Before we dated
Ok, so I've been with my boyfriend for almost 3 years, and I can't shake this absolutely terrible, awful feeling I get every time I remember what happened. Detail: I'm in another state for college, but he visits once every month or so (long drive).
We had a great relationship for the first year and a half; everything was perfect. Then one day when he was visiting, he left his email on my computer. I admit it, I snooped. Forever and a half, even before we were dating, he was going on craigslist soliciting sex. I was immediately heartbroken and called him (he had already left) and just...tried to understand. He cried to me--he never cries...--and explained everything. He says he's never met these people, that he was doing it for attention because he gets lonely when I'm gone. He said he never wanted to lose me, and even went to see a counselor to sort his shit out (btw, he does have a history as a sexual abuse victim and I think he's ashamed that he might be bi because of how he grew up). I didn't know what to believe.
I didn't eat or sleep until we just talked it out the next day. It was a nightmare. But I love him so much, I chose to believe it all. And then a few months in he was doing it again. I wasn't even sad that time; just angry. I confronted him about it and we realized that before, because the conversation had been over the phone and emotional, we had basically swept it under the rug. So then we got the real dirty laundry out. I made it clear that it was different than porn; if he was really lonely, why wasn't he seeking -me- out? Why a complete stranger? If I every saw hint of it one more time, we were done. My self-esteem was basically destroyed by the whole debacle.
He actually gave me his emails and passwords to make me feel better. But it's all just turned me into this paranoid mess. Was I not good enough? Was I not giving him enough attention? Not making my feelings clear?
And the worst part is, I looked. And I saw emails from before we had been dating; more dirty laundry, even though I shouldn't feel betrayed by something that happened before our relationship even began. And it just makes me tremble and want to sob...
It's your choice whether you stay with a man who you know has issues. If you choose to leave, then you will have to dig deep to achieve it. If you choose to stay you will have to do the same. Your self esteem will take along time to recover regardless of which way you go. While he has had counseling, you will quite likely need it yourself going by your post.
You are basically in a no win situation until he sorts his issues and he needs professional help to sort his issues. You're damned if you do and damned if you don't by getting the dirty laundry out and by further damaging yourself by looking at his email history before you met him.
You needn't blame yourself because his issues are his, not yours. You need to be true to yourself and you need to follow your instinct rather than your heart.