Okay, so, I feel incredibly ridiculous for seeking advice on this--because in my heart I know that something is wrong if I feel the need to even go through my man's phone, and maybe that gut feeling (insecurity) should be enough for me to break it off and work on my self-confidence and just do me. But I'll ask anyway because maybe you will validate my intuition, or maybe help me see something I don't. So that's why I'm submitting.
So I went through my man's text messages. We've been "official" for a little more than a year. We knew each other for about a year and a half prior. When we met he had a girlfriend with whom he shares a child. He also is a former pro-athlete and is accustomed to "groupies."
I befriended him despite knowing I was playing with fire, given our intense attraction to one another and his committed relationship. It turned into a sexual relationship and I fell in love, back then. His girlfriend caught wind of our relationship about ten months later and even called me to confirm/question me. He became angry that I spoke with her and soon after disappeared into a new relationship. And I also just went on with my own life.
Six months later, we reconnected and he claimed everything was clear and it was me he truly wanted to marry. We quickly moved in together. In my head, it was just God's timing and we needed time apart to be ready to commit to one another. But, a few months in, while reminiscing with him about our trysts, he said he didn't loved me back then, and that we were just friends because he had a girlfriend. Defensively, he said I would never catch him cheating, which I found odd, because I thought this was just something he might have had to say back when he had a girlfriend, and now that we're together, he'd admit he had feelings back then, too! It felt as if he just didn't want me to think he'd ever cheat and if he did have sex outside our relationship it would mean nothing.
The realization that I had feelings long before he did, or that I am willing to admit it and he isn't, hurt . It didn't change what he feels for me now, but it made me a tad bit insecure and I never bring up memories from our past anymore, now that I know he doesn't think of them as fondly as I do.
So, that's the point when I started snooping through his phone every now and again. Like if I happened to have it when my phone died or something. Then, about three or four months into my snooping, I found flirtatious exchanges between him and another woman. It was overt and it started on his end; she barely responded.
Initially, I felt jealous, thinking why doesn't he flirt with me like that anymore? But then, I figured maybe I'm not being sexy enough and I just tried to step my game up. I didn't tell him I knew, initially, because I knew I was wrong to snoop, which was a violation of his privacy. Besides, it was just flirting. Then, after two weeks of holding it in, it just kept bothering me and I finally decided it was disrespectful to our relationship and I spoke up. He then said that's what I get for going through his phone, that girl was just a friend and he just "plays" with her. I asked him if he would stop flirting like that and he said it was just the way he talks and I just need not go through his phone. I now feel like he doesn't care how I feel, but I feel so petty for wanting to end our entire relationship over a few sexy texts to another girl, given all the other things I've forgiven. But for some reason, I just don't know how to get over this one, yet, I'm having trouble mustering up the courage to break up.
Can you help?
Dear Textually Frustrated,
Wow! Talk about burying the lead, going the long way around, and beating around the bush! Your submission was a very long winded way to say your relationship is based on distrust. Now, this is the part where I talk to you like a girlfriend or even a big sister so, get ready for a blunt response and know I am delivering it with love.
The Thing About Trust:
I live by one simple rule pertaining to trust: once trust is broken, it can never be repaired; the heart will always remember where it has been torn. Somewhere along the way, your boyfriend broke your trust and, as you mentioned, you have forgiven him many times before. So, whether it's this situation or things that happened in the past, you'll never forget what he has done. At the same time, now that you have violated his privacy and broken his trust, he will never forget what you have done! Now, what you have here is a relationship in which neither person trusts the other, and a relationship without trust cannot stand.
The Thing About Patterns:
But are you surprised? When you met and began sleeping with him, he was in a relationship and saw nothing wrong with cheating on that woman with you! And may I remind you, you saw nothing wrong with it, either. Ergo, you accepted a lying, cheating man into your life, became a part of his infidelities, and now you have the audacity to question his loyalty to anyone but himself? Just as everyone has a past, we all have patterns and they tend to repeat, and you aren't allowed to be mad at someone when their repeated behavior, of which you've always been aware, repeats onto you. All he has done is what he has always done, which leads me to assume that you're doing what you have always done, as well.
The Bottom Line:
You've only gotten what you've asked for. If you want to start seeing different results, you're going to have to begin making different decisions. You will also have to start being very honest about what's happening in your life and your relationship. Living in a fantasy state, seeing only what you want to see and making truths from hopes, is futile. You are in a relationship with someone you don't trust and who doesn't trust you. Your relationship is over, but that's not what you really want to hear, though you know it's true. You want to believe that you made the right decision when you decided to become sexually involved with a man who was in a relationship and who left you once his girlfriend found out. You want to believe that when he chose her and his family over you, it was just because it wasn't your time to be together. You wanted to believe he loved you back then, but he is telling you he didn't and that truth is just too heavy for you to carry––just like all the other truths you're facing. The bottom line is, you are a woman living in a world you have made up and created and now that that world is cracking, you're too afraid of real life to venture out into it.
Aren't you tired?
Here's Your Homework:
Get real with yourself, my love. Take stock of your choices and pinpoint the decision you made that lead to this moment, right here. Then, begin to unravel that decision. If the choice that lead you here was the day you met this man, begin to unravel your relationship with him even more than it has frayed already. You cannot go back in time and change what has already been done, but you can what change happens from this day forward by unraveling the binds of bad choices.
It sounds like you know it's time to move on but maybe you're just not ready to admit that you're the one who put yourself here. So, first, you'll have to be honest with yourself. Spend some time alone, telling yourself all the truths you've been dodging. Look at your reflection in the mirror and just say it––all of it. Your life is your responsibility––that includes your happiness and sadness. All of it is because of decisions you are either making or not making.
Here's What Will Happen:
It takes time to unravel a relationship and I am not naive enough to believe you're going to barge into the next room and tell your man that your trust-less relationship is over. But, living in your truths instead of in your hopes will help you to make better choices moving forward and to move closer to what you want and deserve in your life and in all your relationships. Because you deserve more and it's time for you to start believing that.
It is true that we accept the love we think we deserve. Change your mind and you'll change you life!
Did you start a relationship it someone who was already in a relationship and later had trust issues with him or her? Do you believe in relationship karma? Do you subscribe to the mantra, you'll lose him how you found him?
New York Times best selling author, keynote speaker and workshop leader, founder of The Gorgeous Girl's Guide, Steffans Publishing Enterprises, and Karrine & Co.