My boyfriend of three and a half years broke up with me last summer (we’re both 28).
I was broken-hearted. I discovered a week later that he’d started seeing a much younger girl.
Two months later, he texted that he got dumped and that, though he’d been with that girl the entire time we were split, he realized how much he missed me. We decided to try again.
Several weeks ago, I saw that they’d been texting each other and I freaked out, thinking he was cheating. He said it was about a tent he’d borrowed and never returned.
I was hurt that he didn't tell me they were texting. He apologized, and I apologized for crossing a line.
He’s never cheated on me. We’ve both been cheated on in previous relationships.
I realized my insecurities came from not feeling good enough and fearing he’d leave again.
Things have been good, but I still have trouble getting over that he didn't tell me they were texting.
We love each other and are working towards our future. How do I proceed from here?
You’ve nailed the problem, and it’s your insecurity, not his text. Had he gone to see her to get his tent without mentioning it to you, that could’ve been more significant, but even then, he wouldn’t be cheating.
With text so accessible and instant, his using it for this reason was logical, and easy to forget to “report” to you.
If you insist that he report his every move, you’ll drive him away.
Lots of people your age have had someone cheat on them, as it’s unfortunately the way many relationships come to a dramatic end through lack of maturity and commitment.
You’re now past that age and stage. Trust your guy, and build your self-esteem by refusing to snoop or assume the worst.
FEEDBACK Regarding stories of parental abandonment (Nov. 3):
Reader #1 – “My sister and I were abandoned by our father at ages two and three. My parents were new immigrants with minimal language and job skills. My mother raised us alone for three years. Family and friends babysat while she cleaned doctors’ offices at night.
“Our father returned, they lived like friends instead of a couple. When we were 15 and 16, their fighting got very bad. We had to live with relatives for eight months until a separation agreement was reached.
“We sisters supported our mother financially while attending school and later while working, until she died. Not one dime was received from our father.
“He’d travel to Hawaii, the Caribbean, and Europe. We had to figure out how to pay for the broken furnace from earnings at a fast-food restaurant. He was never involved in birthdays, holidays, or special events.
“Our mother encouraged us to be strong within ourselves. We lived modestly, but still had family vacations, and there was always enough food.
“I’ve been married for over 30 years, and have a wonderful family. Our father contacted us several years ago. He thought his cancer was advancing. Over the past five years, we’ve been supportive, forgiving, invited him and his wife to family functions, and spoke regularly on the telephone.
“He abandoned us again several months ago. Due to his selfishness, he felt that things weren’t going his way.
“The hardest part was telling my children that he decided to no longer be a part of our lives. He’s now 91.
“The best part was telling my children that they’ll never be abandoned by us.”
Reader #2 – “It appeared from the November 3rd story the mother sent you, that the father resented being forced into fatherhood, and likely always perceived his son as a moral and financial obligation.
“Neither the mother nor her son can encourage the father to bond with his son – this bond must come from within. He did make some effort, but in the end, he was unable or unwilling to overcome his resentment and failed to develop deep and unconditional love for his son.
“Although it’s natural for the son to feel discarded by his father, he should be reminded that the truest measure of his self-worth and lovability lies in all his personal accomplishments and in the long-term natural and unforced relationships he has with his mother, her family, and his friends.
“The son would benefit from group sessions with other (numerous) adult children of divorce who feel similarly abandoned by one parent.”
Tip of the day:
Don’t focus on small stuff when the bigger picture’s solid.