My friend, a health worker, met someone online eight months ago. They’re both in their late-30s. He’d already signed on for a job transfer to another city, and she was so confident of their relationship, that she agreed to move with him.
Then Covid happened, and they had to move in together quickly, in their current city. She continued working her regular, demanding schedule, but when they could be together, they seemed the perfect couple.
She’d been in a long relationship previously and later regretted having been urged to give up her strong Christian faith (as a friend I can say she’s not “preachy,” but going to Church is very important to her).
Her current partner is supportive of this, and also of her independent spirit. They’re both adventurous and do a lot together. She was so happy with him!
Recently, she came home from work early, and found that her boyfriend had a female visitor who was introduced as “a friend.” Everything about this scene felt “weird,” I later heard from my friend.
Her partner later explained that the visitor was his ex-girlfriend from a relationship “long over.” She’d wanted to see him to get “closure” from their past.
He told my friend that he felt terrible about the whole incident. He admitted to having fooled around a little with his ex, but not having had sex, regrets even allowing the visit to happen.
Now, my friend has serious questions about their future together. Are they living together only because the Covid-19 pandemic called for a lockdown on households so they’d have otherwise not seen each other for months?
She wants to forgive him this one incident. She wants to trust him.
She has no family in this country, only some close girlfriends. And him.
Should she believe his story and consider it a one-off incident in response to his ex-girlfriend’s request?
Absolute certainty on trust rarely arrives like part of the package-deal when you find someone you love… as in, “good to his mother, doesn’t drink too much, is totally trustworthy.”
Not so fast. Some people intend to be 100 per cent faithful, then get caught up in the alcohol-fueled energy of an office party, say, and end up “fooling around” with someone in the back office.
Okay, that’s a caricature but it does happen.
Some other people truly are faithful, but make the mistake of responding politely to a flatterer, or agreeing to meet an ex-lover who’s troubled and just wants “to talk,” only to have a suspicious partner refuse to believe that nothing happened.
So, let’s cut to the core of this dilemma: Your friend loves this man and wants to believe that he didn’t cheat on her.
He agrees that he made a mistake by allowing his ex to come over for “closure” - actually a re-hashing of their time together, her hurt feelings, his being the cause - and caving in to touchy-feely reassuring behaviour with her.
Your friend should tell this man that she loves him but won’t tolerate another such incident.
She should explain that “fooling around” is the worst thing he could do if the woman still has feelings for him, which her very request indicated. (Also, during a lockdown, their discussion should’ve occurred on the phone.)
Your friend is taking a risk - but so do many people - if she decides to forgive the man she loves, with optimism for their future together.
Reader’s Commentary Regarding the woman who told her husband, “sex is just not my thing.” (July 2):
“It's unlikely that a casual hook-up more than a decade ago completely warped her approach to sex.
“Rather, her natural pattern of disinclination toward sex strongly suggests that she's on the asexual spectrum. She may not even realize it, due to the ongoing stigma surrounding asexuality.
“Comments like "I do it for [her partner]" are unfortunately very common among asexuals - there's often a feeling of pressure to "perform" sex in order to maintain a romantic connection.
“Asexuality is a sexual orientation, not a choice. While I support the suggestion of counselling, this husband needs to approach therapy not as a potential "fix" for his partner, but as a way of learning to better support her.
“Finding a therapist who works with members of the LGBTQIA community would be a great start.”
Tip of the day:
A loss of trust can happen from a seeming-small, foolish decision. Think first before you risk your relationship.