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May 16, 2022 6:06 pm  #1

Crushed and Heartbroken

Here’s a quick background: I’m in my late 20’s living with a boyfriend of 6 years. We’ve lived together for several years and up until 48 hours ago, we were hoping to get engaged this summer.

3 years into our relationship, Jay (we’ll call him Jay since that was the name associated with the fake email I found) left his email open on my laptop. My roommate and I thought it would be funny to snoop around… everything seemed fine until we went to the “sent” mailbox and I had found half a dozen outgoing messages in response to “male seeking male” CL ads. My heart sunk.

I seriously contemplated leaving Jay, however he had be convinced that someone had hacked him. When I had offered to get a private investigator he refused. In my heart I knew there was a strong chance that he had sent those emails, but I loved him so much I decided to overlook it and hope it didn’t ever happen again. I’m going to be honest and say that our sex life is far from great and I’d be lucky to have him engaged with me once a month.

Fast forward 3 years later, I went through his phone and found that he had made a new Google email address. When I clicked on the “Sent” folder, I saw 2 outgoing messages that were sent when he was out of town for a night for a work trip - “DL fit vers top”. I decided then and there that I needed to 1) confront Jay and 2) end the relationship. I wanted a marriage with kids and I spent 6 years with what seems like a scam to keep me as his Beard.

I calmly approached Jay yesterday and told him what I had found; he again defaulted to the emails not being from him and had spun the argument in my direction. It was my fault for snooping, not his fault at all. He left the house and got drunk, came back nearly wasted and I haven’t spoken to him since yesterday morning.

My heart is in a million pieces because our lives are so intertwined at this point. We’ve got a pet together, a shared rented-apartment, and just a whole life. I begged him to just own up to his truth and tell me everything but he has refused. I’m having trouble coming to terms with this all and realizing that he took away my 20’s - he had yet again attempted to cheat on me with strangers on Craigslist.

Any words of wisdom would be greatly appreciated. Ironically stumbling upon this site has stopped the tears from flowing (temporarily) and I don’t feel so alone. My heart is shattered and there are moments where I don’t know where to turn because the pain is so intense.

Last edited by Meredith (May 18, 2022 11:51 am)


May 16, 2022 6:33 pm  #2

Re: Crushed and Heartbroken

You are not alone. Many of us have experienced one or more aspects of what you are going through.
Remember to breath. Get through the day. Worry about next week or next month later on.
Listen to your gut. Find support. Tell someone who has your back. There's a lot to unpack here and you need someone whose presence can help you through the storm.


“The future is unwritten.”
― Joe Strummer

May 16, 2022 6:41 pm  #3

Re: Crushed and Heartbroken

Also remember, none of this is your fault. You are allowed to expect fidelity in a relationship.

“The future is unwritten.”
― Joe Strummer

May 16, 2022 9:53 pm  #4

Re: Crushed and Heartbroken


You aren’t alone. When you said he stole your 20s from you- I have said that exact sentence so many times. I was 29 when I discovered my husband was cheating with men (very similar CL sitch). I’m  about 18 months out from that and I know I’m in a better place now but it is still hard. I also had a dog with him I had to give up. You have every right to feel how you do.

Also- know your pain and experience is NOT lessened because you are young. So many well meaning people would say to me “oh you’re so young, you’ll be fine” or “you have plenty of time of have kids” (and that is not a slight to anyone on here who may say that) The betrayal is the betrayal no matter what age you are and the grief of the trajectory of how you thought your life would be is valid.

It seems overwhelming but all can be untangled. There have been many positives and fun post breakup, but you are in the thick of it right now. Sending you strength.


May 17, 2022 6:06 am  #5

Re: Crushed and Heartbroken

MilennailMess is right: this betrayal hurts at every age, and otherwise well-meaning people will say things that can be utterly clueless. 

He did steal your 20s from you, because he chose to lie and live a secret life, knowing that if he came clean you would choose to leave the marriage (or wouldn't have gotten involved with him in the first place!).  His lies, his secrets, his shame: he chose to make YOU bear the burden for all of them.  

 Meredith, that he is now pulling a "it's not what I did (cheating, putting your health and life at risk, and maintaining a secret life) but you reaction to it that's a problem" he is showing you in very clear terms another facet of what he's willing to shift onto your shoulders.  He's either deep in denial or simply likes confining himself to a closet in order to benefit from "the straight life"; in any case.  And now that you, no longer duped, are shining the light on that hidden secret, he's casting around desperately for ways to restore the status quo that benefitted him--thus his ridiculous resorting to a lie about the source of the emails that although you managed to swallow once, you're too savvy to swallow twice ("Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me").  

 What you're seeing is the man behind the mask.  He's showing you not just his secret life of gay hookups, but his disordered character--one that is fine with lying, secrets, manipulation, entitlement, and blame-shifting.  Now that the mask is off, you're going to be seeing a lot more of this blame-shifting, along with a lot of anger projected onto you for forcing into the light what he so wants to keep hidden.  You need to be prepared for more of such assaults.  And more lies.  

