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Dr. Norman Brown
Dr. Norman Brown, Marriage Therapist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1168
Experience:  Family Therapist & teacher 35+ yrs; PhD research in couples
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My partner of almost four years cheated on me and I caught

Customer Question

My partner of almost four years cheated on me and I caught him and he ended up lying to me that it was a one time thing but the person he cheated with got hold of my phone number and told me that they were together for 8 months ...I believe in second chances and was asking my bf to reconsider his decision ...we stayed month apart and he sent small texts like missing you ...thinking of you etc ....week ago he asked me to give him a chance and he will prove to me that he loves me ..well week is gone and I don't feel love ..he doesn't send me sweet texts as he used to or ask.me how my day goes or anything like that ..usually I always say I love you and I feel like I made it to easy for him because he said that reason he cheated was because I didn't give him attention ....so I started giving him attention and now he says that I am giving him too much and it looks fake and its pushing him away ..but if someone loves someone isn't it good to show that individual that you care about him ...he doesbt reply to.me when I say I love you or miss you etc ...just confused because I don't feel loved at all ....confused why he would want.me back but doesnt want to show me affection or anything ...yet he says he loves me
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Dear Debra replied 3 years ago.

Deardebra :

It sounds like he is worried that you are not going to take him back or forgive him. It sounds like he is unsure how you feel.

Deardebra :

At first he really went all out and was trying to get you back but then I feel after the sweet texts he became worried that you would never be with him again.

Deardebra :

He had said the reason he cheated was because he felt you did not give enough attention.

Deardebra :

Of course cheating is wrong and it should not have happened. What should have happened was him asking you that he needed more attention.

Deardebra :

He should have sat you down and told you how he felt instead of cheating. In a relationship you need to had open communication so you can understand each others wants and needs.

JACUSTOMER-wmq57j29- :

well i am not sure why he is now wanting to take it slow ..i told him that i forgive him and that i love him..but when i went over to his place he kept a distance .i would expect that he would be all over me but he wasnt..i asked him why he doesnt call me or says sweet stuff like he did and he said i am smothering him with attention and it feels fake and he metioned somethibg about that i didnt truly forgive him but that i am forgiving him maybe because of fear....but if he cheated on me due to lack of attention why would he not like thr attention amd how do i know that he loves me when he doesbt show me ...

Deardebra :

What is happening is he feels that you are just acting affection. He doesn't feel that you are being real with him like you are just acting your affection.

Deardebra :

He is asking you to do it only f you mean it.

Deardebra :

He now feels that you are afraid to lose him and not give him attention out of fear he will cheat again. That is what he is trying to say. It sounds like he doesn't really know how much you love him.

Deardebra :

He needs to be reassured how you feel.

Deardebra :

I think he is backing off because he thinks he is going to lose you.

JACUSTOMER-wmq57j29- :

but how do i do that .i told him numerous times.i actually was the one that asked him to reconsider..i feel like i am thr victim not him..i wanted to show him by coming to visit him more often rtc but he says that its pushing him away ..i am afraid of what to sayto him .i dont want to lose him ..he did mention that he was once cheated on and no matter what he did it wasnt good enough ..i told him i love him and its real ..how can i show him without loosing him

Deardebra :

You don't want him to turn this around on you because

Deardebra :

that is a way for him to get you to forgive what he did, there is no excuse for cheating and he knows that you are worried that he will leave, so he knows you will keep trying, but the truth is he needs to chase you.

Deardebra :

He cheated and he needs to work on keeping you in his life.

JACUSTOMER-wmq57j29- :

but howdo i make him chase me ..i feel like i amdoing all the work and everything is according to his needs and feel like he isnt taking my feelings and needs in consideration

Deardebra :

What you want to do now is let him come too you. Let him worry that you have backed off.

JACUSTOMER-wmq57j29- :

was thinking about breaking up with him and to tell him when he is rrady to love me to contact me but then i am afraid to lose him butbyet this is killing me that he isnt chasibg me or showing me or showing me affection

Deardebra :

You do not want to break up cause that might push him away for good.

Deardebra :

What you want to do is to change your routine a little.

JACUSTOMER-wmq57j29- :

so how does someone go about doing that

Deardebra :

Let say you text in the mourning asking how things are, you want to not text in the mourning. If you text lets say 5 times a day, you want to stop so he will wonder why you are not texting.

JACUSTOMER-wmq57j29- :

ok i guess ill have to learn to not send him texts first and be quick to respond to him..i thought of that but was thinkingbthat he will say that he isnt getting attention etc and so push him away ....what if he asks wjy r u distant from me

Deardebra :

He is asking for more attention then when you gave it too him, he backed off and didn't give back the attention.

