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asensitiveear
asensitiveear, Social Worker
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 0
Experience:  I have am a New York State Licensed Social Worker with over 5 Years of experience providing counseling.
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Hi, I have just found out that my partner of 2 years (and

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Hi,

I have just found out that my partner of 2 years (and now fiance) cheated on me 2 weeks ago. He broke down and told me tonight. He says he still loves me but that he doesn't know if he wants to be with me anymore. He told me I am his best friend and he was still calling me dear and honey and told me he is stressed with work and now doesn't know if he wants to be with me or what or even where he wants his life to go. What am I supposed to take from this and what do I do?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  DrJackiePhD replied 2 years ago.

DrJackiePhD : Hi! I am Dr. Jackie, and I am here to help.
DrJackiePhD : Is anyone else helping you?
DrJackiePhD : I will wait here in chat a bit if you would like to "talk." :)
DrJackiePhD : I am unsure if you cannot get into chat...I am going to switch over to Q & A format. That might make it easier for us to correspond.
DrJackiePhD : I see you are here. I will wait.
Customer :

No one else is helping me. Thankyou for your reply. I just don't know what to do or think.

DrJackiePhD : I cannot imagine your pain and confusion right now.
DrJackiePhD : I am thinking he seems like he does not want to keep hurting you...that is why he "came clean' and told you the truth.
Customer :

We have a long distance relationship in which we are apart no more then 5 months at a time at the longest (this time). All has been good with no signs of anything wrong until tonight.

DrJackiePhD : Did he tell you on the phone or was he there in person with you?
Customer :

We have been together for 2 years and got engaged in February. He tells me he cheated 2 weeks ago and now told me because he said it was eating him up. He told me on the phone.

DrJackiePhD : I am so very sorry.
DrJackiePhD : I think he sounds like he has a lot going on. If he is questioning work and you and direction in life, I am wondering what the catalyst was for this sudden erruption ?
DrJackiePhD : Can you tell me more about what he is doing with work/school right now?
Customer :

He is a salmon fisherman so currently is getting ready for fishing season starting in the next few weeks. I have no idea what has set him off. It all came out of the blue to me. He is very overwhelmed and stressed with work right now. He tells me he loves me but he is "f**ked" in the head right now and needs time to sort himself out. He said he doesnt know what he wants in life or where he wants to be. I was supposed to go over to him at the start of July but he told me he doesn't think I should because he can't handle the stress of work and me being there. Then he says he wants to come over to me after that to talk about it in September.

DrJackiePhD : Wow! That is a long time to wait to talk!
Customer :

I even asked straight out if he wanted to be single and he said no, he didnt say that at all. what the heck am I meant to do or think?

DrJackiePhD : He admitted to you that he is very confused, ans his words and actions definity support that.
Customer :

do you think he just said he doesnt know what he wants so I would end it with him? or do you think he genuinely means he is confused and needs time to think about everything in general?

DrJackiePhD :

I am not sure, to be honest. If you don't know and are unsure, then I cannot say with certainty either.

DrJackiePhD :

Like I said, I think something happened that caused this eruption of behaviors and emotions from hiim

Customer :

also, how can someone go from I love you, cant wait to have you here to I love you but I don't know if I want to be with you anymore?

DrJackiePhD :

him oops sorry

Customer :

do you think its something I may have done?

DrJackiePhD :

Did he indicate something specific with his fisherman job/responsibilities that happened in addition to the regular stress of the job?

Customer :

yes, he said he is trying to get things ready for fishing but he keeps being interrupted by other people and has got behind in his work and now thinks that it wont all be ready in time. He said he just wants to be alone to work and doesn't even want to be around is step brother or his brother in law anymore. Also, he said he doesn't even want to be there right now because it is all getting to much.

Customer :

this is very untypical of him. he is a very up front kind of person who tells it how it is. undecisiveness from him does worry me because I do think if he really didnt want to be with me he would just come out and say it.

Customer :

maybe im wrong and him saying I don't know is his way of ending it?

