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Stay or go? Frustrating boyfriend of 2 years + a complicated twist

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Relationship advice Where to even begin...

I met my current boyfriend through a mutual male friend. Things started off great, and then a few months in there were little flashes of odd/off behavior that only now to do I realize were red-flags. To his credit, he was (and still is, for the most part) sweet, affectionate, and charismatic. He has a good job, a daughter (from a previous relationship) that adores him, and he cares deeply about the quality of life for others, particularly his family and close friends.

His negative qualities? He's impulsive, illogical, sensitive, prone to frequent mood changes, and lies often with little regard for consequence. Because he didn't present me with all these flaws at once (at least I didn't initially recognize them as such), it was easy to continue a relationship without thinking they were "deal-breaking" personality traits. Now, here I am 2 years in, and the personality traits are clearer than ever, and if I'm honest with myself, were present from day 1.

As I encountered each trait, I'd find a way to justify it. His impulsive nature was usually evident when it was payday. He has a great job with a great salary, so I tried not to express too much displeasure in his frivolous purchases. I'd justify his illogical ways of thinking as him just "being a typical guy". I decided his frequent mood changes were linked to his sensitivity/impulsiveness, followed by the realization that his behavior was unnecessary, and that he just "got over things quick". Unlike the other things, his frequent lying took knowing him a while to even realize. I had no reason to doubt the things he said when we first met because, well, we just met! I am an honest person, and that was the baseline for me when first meeting a potential partner, HONESTY (I even told him this!). He would tell me cool tidbits about himself, and I'd process and file them in the back of my brain. Then a few weeks in, I noticed inconsistencies. He would round up when referring to $ received, round down when referring to how quickly he was able to drive from point A to point B, etc. Almost like a habitual bragger. He'd even tell small lies that he later referred to as "jokes" ONLY ONCE I discovered they weren't true and asked him about it. This was honestly the most frustrating to witness, as I am literally the most honest person in the world, and it would be cringe-worthy to listen to him sometimes.

After a year together, we had our first "incident". I caught him red-handed on a dating site shown to me by a woman he had been conversing with. It was purely luck (if you can call it that) that I found out about it, and had it not been for her, I would have never known. Without going into too much detail, I gave him multiple opportunities to come clean before showing my proof, and he denied, denied, denied. Even once I showed the irrefutable evidence, he still denied. I was hurt over what he did, and then I was angry and insulted that he'd lie to my face. After A LOT of pushing/insisting, I got him to admit to his actions. It was revealed that my busy work schedule made him feel neglected, and that he was only seeking attention on the site and was never ever intending on meeting up with anyone (according to him). As a first slip up, I accepted it, we talked it out, and moved on.

7 months later, he was showing me something on his phone, and a message popped up from a woman. At first he refused to open the message so I could see further, but then hours later, after contemplating "how bad it was" decided to show me. It turned out to be a private message that HE sent to her, inappropriately complimenting her on one of her pictures. I was outraged. He downplayed it, then turned it back on me saying I was insecure, and the message wasn't a big deal. After we both cooled off, he made clear to me that he wrote it for reasons similar to the other incident (boredom, wanting attention, etc.) After this second incident, I became suspicious of him and his online activity. I waffled back and forth on whether or not I wanted to go through his phone, as I have always been against it. But given that the only incidents I'd ever known about had come to me when I was the most unsuspecting, I wanted to feel in control and uninfluenced by the lies and denial I was accustomed to upon discovery.

So a few weeks later, I decided to go through his email chats while he stepped out to pick up dinner, as he had them left up on his computer. Not even 5 minutes had passed since he left, before I was logged out of his account. I guess it occurred to him that he left his gf in his room with his computer, so he acted desperately by using his phone to log him out of his email on his computer. As soon as "Sorry, please log in again" popped up on the screen (hiding all previously visible messages), he called me on the phone and tried to assess whether or not I was even on it at all, and to also try and butter me up. Fortunately for me, I was able to see two messages that were upsetting before getting kicked off. When he got back, he instantly went to the computer, looked slightly panicked, and was asking a bunch of questions that he wouldn't normally ask. I played it cool.

Later that day, I asked him to show me his DMs (where I had seen the inappropriate comment before). I decided that instead of blowing my email cover, I'd inquire about his social media page. He refused off "principle" which was infuriating because his track record negates his ability to claim that (in my opinion) as a reason not to show me. We argued about it for a bit, and then he decided he was going to give me his password so I could look for myself -- but only if I waited a while before checking, and didn't do it while I was with him. I thought, *why? so you can delete all your dirt first...???* He claimed no, and said that it just made him angry to see his privacy invaded right in front of his face. So, I went to the bathroom to check. And what did I find? A live deletion of private messages from girls. It was almost comical. I was logged in on my phone, and was watching convos disappear before my very eyes. I came out the bathroom and asked him what he was doing,and he said nothing. I asked again, and again, and again, and his answer was still the same. I forgot to mention this social media page was business related (he is a musician), so later, once I told him I knew he was deleting things, he claimed he deleted "innocent" things because he "knows how I am". So, most of the messages were just generic support to other artists, and very little was inappropriate. He thought that deleting everything was the smartest thing to do, so I "wouldn't get upset unnecessarily" - ILLOGICAL.

