My husband of 10 years thinks I cheated because he "caught" me flirting with an old male friend.
I've always had a flirtatious, yet innocent, relationship with this man, whom I bump into twice a year.
I understand his being upset with my behaviour, but I didn't cheat. Yet, he refuses to believe me.
Since this happened a year ago, he gets angry with me easily, does nothing around the house, and regularly goes partying with friends whom I don't know.
I've caught him in a few lies about his whereabouts. I suspect he's being unfaithful.
He won't get counselling with me. We've talked generally about divorcing.
But whenever I start talking about specific next steps, e.g. potential custody arrangements, etc., he backs off, says he's still committed to us, and ends the conversation.
His mixed messages are becoming unbearable and making me feel depressed.
I know this can’t continue long-term and I'm unsure how long I should keep trying.
Get out of the “trap” of postponing reality.
Otherwise, one of you will storm out, creating lasting bitterness for all, including the kids.
Start with an apology. Your flirtatious manner upset him greatly.
Then simply state, firmly and finally, that you didn’t cheat.
And, that he’s been using that accusation as an excuse for his own disrespect and lies long enough.
Come to this conversation with facts - having researched or seen a lawyer first, but without starting an action.
Tell him what a divorce will mean, legally, for both of you and the children.
Then say that you’ve started counselling to learn what’s best for you (do this) rather than accept being depressed and doing nothing about it.
He’ll respond, talk things out with you, and even accept that marriage counselling is necessary, or you’ll move forward on your own.
I’ve been in a nearly two-year relationship. We broke up several times because I discovered he lied (or neglected to tell me things).
I’d felt that he’d taken me for granted and was very hurt. I even sought professional counselling because I felt that the relationship was toxic.
Each time we broke up, he refused to let me move on. He kept contact by texts, e-mails, and sent flowers regardless of whether I responded.
Each time, I gave in and got back together. I do love this man. I’m mostly happy when I’m with him.
But I can't forget his lies and continue to resent him for hurting me.
I don't know whether I should make this relationship work by trying to work through my resentment and anger, or try to move on for real this time.
At A Cross-road
If you dwell on the mistakes of the past, you can’t move forward - not with him, anyone else, and not towards being a happy person within yourself.
So yes, you need to work hard, and again with professional guidance, to probe why - if things are better - that you still feel so hurt.
Perhaps factors from your past long before being with him, are holding you back.
Or, he may still not be the one for you. You need to make that decision, finally.
If your love for him is deep, and you want a future with him, you have to accept that he’s not a perfect being. He showed you his flaws. If he’s changed, you need to forgive him.
But if you still hesitate, examine in therapy, why you would even try to make it work.
FEEDBACK Regarding the boyfriend anxious about leaving his parents’ home (April 23):
Reader – “I also dated a man for three years who was working part-time, living in his parents’ home, and he refused to move in with me.
“He eventually broke it off because he couldn’t give me what I wanted. I wasted months thinking he’d change but he didn’t.
“She doesn't say whether part-time is all that's available to him, or is it a convenient choice for an unmotivated man?
“The parents do keep him “in a bubble.” By cooking for him and doing his laundry they’re not encouraging him to make his own way in the world.
“She should give him an ultimatum. He moves in with her in six months or she moves on and finds someone who’s independent, and willing to fully commit to her.
“I’m now in a relationship with a wonderful man and we’re about to move in together.”
Tip of the day:
Emotional punishment for past mistakes eventually causes a bitter break-up.