Deardebra :

If he asked why, you tell him that he felt it was fake, so you are going to wait until he realizes that it is real.

JACUSTOMER-wmq57j29- :

i sent him a text like 15 min ago i love you have a great night and he hasnt replied yet..i guess that was my mistake

JACUSTOMER-wmq57j29- :

but i though i was being sincere.i was never in this situation

Deardebra :

In a relationship you should be able to fully express yourself and tell someone how you feel when you feel it. If you love someone it comes very natural to just say it without even thinking. When someone says you are just showing him this love because you are worried that he might cheat he is not letting you be yourself and express yourself. You need to explain too him that he can not stop you expressing yourself because over time you will stop because you will feel like it will not matter how many times you say how much you care.

JACUSTOMER-wmq57j29- :

And thats exactly how i feel that he is not letting me be me but then it hurts me when he doesnt reply or initualixe the i love you ..its kinda pushing me away and i am still hurt and looking for those things and he just isnt giving me what i need

Deardebra :

I know this relationship can change and that he will give you back the love you need.

Deardebra :

But right now you both are in this transition period.

Deardebra :

This is like a relationship starting all over agin.

Deardebra :

There seems to be something bothering him and that is why he is pushing you away.

Deardebra :

He needs to talk about how he feels and tell you why his feelings are blocked for you right now.

JACUSTOMER-wmq57j29- :

during the break up i did say some mean stuff that i apologized but that was when i found out that he cheated on me .i brought up some stuff that i shouldnt and he said he understands thatbi didnt mean it but i feel like he is using that against me ...i just feel like i cant talk to him i am pushing stuff onto him about this issue becasuse he says that

Deardebra :

It is very normal to say things you do not mean when you are hurt and upset.

JACUSTOMER-wmq57j29- :

i asked him if his feelings are feelings of love or feelings that he cares about me like a friend

Deardebra :

He needs to understand that it was in the heat of the moment that you said things, but he did cheat and he was wrong.

Deardebra :

The reason he is using it against you is because he feels guilty about what he did.

Deardebra :

It is very normal for someone to put the blame on someone else when they do something wrong.

JACUSTOMER-wmq57j29- :

i did tell him that but he keeps going to the thing lets start slow and see what happens but i just feel like i am wasting my time because i dont get anytjing in return exceot few words and trying to figure him out is making me upset ..i miss you when told him how come you said i miss you andi am thinking of you when we were apart and now its gone

JACUSTOMER-wmq57j29- :

ops i mean to say during break he sent me i miss you and thinking of you and now he ignores me..just dont know what my next step is and how to keep going

Deardebra :

This is what I want you to do.

Deardebra :

I want you to be yourself and just love him without even thinking about.

JACUSTOMER-wmq57j29- :

but what good will it do me if i am hurt when the love is not returned

Deardebra :

I feel that he will see that you do truly love him, right now he is unsure.

Deardebra :

He doesn't want to get close too you and then him get his heart broken. This relationship needs more time to heal and to

Deardebra :

understand that you both love each other.

Deardebra :

If you could please accept my answer thank you.

Deardebra :

He is putting up walls in order not to get hurt but I feel that he will over time drop his guard and you both will see changes in your relationship. Some ties people love someone so much that they back away because they are unable to handle the overwhelming feelings they have for the person, they would rather back away then put their heart out there to be broken. But if the person is reassured about how much the person is going to be there and how much they love them, then tend to begin to see that the person is not trying to hurt them. they are truly trying to love them. He will see that your intentions are real and that even though there were times when negative words were exchanged that you forgive him and that it is time to move on to create the best relationship. The past now need to be let go and you both need to move on together. You both need to now focus on each other and reconnecting this relationship again. It is important that each person knows

Deardebra :

how each other feels. You both need to express your emotions and both not be afraid to love each other.

Deardebra :

He will see that you care and he then will begin to understand that this relationship deserves a chance.

JACUSTOMER-wmq57j29- :

sorry for the delay was disconected

JACUSTOMER-wmq57j29- :

dont know where we left off but you think its worth me chasinghim or staying in this relationship..i feel like by him putting these expectations from me he isnt allowing me to be me and i dont know how to tell him that without him accusing me of being pushy

JACUSTOMER-wmq57j29- :

i know he blames me for what i said to him during the heat of the moment and i am not sure if people who cheat ever realize that they r not the victims

Deardebra :

He is putting up walls in order not to get hurt but I feel that he will over time drop his guard and you both will see changes in your relationship. Some ties people love someone so much that they back away because they are unable to handle the overwhelming feelings they have for the person, they would rather back away then put their heart out there to be broken. But if the person is reassured about how much the person is going to be there and how much they love them, then tend to begin to see that the person is not trying to hurt them. they are truly trying to love them. He will see that your intentions are real and that even though there were times when negative words were exchanged that you forgive him and that it is time to move on to create the best relationship. The past now need to be let go and you both need to move on together. You both need to now focus on each other and reconnecting this relationship again. It is important that each person knows

8:27 PM

how each other feels. You both need to express your emotions and both not be afraid to love each other.

