Posted on Friday, June 24th, 2016 at 5:51 pm.
Your question contains a lot of different questions. I will try to address some of them. People in a committed relationship begin hidden, secretive relationships or have purely sexual encounters with other people for a number of reasons. Frustration and dissatisfaction with their committed partner may be part of the reason but is usually not the main cause.
Other reasons people cheat include the desire for newness and excitement, a chance meeting with an attractive sexually or emotionally available person, or an internal, personal crisis within the person that leads them to act in a way that is not characteristic for them. There are also some people who have problems with being sexually compulsive or dishonest across many life areas and who really don’t care about how their choices affect other people. Whether your husband is likely to ever cheat again depends a lot on what the reasons were for his previous affair and whether he has learned better, more honest ways to cope.
The second problem you mentioned is that he often looks at other women, even when he is with you in public situations and this makes you feel insecure and nervous. While it is natural for both women and men to appreciate other people for their attractiveness or beauty, there is more than one way to handle those feelings.
Some women are not bothered by this behavior, but many are. Given your history with your husband, it makes sense that this behavior would “push your buttons” emotionally. If you are uncomfortable with the amount of attention he pays to other women when you are together, speak up (in a private setting, like home) and let him know clearly how you feel. If he keeps doing it after you ask him not to, his behavior is hurtful and inconsiderate. You might consider going to a marriage counselor to see if the two of you can resolve this conflict.
Posted on Friday, June 24th, 2016 at 5:50 pm.
Is the saying once a cheater, always a cheater, true? Why do people cheat? Is it because they don’t want to be with their partner or are there other underlying reasons? My husband cheated on me before we were married, but since then he has been devoted to me … at least physically. The problem is that I see him looking at other girls even when I’m around, and although I know that is natural, it makes me wonder if he’d rather be with someone else. Every aspect of our marriage is great, but I just worry.
Posted on Friday, June 24th, 2016 at 5:48 pm.
This is a tough, but not uncommon problem. It sounds like your former female friend probably feels bitter, angry, betrayed and perhaps jealous–maybe all of the above. The ending of her relationship with the man who is your boyfriend (and the father of her children) was obviously very painful for her and it sounds like she is not over that loss.
Although the hurt and anger is most obviously “caused” by what happened between your boyfriend and this woman, a lot of times the brunt of the anger gets directed at the boyfriend’s new love interest. Given that she and he share children and are co-parenting the kids, it is probably safer for her to direct most of her anger at you rather than him. In addition, she may have strong feelings of anger and betrayal directly toward you because you are a former friend of hers who is now her ex’s girlfriend. So what can you do?
It is impossible to predict whether or when your former friend will come to a different place emotionally and mentally about you and your relationship with your former boyfriend, so you have to be prepared to deal with this in an ongoing way. There is no value right now in pushing yourself into the situation or putting yourself in the line of fire to bear the brunt of her anger. You are doing the right thing right now to keep your distance. It would be helpful if you could “detach” from the problem emotionally and for now, let it be between the two of them. Focus on your own happiness and cultivating a happy relationship with your boyfriend.
Your boyfriend also has some responsibility here. While you cannot control his behavior, it is important to talk with him about whether there are ways he can handle things that do not promote the ongoing hostility. While the situation may or may not change, it is more likely to improve as time passes. In the meantime, try to maintain your distance and keep your focus on your own life. This will probably help a great deal.
Posted on Friday, June 24th, 2016 at 5:46 pm.
My boyfriend’s ex is a complete psycho and a former friend. This is a problem because he has children with her, and it becomes an issue during family get-togethers. They still spend a lot of time together, but she flips out every time my name is even mentioned and doesn’t want me around. Does time really heal all, or do you think she will always hate me? What can I do?
Posted on Thursday, June 23rd, 2016 at 8:50 pm.
It is amazing how our perspective on our parents change as we move from being children to being adults. If you are fortunate enough to have parents that provided love and stability in your upbringing and seemed to function well as a couple, you may have seen them as almost perfect. It is normal for many children to idealize their parents and their parents’ relationship, especially when you are very young.
Adult relationships change over time and relationships can grow stronger and healthier over the years or they can deteriorate and become less satisfying or less healthy for the people involved. Your parents may have developed new unhappy habits over time (like bickering) or it might be that you just never noticed this part of how they relate to each other before.
