Hello Dr. Buckingham,
I just read a few of your articles and thought God must’ve sent me in your direction. I am currently dealing with infidelity in my relationship and am having a hard time getting through it.
Here’s my story.
I’ve been dating my now-fiancé for 2.5 years now. We became exclusive a year ago. I just recently found out he had been cheating on me throughout our whole relationship (even when we were supposed to be exclusive).
Not only had he been cheating, but he fathered a child who will soon be 1 year old. To make it worse, he never told me about it. The baby’s mother reached out to me recently; she also told me she believes she is currently pregnant again by him.
Well, I just had a child by him, and we recently became engaged. I’m completely heart broken and shattered. He came clean, apologized and swears he does not love her, care for her or want to be with her. He has never seen the child, which she confirmed, and he said he only continued to have sex with her because she threatened to make his life miserable.
I found all of this out near the end of August 2015. Since then, he went to see a counselor, and we then went to counseling together. We’ve currently stopped counseling because I recently had our child, but we are still trying to work things out. He vowed to never see her again and to be truthful and honest from now on.
So here we are still working on us three months later, and “Bam,” I just recently found out he’s been flirting with a woman (and other women) via social media throughout this whole ordeal! One of the ladies was a woman, whom he was seeing while we were dating.
I am so hurt and confused all over again. I confronted him, he admitted he flirts but only because she had low self-esteem, and he was trying to make her feel better about herself, SMDH. He’s had no recent physical contact with her. But he has gone out with her in the past, and he claims they never had sex.
I knew he was a flirt because that’s how we started talking, but I didn’t think he flirted with others, especially once we became serious. I love him; I know he loves me, but I now have all of this constantly on my mind. I want to work it out for the sake of our child, but I have no trust in him—at all.
I can’t live with this feeling of not being good enough, him possibly having two kids on the side and now his emotional infidelity via social media. I’m so confused and hurt, I don’t know what to do. What would you suggest? Can we rebound from this and can he be trusted in the future? Or should I get out now, give my fiancé his ring back and move on?
Sleepless in Charm City
Dear Sleepless in Charm City,
I understand your desire to work on your relationship because of your child. However, you should definitely think twice about marrying your fiancé.
This says something important about the character of this man, and you should think about what it says about him as a potential husband and family man
While none of us are perfect, your fiancé has some serious character flaws. He lies and engages in deceptive behavior. Also, I’m very concerned he doesn’t appear to be interested in developing a relationship with the child(ren) he has birthed with the other woman. This says something important about the character of this man, and you should think about what it says about him as a potential husband and family man. Lastly, he does not accept accountability for his behavior and pretends to be a victim (i.e. he only slept with the woman because she wanted to make his life “miserable”).
In reading your story, I am thinking to myself, “What’s love got to do with it”. While love is essential to having a good relationship, it has little meaning if core values are not compatible. Also, be mindful that emotional abuse is typically a precursor to physical abuse. If a person abuses you emotionally with this much disregard for your feelings, it probably will not be long before physical abuse begins.
Understand that trust must be present and mutually expressed in order to have a healthy relationship.
Love without trust will keep you up at night and feeling miserable. Trust is an essential part of having a healthy relationship because it sets the stage for love to prosper. Believing in and honoring your partner is the greatest gift you can give in a relationship. Trust allows love to flourish in a relationship because it gives us a feeling of security and confidence.
Your fiancé broke trust by lying to you. In all my years of doing therapy, I have never seen a relationship work well or last without trust. Understand that trust must be present and mutually expressed in order to have a healthy relationship. I could be wrong, but I have not heard any real character development on his part, which would work on repairing that trust.
My initial advice would be to tell you to give the ring back and move on. You have to think about what is best for you and your child. Things such as integrity, honesty and loyalty should not be comprised in a relationship. Also, please seek professional counseling to deal with your emotional pain and ambivalence.
If you have questions for Dr. Dwayne Buckingham regarding relationships (married, single, etc), parenting, or personal growth and development, please send an email to [email protected]
Disclaimer: The ideas, opinions and recommendations contained in this post are not intended as a substitute for seeking professional counseling or guidance. Any concerns or questions that you have about relationships or any other source of potential distress should be discussed with a professional, in person. The author is not liable or responsible for any personal or relational distress, loss or damage allegedly arising from any information or recommendations in this post.