Ignore the Signs?
Q: I have been with my boyfriend for 20 years, since high school. We moved in together when I was 18, and our life was wonderful for the first five years. Since then we have broken up twice due to his affairs and me not being able to get over them and him making excuses. We have been back together for two years and I feel he is still keeping secrets and doing things behind my back. He lies about silly things, and when asked, he laughs. When we are home, things are great and our kids are happy. I have a problem with his co-workers thinking I am some queen "B" and that he deserves better. Women do things when we are out and he wants me to ignore it and be the bigger person. When I do, he acts like I am not there and will quickly turn the tables. Should I ignore my insecurities and just ignore the signs? -- Betty, 35
Dr. Susan: Would you ignore the signs of a tumor growing in your armpit? It's never advisable to ignore signs of a failing relationship, unless you want things to keep getting worse. You need to focus on what matters. What his co-workers think is not important. What other women do when you are out is not very important. What your mate does in response to what these women do is what counts. He's been a cheater before, so your current suspicions mean something. A good partner shouldn't lie, and doesn't laugh when you catch him in a lie. Affairs are best gotten over when the betraying partner confesses all and stops coming up with excuses. He needs to take responsibility. It's unlikely, though, after all this time, that your boyfriend is going to wise up suddenly and behave like a real man. (Real men treat their partners with respect.) Try to get him to go for counseling where you can express your feelings without being laughed at. If he's not cheating on you, he should be willing to talk about your fears openly and to change his suspicious and lying behavior.
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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.