He’s cheating — on MySpace

Today's letter is about faking it online. Let's help.
I've been living with this guy for several months after dating for more than a year. He tells me he is committed to me, loves me, and intends to spend the rest of his life with me. I feel the same way. My problem is that he maintains a MySpace page and continually adds women "friends" who then post suggestive comments on his page. He's got over 100 of these women. Although he is on MySpace daily, he has not updated the page to reflect he is in a relationship. It still shows him as single and looking for dating opportunities and serious relationships. It also overstates his income and understates his age. If it matters, we are both over 40, divorced, and each have children in college. I've told him I don't appreciate his continue contact with these women who think he is available and find it offensive to me. He says it is his way to "socialize.” Should I just ignore it or is this an indication that he does not care for me and is not truly as committed as he says? -- Chele, Haverhill

Chele, do not ignore this. It’s weird. And crummy. Do I think he’s going out and sleeping with these women? Probably not. I’m pretty sure he’s just playing pretend. He’s hitting mid-life. He just upped his commitment level to a woman (you) by moving in with her. He wants to play “I’m still young, rich, and single.” Understandable. That said, he is lying – to you and to these women. He’s not just “socializing.” He’s playing a computer game, a Sim City, of sorts, where he can be whoever he wants to be. The problem is, MySpace isn’t Sim City. It’s a network of real people, some of whom are local. MySpace is not a game. Your guy should understand why this behavior hurts your feelings. No one wants to commit to a partner who’s cruising for chicks on MySpace. You’re allowed to draw the line. You’re allowed to talk to him – calmly – about alternatives for his fantasy life, ideas that satisfy his needs without making you feel bad. If he can’t compromise, perhaps he really is “looking for dating opportunities." Either way, your concern is justified. And it may only get worse. What happens when he discovers Facebook? Readers? Is he allowed to cruise MySpace? Your thoughts for Chele, please. To catch up on last week's letters and Wednesday chat, visit Boston.com/loveletters. -- Meredith