Q: Me and my girlfriend, who is a year younger than me, have been together for almost four years. No kids. I have asked her about her previous relationships, but she has kept that pretty quiet. She did tell me about someone she knew two years before we met. He's currently in prison.
I have not been faithful, and she found out. I tried to tell her that it was only sexual and I was not in love with this person. I confronted her about whether or not she was still in communication with her ex, and she confessed that they email each other. I am concerned that she will leave me when he gets out. Shouldn't she have been honest with me from the beginning? Should she stop emailing him because maybe she's leading him to believe there's a chance for them? She says she's told him about me, but I'm not sure I believe her. I'm really not sure how to handle this situation. -- Barry, 30
Dr. Susan: I'm not being mean when I say the two of you deserve each other. You were unfaithful while she was lying about being in touch with her ex. I guess both of you aren't sure where you stand with one another, and neither of you is ready to commit. Other than getting out now and starting over with new partners, here's what you can do.
You can both decide to be honest and stop playing the field. She stops emailing her ex, or at the very least lets you see what she's been writing to him if it's all that above-board. You stop excusing your infidelities by saying "it was only sexual." Do you have any idea how that hurts when you're the one being cheated on? Time to stop downplaying your own mistakes. If her emails upset you, what do you think about your own behavior's effect on her? I don't know her true feelings for her ex. You both need to talk about what kind of relationship you want. Every day can be a fresh start, if you both want that.
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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.