I’ve been involved for three years with a man who’s unhappy with his life.
He’s often and increasingly insensitive and mean to me.
He searches out women on social media. His behaviour and comments could be considered “micro-cheating.”
He pretends he’s not in a relationship when women ask about his status.
He’s been repeatedly caught and called out for his actions but always turns it on me, calling me possessive and distrusting.
He’s outright lied that he hasn’t done anything wrong despite the evidence.
I don’t trust him.
I feel ashamed and humiliated that he’s repeatedly disrespected me. And that I’ve allowed it to happen for this long.
I know I should end things but it’s been very difficult to leave.
Can you win trust back, and what’s the best way?
You’re asking the wrong question.
HE’s the one who has to win back your trust in him.
But he’s making no effort to do so. Instead, he’s trying to make you the bad one in the relationship.
Until he deals with his own depression and his escapist online cheating, he’s offering you nothing but humiliation and disrespect.
It gets harder for you to leave because he’s pulling you down too, creating your own insecurity and low spirits.
Leave. Surround yourself with supportive family and friends. If needed, get counselling.
Unfortunately for him, he may never deal with his own serious issues.
He prefers to be a user of others, such as you, rather than try to heal himself or get professional help to do so.
Reader’s Commentary Regarding whether a long divorced stepmother should reveal her 50-year-old past stepson’s true birth father (March 29):
Reader – “Four years ago, when I was 69, through a chance encounter (later confirmed by DNA testing), I discovered that I’m a Donor Conceived child.
“I understand the letter-writer’s hesitancy. However, it’s the right of each of us to know who we are.
“This man may decide to search out his roots. Will that be any less of a shock?
“Regardless of health issues and/or his relationships with his "siblings," his health, or anything else, the woman holds information that doesn’t belong to her.
“Telling him the identity of his biological father is a moral obligation.
“The writer must get past her own feelings of discomfort and think of the recipient and the support she may be able to offer.
“It’s important to tell him that the man (her ex-husband who died recently) who treated him as a son, should be remembered for the life he gave him, not the information he withheld.”
Ellie – Your perspective on this, from having experienced surprising information about your own birth, is very interesting.
The difference in this case is that the man who raised him had driven the car in which the real father, his best friend, died.
The mother confessed her pregnancy and he married her.
When they eventually divorced and his ex-wife later died, he took custody of all the children.
The writer knows the siblings’ relationship to this man. She also knows that he may be the only grandson in his biological father’s “distinguished” family.
It’s not unreasonable that she’d struggle with what I described as a “very complex ethical question.”
I’d still suggest that she get to know her stepson again, and also his relationship to his siblings before deciding.
I’m hoping she also considers what you’ve written here, to help her choose.
FEEDBACK Regarding “Concerned” who fears her alcoholic boyfriend expects her to rescue him (Mach 29):
Reader – “I’m a recovering alcoholic. The best help she can offer this man is to tell him she must walk away until he loves himself enough to do what he needs to do to recover.
“That’s also the best help she can offer herself.
“If he’s already gone to rehab, he intellectually knows what he needs to do but isn’t willing to do it.”
Reader #2 – “This woman will hopefully come to understand that sacrificing her state of mind will not improve his.
“Taking him into her home will mean she no longer has a peaceful and safe space.
“And it still won’t bring him sobriety. Softening his landing will more likely delay or prevent any treatment he may seek.
“She can have compassion with boundaries and detach with love.
“She must keep her focus on her own well-being.”
Tip of the day:
Trust your need to move on and save yourself, instead of trying to trust someone who lies, cheats, and disrespects you.