Dear Dr. Turndorf,I need your help I have really messed up a good thing. I have been with my current boyfriend for 3 and a 1/2 yrs. He is in the military and I met him when I had a brother in the military who passed away suddenly.I was in a bad marriage and had filed for divorce. Well anyways, 18 months ago I followed my boyfriend to Maryland. I’m from Vermont I love this man with my heart and soul.He was married twice before and those marriages ended because his wives cheated on him. To make a long story short there were some personal family issues going on with my grandfather’s health, my mom’s health, my ex being demanding about seeing our 5 yr old daughter and I started smoking. Why I don’t know.I tried and it felt like a release and I know it was stupid. Well a week ago my boyfriend caught me and decided that day that it’s over between us that it’s not going to work. We planned on spending the rest of our lives together and now I’m paying a big price. I know that it would be hard to gain his trust again but I really feel that this can work.I made a big mistake and realize I must take responsibility for my actions but he wont talk to me and says his mind is made up. Now we are not kids he is 44 and I’m 42. I don’t know what to say or do to have him not give up on us.I can’t see myself with someone else and he has been very good to my daughter and me. When I have talked to him or tried I’m begging with him to not give up on us and feel it pushes him away further.I need your help please.
If I understand your boyfriend felt betrayed by you because you began smoking cigarettes and didn’t tell him so. The relationship ended abruptly after he caught you smoking.As far as I can tell your boyfriend has serious trust issues. He had two wives who cheated on him and I bet that he chose these women because he knew on some unconscious level that these women couldn’t be trusted. Why would he have chosen women who couldn’t be trusted? This is likely because his trust was broken as a child. Either mom or dad or both parents betrayed him in some way. By choosing wives who continued the pattern of betrayal, he could recreate the trauma he suffered as a child. The need to recreate what he suffered as a kid serves a couple of purposes:1) it keeps him in a familiar place (we humans are creatures of habit); and2) it enables him to replay the original trauma in the hopes of working through the feelings that he suffered as a kid; specifically, the repeat performances enable him to release all the anger that he never expressed to his parents.Now you have fallen into his psychological web.His choosing to view your closet smoking as yet another betrayal in his life, enables him once again to release a little more anger that he harbors toward his parents. You are basically getting a dose of what’s really intended for them. Now the question is what can you do with all this information?You can talk to him and tell him that it seems like your smoking without telling him feels like a betrayal to him. Ask him if this is true?When he agrees, tell him that you understand how he feels. Then you might ask him why he feels the need to get rid of you. Ask him if he can talk about the feelings that are behind his act of ridding you from his life. What feeling is he expressing toward you when he dumps you (hopefully he’ll recognize that he’s feeling anger and acting on it).If he seems open to deeper discussion, then you could gently ease the conversation toward his history. Get him talking about who betrayed him as a child and how he felt about that. Little by little help him to see that he’s giving you all the anger that he didn’t give to his parents.If he can separate you from them, you have a fighting chance of being given another chance. But, beware, the problems with him aren’t resolved. He needs to find a way of working through his issues and feelings or else you’ll always have the wolf at your door. I’ve given you a lot to work with.Let me know how you do.