Paranoid or Deluded?
Q: My fiance, a grad student, is involved with one of her professors. He was just fired from the university for their relationship, and she has been told she would not be allowed to graduate for the same reason. She allows him to stay at her apartment overnight, and she stays at his apartment overnight. When I objected to this, she tells me I am paranoid, that they are just friends, but will not introduce us, and is very guarded regarding their relationship. They have traveled together to conferences, shared hotel rooms and he routinely visits her home at night. He is involved in a messy divorce and was charged with physical abuse by his spouse. I think she is demonstrating very poor judgment, but I don't know for certain that anything improper has happened. Do I have a valid basis for concern? -- Donald, 45
Dr. Susan: Yes! Every action of his and hers that you have mentioned is improper. There are only two things that surprise me. One is that she has told you all this and expects you to accept it. The other is that you ARE very nearly accepting it. Engaged students don't stay at their professor's apartment overnight, and they certainly don't share hotel rooms at conferences. It is totally obvious that your girlfriend is cheating on you. Why are you doubting the evidence of your own ears and eyes? If they were really just friends, she wouldn't hesitate to introduce you. Something is more than fishy here. It's a dead rotting fish corpse smelling up your living room. Move on.
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Advice for Her
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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.