My boyfriend and I have been together for three years now. During the relationship he has cheated on me more than twice, and he fathered a child with his ex on one of those occasions.
His behaviour has led to several break-ups between us. We are currently back together because I love him and he is trying to prove that he loves me too. However, I fear that by continuing with him I might eventually be stuck in a dead-end relationship.
Before we got back together this time, he told me that his main reason for straying was to compensate for having been hurt in a previous relationship, and he knew from early on that he loved me deeply and was afraid of being vulnerable. I suggested that we should seek counselling, and he was open to the idea. I truly love him and would never hurt him. We have an unexplainable bond, and he has often told me how hopeless he feels when we are apart.
We have had good times together. He is caring, and he's someone I can talk to about anything. We have great chemistry. He is like my best friend and confidant, but his unfaithfulness has cut me like a knife. How can you claim to love someone so deeply, yet put them through such agony?
Right now I need a fresh start. I want this on/off cycle to end, but if I decide to commit fully to this man, how do I regain trust in him? How do I fully accept his new child and deal with his child's mother?
We both want this to work. It's just a pity that he claims to be fully invested in us at this stage in our relationship. Furthermore, if I decide to move on, I really need your advice on how to keep away from him. How do I accept the situation and successfully move on? I think you can understand my emotional turmoil. I await your advice.
I will start by quoting the very important question you asked: “How can you claim to love someone so deeply, yet put them through such agony?” It would be interesting to hear your boyfriend's response to this million-dollar question – one that many women in your position have no doubt posed to their wandering partners.
I can almost hear these men repeating the usual rehearsed response: “I did not mean to hurt you…it's just a man thing!”
You see, there are many men who believe that they have no control over their physical desires and so must satisfy their sexual needs with any woman who is willing and available.
Unfortunately, your boyfriend seems to fall in that category. He claims he cares about you and doesn't want to lose you, but at the same time he is not prepared to remain faithful to you. He would be happy if you ignored his roaming behaviour and worked with the programme. Interestingly enough, this is how some women react, and so end up encouraging the men to carry on with their antics.
I see that you have mixed feelings and are not sure which direction to take. Let's look at what is going on.
Your gentleman does not seem capable of controlling his physical desires and has strayed at least three times (as far as you know). To complicate matters, he impregnated one of these women. Although it could have been a mistake, both mother and child will have some claim on his time and resources for the foreseeable future.
Your relationship has taken a new twist that you would have to be prepared to manoeuvre should you decide to stay. Would this be a wake-up call for Mr Mention now that he is a father? Will he now settle down and commit to you and the relationship? If this is the case, then counselling would be recommended to help both of you deal with the challenges and establish boundaries with the child's mother.
If, however, you are not convinced that he is ready to make a serious commitment to you, then despite your “great chemistry” you should remember your own fears of being “stuck in a dead-end relationship”.
It won't be easy if you decide to walk away, as you have invested much time and effort in this relationship. It will require internal fortitude to leave and not look back. However, your life will not be over.
You must tell yourself that you deserve to be respected, and you must remain resolute in your decision. Avoid giving mixed signals. A final word of caution: Do not get into a rebound relationship, as you would be in a very vulnerable emotional state.
At the end of the day your personal happiness is paramount. Take care.
Wayne Powell is a relationship counsellor. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org; check out his work overseas on www.seekingshalom.org, e-mail email@example.com.