DrJackiePhD :

I don't think it's helpful or productive to engage in thinking if it was something you may have done. Let's say you did get mad during one phone call, that still does not excuse him from his behaviors. He has to take responsibility for himself...and his choices. You didn't make him do or not do anything, and you need to really understand that. I'm trying to understand better what may have caused this hurtful and erratic behavior...but please know you are not responsible for him. Does that make sense?

Customer :

yes that does make sense thankyou.

Customer :

i want to understand also so I can be of help to him if I can be. but how can I do that if I dont understand?

DrJackiePhD :

I don't want to be pessimistic or optimistic. I am trying to be neutral and help figure out some explanations for his recent behaviors. So I don't want to be negative, but on the other hand, I don't want to build false hope. He did say he doesn't know if he wants to be with you. This is a head decision just like not knowing what he wants to do with work. His heart, however, is feeling guilty and still loves you.

DrJackiePhD :

Can I change gears just a bit? I want to ask you to think--can you forgive him? He just told you all of this less than a day ago. You have not had time to process this fully. So do you think you can...and want to forgive him.

DrJackiePhD :

I am not sure you have had time to be upset, hurt, grieve, be mad, etc. These are normal feelings, and I think you need AND DESERVE time to go through these processes.

Customer :

Yes, you are right, it has only been a short time. Maybe I am stupid for loving him but I do and I want to forgive him but I am unsure weather he will let me.

DrJackiePhD :

No, no, no! You are not stupid. Loving someone is a very powerful emotion--the strongest. Don't ever beat yourself up or blame yourself for feeling something that is part of us as humans!

Customer :

Do I give him his space and see what happens or should I be thinking of ending it all? He never once said we were done or anything like that just that he needs time. But he also said he didn't expect me to wait for him forever.

Customer :

Does it mean he doesn't truly love me if he has to question it then?

DrJackiePhD :

I can't tell you how many times "victims" (I hesitate to use this word because IT sounds like you are helpless. But what I mean is, I can't tell you how many times those who have BEEN hurt by the other person's actions search THEMSELVES to blame. Again, I don't mean to be harsh, but he is responsible for his choices. No one held him at gun point and made him behave a certain way.

Customer :

Yes, you are right with that. But it is hard not to place blame upon yourself.

DrJackiePhD :

Again, can I change gears a bit...your whole dialog so far has been about doing what is best for him...I was trained as a linguist in my M.A. before I changed fields but the linguistic analyses I think helps me, especially in email and in chat, when I can re-read over someone's words...why are you focusing on HIM. You keep asking if you should give HIM space, if HE wants to be with you. You are asking if you should support him. You didn't do anything wrong in the big picture--he did!!!

DrJackiePhD :

What do you want to do?

Customer :

I want him. Plain and simple. I want to go over there and talk to him about the situation. What is the point in wanting to do that when he doesn't want me there?

DrJackiePhD :

Yes, someone else does something and we tend to think we could have controlled the situation better...what could WE HAVE DONE differently? The truth is, we never have 100% control. The best, most satisfying relationships are ones where there is shared control. We want to think we could have controlled things better. The truth is, no, we usually can't.

Customer :

I guess I am also trying to understand what he means with what he is saying to try to understand the situation for me.

DrJackiePhD :

Right. This is so very hard. You are absolutely right in that you want to go be there physically and talk to him. Did you suggest going to talk to him now? I am trying to quickly go back to that point...he said wait until September because of his work. What would happen if you made it a point to go to him now?

Customer :

unfortunately I can't go to him until early July when their work is at their busiest. I really do not know what would happen if I did go over (my tickets are all booked and paid for) but I do know that for myself face to face talking would be better for me to assess and take everything in better.

DrJackiePhD :

I agree with you that whenever possible, face-to-face is always best

DrJackiePhD :

Nonverbal communicat

DrJackiePhD :

oops sorry--nonverbal communication is such an important component of the message

DrJackiePhD :

Are you saying that you do already have tickets paid for for July?

