Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Doctor Love: Not Again


Readers email your question to [email protected]. Your letters are edited solely for grammar, spelling and length.

Dear Doctor Love,
In the past my boyfriend has been unfaithful to me. I found out because they were sexting each other. He begged me to forgive him and agreed to be open with his friendships with other women, so his phone is not off limits to me. I agreed to give him another chance and we’ve worked hard to put our relationship back together.
Recently he received a text from “Mario” and when I looked, it was obvious that “Mario” was a woman. This was a new contact. He saved her under a man’s name.
The chats started about three weeks ago and this one was an invitation to come watch a movie with her. His answer was that he can’t tonight, he is busy.
Why not say he has a girlfriend and young child so he can’t come over? If she’s just a friend why hide her name? He is doing exactly what he promised not to do and it is looking the same way it did the last time he cheated.
Do I ask him or let it go and trust his promise to never cheat on me again?
/s/Not Again

Dear Not Again,
Everyone has friendships outside of their relationship and most cases are innocent. It’s possible that “Mario” was a mistake and should have been “Maria”. It’s also possible that your boyfriend understands your sensitivity to his friendships with other women and decided to spare your feelings and keep this one secret. Undoubtedly a bad choice because it has raised a number of red flags.
When a partner has been unfaithful, they have to work extra hard to maintain transparency and earn back the trust. Then they have to keep that trust.
The invitation to watch a movie might be completely innocent, but you think he should have put it straight that he is in a relationship and there would be no going over to her house. That answer would have made you less suspicious. His response of “not tonight” left the door open for another time and while that in itself doesn’t mean danger, it is unsettling. A man who has already cheated can read the signs, so it is unlikely that he is oblivious to they way the flirting game is played.
Ask him, but no matter his answer, the trust is not there. Innocent or not, whether you believe him or not, you must decide if you can get to the point of complete trust him in the future. Nobody can go through life under suspicion any more than one can go through life being suspicious.

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