My boyfriend of two years refuses to tell me anything about his ex-girlfriends.
Recently, I found out that he and his ex-girlfriend were involved in domestic violence incidents where he was charged with assault.
Although he’s never physically hurt me during our relationship, I'm terrified that he will repeat his past behaviour and become violent against me in the future.
He loves me very much and I'm scared to confront him about his past.
Should I leave him? Should I stay in the relationship and pretend that I don't know anything?
Confused and Scared
Walk away, immediately, to a safe place. I didn’t say, “Run,” because I’m hoping you can just leave without having to confront him while alone with him, nor give him reason to suspect that you’re leaving.
Once you are somewhere where you feel safe – whether with your parents, a close trusted friend, or a women’s shelter if necessary, you can contact him and explain that you have reasons to no longer trust his behaviour to you.
He has kept secrets including a very serious charge of violence against a girlfriend, plus other incidents.
The fact that he’s never hurt you doesn’t give confidence that he won’t, because he hasn’t acknowledged his past and assured you that he’s changed from then.
He just didn’t want you to know. That’s a red flag as a control move, considering that there’s already been previous domestic violence in his relationships.
Being “scared” of a boyfriend’s potential for an assault is unacceptable. You’ve already shown that by reaching out with this information.
Controllers commonly “love a lot” but you do not love him and should not love him enough to risk your safety.
My husband had a crush over a co-worker.
He says he fell in love with her and never loved anyone this much in his entire life.
He said she was his soul-mate.
I found out that he was in love with her but that nothing happened sexually.
He wants to work things out in our marriage. But I can't get past the fact that he loved someone more than me.
I can't forgive him and I can't trust him. I don't know what to do.
It’s hard to know what he meant by “love” for a woman he didn’t want to sleep with or marry. He wants to stay in the marriage, but doesn’t explain why, either.
He seems to have deep emotions locked up within himself. But naturally, you can’t just accept that and carry on.
The next step has to be his finding a therapist with whom he can probe what did occur between them and then explain it to you.
A condition of staying together should be his truthful telling to you what he learns about himself in the counselling process.
His crush or connection with his co-worker must’ve triggered a reaction. It wasn’t lust. It wasn’t wanting to change his way of life.
An experienced therapist will draw out the reasons for his reaction to her.
It may not have had anything to do with you at all, but perhaps something from his past.
I’m not guessing here, just suggesting that there’s some answer he needs to find in therapy and bring back to you.
To help you respond, you may then want your own counselling, or insist on going together for couples’ therapy.
If you decide to try again, it can help you make together whatever changes in your marriage become obviously necessary.
FEEDBACK Regarding the woman who works the same amount of hours as her partner, but does all the housework and cooking (Sept. 23):
Reader – “My husband and I had the same issue for ten years.
“Then I lost my job. Now I'm home full-time.
“The house is spotless, my son’s thrilled, and I can volunteer twice weekly.
“My husband’s income keeps us in good shape. My carrying the load at home works for us.
“But my husband does understand now that you can't work AND keep the house perfect, too.
“It’s definitely not a choice for everyone, but I've never been happier or more fulfilled.”
Ellie – Much depends on the individuals. The woman who wrote, initially begged for help with housework but her husband was “lazy.”
It put her off having kids or buying a bigger place.
She definitely did not feel fulfilled by doing all the cleanup, cooking, and laundry herself.
Tip of the day:
A partner’s secretive history of domestic violence is a signal to leave, and leave safely.