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Please accept my apologies for deleting my comments in this thread. It isn't something that I would normally do, and I understand people's opinions about it making the thread look ridiculous when all that is left are the replies. However, I really feel that I have to do this on just this one occasion, and I really hope you understand my reason why.
Since this thread, I have had a really good heart to heart with my partner. Although it will take some time to fully forgive him and finally put this problem to bed (and I know that things won't get better over night), I don't think it would be helpful for me to always be reminded of how bad I felt every time I click on the 'My Latest Post' button, because I know that it will just re-ignite my bad feelings all over again.
What I want now is to just get back on with doing my research, and actually, after having a really good chat with my bf today, I feel more motivated and I'm starting to make really good progress with my work now (FINALLY!).
Thanks again for all your kind words of wisdom.


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Sorry to read about your difficulties.

On a practical level, unless you can secure a decent income, take on paid work and tighten your belt or get a loan of sorts it would be very difficult for you to leave. Could you move in with friends or family?

Try to take the emotion away from the situation and judge things. Do you really want to end the relationship or is this a rocky patch that you feel with some effort, especially on his part, you could get through? It sounds as though he's taking certain things for granted but this is a normal part of long-term relationships. I'm not saying it's right but it's the norm. Does he know you'd like to leave? Does he know how you feel? Perhaps you need to discuss things more and decide what needs to change and a test would be if he meets you halfway? Just some thoughts.


Hi Cobweb,

This man has lied to you, cheated on you, and jeopardised your academic future. You will never be able to alter the first two issues, but I can only hope that you will do what is necessary to change the last. You can blame him as much as you wish and you have every reason to - his behaviour is despicable - but perhaps you should question your own tolerance. Your friends and family may well condemn him, but you have shown in the past that you are willing to accept his ways. In the not-too-distant past I was in a very similar situation. Initially I grew embittered towards the woman I was with, but in time the recognition that I had tolerated her betrayals and dishonesty grew. I managed to get myself out of that situation, but it had potentially ruinous consequences, specifically for my academic life. Your studies will almost certainly offer you more in the way of a promising future than he could. I cannot advise you on the potential financial difficulties facing you, should you leave him, but the emotional, psychological, and professional impact that staying with him will have is potentially far more worrying. This may not have helped you in any way, but please accept my goodwill and best wishes.


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If you have been trying to work this all out for 4 years - which many people wouldn't - I think you probably already know the decision to make. In my opinion a relationship in which somebody has lied repeatedly like this, especially where one party has been unfaithful, is almost impossible to salvage since trust is essential and so very hard to rebuild. Plus it doesn't sound like you want to rebuild it. I recommend you start by imagining your life without him - including the hard bits like the financial change - and decide whether it still seems better than what you have now. Are you just angry and frustrated, in which case is it possible you can get through this, or are you waking up to the reality that what you have is going nowhere. It is possible, if not ideal, to do a PhD while doing enough work to pay your way, but you'll probably need to look at getting a room somewhere (halls or shared house) to keep your costs down, or even better moving in with friends or family for a while.

I would say my main piece of advice though is to talk things over with him. Without communication there will be no chance of salvaging anything, plus I think it would be helpful for you to explain to him how you feel: tell him you find it difficult to trust because of his previous lies and that you need reassurances from him that you're not getting, that you find it hard to reconcile yourself to the fact that he was watching porn before, that you find it hard to work in a house that's such a state etc. But balance it by asking how he feels about you and whether you can do anything to help things back on track. You may be left feeling that you are right and there is nothing left for you here, in which case you shouldn't stay just for financial reasons. Or you may find out that you both have concerns but you want to have a final shot at working through them. I admire you for trying to work things out for this long - when I found out my ex-husband had been cheating and lying about it when we were supposed to be trying to work things out, I simply left him a phone message that told him not to come back. Whatever you do, don't be embarrassed about what you're feeling - you don't deserve what's happened to you and you must do what's best for you now. Best of luck.


[quote]Quote From Cobweb:

I know that he thinks a lot of me, and loves me a lot - He tells me that every day.

I do not wish to seem callous, but that statement indicates just how trapped you are. His actions totally refute his words. His power over you is such that your very idea of love is questionable. It's extremely sad that you can believe that a lack of respect, together with a history of lies and at least one cheating incident is indicative of love. Whatever you choose, I wish you well.


