I’m 18 year old, American, female, living together with my boyfriend of 3 years. He’s 20. Let’s call him Jake. His dad had problems with alcohol abuse when he was a child. As a result he’s promised himself never to drink in his life and expects the same from me. I’m not a great fan of alcohol either and had no problem giving him my word on this. However one evening about a month back I got drunk with a couple of friends. He was mad and broke up with me.

Now Jake is an extremely responsible, smart, good guy and I’m completely dependent on him for all my practical needs. Like a place to live, for example. I had a job earlier which I left for further education. I’ve now completed my degree and I’m looking for a new job. Ironically, I don’t even have a car which I can drive to my interviews, apart from the one his family has lent me. Even though he’s “broken up” with me, he’s promised he’d never abandon me, so I can continue to live in his house and use his resources as long as I don’t have other options.

Q&A Live in Boyfriend CheatingPhoto by davemmett

It’s emotionally very stressful for me to continue to live with him, with his family thinking we’re together, when he’s totally stopped hugging me or showing any kind of affection. I was used to a lot of hugging and cuddling. Nowadays he just comes home and sleeps and tells me to make plans with my friends in the weekend. And there’s no sexual intimacy between us anymore. He says he can’t get intimate with me as he’s “broken up” with me.

Since that fateful evening out in the town it has been an uphill task trying to convince him that he can trust me again. He’s started getting upset about me visiting even my family and friends. He says whenever I leave the house he feels stressed and worried about what I might do when I’m out alone. He says he feels betrayed, he feels I don’t value our relationship. Apparently he keeps having dreams about me getting drunk and cheating on him. It breaks my heart when he says he can never think of me in the same way again. I haven’t been able to make him understand how I genuinely regret whatever I did and can’t imagine doing it again.

Jake has suggested I take a break, go live with my mum for a few weeks and see if we can work things out. But my mum is part of the problem. Right after my parents’ divorce she started drinking a lot, had a lot of boyfriends over to our place and wasn’t really a great parent. Let’s just stay going back there, even for a few weeks, is not an option for me. Frankly, she doesn’t want me there either.

Recently Jake has started being all friendly with a girl who he had a sexual relationship with earlier. Let’s call her Sally. Jake says she’s just a friend. But sometimes they go out together to eat at night and Jake doesn’t come back till well past midnight. That crushes me every time. I yell at him when he comes back. But the pain doesn’t go away. Even as I write this, at 12:50 AM in the night, he’s still out with Sally and isn’t replying to my messages. It’s such a horrible humiliation, but I’m stuck and don’t know what to do. I don’t even know how I should react when he comes home tonight.

I’m confused, hurt and stressed. Please help me. 

-Sarah,

San Fransisco