Two apps? Two? Just how “bored” was he? There’s no excuse. The audacity.)

Look at this as a lucky escape. You were only with him for 6 months. I know you feel this is love, but love doesn’t feel like drifting and distance, or like betrayal and lies, or like suspicion and snooping. 

Cut your losses. Whether or not he was on the apps to actually hook up is irrelevant. Who cares? The damage is done because the trust is gone.

I promise you, you deserve someone who treats you well and does not carelessly break your trust and lie to your face. That’s not this man, unfortunately. 

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