Is He Trustworthy?
Q: I have been dating this guy now for 8 months. I have a two year old and he has taken to her very well. I really love him. We have talked about moving in together and he has said that he wants to marry me. I noticed a problem though. Every time we are out somewhere or even just watching TV, he makes remarks about how hot or fine a woman he sees is. This makes me uncomfortable and I have told him this. He tells me that he is just human and it's okay to look. He also says that if he wanted someone else he would not be with me. I don't know, though, that I honestly 100% trust him. I don't even think there is such a thing as 100% trust. He thinks I have insecurity issues. I have also seen his MySpace page, and he flirts a lot. Am I wrong for getting upset when he does these things? Are these patterns of a cheater? The last thing I want to do is waste my time. By the way, he just took a job that he has to travel a lot with. He is 29 years old. Do you think he really is ready to settle down? He says he is but sometimes his actions are selfish and tell a different story. - Nance, 24
Dr. Susan: It is perfectly normal for men to notice attractive women. Men who respect and care about the women they're with, however, learn to put their swiveling eyeballs back in their head and to keep their mouths shut about how fabulous those other women are. In other words, they learn a bit of subtlety about drooling in public. Still, it's possible that your boyfriend is mainly guilty of plain ignorance and bad manners. If you have insecurity issues, he's doing the exact wrong thing by babbling on about the wonders of other women. Why does he think YOU, of all people, need to hear how hot he thinks some other woman is? If he won't change this annoying behavior, then you might be wasting your time.
His new travelling job doesn't necessarily mean he can't settle down with one woman, but if you don't trust him at home, you won't trust him away. It's not a matter of 100% trust. It's far too soon for that. (I'd go for 99.5%, and only expect that after many years together.) The flirting thing is not so good. He seems to need the excitement and stimulation of getting others to be attracted to him as much as he likes to look at them. You're going to have to do some serious weighing of his actions and his words. Point of fact: actions weigh much more!
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.