Open relationships after cheating

Me and boyfriend been dating for almost 2 years. We were seeing each other for like 6 months, then apart for 6 months but now we are together but we will be apart again soon.
One time I caught him on tinder and it upset me. Then he told me he’s not great in monogamous relationship. He told me he’d be okay if I meet or sleep with other guy and it won’t change his feeling towards me. He also said it’s easy for him to separate sex and relationship. I told him I don’t think I can do that. He told me I don’t have to do that I don’t want to. But he didn’t say anything to compromise my feeling, and that upset me, he knows that I’m upset but I think he just can’t change his habits.
Also, the day before I caught him on tinder, I read his was sexting other girl and I got upset. He said sorry and he said he’d stop but the next day I caught him on tinder so I feel cheated.
Then after, I asked him if he’s been sleeping with other people since we’re together. He admitted it, but I already knew it because I checked his messages secretly. It happened when I moved back to my country and he hasn’t had a plan to come here and decided to move in with me.
However, I secretly know that he’s been on tinder and like to chat random girls. I used to check on his phone secretly but at some point he knew this and he changed all his password. So I know I have trust issue.
On the other hand, I also being on tinder all the time but never meet people in person, just chatting. And after we spoke about that monogamous stuff, I decided to meet couple of people and I didn’t enjoy it. I could and I want to be in monogamous relationship. Actually I think I’m on tinder and meet other guys because of him. But I also feel I’m selfish.
I do believe his feelings towards me. He says he want to have a life with me, have kids. And I do believe that, because he sacrifices a lot of thing for me. He moved in to my country while he doesn’t even speak the language, no friends. He stay here for 6 months even know I know he hates this place.
I want to be with him and have a life with him. But I’m afraid this will ruin myself. I can’t help myself thinking that he sleeps with other girl when we’re not together and that’s killing me. I am happy with him but he sometimes makes me upset. I don’t know what to do. Sometimes I feel like I want to end this relationship but the minutes after I feel like I still want to be with him.
Sorry for the long message and would really appreciate it if you could give some insights or suggestions or anything.

I’m sorry you’re going through this. This is one of those situations where non-monogamy really isn’t going to fix this problem. Your partner has cheated on you and attempted to create a non-monogamous relationship after the fact and with, in all honesty, piss poor excuses.

If he is not great in a monogamous relationship, he should have told you that from the start. There is really no excuse for him cheating on you. If he can’t do monogamy, then he shouldn’t pretend like he can because all he is doing is hurting you. Just because you are supposedly free to sleep with other people, does not mean this will work.

Non-monogamy isn’t automatically for folks who can’t “do” monogamy. Cheating on someone is an unethical thing to do, and there are very few excuses for cheating that I personally think are acceptable. But this man has told you who he is. He’s shown it to you multiple times. And while sometimes people can stumble upon non-monogamy through their partner cheating and discover it works for them, it does not sound like it works for you.

You’ve only been together for around a year and there is already trouble, lack of trust on both sides, and he is already showing you multiple times he will not be faithful.

While I think you reading his texts is a violation of privacy which is wrong, I don’t think it means you have “trust issues”. That still might be something you want to discuss with a polyamory friendly therapist, but so long as you haven’t done this in other relationships where the person has not cheated on you, I think you can forgive yourself that indiscretion. You’re not selfish. In the slightest.

Unless you want to spend the rest of your life checking his texts, being lied to, and not really dating anyone because it’s not what you want, please end it and find someone who is capable of meeting your needs. Of course you’re going to feel like you still want to be with him. You probably will for awhile until you heal.

But he’s cheating on you and lying to you and you deserve better.

I hope this helps and good luck.

Subscribe to Non-Monogamy Help

Don’t miss out on the latest issues. Sign up now to get access to the library of members-only issues.