Hello Cobweb, this is a horrible situation to be in with, admittedly, no clear solution. I'm probably going to sound contentious with this, but I think you should stick with him for now. If you're not in a financial position to move out and have no friends of family you can move in with, where can you go? If you still love him and he you, there is going to have to be big changes on his part and perhaps you can save your relationship. I'm not sticking up for him, but the vast, vast majority of men look at porn (they're liars if they say they don't) and he seems to be depressed from your description. If you were to break up now, it's going to hurt you both like hell and things will get worse before they improve for you and your work.
I honestly think that the best way forward is to sit down, negotiate and talk about things. Get to the bottom of matters with him, tell him how you feel and what you're thinking. Seven years is a long time to be in a relationship and it suggests to me that things generally work quite well between you both. I'm going to sound really evil and sly now, but even if you think that he's ultimately not the one for you, think of yourself and your needs (which is clearly what he has done for himself), protect your interests and wait until you're in a stronger position to leave him (i.e. you've got your PhD and a job). People change (as your partner seems to have) and relationships rarely last forever, but if your think there is a chance that you could salvage things for the future, even if not forever, then do so.


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Avatar for EV

Cobweb I think I know how you are feeling - I've been with my partner for 6+ years now and in that space of time he has told many lies, some bigger than the others but all hurtful and distressing. For a while he did everything he could to try reassure me and show me he had changed but that phase seems to have passed and I feel just as vulnerable and susceptible to hurt as before. Similarly, I am not in the position to finance myself at the moment, even worse, I feel totally indebted to him as he has supported me through my undergraduate degree when my parents didn't. I don't know what I'm going to do as things seem to be in a steep downward spiral - so whilst I can comiserate, unfortunately I can't offer you a solution.


Quote From Cobweb:

My life is so crap.

I just exist and watch happy people with important things to do go by.

Blimey, reading the above statement was a bit unnerving - it really resonates with me and my view:$

Avatar for Eska

Hello Cobweb, I'm so sorry to hear you are in this difficult position. I have hesitatedin my response because I consider myself to have little experience in long term relationships, my longest so far has been 3 years and that was when I was a teenager! I usually average about a year before bailing out - I've made some really bad choices in the past.

But I do think about relationships and what I want from one when I do finally meet Mr. Eska a lot, in fact I see a counsellor about it! Along with various other things that cross my path as I go along.

I have been thinking about your situation and it strikes me that trust is fundamental to a relationship and at the moment it sounds as if he can trust you, but you can't trust him, for what seem very good reasons to me. In order for trust to be re-built both parties have to be fully engage in that process and it just doesn't seem to me as if he is. Ok, so many men view porn, as do many women, but for many other people it's an act, if done obsessively or routinely, which is hedging towards infidelity, it's taking their partner's sexual focus (and the emotions that go wth that) away from them (persoanlly, I also find it a bit sad if done in regular way - like can't you think of something yourself? And how can you let a bunch of total strangers dominate your sexuality in that way - even if only for a few minutes? I have high standards though, probably why I'm single, and maybe I always will be, but hey ho - sometimes I think my perfect match would be some Yogic monk, but I'm not sure if they have Monster Munch in the Himalayas...). But I digress, because the main issue in your situation is the fact that he has repeated lied about something that is hurting you in a relationship where trust is already fragile, for you, at least. If he can't give up porn, or just doesn't want to, then he needs to be up front with you about that, so you can make choices and deal with it - many women would enjoy his hobby, or whatever it is, so maybe he needs to find one that's likely to.

From what I have gathered from this post and others you are living in a state of mistrust and anxiety about your relationship, and currently, almost your whole life: your home, your PhD, your food etc are tied up with it and that is not healthy. I fear it could be wearing away at your capacity for trust more deeply than just this relationship, and it sounds as if it is cramping your PhD work. It sounds to me as if you are slowly suffocating.

My view is that you should start planning your escape, plenty of people go self funded and if they can do it, so can you. If I were you I would stay where you are for now, but start looking for work, and leave as soon as it's practically possible. Some unis automatically pay the course fees of any employees for any qualification, so it would be worth looking into that. You might find that with your independence established the relationship improves, I think it must be very hard to re-build trust in such an unequal playing field. But if the relationship doesn't improve, you would be more able to leave, you could get a loan for the fees, or maybe you will earn enough to pay part-time fees.

My blunt opinion is that your partner sounds like a selfish kn** he*d and you need to get away for the sake of your sanity, you ability to trust in future, for your current life and for your PhD. But I know neither of you personally, I just have these words you have shared here to go on, and really, only you can make tht decision.