Part­ner is fan­ning the flames of mis­trust with con­tact with ex

The Peterborough Examiner - - ARTS & LIFE - El­lie

Q: Early on, my now-part­ner of seven years told me about his past with women/girls. He’d had many sex­ual part­ners and was un­faith­ful in his com­mit­ted re­la­tion­ships with three other women at the time.

He’s now be­come re­spon­si­ble and con­sid­er­ate. He says I’ve helped show him the er­ror of his ways.

How­ever, one re­la­tion­ship that be­gan when he was in his 30s, with a girl of 18, con­tin­ued for decades. He said they stopped sleep­ing to­gether when she got mar­ried. But I was aware that she called him five years ago. It up­set me and I said I won’t share him with the past.

He min­i­mizes it, say­ing “it was only one phone call,” or “she’s crazy.” I’ve al­ways sus­pected there have been more calls, maybe let­ters.

Then, af­ter a move, I found a let­ter sent to his work­place within the last year, and rec­og­nized the re­turn ad­dress.

Con­fronted, he con­firmed it was from her. We ar­gued and he said that he wouldn’t end it.

I’m dev­as­tated, re­al­iz­ing that he’s been in an emo­tional af­fair with her all along.

An email was sent to our ac­count with the sub­ject “I Miss My F— Buddy which I deleted be­fore open­ing. There’ve been many hang-up from her area code.

It’s be­come like a can­cer for me.

I’ve tried mak­ing him un­der­stand that this wo­man isn’t in his past, but in his present and likely his fu­ture. I can’t ac­cept this.

I don’t know how to make him un­der­stand that an emo­tional af­fair is as de­struc­tive as a phys­i­cal one, es­pe­cially when this was once phys­i­cal.

He said he won’t call her and that I should do so.

I don’t think I’m over­re­act­ing. I can’t imag­ine how we’re go­ing to get past this, since he doesn’t think he’s do­ing any­thing wrong. Part of me thinks I

calls should ask him to leave. But I love him. Be­trayed

A: It’s not over­re­act­ing when your whole sense of trust in your part­ner is shat­tered. You need to make this clear to him.

Yes, he has an emo­tional at­tach­ment to this for­mer lover, and she’s urg­ing him on, rest­less in her own mar­riage.

It’s a dan­ger­ous time in your re­la­tion­ship. Say so.

You won’t love him much longer if he ig­nores your deep hurt, dis­ap­point­ment, even­tual dis­gust. If he per­sists, con­sider your own fu­ture — the le­gal and fi­nan­cial lo­gis­tics in­volved.

Tell him what you’ve learned, and that if he doesn’t end this emo­tional cheat­ing, you’ll have to sep­a­rate/di­vorce as a con­se­quence.

He needs a re­al­ity check on the con­se­quences of play­ing fast and loose with a ma­ture, re­spon­si­ble part­ner who’s loved, trusted and sup­ported him.

Q: My hus­band of 18 months and I pur­chased a three-bed­room house be­cause we want to have kids.

One bed­room holds his self-built col­lege bunk-bed which “can’t be moved” and he’s sav­ing for our kids. He ex­pects to put a crib and baby stuff there. But I want a ded­i­cated, dec­o­rated nurs­ery with space for baby things, plus rock­ing chair. I sug­gested mak­ing the spare bed­room the nurs­ery, with guests sleep­ing on the bunk-bed. But he re­sisted stor­ing the guest-bed­room fur­ni­ture. How can we find com­mon ground?

Flum­moxed and Frus­trated

A: A baby’s ar­rival, by what­ever means, takes enough months to plan and com­pro­mise.

Talk to a knowl­edge­able sales­per­son in a baby fur­ni­ture store (bring pho­tos/mea­sure­ments).

Go to­gether, and find log­i­cal choices to­gether. He’s equally ex­cited and in­vested in be­ing a par­ent. Then re­lax. Ba­bies thrive where there’s the least stress.

El­lie’s tip of the day

It’s too hard and too self-de­mean­ing to stay in love with a part­ner you’re sure you can’t trust.

El­lie Tesher is an ad­vice colum­nist for the Star and based in Toronto. Send your re­la­tion­ship ques­tions via email: el­[email protected]­tar.ca.

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