It can be especially irritating or sad to be around your parents when you see them relate in ways that seem particularly hurtful or destructive. It sounds like you are bothered enough by this to suggest that they get help. And, in fact, couple counseling can often help couples overcome these patterns.
There is nothing wrong with wanting your parents to have a happier relationship, but you are right; they are adults and it is not within your power to convince them that they could benefit from counseling. While they may not be “perfectly happy with each other” the risk of trying to change things is clearly scarier than the comfort of putting up with their own foibles. Your choices are to make decisions for yourself in relation to their behavior.
Can you see the humor in the situation and not take their bickering too seriously? Do you need to spend less time around them when they are together? You have lots of choices. The only person you can really change, of course, is you.
Posted on Thursday, June 23rd, 2016 at 8:48 pm.
Question: As I get older and observe my parent’s marriage through adult eyes, I am realizing a lot of things that bother me about their relationship. They nitpick and fight a lot, and whenever I suggest counseling or outside help, they want nothing to do with it and insist that they are perfectly happy. How do I learn to see them as adults and let them make their own choices?
Posted on Thursday, June 23rd, 2016 at 8:47 pm.
People lie for a variety of reasons. The most common reasons people lie are to make things “easier” or to avoid conflict in a relationship. In this case, it sounds like the woman you are dating is lying in order to avoid the anticipated embarrassment of having you judge her as “less than” or possibly reject her because she is not proud of her job. At least that is what she is telling you…which may or may not be true, right?
The problem is that when someone is caught lying, it is hard to know where the boundary of honesty ends and their lying begins. Kids often lie at least now and then in order to avoid getting in trouble for doing something they were told by their parent not to do. Most people mature out of this occasional lying in childhood. Some do not. Frequent lying without remorse (except if you get caught) is a serious psychological problem and is not easily fixed.
At a minimum, the woman you are dating is not OK with who she is and what she is doing in the world. She is choosing not to tell the truth at the start of a new relationship, which is usually an easier time to tell the truth because there is less to lose at the start of the relationship. More red flags appear when you learn that she has also told other smaller lies to support her big lie. Sometimes nice people lie. Lying doesn’t mean the person is not nice, it means the person tells lies.
People who make a habit of lying and building lies on top of lies have strong internal reasons for doing this and chances are very low that they will change. The question you need to ask yourself is, “Am I willing to accept dating a person who lies?” If the answer is yes, keep dating. If the answer is no, run the other direction and don’t look back.
Posted on Thursday, June 23rd, 2016 at 8:46 pm.
Question: Why do some people feel the need to lie? I recently started dating a woman in her 20s and just found out that she had lied about her profession. She also made up a bunch of smaller lies tied to her big lie. She seems like a great person otherwise, so I’m just wondering why she, or anyone, would be compelled to lie even if it meant it would sabotage them later. She says she lied because she was embarrassed by her job. Should I back away from the relationship, or give her another chance to earn my trust?
Posted on Saturday, June 4th, 2016 at 4:08 am.
This is a really interesting question. Most people think of finding meaning and purpose in life by looking toward religious and spiritual understandings of the world and thinking of that which is sacred in life in terms of “God”. In my counseling practice over time, however, I have also seen this question asked with great passion by those who do not have a religious or spiritual orientation to life.
Asking this question implies that you already believe that there is more to the world than you can easily see or understand. Your question suggests that our lives can have a larger purpose than simply survival or “getting through life.” The cycle of life is a mystery: why do we experience birth, living, illness, aging, and death? What is being human about? What is the world about and how do we understand our human experience? Even more important, can we make a difference in the larger scheme of things through our individual lives and actions?
People find a greater purpose in their lives in many different ways. Some find a sense of purpose by advancing knowledge. They set out to learn about some aspect of the world and then research new information and share this knowledge with others. It doesn’t matter whether you study varieties of plant life, how the human body functions, ways to overcome disease, or how to run businesses in ethical and ecologically sound ways. You can invent or discover healthy and delicious ways to prepare food, teach in a school, or volunteer to help illiterate kids and adults learn how to read.
Many people find meaning in reducing human suffering and increasing human joy through whatever means might be available to them. Maybe the most straightforward way to find a greater purpose in your life is to pay attention to what you love, what makes you sad, and what you care about. Whatever that is, by choosing to get involved in this area sharing your passion with others, you make a contribution to the world and to humankind as a whole. It’s hard to imagine a greater purpose in living.