Hi Dr. Alex! I’ve been forwarded many of your emails from a friend and I enjoy reading them. Now I have my own questions…
Here goes nothing! So, I’ve been dating this guy for a little over a year now. He works in the same building as I do that’s how we met. He’s 15 years older than me…I thought dating an older guy was better because they’re mature and know what they want.
Anyway, at the beginning of our relationship he was really great! He knew what he wanted and I loved that. He was very caring and just on top of it. Now, I feel like he’s gotten comfortable. He’s a self-centered person. I concern now because I came from a relationship where the guy cheated on me. We were together for 4 years and ended up getting married and now divorced.
I’m scared this will happen to me again…this new guy has been very sneaky from…1. When we first started dating he was receiving texts messages from a girls nameStacie ….don’t know who she is, never heard any of his friends talk about her, nothing. But he claims they’re just friends. He said, “well, if it bothers you so much I’ll stop talking to her” and I told him it did bother me. 2. He doesn’t like me touching his things for example his phone. He has a game on there that I like playing and one day I happen to pick it up and was going to start playing not thinking it would bother him. He started yelling at me and saying never to touch his things! 3. One of his best friends wife told me to keep my eyes open with him 4. I went thru his phone and found text messages from that girl Stacie late at night saying ” Good night”. Then I found some with him and his friend. Him saying “I don’t give a shit! I still have a dick….I haven’t had any new pussy in so long. When I confronted him with this he started crying. His excuse was “it’s just guy talk”. I left his house but later forgave him and came back. 5. He started talking to one of his ex-girlfriends on Facebook 6. He blocked his phone so that the only way to open it is thru a password.
At this point I just don’t know anymore….Am I exaggerating the situation? Am I being over protective? Is this going to work? How do I end a relationship where I feel I’ve invested so much of myself. The truth is I love him and I don’t want to end it but I feel this relationship is unhealthy.
Thank you for taking the time to read this Dr. Alex… I look forward to your response.
Lisa, 24, bank professional, San Diego
Great story! Now, this is the question you have to ask yourself: “Is this sustainable for another 6mos? Another year? Another 5 years? Is this how I want to feel and how i want to be treated?”
If the answer is yes, then carry on. If not, then that means you have to break up eventually, and sooner may be better than later. You can do it deliberately with a clear head, or you can wait for nasty circumstances to do it for you (another incriminating text, finding him in bed with someone). I vote for the former option.
Remember that fulfillment is a feeling, not a person. Suspicion and mistrust, which is a lot of what you’re experiencing, don’t sound like fulfillment to me.
As for saying that you ‘love’ him: that may be true, but you have a duty to yourself and to the world to love yourself first. Being with someone who doesn’t value you and isn’t a catalyst for your flourishing into the best possible version of you, is not being loving to yourself. That always comes first — I don’t want to hear any of this Whitney Houston martyr complex nonsense.
Two other things:
You already know what he said to his friend is not ‘just guy talk.’ If you’re with a man who’s reasonably charming and experienced with women, unless he has stated explicitly that you are exclusive together, you should assume you are not. With the pre-existing trust issues you’re talking about, it’s a safe assumption that he’s pursuing other options. It may not be what you want to hear, but it is the way things are.
And you should not be messing around with his phone. I would consider that a massive violation of privacy, and he probably does, too. That one’s on you. However, if things were going well, you wouldn’t be snooping around anyway, so it’s a symptom of a much bigger trust issue.
Fulfillment is a feeling, not a person is one of the big themes of The Tao of Dating: The Smart Woman’s Guide to Being Absolutely Irresistible. If you want to find the fulfillment that you truly deserve, you need to read the book already.