 Please read the first aid section at the top of this list of the support area, and see a doctor to get tested for STIs, embarrassing as that is.  And tell someone--a family member, a best friend--who will be firmly in your corner. 

 No lie; getting free of him and separating your intertwined lives will be hard.  But getting free of him now means you will look back and think he stole your 20s from you, and you won't look back, as I do, and think "he stole my 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s." 

Last edited by OutofHisCloset (May 17, 2022 6:08 am)


May 17, 2022 12:36 pm  #6

Re: Crushed and Heartbroken

Yes all my confrontations were flipped to somehow being my fault...ie her phone was private, I was not allowing her to have friends

That they can lie to our face and hurt us ...no so sorry but you should not have to put up with that...we should be enough for them and they should not have to hide anything from us.

"For we walk by faith, not by sight .."  2Corinthians 5:7

May 17, 2022 2:02 pm  #7

Re: Crushed and Heartbroken

As of this morning, I’ve gotten Jay to communicate with me a bit more.

He had admitted to sending the emails because it “turns him on” but said there was no action taken, just responded to CL ads.

It’s hard for me to believe that he hasn’t done anything… but I explained that this would have still been inappropriate given the messages were sent to women. Trust is still gone.

He is now guilt tripping me into staying with him - saying if I leave after his confession that he’ll take it as a rejection. Has anyone believed their partners when they say it’s just a fantasy? He says he is not gay but those emails read differently to me.

     Thread Starter

May 17, 2022 3:09 pm  #8

Re: Crushed and Heartbroken


This is manipulation and gaslighting at its finest!

This happened to me. Shortly after 8 months of being married, I stumbled upon log in and passwords to a group chat forum. Confronted the ex about it and admitted to it because it got caught. I would try to coax and talk calmly about what the porn sites and forums were, but never got any explanation on what the viewing was about.

Fast forward a few years later, I bring it up again and said are you looking at this stuff again? Now I find out, oh I think I have a porn problem. I drove it to porn addiction therapy, but that didn’t last long. Every few months I would bring it up again and the anger I received and “accusing” it about watch porn, but it ultimately was true but still yelling at me like how could I make these accusations. And now oh you don’t trust me crap?

Fast forward 12 years after being married, I get the bomb shell call that blew up my world. I am a secret cross dresser and I think I’m bisexual. This blew my F mind!! Like how are you now bisexual?

It wasn’t until it all came out and I was grasping the news of not only bi-sexual but now transgender! During the divorce talks, I stumbled upon hookup sites, sext messages and nude pics of it dressed in women’s clothes with terrible makeup. It only told me it was done as a fantasy to see “how it would make me feel to be someone else”. And I needed validation to be a women but never any contact. Well those messages told me otherwise. I have no idea how long this has been going on.

It never admitted outright to me about being trans and wanting to be with a man! I pieced it all together bc it was always lying and half truths. Even through tears and confusing and a marriage failing apart, pieces were picked apart. The truth in one answer and lies in another answer. Those sext messages I found, it told me that would have gone with it the grave. I almost believed the fake cries and suicide talks. I believed oh my partner has told me the truth....finally! NOPE NOPE NOPE!

I caution you that just bc some things are admitted, other things will not be. And from being in this position, most people who deal with gender or sexuality don’t admit they are “gay” because they don’t see themselves as one.

It didn’t see himself as a gay man. It was only when I asked would you be with another woman once you transition if you weren’t with me? The answer was no.

So this fantasy was in fact a real reality. I didn’t find out about the kind of porn till the divorce. It lied and said it was “face feminization” to be more female. I pieced it together and after 17 years, I finally found out it was transporn.

When someone shows you who they are, please believe them.

It’s been 1 1/2 years for me being on this forum and my mind is still blown of how I let the manipulation and gaslighting go on so long because I thought my partner in life loved me.

It loved me enough to still lie and want to “come home” because we were living in different states when all of this exploded. I later find out I was being used to help it transition just to be with a man.

Trust your gut! Actions are louder than words. Words mean nothing from a confused closeted liar.

Be safe,

Last edited by LostAtSea (May 17, 2022 3:18 pm)


May 17, 2022 6:19 pm  #9

Re: Crushed and Heartbroken


As a straight male I want to say I would never do anything with CL and gay men. It's not something any normal 100% straight man would do.   Just sayin.

"For we walk by faith, not by sight .."  2Corinthians 5:7

May 17, 2022 7:30 pm  #10

Re: Crushed and Heartbroken

I concur with Rob, answering CL ads is something I would never do and would never get any turn-on from it. I'm sure you remember his first excuse - being hacked. From what I've read here over the years, that one is probably the #1 go-to answer when confronted in this situation. Response #2 is probably "I never actually met anyone". I think #3 is that it was "only sex".

Is guilt-tripping a sign of love and concern? Where's the remorse at hurting you? Instead it seems he goes on the attack. Does he share everything with you such as computer logins, email passwords, phone unlocks, etc.? Does he wander off leaving these types of devices still open and running? Is he only admitting to what you already know? Possibly questioning you to see what else he might have to admit to or find an excuse for?

“The future is unwritten.”
― Joe Strummer

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