Do I Go, or Do I Stay With The Serial Cheater?

We live together with our two month old son though we are yet to get married. My boyfriend is a serial cheater and this hurts me a lot. I am tired, frustrated, depressed, and want to walk out of the relationship. Please provide advice to me on this.

Dear sitso,

I feel for you and the pain that you must be going through. It appears you have invested a lot into this relationship and probably are a woman with a high capacity to love and to hope. These are excellent qualities to have, so pat yourself on the back for your perseverance.

Judging from your use of the word, "serial," it appears that possibly your boyfriend is not taking steps to correct the behavior. Possibly he does not view that it is wrong, or he does not feel that it merits the amount of effort to change it. If he is truly trying to change (i.e. seeking a counselor, finding an accountability method, etc.), then this would be a different story. However, I am operating from the assumption that there are no real efforts or desires to change the behavior and that is why you used the word, "serial."

It is clear that you want to leave, and all of the hope in the world is not enough to stop the serial cheating. The cheating is a behavior pattern that your boyfriend has and it is not likely to change any time soon. With any relationship, you would need to define those things that are called the "non-negotiables." Non-negotiables are those issues where you cannot budge. So, for example, if the toilet paper being on the roll a certain way is a non-negotiable for you, than it is fair to let your boyfriend know that it is non-negotiable. That way, when he wants to put the toilet paper on the other way, he realizes that this is not something that you can live with and he would need to decide which is more important, your relationship or which way the toilet paper is hanging. Ideally, we define those non-negotiables before entering into the serious phase of the relationship, however one wants to define "serious." But, as with most things, we find ourselves acquiring wisdom after we have had a few scrapes in life and very few of us have the foresight and knowledge to think of things like non-negotiables when we are in love.

Honestly, I hope that people can search hard and deep before choosing toilet paper roll position as a non-negotiable. However, it is fair to say that many people would say that cheating in a relationship is a non-negotiable. It sounds like it is a non-negotiable in your life, as well, but you simply haven't defined it as such. That's ok. If it is important to you, that your boyfriend is faithful to you, and to you alone, then you do not need anyone telling you to do it, or that it is right or wrong for you to make this decision or that decision. I think you have already made up your mind, and that shows strength of character, my friend.

Also, keep in mind, that you have a little wee one, your son. Even though he is tiny right now, he is taking in his surroundings. Do you want him to grow up to be a serial cheater? Chances are, if he sees the daddy doing it and mommy putting up with the behavior, he will believe that that behavior is ok and he may do this to your future daughter-in-law. Now, we are affecting two young lives and the lives of those wee ones that they may bring into this world. Sometimes there are exceptions to this, but I would not want to lay odds on it turning out well for your little boy, when exposing him to this behavior. It would also be different if the person responsible for the behavior were making strong efforts to change the behavior. You have the chance to make a difference in your son's life. Also, your little man deserves a happy mommy, which will help him to understand strength of character as well as happiness in his little life.

If you ask me? In my life, cheating is a non-negotiable.

Deborah E
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Deborah is a #1 Jazz Singer, as well as a lifelong musician, songwriter, and sound engineer. She is also a writer who pursues a love of positive psychology. She is a thesis short of having her doctorate in psychology.
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