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Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5109
Experience:  Dr. Mark is a PhD in psychology in private practice
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I have been in a relationship off and on with a woman I love

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I have been in a relationship off and on with a woman I love Early on I cheated on her once.
She has many men friends and some of them are attracted to her She says I have to trust her. She very outgoing and likes people She drinks 3 0r 4 times a week and smokes pot a couple times of month which I dont like. Ive ended the relationship several times but always go back We dont yell and scream and when Im with her we get along really well but sometimes feel she undermines my sense of manhood by asking other men about things I have already discussed and and made dicisions with about. When I was injured I got mad at her and she didnt help me so I went to the hospital with a friend I am confused and dont know how to move ahead She wants to date and re establish a commitment%2
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 3 years ago.

Hi! I believe I can be of help with this issue.

I see from what you have written me the sincerity in your desires for this relationship. And I also see that you are investing in this relationship more than the parameters it actually has. What do I mean?

You are her boyfriend and she is your girlfriend. There is a level of commitment in that relationship. But it is a very amorphous level of commitment; it changes and is very undefined. You expected a level of monogamy and commitment and emotional exclusivity on her part that she seems to have not really expected she needed to maintain for a boyfriend. She clearly feels that she is entitled to operate as an independent woman with her own independent social life and that you are a special friend, but still only a special friend among friends.


And the same holds true for some of the other expectations. You have a very "married" quality about your sense of what being someone's girlfriend is and what being her boyfriend is. She seems to have a much more casual understanding of the relationship. And so, along with your disappointment at her lack of sensitivity about breaking off friendships with ex-lovers, this is coming to play in her feeling free to confide in other men.

So, I want you to spend some time thinking about what relationships mean to you and what your VALUES are. And then notice what her values are. And see if they match. Because when you find yourself feeling as though you are not being treated the way you would like, or that you are not getting what you need from the relationship, it most often is a mismatch in the values of the two of you. That one person sees the relationship to be one thing and require certain things and the other person sees it to be a different thing and require different things.

So, this is the issue of trust for you. You don't trust her even though she hasn't done anything to break your trust according to her. And so she says you have to trust her. But you feel like you can.t So there is a mismatch. Why?

You aren't sure she really is acting trustworthily because you can sense she may not share your values. And there is no way to bridge that until you either accept her values or she yours. So I would like you to take her and my answer to a Starbucks or other quiet neutral place and discuss this. What being boyfriend/girlfriend means to each of you. And what you together can agree is the way you want to conduct that relationship.

I wish you the very best!

Please remember to click the green accept button. Feel free to continue the discussion; my goal is to get you the best answers possible. Bonuses are always appreciated! If I can be of further help with any issue, just put "for Dr. Mark" in the front of your new question, and I'll be the one to answer it. All the best, XXXXX XXXXX

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for your feed back...Yesterday we went shopping all day and had a good time. This morning I went to her house and talked and made love Latter I found out a young man she had dated while we were off and on truck had been there all night and left before I got there when I asked her about it she said she saw him at the bar she worked at last night When i asked the last time she saw him she avoided my question and said she felt like I was the inquision even though I did not get upset She said that I had no right to ask because we wernt together and that if I wanted to date and reestablish a mutual sense of togetherness that we couldnt go back to the way it was 100% and she would still spend times wth her friends without me She would see exlovers and this guy whose truck was at her house as friends  only  Its so hard to trust that and im confused how she can make love to me and have this attitude  I feel crazy inside
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 3 years ago.
Well, this incident confirms the values issue we are talking about, doesn't it?

I'm so sorry you are going through this. She said it to you in the open: "She said that I had no right to ask because we wernt together and that if I wanted to date and reestablish a mutual sense of togetherness that we couldnt go back to the way it was 100% and she would still spend times wth her friends without me She would see exlovers".

She is treating you as one of her friends and you are treating her as if she's your "wife". And I think you need to make the decision if she's really a person you can share values with. I'm not sure her values of being married match yours. So that concerns me that if you stay with her, you will always be in a mismatch of values. Your values are very much that the two people bond very closely. She's not like that.

So if you want to continue in this relationship, the only way you can avoid this type of pain is to clarify the values and decide if you want to accept hers. Because she has signaled to you clearly that she won't accept yours!

And that's tough because your values are very sweet and I support them very much. But she's not the woman who can live with those values.

I wish you the very best!

Please remember to click the green accept button. Feel free to continue the discussion; my goal is to get you the best answers possible. Bonuses are always appreciated! If I can be of further help with any issue, just put "for Dr. Mark" in the front of your new question, and I'll be the one to answer it. All the best, XXXXX XXXXX

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Just one more thing please Am I too old fashion and and not open enough. She is very smart and stimulating and fun but now I am feeling like a failure and like I am not strong enough and did something wrong and thats why this is a mess... that I should get centered try again and make this work. but i'm angry and afraid. Im thinking of just telling her that we are friends and if i can deal with it she will be...in the past she has wanted to move in with me but ive always internally questioned the friend relationships she has with other men.. I think she would be physically faithful but not emotionally faithful...does it make sense that she needs the men friends around to constantly affirm herself orspread out her emotional needs to make it safe? Am I wrong and controling to ask for that? I like alot of her other friends and enjoy them.. she just text me and wants to go computer shopping with me on friday and snow mobiling tomarrow ..

The woman I cheated on her with that one time and felt so bad about is a person I had a relationship with before. I dont spend any time with her or any woman that is remotley interested in me out of respect for our relationship . She is very loyal and always wants to get back together with me. She is nice and a homebody.. Its a little understimulating but safe and she makes me dinner and is kind to me. Would it be a mistake to go back to her She is very loving to me

Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 3 years ago.
You have to be yourself. You are very traditional and romantic and sentimental and that's beautiful. It's you.

She doesn't share that traditional view. Maybe she sees marriage the way you see your current relationship's status. But that is something you need to discuss with her and clarify. If you two were married, would she feel differently about her relationships socially she now wants the freedom to maintain? Would your traditional very close emotional bonding be too confining for her even if you were married?

So clarify this with her. Because there are a lot of women out there who would RUN for the opportunity to have a traditional, romantic, and emotionally close relationship like you are seeking!

So it's only a mistake if you try to make the relationship what you would like it to be but only in your mind and she tries to make it what she would like it to be but only in her mind and the two of you keep going through a cycle of close then upset, close then upset. The only way to avoid this is to openly discuss these areas of your inner lives.

I wish you the very best!

Please remember to click the green accept button. Feel free to continue the discussion; my goal is to get you the best answers possible. Bonuses are always appreciated! If I can be of further help with any issue, just put "for Dr. Mark" in the front of your new question, and I'll be the one to answer it. All the best, XXXXX XXXXX

Dr. Mark, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5109
Experience: Dr. Mark is a PhD in psychology in private practice
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