I still haven't moved past this, as it was like, 2 weeks ago. I was reaching my breaking point, because the denial and lies about the obvious are starting to be more infuriating than the act itself. Even when confronted with facts he still lies. Even with a gentle and patient approach from me (his scorned girlfriend), he lies. Afterwards he was mad at me for "making" him give me his password (when I never even asked for it!). It's manipulative. He gets caught doing something he shouldn't, and instead of immediately fessing up and trying to make things right with me, he gets mad at me, lol.

At any rate, if this all isn't frustrating enough, today we have a new problem. A very complicated problem. Yesterday, he told me that he was going to bed early because he had a long weekend and hadn't been sleeping well. He told me he was even going to take pill prescribed to his cousin to help with his sleep. I briefly complained about this via text because the pill his cousin gave him was for pain, not sleep, and he was better off legally purchasing some Tylenol PM to help with his sleep. He ignored me, took the said he took the pill anyway, and then told me he was DRIVING to the BAR. I immediately called our mutual friend, who also happens to be his roommate, to seek advice. He told me that attention-seeking behavior is very typical of him, and to not worry. Also, that he would keep an eye out for him.

Today, I go over to his house at 4pm and find he is groggy and still tired (but alive, thank goodness!). We have a brief argument over how irresponsible I feel he is, and he later tells me that his mom is dying. Background on this: His mom was diagnosed with a terminal illness a few months into our relationship. He's never given me much detail on it, or kept me updated on her condition besides the typical, "She's fine." response when asked how she is. He was in a slump when she was initially diagnosed, but was fortunately able to come out of it.

Yesterday, he apparently witnessed her deteriorating health to an extent that he hadn't before, and it has sent him into a downward spiral. He's depressed, acting suicidal (i.e. SAYING he took pills and then drank alcohol), and being ridiculous. When I told him he needs to take better care of himself for his daughter (something I thought he'd never refute), he was dismissive, and said she'd be fine without him. Now, I've NEVER seen him exhibit this type of behavior ever before, and am unsure how to deal. I know he is attention-seeking, I know he exaggerates, but how will I distinguish between those? At one point he said he took "a" pill, later he said he took 5. At one point he said he drank a "whole bottle" of Hennessy afterwards, but the bottle I found in his room was tiny (thankfully??). Right now, I'm trying to get an understanding of how reckless he really is (selfishly, because this is now being added to his list of flaws), without ignoring the fact that he really is going through something heavy, but simultaneously remembering that things aren't always how they seem with him. I can't leave him when he needs me the most, but I also must admit how exhausting things have become for me with this most recent event.

I love him, and when things are good, they're perfect. This novel I just wrote isn't indicative of the entire relationship, just an aspect that I am focused on currently. I promise, I could write an equally lengthy piece on how great he is. We have more good days than bad, but the bad are just so overwhelming. Like him, I find myself having frequent mood changes. The "bad days" are so tiring, I find myself wanting to just dump him right then and there. But when the next day comes, I can't wait until we're together again. It's crazy.

If you have made it to the end of this, I commend you. I am desperate for any insight. Thanks.

Stay or go? Frustrating boyfriend of 2 years + a complicated twist

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Hi Dreamer523. Well, it sounds like you've had your hands full.

I think your boyfriend has turned your relationship into something really draining. And, that will eat away at you like a parasite for as long as you can possibly deal with it. Until, like my ex, you will become a nervous mess and leave him. He has other issues going on, and unfortunately has placed the brunt of his problems onto you, the person he loves. You can't carry yourself and him.

Like your ex, I have many of those negative qualities. Maybe not the lying thing so much, but definitely the other ones. I think whoever you meet in life will have some sort of negative qualities, everyone does. But you have to ask yourself if the positive qualities really justify dealing with those negative ones. Is he genuine? Because that is where you will likely determine if you are staying with him.

His frequent lying, and diminishing of his lies is not a good sign. If the things this guy tells you about himself are half-truths, then do you even know this person you've spent all of this time with? The lying about talking to other women, especially when he has already been found out, is also pretty bad. And what's worse is he has a young daughter in the picture, and maybe his negative traits will or have effected her or his relationship with her in some way.

Just don't let several years go by, and ignore problems in the background. I know that's easier said than done. But if you have doubts, listen to them.

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