QUESTION FROM A GREEK TRAGEDY READER: Ok, so I have a boyfriend, and we’ve been together for about 8 months now. We worked together before we started dating for about 6 months. We started dating August 1st and moved in together August 7th. It is weird because we were always friends but then something just clicked and it was the right time for both of us.
Everything was perfect and rosy; we were inseparable. Just one problem: he is constantly traveling for work. He travels every weekend in an industry that I have worked in and seen first hand the infidelity and what not that goes on. He always talks about how he would never cheat on me and that I’m the one. I want to trust him but he was such a player before we started dating (well, I am his first serious girlfriend since high school). He says he was just waiting for the right one and he is a self proclaimed workaholic that he never cared to try and make any relationship before me work.
I am trying not to judge him because I was no angel myself, but it is hard when I question some of his morals due to past occurrences (I know I shouldn’t judge).
During the week when he is home things are great, but as soon as he leaves, I start to feel insecure and needy. I HATE IT!!! Now, granted, it is hard because he says he will call at a certain time and then doesn’t and is always busy. A few times when he has come home I have looked at his phone (really bad I know) and found information that would lead to the fact that he was not, for example, in bed when he said he was; instead he was at the bar. I don’t think he would cheat on me, but why not be honest about what he is doing? Is it a guy thing where they need to feel single or something?
He travels with a group of 8 guys on his team every weekend (NASCAR) some married, some single. If I tell him I am at home, that is because I AM!! I would never think of not calling him, but I guess that is just me. How do I talk to him about the lies before they possibly turn into bigger ones? I hate that it makes me neurotic (and I know that is my own problem), but I don’t want to have to check up on him all the time. A lot of my insecurities come from past relationships, and I know it isn’t fair to bring them into a new relationship, but I do. Please help!
Before I take a smack + crack at answering this (and I will), I’ll let others weigh in with their own words of wisdom. Floor’s all yours…
My advice, as promised: Let’s start here with this telling statement: "I am trying not to judge him because I was no angel myself."
So often the reason we mistrust others is because we don’t trust ourselves. Read that sentence again. We project our shit. We know how devious we’re capable of being, know how we’ve behaved in a certain Stays In Vegas environment, so it’s our next logical step, that others will behave as we have.
That said, it’s usually those whose knee-jerk response is jealousy or mistrust who you should really watch out for. It’s not always an insecurity wheeled off the failed relationship conveyor belt. How much of this scenario is you trying to deal with you?
Bear with me here, but it’s similar to parenting in a way. As a parent, you want your children to know they can’t pull the wool over your eyes so fast because you, too, were once their age. "I don’t just know that trick, kid; I invented it."
It feels easier to suspect and assume than it does to believe and trust because we don’t want to be played for a fool. But at the end of the day, if someone wants to cheat, they’re gonna find a way to do it. And no amount of control and access to information, or rules about where he can and can’t go, will change it. In fact, as soon as you begin to suspect things, a certain Chicken Egg cycle can emerge.
By Sherlocking the shit out of your relationship you can drive someone to want to hide things from you. Even small things, to avoid an argument. Lying by omission. Because it’s just easier, and he doesn’t have the energy to deal, or just wants to have a nice night and is tired of quelling your fears; he has reassurance exhaustion.
And once you "catch" the chicken at his game it only confirms to you that he’s not being 100% forthcoming, and if he can’t be honest about this trivial thing, what else might he be hiding? Like I said, Chicken Egg.
Personally, I feel like I’ve actually been the Mayor of Needytownship, once upon a time. And to hear people say "follow your gut," I completely understand their intention, and absolutely believe in intuition, but what happens when your gut is wrong? When your gut is you getting in the way of you? When your gut is a whole clusterfcuk of insecurity and projection.
Here is what I know from being this same insecure, sherlocking woman as you are who’s also had the "benefit" of being in two very different scenarios: 1) with a man who intensified these insecurities 2) with a man who alleviated them. Wanna guess which scenario is a helluva lot more fun? And this is where gut comes in. I still had the knee-jerk reaction of assumptions and a mild distrust with contestant numero dos, but overall, I knew, deep in my gut, that it was my shit. That he adored me and wouldn’t risk losing me. And no amount of talking it through with him can talk you into that feeling. It’s either there or it’s not. And if it’s not, you move forward without him. Whether or not he was lying or cheating isn’t even the point. If you don’t feel in the deepest part of you that he would never, ever, risk losing you, that you’re the best thing since sliced brioche, then you need to move it or lose it, sister.
All that said, and back to this parenting gig, if you were my daughter, and I wanted to save you from what I’ve been through, and you were willing to listen, I’d tell you that you need to move out, and plan to live in a space that’s your own until you’re married. That move alone will save you years of pain and anxiety. I know it well, that desire to be family, to share every moment, to be an us. I just happen to believe you can have that without giving up your apartment (until you’re married). Sadly, I genuinely, from my gut, know you won’t take this advice. Because it will feel too hard. It brings up too many fears for you. You’re not going to listen, until, I know this too, you’ll one day look back at this and say, she was right, why didn’t I listen?
As for the guy, I’d personally be straight up about it. Come clean. Clear the air. No anger at yourself or with him. Tell him you want your relationship to be safe, for both of you. That you might have inadvertently "punished" him in the past, but that’s not who you want to be. You want a safe environment that promotes honesty. Bottom line, I’d tell him, I know myself well enough to know that I NEED to be with a man who will tell me what I don’t necessarily want to hear, even if it’s easier to just say nothing. And you’ll have to work on breathing through those knee-jerk reactions and try to just listen.
GOT QUESTIONS? NEED ADVICE? If you have questions or need advice on anything from where to eat to how to get over the bastard, just email your question to my advice email address. Nope, I’m not a shrink, but since people keep asking for my opinion, I might as well share it and air it, so everyone else can weigh in too.