Can you put trust in a re­la­tion­ship built on lies?

The Hamilton Spectator - - GO - el­liead­

Q. I’m 25, my fi­ancé said he was 30, then later con­fessed that he’s 42, with a child.

He in­sists it’s not his child un­til DNA tests prove oth­er­wise, and that his re­la­tion­ship with the child’s mother didn’t work af­ter 10 years.

He says she tied him down with the preg­nancy, with him un­aware there were other boyfriends, un­til one man claimed the child.

We met four months ago and plan to marry. He said he with­held all this ini­tially be­cause he was scared of los­ing me, didn’t know how to present it, and wanted to move on with his life.

I’ve never loved a man the way I love him, and he loves me too. He’s build­ing his world around me, and we are plan­ning to­gether.

I asked for time to think about it and he pleaded that I not leave him.

Could there be more things he’s hid­ing from me?

How do I tell my mom that he has a child, al­ready know­ing her stand? How can I han­dle this ma­turely?

A. Ev­ery­thing he told you when your ro­mance flared so quickly were lies. Then his con­fes­sion came with a list of weak ex­cuses.

He’s a dif­fer­ent man from the one with whom you first fell in love. He’s 17 years older than you, has an ex who had many boyfriends, and has a con­nec­tion with a child he doesn’t want to keep.

You’re try­ing to make all this seem OK be­cause of love, yet you’re un­sure. Ask your­self some ma­ture ques­tions: Can you fully trust some­one who hid sig­nif­i­cant in­for­ma­tion and lied to woo you on false pre­tenses?

Do you feel com­fort­able with his drop­ping this child, or with rais­ing the child to­gether if it’s his?

Do you value your mother’s opin­ion as based on your well­be­ing?

Also, have you both been tested for sex­u­ally trans­mit­ted in­fec­tions, given his ex-part­ner’s his­tory?

My ad­vice: Take six months to think all this through without the com­mit­ment of be­ing en­gaged, which stacks the deck to­wards him, when you don’t re­ally know him as well as you thought.

Feed­back re­gard­ing the apart­ment-dweller who wrote about a neigh­bour’s child who’s con­stantly scream­ing (Fe­bru­ary 1):

Reader #1: “I’ve been an el­e­men­tary school teacher and ad­min­is­tra­tor for 42 years and see all kinds of red flags in this story.

“I’m con­cerned as to why the child is con­stantly scream­ing, which is a sign of dis­tress, but more im­por­tantly, the par­ents are scream­ing too.

“I cur­rently have a fam­ily with a small baby liv­ing next door to my condo, and some­times I hear the baby cry, but I don’t hear the par­ents be­cause they are sooth­ing the baby, not scream­ing at it.

“Child pro­tec­tive ser­vices need to be called, as the neigh­bour has tried po­lite in­ter­ven­tion without re­sults. I hate to say how many times in my ca­reer that I’ve wit­nessed the re­sults of emo­tional and phys­i­cal abuse, re­quir­ing calls to the Chil­dren’s Aid So­ci­ety.”

Reader #2: “She should call child pro­tec­tion ser­vices since she said that the par­ents are also scream­ing. This isn’t ef­fec­tive com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­tween a par­ent and a child — some­times it’s abuse.

“I lived with a sit­u­a­tion like this for about a year. I was the only neigh­bour who shared a wall with the cor­ner unit. Study­ing or try­ing to rest or re­lax be­came im­pos­si­ble. Some days I was re­duced to tears. But I tol­er­ated it, I didn’t want to get in­volved, I didn’t want a con­fronta­tion.

“But an­other neigh­bour did act — they called child ser­vices and po­lice cars and so­cial work­ers ar­rived. I never felt relief, just guilt for not mak­ing that call my­self.

“An anony­mous call to chil­dren’s ser­vices might be more ef­fec­tive than go­ing to the build­ing’s man­age­ment.”


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