Dear Dr. Buckingham,
I’ve been with my significant other for 8 years. He asked me to marry him 2 years ago. Shortly after he began to cheat. We broke up and he moved out. He continued to see the person he cheated on me with, but within a week he said he wanted to get back together. I agreed, even though he got the other person pregnant. When he came back he claimed he was confused and didn’t know which one of us he wanted to be with, so I told him that the kids and I are moving out. He then said he wanted to be with me. I found out he was cheating prior because I went through his phone. When I decided to stay, I continued to look through his phone. He and the other person talks about marriage, and tell each other I love you, and flirts with each other.
When I brought it up to him he has no reason why he does these things while we are suppose to be repairing our relationship. He just says if there is no trust, there is no relationship. I agree but how can I trust him when he text things like that? He claims he wants to be with me but there is no affection, no intimacy, he doesn’t want try counseling or pray with me. I stopped looking through his phone so I always think he is texting things he is not suppose to and when he leaves the house I always think he is cheating. I don’t know what else to do. We need help but he doesn’t think so. Any suggestions? Also, the other person continues to try to get him back which makes me more on edge.
Should I Stay with my Confused and Cheating Partner?
Want to Be Loved,
Dear Want to Be Loved,
I am extremely bothered by the fact that women like you are subjected to this foolishness. I can only imagine what you are going through. There is nothing more frustrating and painful than being in love with someone who does not know what love is and plays mind games.
What I am about to say to you comes from the heart. Your current situation is partially your fault. While it is easy for others and myself to attack at your significant other, the true perpetrator is you. You violate yourself on a daily basis by staying with a man who does not appreciate you. I once heard my mother tell my sister that a man can only do to you what you allow. If you allow him to disrespect you, he will do just that.
It is unfortunate that you are being taken advantage of and abused psychologically, but you are playing a role as well. Self-neglect is worse than interpersonal neglect because it is difficult to get what you desire (love) from someone else when you do not love yourself.
I am a believer in giving people second chances, but only when they deserve them. The key word is “deserve.” A man who truly loves you will show due diligence and live faithfully. He will show unwavering commitment to you, which means seeking professional help, praying and doing whatever it takes to win your heart. He will handle your heart gently and empathize with you. He will show himself worthy of your love. While all of this sounds good, none of it is possible if you do not assertively demand it.
If you do not know what you deserve, you will get what other people believe you deserve. In your case, your significant other believes that you deserve to be cheated on. He also believes that you deserve to be played with, not loved.
Simply put, your partner refuses to show himself worthy of your love. Given this, I highly recommend that you separate until he figures out what he wants and learns to treat you like a respectful and loving partner. Be mindful that a confused and cheating boyfriend, usually does not transform into a decisive and honest husband. Also, be mindful that a man can only play with your mind, when your mind is open to be played with.
Please take sometime to examine yourself so that you can get what you desire. Misery loves company and so does confusion. Get clarity about yourself and you will get clarity about your love life.
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Disclaimer: The ideas, opinions and recommendations contained in this post are not intended as a substitute for seeking professional counseling or guidance. Any concerns or questions that you have about relationships or any other source of potential distress should be discussed with a professional, in person. The author is not liable or responsible for any personal or relational distress, loss or damage allegedly arising from any information or recommendations in this post.