My live in boyfriend tells me he no longer talks to his former friend with benefits but I found sexts and nude pictures from her on his phone, and messages saying wants them to be together. He doesn't know I spied on him. Although he loves me very much and I trust his fidelity, he lies to me about being in contact with her. I just want her to go away! What should I do?
My initial reaction reaction to your email was, "WHOA? What?! You snooped on his phone!!!?" yet considering what you've discovered I'm almost tempted to say that the ends justified the means. Almost.
Please do understand that I mean this with the utmost of respect, and that I'm after something other than condoning your boyfriend's behavior. Whether this was an invasion of privacy or your 'right' as his partner, it's irrelevant. What does matter is the major disconnect to address about your dynamic together.
In my opinion, trust is a serious issue in your relationship if you're finding that you need to access your boyfriend's private messages. My guess is that this problem has been around for a while, and at this point you're both lying to one another to keep the peace: You by hiding the fact that you know about his communications and him by not telling you about them. Let's be very clear - you need to allow him his privacy even though what he's doing is completely inappropriate and he needs to end this thing with his ex immediately (maybe even going so far as to block her number).
And so, I wonder: Why do you tolerate his behavior? Is it because you don't want to call him on his lie for fear he'll be upset when he discovers your cell phone spying? If you do come clean, he will be upset but he has the right to be, just a you have the right to be upset that he's being dishonest with you. You two are caught in a whirlpool of deceit; to swim through this together you'll need to embrace honesty. Rebuilding trust is a delicate matter that can make or break a relationship, yet honesty the key to getting out of it on the other side with your relationship stronger than ever before.
Consider this a true test of your relationship. Can the two of you make it through this with honesty, intimacy and vulnerability? Would you want it any other way? Would hiding the lies make them disappear or will you be plagued by the constant? This is the time for a discussion that will test the foundations of your relationship - a discussion which might take some time but could lead to the rekindling of trust and deeper intimacy. I would suggest seeking out a good couple's counselor to help you through it. A counselor can be very helpful in giving you both a voice as you navigate the tricky waters of compassion and understanding. It sounds like you both care a lot about one another, so it's worth it if it can make you stronger. One way or another, you're going to find out if this is a a relationship you can continue with.
A final thought: coming clean illustrates your desire to be honest with your partner, and it shows you care enough about the relationship that you want to build upon its foundation. I know initiating a conversation along these lines can be scary; a frank and honest discussion could reveal your worst fears about this other woman or about the true resilience (or lack of) of your relationship. In the worst case scenario this is more than unfortunate but will the relationship survive in a healthy sense, if you don't say anything at all? Unlikely. Will the truth "set you free"? In one way or another - yes. Regardless, it will be uncomfortable, as deep conversations such as these take us well out of our comfort zone, yet doing so is the only way to create new patterns, processes and experiences.
Is My Boyfriend Right? | The Self Esteem Quiz | I Love Him, But He Treats Me Poorly | How I Got Out of an Abusive Relationship | Create a Healthy Relationship | My Boyfriend's a Bad Kisser. Help? | Is It Really Over? Quiz | Couples Communication Quiz | Fall in Love Again | Can I Date My Best Friend's Ex? | Does He Love Me? | How Jealous Are You?