Hello, I need advice to know what to do...My boyfriend and I have known each other 10 years and been together 16 months. A year ago, his ex girlfriend was texting him still, he hadn't told her about me. Eventually I said it wasn't fair on me so he told her he'd met someone else and it's not fair to be talking to her. She texted a load of abuse about me including threats. The next morning whilst he was in the shower I looked at his texts to see exactly what she had put and noticed texts with another girl at work. It was unclear what they were talking about as he was saying he wanted to hold her and make her feel safe, telling her to "go to that special place ;)" saying her email and made him want to cry etc, saying he'd leave work if she ever left etc. When challenged, his response was that he found out she'd tried to kill herself and was trying to make her feel good about herself. He alleged it made him think of me and what I'd been through (I was physically assaulted by an ex which she allegedly has been too but she had also been raped by her attacker). More background to this is that he was sexually abused as a child and says it gives him a need to help other people. I have always been very understanding and supportive of him. I myself was physically abused as a child. We chose to move on and he recognised the things he said were inappropriate but he never felt anything more for her than friendship. I'll point out also that this girl also has a boyfriend who is apparently very unsupportive etc. A year down the line, in May this year, almost a year to the day since I found out about her, I found a deleted photo of him and her at their work Christmas party in which he had put his arm around her and taken it himself. When challenged he said she came up to him and asked him for a photo because she saw he was taking photos. He awkwardly took the photo said "How are you." and she wandered off to the bar. He deleted it because he was scared of losing me. I've always asked him to be honest and encouraged honesty particularly if there is nothing to hide and he promised me there was nothing and he never sees her other than passing in the corridor anymore. I was naturally hurt he'd done this and not told me and had purposely hidden it from me and we were at breaking point. Recently I've found further photos of her from another work night out from before I originally found out about her. Nothing sinister, but he'd deleted them from our albums on our laptop and they were "accidentally backed up" elsewhere together with a few other randoms. I actually just left it at this point but my jealousy is raging and I find it hard to trust him and because of everything he's hidden, can't help thinking there's more to it. He's truly the love of my life and I adore him, I've had a miserable relationship before where I wasn't in love and I felt truly lucky to have this with someone. But now I'm scared it's not what I thought it was. To add to this..the "special place" was apparently a place he told her he goes when he's feeling down. This is to do with his sexual abuse which he denies he's told her about. He doesn't really talk to me either though, he's said some things. In addition, I'm hurt because if ever I'm upset about so,etching he can't comfort me. He says he could comfort her because he didn't have feelings for her but he can't comfort me because he does and he's scared of rejection. Seems a bit like he was getting the best of both worlds and now, he still works with her so I just don't know what to think or how to feel and whether or not to trust him. Please, please help!
Hello, I am Rafael. Thanks for asking your question - I'm here to support you. (Information posted here is not private or confidential but public).
I am here to support you
I wanted to dialogue with you here so you could better benefit from this service.
I am sorry to know you find yourself in this situation.
It seems like a real dilemma, and it becomes one when the person you date does not show consistent honesty in words and actions.
You have known each other for 10+ years and already date for more than a year, that is a significant period of time for a couple to know some core things about each other. I know it is not the same to know a person as a friend than it is as a partner -boyfriend, but it should allow people to be more open and honest, especially if we talk about adult relationships.
You have depicted a very concrete scenario here, where he has shown a pattern of lack of honesty and openness, and the most concerning aspect of it is his approach of disregarding your needs for understanding and support, to comfort you, while he does it with a female co-worker?
He presented lack of honesty before about his ex-girlfriend, and now this co-worker friend, then it is a pattern, one a girlfriend and one a coworker, and he has had that intimacy and chose to hide it from you. as you said, if there was nothing worn about it why to hide it?
I truly believe he needs to decide if he wants to take good care of your relationship, make it heal and grow as a healthy and fulfilling one of continue undermining it by his choices and actions, fueling further lack of trust and distance between you.
For an adult to offer a good reason t one circumstantial event is fine, but for him to present a pattern justifying simmilar behaviors is not acceptable.
He knows how it undermines the relationship. Sure, all the behaviors you have shared here about hiding things from you.
I am afraid these are red flags pointing at a problem he has around honesty, respect and consistency, one he truly needs to work on himself and with you if he wants for this to work, otherwise new episode like this could appear and undermine your relationship even more.
I use to tell people, specially couples not to trust words, but to rely on concrete actions in time at different settings, since it is them what show what is real from what is fake. Words could be used to manipulate people, but actions show the truth. he needs to show through concrete and consistent actions he respects you, cares a bout you and your relationship and has truly changed.
Absolutely. When a person lies or hides things, specially those that he knows are not OK and would hurt you, he is not being honest, it is not only about boundaries, it is about integrity, respect, caring.
He has personal issues affecting his ability to play a good role in this relationship, and unless he does work on himself and changes, things would not improve.
Look for professional individual counseling. he needs to take full responsibility for his actions and lack of consistency and do commit to make changes while receiving necessary support on changing with professional support what seems to be fixed patterns in his personality.
Absolutely and any other issue related to his lack of openness, honesty, consistency, empathy and support towards you, intimacy, boundaries and other.
Avoiding, denying, repressing or escaping in any way to his own reality, past and feelings would never help but empower and worsen them. he needs to take real full responsibility for his own issues and life and commit to work on it. Couples counseling or any couples program could be very useful as long as each partner works on serious personal issues too, otherwise they would undermine any potential benefit from couples work.
One thins is being bullied and another very different to hold accountability for our own choices and actions, and to avoid that just creates and promotes any form of abuse and neglect against other people. it could become very manipulative to justify lack of accountability based on fear or because of past pain. One thing is to be empathic, understanding and supportive and another totally different one to codependently enable or allow what is unhealthy.
Both, individual and couples counseling seem necessary here.
You're very welcome. You could just try your best, promote and motivate changes but he is the only one with the power to do this, only if he chooses to and commits, real improvements would develop. Thanks for your trust.
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Is this clear?
You're welcome. Take gentle care and consistent action.