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TherapistJen, LCSW, CPC
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 3529
Experience:  Licensed Clinical Social Worker.
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I have been involved with someone for several years that I

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I have been involved with someone for several years that I met in Hawaii. He relocated to the East Coast to be with me.
he professes his love for me constantly and we have always gotten along. I found out that he had contact with several women, whom he called friends. I did speak with two of them and they confirmed that the relationship was platonic. The third one I contacted, a bartender, and she said he would call her and she felt he was coming on to her, but nothing happened and she was not interested in him.. I confronted him about it and he said that they were friends, it was innocent and he likes to flirt, that he has never cheated on me, nor would he. He said he will not ever call any women again and that he is sorry, I am the love of his life and he will never do anything like that again. I am not sure what to do since I really care for him, but am hurt by hits actions and don't know if I can trust him. I am not
Sure what to do.
Hi. Welcome. I am a Licensed Master Social Worker with more than 20 years experience working with individuals and families on a variety of issues.

I can hear how your trust is shaken a bit. What that may indicate is that you both feel so strongly for one another and realize that the stakes are high and you don't want to lose one another. These feelings of worry and loss are common as you get closer to one another. I might suggest that you spend some time together, as you have, talking about your feelings and worries so that you can come together and rebuild the trust.

There are many men who do enjoy the friendship of other women and if you feel he is faithful to you then it becomes about whether you can accept that part of him. It sounds to me like you both have a strong love for one another and want to do what is right for each other and the relationship. If you trust him deeply then these friendships won't affect that. All of that changes if he is sneaky about things or hides things from you or doesn't include you in those aspects of his life.

So, open up a dialog about it all with him. Talk about your desires, your ideas about the relationship, trust, friendships...all of it. I think once you can be open with each other and keep the communication open, you can feel trust again. I know you are hurt, but I do not think that you want to abandon this relationship. Communicate with him about your feelings and hear his and I do believe you will come out of this with a stronger sense of love and trust. How does that sound?
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Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Thank you. That sounds like good advice, but what bothers me the most is that it seems like he was coming on to the one woman and I don't know if I can forgive him for that.
I would talk to him about that aspect as well. Remember that you are hearing that from some random woman on the phone and her impression....that doesn't necessarily make it accurate and something maybe she had hoped for but wasn't really the case. So, be open to the idea that it may not be that way at all. Talk to him and see how he responds. Try as best as you can not to be accusatory but rather come from a place of love and gentleness which will allow him to talk freely about his feelings.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Thank you. I don't think it was just her impression. She hurt her back and he told her that he was a maasage therapist and he could give her a massage. i was really upset when i heard ths because althugh he is not a massage therapist, i do have occasional back pain and he massages me quite often.
She replied, What about your girlfriend? He said, She went ack to Hawaii.
I am still on the East Coast and am not from Hawaii.
When confronted about this, he said that he only offered her a massage, but was not planning on actually doing it, just flirting. He denied saying that his girlfriend (me) went back to Hawaii. This is why I don't feel like I can trust him. I really feel like what he did was inappropriate and disrespectful to me and can't get it out of my mind. He calls me constantly and apologizes
I feel like he is sorry, but if given the opportunity, he would have cheated on me, and I feel like I don't really know him. I asked him if these friendships were so innocent, why didn't he ever tell me about them. He says it was no big deal. If I didn't check the phone records, I would never have known. I am devastated and confused and he doesn't want to talk about it anymore, so I feel like we can't move forward.
I believe your feelings are valid and as difficult as it may be for him, he needs to be able to tolerate your desire to talk about it until you feel satisfied and able to move on. I think he needs to understand how these "innocent" times of flirting are hurtful to you and inappropriate....that it crosses the boundary of friendship and disrespects you in the process.

If he cannot let you be open about your feelings then it will be hard for both of you to move past this. There is a reason you checked his phone, and most likely because you had an underlying fear. Continue to try and talk with him and let yourself feel what you feel.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Thank you. I really appreciate all of your advice.
It is my pleasure. I wish you all wonderful things. Come back to me anytime.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you.

A few days have passed and my emotions keep changing. I told him I would forgive him, but could never forget the betrayal. He said he didn't betray me because nothing ever happened, yet he had no clear answer as to why he would get phone numbers in bars from other women, just that he was a flirt. I also believe it may have been going on longer than I suspect; that is, getting phone numbers from other women. Whether anything happened, I guess I will never know, and that is what is really bothersome, and the fact that he has no clear answer as to why he would do this. I said that innocent flirting is one thing, but when you call them, that is different. Most of the phone calls were one minute or less, so I really don't know what happened.

