Dear Nina: I’ve been in a serious relationship for the last two years but I found out that he has been in contact with his ex (who he insists that they are only friends). I dicovered a couple of messages on his facebook, telling her he missed her, and another wishing her a happy birthday. All this went on for six months and could have gone longer if I hadn’t found out myself. He said it was stupid and that he didn’t mean what he wrote to her in a romantic way. My initial reaction was ending the relationship; he kept apologizing and got his family involved trying to convince me that he would never do it again, so I decided to give him a last chance after four days of absolute hell of him crying and begging for forgivness. This guy is my soulmate, I truly believe, but what he did just keeps coming back to me. I am trying to forget; its just a process that I have to do everyday. I’m tired and most of all hurt. There was nothing physical since she lives on another continent, but his messages to her plus keeping it from me for six months just kills me. Now I can’t trust him and doubt is killing me. - Wanda
Dear Wanda: When you have a breach of trust in a relationship, it take a great deal of time to recover. The problem is that you are the one suffering while he is back in your arms and emotionally secure. Your relationship is out of balance, and that’s the problem with trying too hard to hold on to a relationship that may not be right for you.
In your shoes, I would be curious about why he told his ex that he misses her. This is the biggest red flag because it indicates that he may not be over her. Yes, he may love you, but he may also still love her, and a heart divided is one that you cannot truly depend upon. Deep down, that’s what you are realizing, and that is what is causing your feelings of insecurity and lack of trust.
Because you love him so much, you took him back, but maybe you jumped the gun. He needs time to come to terms with his feelings; who does he really love? I’m not sure he’s sure about the answer to that. You aren’t going to feel emotionally safe in this relationship until he is really complete with his prior relationship. I suggest you take a different tact.
First, you’ve got to get past this notion that because you believe he’s your “soul mate,” you can’t live without him. There are many possible soul mates in our lives, but not all of them are right for us in the long run, so you need to shift your mind set to “if this relationship is in my hightest and greatest good, then I want it to last, but if not, I want release from the attachment.” Meditate on that every day so that you can emotionally take a little step back.
With him, the message is along these lines: “I know you say you’re over your ex, but I’m not sure you are. Why don’t you spend some time reflecting on what it is you really want, and maybe even talk with her, so that you can be absolutely sure. I’m not ready to move on with another relationship, but I’m also not ready to be committed to you until we work this through. I need some space to assess whether or not I can learn to trust you again.”
Then, back up the relationship to maybe a dinner date out (no sex; not at one of your homes) once or twice per week to talk things through. Most of all, listen to your gut. It may be screaming at you to move on - listen, if that’s the case. Or, over time, the hurt may heal and you may feel that this was a one-time mistake and it’s appropriate to move forward.
Bottom line: don’t be so sure about him; take your time and assess whether or not this relationship is right for you in the long run. Trust is essential, and if you can’t recover it, don’t torture him and you; move on.