Customer :

Yes I do have tickets already paid for in July. I had a job over there until early September but he now thinks its better I don't go.

DrJackiePhD :

Am I assuming correctly that you live with him while you have your job through September?

Customer :

yes that was going to be the idea.

Customer :

do you think his not wanting me to go over there now is due to his guilt of what he has done?

DrJackiePhD :

If that is your job, isn't that your obligation to go? Are there any other living accommodations for you in case it becomes uncomfortable living with him?

DrJackiePhD :

Yes, I am sensing a lot of guilt on his part. But are you telling me that because he did something wrong, that he can overriside your job? Your employment? That does not make sense and is unfair to you.

Customer :

I also feel it is unfair to me when I was relying on this job to make good money. I feel it is my obligation to go when my tickets have been paid for by his brother in law who own the business. But he tells me I don't need to reimburse the brother in law for the tickets. I feel if I don't show up then yes I do need to pay the money back.

Customer :

There are alot of different fishing sites where I could be away from him but he seems to think that it wouldn't work for either of us.

DrJackiePhD :

Yes!!! I agree with your two points! There are tickets and money there and then of course, yes, this is YOUR JOB. You and you alone should be deciding your jobs!

Customer :

it is a family business so maybe it is wrong to think they would still be welcoming with me working there. But as you said I did no wrong so why should I be punished?

DrJackiePhD :

Exactly! You were hired with a contract, yes?

Customer :

verbal contract so nothing written down in full except for emails from my employer saying that he is looking forward to me working for him this season.

DrJackiePhD :

Again, please do not interpret my words as contributing to blaming him and being ugly about it. I am trying to understand more "pieces of the puzzle" so I can give you my best take on things. But I do know that his guilt and behaviors should not punish you and your job situation!

DrJackiePhD :

I am guessing then the verbal dialog/emails are binding in your country/district?

Customer :

I have no ill feelings towards him. I don't want to cause him any problems or get any kind of "revenge" at all. I feel deep disappointment but also alot of worry for him because this is very unlike him and I don't want him to do anything stupid or silly. Yes verbal emails are generally a binding deal in my country.

Customer :

I understand him feeling confused but I don't understand why it has come about now or why he now no longer wants me to go over there to work.

DrJackiePhD :

I commend you on your ability to not have ill will. Anger is a natural part of the grieving process. What a loving, generous heart you have!

Customer :

Thankyou. I don't know weather having a loving, generous heart is a good thing or a bad thing yet.

DrJackiePhD :

Yes, your disappointment feelings are healthy. Do you think you could ring him today or do you do SKYPE? However you communicate when you are not physically together, I think it would be most helpful to you to share your feelings with him--you love him, you are disappointed, you don't understand his behavior, but his actions are not going to dictate your job. Because regardless if you two are together in six months...or down the road...you need to work, correct?

Customer :

Yes I could call him later when it is daytime there. We use skype because it is free to his mobile but no video. Would it help to let him know that I care, that I am here if he needs me and that I will respect him needing his space. But I also need to talk to my employer to sort out the job situation.

Customer :

What good would it do to go to work there if I am absolutely miserable though? I can't say that will be the case but it also isn't going to be the euphoria it was going to be. The money is good but it can't buy happiness can it?

Customer :

In your opinion, do you think I should try to work through everything with him or would it be better to cut my losses and try to move on?

DrJackiePhD :

I agree with your plan--you absolutely have every right to tell him your reaction to the bomb that HE DROPPED on you yesterday. No, in the end no research study has ever successfully concluded that money buys happiness. The happiest individuals always report it's their relationships--whether they are romantic, family, friendships, or all of the above--that make them happy!

DrJackiePhD :

I honestly don't know at this point what I would advise. I do think it's too soon to make a final decision. Perhaps after talking today and telling him what you have shared in this chat session, you will have a clearer perspective--and that perspective can guide you.

DrJackiePhD :

Maybe you can talk to him later today and then if you want to chat afterwards with me or send me a reply in Q&A format, we could talk again?

