DEAR COUNSELLOR, I have a boyfriend whom I have been with since 2016. When we first met there was an instant connection; we both felt it and since the moment we first met we've been continuously talking. We went out and spent every single day together within the first month. However, before things escalated further, he explained to me that he's an honest and straightforward person, and so he told me that he had a girlfriend, but she had cheated on him and they were working things out, even though the trust was lost between them.
He also made me aware of the feelings he had developed for me, and said that he wanted things to go further. I decided to go further with him and proceeded into a full-fledged relationship.
But last year I received a phone call from him while I was travelling, saying that his girlfriend was pregnant. Of course I was upset, and it caused us to split for a while, but during those few months he and his girlfriend split up as well. I came back to Jamaica and I managed to forgive him because I'm a forgiving person and I do love him. Now the baby is born, and he claims that they're not together anymore because they can't agree. But of course he has to co-parent and provide for the baby. The issue is that he is always around his baby's mother. The other day he came over to my house with a big hickey on his neck that she had given him.
He hides me from her. We can't go to certain places together because he's afraid that people will see us. He always talks about her, but whenever I talk about her he changes the conversation. She's aware of me because people report to her whenever they see us together. She has also seen pictures of us on his phone.
He has been truthful and honest to me and he has told me that he still loves her, but he claims he loves me too and wants to stay with me. I feel like I should leave him but at the same time I don't want to leave him because I love him and I'm weak to him, but I can't deal with the position I'm in. What should I do?
The gentleman's honesty and coming clean with you early in the relationship is most commendable. He told you that he was already in a relationship and, according to him, they were having interpersonal problems including unfaithfulness and he was trying to stick it out. This would suggest that he was continuing the relationship with her and wanted to start another with you. Shouldn't that have been an indicator that something was not right with that picture?
Knowing the three-play you were getting into, you decided to proceed nevertheless. You would have expected that you would be in for a fierce competition with his girlfriend as she was not going down without resistance. So whatever disagreements they might have had, they obviously were physically involved hence the shocking news to you about her pregnancy. Again, I put it to you, shouldn't that be another indicator that the odds were stacked against you?
Being madly in love, you chose to overlook the reality of the circumstances and decided to continue the relationship after a short interval. That time-out should have been the period you assessed the state of affairs to see if going forward would have been in your best interest or his.
Whether or not he wanted to walk away from his initial relationship, he now must remain in contact with her more as she is the mother of his child. It could be that the she wanted to ensure that she has access to him, but whatever the reason, she will always be in his life now.
On one of his visits to you he turns up with a love bite on his neck and told you who was responsible. If you check out the meaning behind a hickey you will know that it is a way of expressing “ownership” of the person and indicating it publicly. So babymother is sending a message to you and others that the gentleman is unavailable and accounted for. So not only is she the child's mother, but his lover, whether it be current or ex. It's yet another signal that you ignored.
He has put himself in a position where there are no established boundaries between the role of babymother and lover. And because she still believes she maintains her number one status, she will continue to make demands on him regardless of the number of pictures of you and him on his phone.
Another sign that is blatant that again you overlooked is his deliberateness in keeping you out of the spotlight and changing the subject when you mention her. What messages is he sending to you and the onlookers? That you are the side chick who is to be kept under the radar?
I invite you to put your emotions aside for a few minutes and think through the situation rationally. Do you believe you are doing yourself much good by going along with Mr Mention's agenda? Does he want to enjoy the best of both worlds? Believe it or not, the babymother will always be in his life by virtue of her co-parental role. And from all indications, both she and Mr Mention have not severed any emotional and sexual ties.
So it is now left to you to contemplate your future in this relationship. Make a decision with your head and not your heart.
Wayne Powell is a relationship counsellor. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com . Check out his work on www.seekingshalom.org and his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/MFTCounselor/ .