Dear Dr. Love,I have been in a year long relationship with a married man. After 7 months I discovered he was married and wrote to you. He and I both agreed that your advice was very good, ie that the wife is not blameless and has also, in some way, contributed to the undoing of his marriage.You warned me, however, to watch his potential to keep information hidden from me. Quite by chance I ran into his previous girlfriend and she admitted to me that they were seeing each other through the first half of our relationship (when he met me he told her he wanted to see other people but she still loved him) and he had recently called her to meet up again.So I split up with him. After two weeks he called me, apologized, referred to everything with her as a moment of weakness, and asked to see me again. He says the last call he made to her wasn’t for sex which I don’t believe (I was out of town and she didn’t want to see him).He admits that he cheated but blames me because I sometimes refused to see or talk to him. This happened whenever he made me crazy with jealousy by taking a trip w/o me (he met up with her) or acting as though we weren’t together at a dance. He says he doesn’t trust me for cornering her and revealing our personal life (yes, I did have quite a long conversation with her). And for telling my family what happened because they hate him now and I must see him in secret.He still says he loves me. I love him but I have horrible flashbacks of mistrust whenever he doesn’t call or claims he has a meeting with a client or social event. I think part of the problem is that I truly don’t believe he has anguished over any of the tremendous hurt he caused me. I ask myself, why if he lied before wouldn’t he lie again.I feel I’m losing my myself. My mind is continuously trying to match all of the pieces of his stories and his whereabouts. He says he’s getting very tired of being accused. I feel so cynical and mean and ugly where I was so so full of love and trust and happiness before. He acts as though nothing has happened.Finally, I know fidelity is very hard for him. Is there something I can do to accept him or be content again like I once was?
You are asking me how you can forget what you know and accept him and be content again. The problem is that you now know that you can’t trust him and there’s no way around this fact.You wish to return to a time when you were happy and content with him. However, you seem to forget that your happiness and contentment was based upon a incomplete knowledge of this man; in other words, your happiness was a fairy tale, an illusion.He can try to turn the tables back on you and tell you that he’s sick of being accused, but you aren’t accusing him for no reason. He lied before and, as you said yourself, why wouldn’t he lie again. I don’t see him taking responsibility for his own behavior. I see him pointing the finger at you.Meanwhile, I see you protecting him from your anger and misdirecting the anger back on yourself. You attack yourself for being cynical, mean, and ugly instead of owning how angry you are at him for betraying your trust. How on earth is he going to take responsibility for himself when no one is pointing the finger at him?In answer to your question, how can you return to a state of happiness with this man, your only hope is for him to take responsibility for his pattern of withholding information and lying. He needs to commit to work on understanding why he withholds and lies, and to resolve the pattern.If he isn’t willing to do this, there is no way that you will ever be able to trust him again, let alone return to any kind of happiness together.