Customer :

I just feel so helpless. I don't understand how someone can still call you babe, honey, etc and still tell me they love me but not know if they want to be with me? Can you shed any light on this?

Customer :

Yes we could talk again later after I have had some time to digest things a bit more and to talk to him about things.

DrJackiePhD :

Unfortunately I don't have any "text book" answers. It sounds like this is his personality...how he relates to you and maybe how he has related in past interactions with people.

Customer :

well, thankyou for your time. I have alot to try to decipher and think about now

DrJackiePhD :

Yes...you are a person with a big heart and lots of compassion. I think today is a day to try to pamper yourself if you can---here in the U.S. I would call a girlfriend and we would hit an ice cream parlor and order the biggest sundae and gobble it...and then go for manis and pedis at a local spa!

DrJackiePhD :

Please do take time to digest and let me know how later on today goes!

Customer :

The US was where I was heading. :-(

DrJackiePhD :

Oh! Well you need to come over here and do what my girlfriends and I do! lol! Either ice cream or a pedicure--both are great friendship bonding things over here. :-)

Customer :

Its a wee bit far to just pop over. Would be nice though! :-) I will try to keep upbeat but it is hard to find too much motivation in the situation right now unfortunately. I feel like I am losing my closest friend as well as my partner. Even though he hasn't said our relationship is over, should I treat it like it is?

DrJackiePhD :

Again, I don't want to advise you as to what you "should" or "shouldn't" do yet. You haven't even digested this. It is not usually best t

DrJackiePhD :

to make hard decisions like this without talking again and having a cha

DrJackiePhD :

so sorry--my computer isn't behaving-- having a chance to really sort through things in your mind.

Customer :

one more thing, about him again because I do care. Do you think he will feel any "better" about things now he has it all out in the open so to say?

DrJackiePhD :

It's been my experience that the guilt that has undoubtedly been eating him up for the past two weeks has been alleviated at least somewhat by confessing to you. Again, here you are...concerned about how he is doing and feeling. I hope he can/does appreciate the person you are and your relationship. I don't think he has realized the value. Maybe now he will. If he does, there is a good chance he will treat you with more respect because he will finally "get it"--your value as a person!

Customer :

he also tells me that I deseve better than him. is that not for me to decide?

DrJackiePhD :

I think I would agree with his view--although I admit I am only seeing a tiny piece of the whole picture--and yes, you are a "big girl" and you have to take responsibility for your decisions and actions just as he needs to. :)

Customer :

Thankyou for your time. I need to sit and try to figure out some things for myself and try to get my head around the whole situation.

DrJackiePhD :

I hope this has helped. Whenever you are ready to close, don't forget to hit "ACCEPT"--it's the only way JUST ANSWER knows to compensate me. And if I have given you some things to think about and it helps, we can talk again when you are ready. :)

DrJackiePhD :

Thank you! I will be thinking positive thoughts for you today!

Customer :

Thankyou

Expert:  DrJackiePhD replied 2 years ago.
Hi,

I just scheduled a follow-up for tomorrow if you would like. I wish you the best today and hope you can get some direction after you talk with your partner! Please let me know if I can help again!

Best,
==Dr. Jackie
Expert:  asensitiveear replied 2 years ago.
It is really difficult to find out that a partner has been unfaithful to you, especially when you are at the stage of engagement which is traditionally considered to be far past the point of exclusivity in a relationship. It sounds like you're are struggling with the ambiguity of the situation. On one hand this individual has committed them self to you but on the other hand they have been unfaithful. They also have made the statement, "He says he still loves me but that he doesn't know if he wants to be with me anymore." and that he is still calling you dear and honey, despite his statement that he doesn't know if wants to be with you.This can be very frustrating. It sounds like you feel that his statements don't appear to line up with his actions and you're having a hard time reconciling that. This is still something fairly recent, and you would benefit from addressing this ambiguity by seeking the assistance of a counselor in your area, before any further decisions.

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