I told him that maybe we should just be friends and that I would always care for him, that maybe he should see other people, and he said no, that he traveled 6,000 miles to be with me. I said that I didn't want him going to bars unless he was with me, and he agreed, although I don't know how long that will last. I feel like I am putting restrictions on him and maybe it is not fair to him, nor to me, since I feel like I can't trust him anymore. He lost his job about a year ago and I work, so I guess he has too much time on his hands.

My feelings keep changing -- I am fine one minute, and then I feel so betrayed and don't want to feel like a fool for believing him in case something did ever happen. I keep picturing him in a bar, chatting up these women and exchaning phone numbers, and that is something I don't know if I can ever overcome. I told him that I have been approached before and never gave my number to anyone because I was in a committed relationship. He does now admit that what he did was wrong, but I am just torn. I can't control my feelings.

I understand the roller coaster of your is normal. Not easy at all, but normal. I might suggest sitting with the feelings and not making any fast decisions. The good thing is that he is realizing what he did wasn't right, so let's give it some time to see if he can make some changes...time will give you that answer. In the meantime try and give him that trust to see if things can feel better. Do you think you can give both of you that space to heal and see if things can feel better?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Do you suggest we not see each other for awhile, maybe only communicate by phone? I did see him this weekend at a restaurant and it was difficult mainly because I can't understand his actions. We have plans to attend a play together Thursday evening.

Thank you.

I am not sure that taking a break will be helpful. I would spend time together and try to reconnect and rebuild that trust and love that you do have for him. I truly understand how you feel but I also know how you love and care for him, so give it some time and spend some time doing easy going and lovely things together.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
We spent time together, but it isn't working out since he seems to think that since he wasn't unfaithful, he really didn't do anything wrong. Then we discuss it some more and he agrees that it was wrong. And I asked him why he would call Deanna sometimes within one minute of calling me. His response: I don't know. This would occur when he knew I wasn't coming over because I was working late.
He says he had offers from women, but would flirt up to a point where he knew they were interested, but then stop. That to me is difficult to believe. He said it was just a game.
I asked him why did he have to call these women and he said to talk. I said that no phone call was over a minute except several were 2 to 3 mins.
I just can't get the picture out of my head of him in a bar flirting and exchanging phone numbers. I have been gaving difficulty concentrating and have headaches and feel very anxious.
I even pay for his phone and we just got back from a trip to the Carribean when I found all of this out. I paid for this trip and others. I have been really good to him over the years and just an so hurt, I don't know what I should do. We went to a concert last night, got in an argument and have not heard from him yet. I feel hurrahs disrespected. I asked him why didn't he tell me about his "friends" and calling them. He just says he doesn't know
Last week you asked if some time apart may be in order and I do believe that now it would be a good idea to take some time for yourself to figure out if this is what you want moving forward. If he is unable to know why he is reaching out to other women then he needs to figure that out and maybe with the help of a therapist. Something is lacking for him around his self esteem and reaching out to other women bolsters him in some way, but this cannot continue at your expense.

I hear how hard it is for you and how good you have been to him. So now it is time to be good to yourself and take some time just for you to determine how you feel and what you want moving forward with or without him.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I haven't heard from him yet today after we had an argument after we attended a concert. On his way home his tire blew out and he called me after AAA fixed it. It was almost midnight and he said he was going home, but had thought about stopping for a drink because he had a lousy week, etc.. I got upset and said after all we've been through, I can't believe you would even think about stopping for a drink, especially at that hour. He got mad and told me he was home and he loved me and hung up.
Also, he admitted he is an alcoholic. He does drink too much sometimes. He's not a mean drunk and he never gets to the point of being drunk to excess, but I know he drinks every day where I only drink a few cocktails a week if that. He has an addictive personality. Do you think this could be a covlntributing factor to his actions?
I do and I think getting himself into treatment is the way to go here. Things likely will not change if he is drinking and making poor decisions. But again, you must take care of yourself....if he wont get help then you can't force him, but you can control how you respond to it and how you care for yourself.

My focus and concern is for you and your care so that is where I want your focus to be.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Thank you. I agree, but don't see him pursuing treatment unless I set it up. Don't know if he could find a free program since he is unemployed. Maybe the VA? Anyway, I am 55 and he is 73, so I guess since he has been this way most of his life, change would be difficult. He tells me he has changed. I know maybe he wants to, but you can't change overnight.
He has been telling me over the past 8 years that I'm the only woman he has been faithful to. Who knows what to believe, said he'd take an AIDS test. He keeps saying, what a shame, how much he loves me and he never wanted to hurt me.
I agree I need to take care of myself. Do you think I should have no contact, even by phone, for awhile, and if so, how long? Or should I talk to him once in awhile?
I would start withe the VA and AA.
In terms of you...only you can decide how much contact feels right for you based on what you need around this. Let your gut be your guide.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Thank you so much. You've been wonderful and I truly appreciate it
It is my pleasure and I am here for you when you need. Focus on you!