8:28 PM

He will see that you care and he then will begin to understand that this relationship deserves a chance.

Deardebra :

That is where we left off what I just reposted I wanted to make sure you got to read it.

Deardebra :

I want you to tell him this. Explain that you feel the past is the past and that you both can never move on unless you both forgive.

Deardebra :

It is ok not to forget what he has done, but both of you need to forgive each other leave the past in the past and move on together.

Deardebra :

The past if it keeps being brought up then the relationship will never move forward and it will be stuck in the past.

Deardebra :

The past will consume you both and you will not grow together.

Deardebra :

You both need to start again, reconnect and plan for a long further together.

Deardebra :

*You both need to start again, reconnect and plan for a long future together.

Deardebra :

You need to act like this is a start of a whole new relationship together.

JACUSTOMER-wmq57j29- :

and i get that but my challenge is him and trying to open his eyes but i guess only time will tell..i will just bsck off little as much as it hurts and wait

Deardebra : You want him to realize your love is true and he needs to see that in time. It's going to take time for him to see you are here and you are staying to work this out. Once he sees that you are there things will change. Please accept my answer.
JACUSTOMER-wmq57j29- :

i dont see any of my questions showing up on here...i wonder if there is something wrong with the system

JACUSTOMER-wmq57j29- :

as i said before he texted me this morning and said good morning i ignored the message and didn't reply anything until late afternoon...it breaks my heart to ignore his messages becasue i feel like i should not need to be playing these games and such....i am always afraid that me pulling back he will pull back as well and eventually the relationship desolve

JACUSTOMER-wmq57j29- :

he texted hii when he got off work and such but for some reason he never seems to ask me how my day is going and such.he always just refers to i hope you have a good day. I was telling him that I had some issues with my lawnmore and didn't have anyone to help me lift it and such and he replied back with...aww you wan't me to come ? Even thou i wanted him to come i declined and told him no thank you anyways for the offer..... I don't know what is going on just confused in my mind how come he doesn't have no interest in my day or asking me anything personal..i feel like its always safe conversations that don't involve asking how my day is going...I always ask him how his day went and he always responds to that but never asks me..

JACUSTOMER-wmq57j29- :

also his birthday is coming up and when I asked him what he wanted for his bday he said he didn't want anything its just a regular day. I made plans to go to chicago for the weekend and such but then when he told me that everything I was doing was fake and its pushing him away i cancelled the plans and now I am stuck on what I need to do. I feel like I need to do something for his birthday to show him that I care even thou he thinks its just a birthday but then why do all of that if he thinks its fake....i don't know if I should just call him on his birthday and say happy birthday or if I should actually make plans for a dinner or something like that... i feel like i want to do something romantic but if he doesn't say that he loves me or misses me or anything then what is the point of the romantic dinner......how do i approach this birthday issue..any ideas please

Deardebra :

I'm going to switch to Q&A so you can see your questions.

JACUSTOMER-wmq57j29- :

i can see them right now

JACUSTOMER-wmq57j29- :

do you see my questions.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.


as i said before he texted me this morning and said good morning i ignored the message and didn't reply anything until late afternoon...it breaks my heart to ignore his messages becasue i feel like i should not need to be playing these games and such....i am always afraid that me pulling back he will pull back as well and eventually the relationship desolve






4:11 PM



he texted hii when he got off work and such but for some reason he never seems to ask me how my day is going and such.he always just refers to i hope you have a good day. I was telling him that I had some issues with my lawnmore and didn't have anyone to help me lift it and such and he replied back with...aww you wan't me to come ? Even thou i wanted him to come i declined and told him no thank you anyways for the offer..... I don't know what is going on just confused in my mind how come he doesn't have no interest in my day or asking me anything personal..i feel like its always safe conversations that don't involve asking how my day is going...I always ask him how his day went and he always responds to that but never asks me..






4:16 PM



also his birthday is coming up and when I asked him what he wanted for his bday he said he didn't want anything its just a regular day. I made plans to go to chicago for the weekend and such but then when he told me that everything I was doing was fake and its pushing him away i cancelled the plans and now I am stuck on what I need to do. I feel like I need to do something for his birthday to show him that I care even thou he thinks its just a birthday but then why do all of that if he thinks its fake....i don't know if I should just call him on his birthday and say happy birthday or if I should actually make plans for a dinner or something like that... i feel like i want to do something romantic but if he doesn't say that he loves me or misses me or anything then what is the point of the romantic dinner......how do i approach this birthday issue..any ideas please



Expert:  Dear Debra replied 3 years ago.
I would plan something for his birthday so he knows that you care and that you took the time out to plan something for him. People often say they don't want to celebrate their birthdays or it's just another day, but birthdays are important because it is the day the person you love was born so you tell him that you are planning something because it means a lot too you to do something special for him.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thats what I think too..... I texted him today and asked him if he wants to talk and that was two hours ago and still no reply....I think he is playing that chasing game and I don't know how long I can do this anymore because I feel like that he is not into me anymore but yet he keeps texting me small talk

Expert:  Dear Debra replied 3 years ago.
Back off just a little and see if he comes too you. I think if he doesn't hear from you he will get worried you are not into him anymore.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

what does it mean little ...not talk at all entire day and then what ..if i dont text or call him and he reaches out to me what do i say then to him

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

this trying not to reach out and say something to him is much harder then I imagined. Unsure how he can go on daily playing these games..

Expert:  Dear Debra replied 3 years ago.
You need to see if he will come too you right now he knows you are chasing him and he needs to see that you are there but he needs to also put the effort in to keep you interested.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

i did not say to him anything all friday .it was hard and then i texted him and called and he never replied until few hours later..i dobt know why he is playibg games and i feel like if i dont text or call he doesnt either but when we talk its all perfect except that he never says anything like love you or miss you or plans a date.i asked him what he is doing next weeeknd and he said he was off so of course i asked if he is coming to sre me and he said i can but i made the arrangements etc..itbis so hard when i dont hear from him but i sre now tgat he plays that chasibg gameand i just feel like sendinf him message that its over but then i back out...its his birthday next saturday and i planned a dinner and going to get him a gift but then i asked if he is going to spend the night since he is out of town and he was like i can if you want to because i work the next day and he dont ..ao now i took off but not sure if i should spend the night with him or just go home after plans ..feel lile he is going to think that all i do is fake and i am nuts ....just confused

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

i am also startibg to believe that he is doing this to test me or oush me to break up so that he dobt feel guiltyor simething

Customer: replied 3 years ago.


I appreciate your help and it was great advise but found out he was still cheating on me and its over..Thank You for your help

Expert:  Dr. Norman Brown replied 3 years ago.

I imagine you've already paid DearDebra, but I'll add something anyway. 4 years without getting married is more than the 3 years that it normally takes for the initial passion (biologically generated so humans will stay in love long enough to generate and wean at least one baby) to simmer down. Then the differences that have been somewhat ignored grow like weeds and the motivation of passion to cope with them is often way weaker than one expected, and more so for one partner (the man, who since the 60s cultural shift to sexual freedom-from-marriage can be more responsive to his sexual feelings than before). In cultures world-wide where divorce or separation is easy the most common years for sep/div are yr 3&4 of getting together.

 

So in gross generalization, that's what has happened to you. Debra was advising you about approaching and withdrawing. But the crude emotional reality underneath this directions is this: The person who's more willing to leave the relationship always has more power than the person who want to restore it. Called Pursuer/Distancer Dance, with the Distancer having more power. So when you backed off or issued an ultimatum, he'd pursue you, but once you wanted back in, he'd back off: and that's because "New love chases away old love" because the passion level is still high.

 

For women like you Morality usually plays a bigger role, because women aren't as much driven by passion & particularly sexual passion--since they're responsible for raising children and that leads them to naturally achieve a broader view of the relationship than just how "hot" it is in the bedroom. Yet passion kicks in to prevent the partner from leaving, so the Distancer does ignite passion in his (or her) partner, even if it's not so explicitly sexual.

 

Bottom line: You're right. It's Over. And you're not alone in this experience at all. And beware: Breaking up and reuniting reignites passion and can keep you breaking your heart several times, until it hurts more to be together than to be apart. But our emotions are designed to recover from such painful "brinksmanship." Your new day will come, and later, New Love as well.. But keep your eye out for Roller-coaster Love (as a habit-forming version of Brinksmanship), because the added excitement&fear isn't worth the more enduring repetitious hurt.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

thank you ..he ended up cheating on me even after he asked me back and said he loved me and wants life with me ..i found out thru his partner that texted me to leave him alone because they r in bed .and then my ex who said he loved me said sorry and he is selfish and sont know why he cheated on me for years..thats all he said ..nothing else ...just blame myself for loving and trustinf him and allowing him back in my life when he was stilll cheating on me ..just confused why he would chase me back and say i love u miss you but then still cheat on me ..and then i had to find out thru his partner now ..

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