A book by a founder of this site.
Feeling uncertain and suspicious in a new relationship
I have been dating a woman for 8 months, and I’m crazy about her. We engage in many levels and are in tune in many ways; however, there is one issue in which we clash: jealousy and deception.
First, to put everything in perspective, I was previously married and my wife was unfaithful. She also lied about many things and through the course of her actions led us through a miserable divorce and we bitterly separated. This has had a long lasting effect on me as well as my children.
The way this relates to my current relationship is that my girlfriend has been dishonest multiple times. Each time has been in regards to other men. The first incident was that a former lover of hers was constantly at social events, which we both attended. The major problem with this is that she also spoke to him through text and in person while I was not around as they were classmates. Despite my objections, this continued. He also made phone calls in which he spoke poorly of me and left similar voicemails.
Other incidents occurred while she went out of town and got drunk with other men or spent a lot of time with other men she knew on other trips.
She has spoken to several other past boyfriends throughout our relationship. All of these behaviors she openly says she would not condone from me.
The breach of trust and respect has become so severe that I have considered asking her to take a polygraph test to prove her faithfulness.
Is any of this indicative of infidelity? Am I reading too much between the lines? How can this situation be resolved or should we part ways?
Romantic relationships are difficult and complicated. We place tons of expectations on our romantic partners, some of which are unrealistic.
Everyone wants a partner who is sensitive, available, responsive, fun, loving, kind and faithful. But, being those things to another person ALL of the time, while also excluding other people from one’s life, is difficult to do (see want to talk to ex).
Most people want to be good to their romantic partners, but they also want some freedom to interact and socialize with past partners, friends, and people of the opposite sex. Ideally, people would socialize with others in ways that allow for some freedom while maintaining high levels of respect for one’s relationship. In other words, socializing with a wide range of people is healthy as long as it is done in a way that shows respect for a partner – be social but don’t cross any emotional, physical, or sexual boundaries.
You are coming out of a bad relationship. Unfortunately, we carry our past relationships into our future relationships (see truth about attachment). So, it is no surprise that you are feeling the way you are – cautious, fearful and uncertain.
Given the information you have provided, a polygraph is probably not going to resolve the issue. People who are anxious about love often look for a “test” that will alleviate their fears, but our emotions do not work that way. If your girlfriend passed the test, you would notice something else that would raise your suspicion again. Before you know it, you will be looking for another way for her to “prove” that she loves you and is faithful. This often becomes a never-ending cycle of suspicion, reassurance, followed by more suspicion.
What stands out the most is that your girlfriend is trying to impose double standards (she would be upset if you did this to her) and she is being disrespectful to you (talking poorly of you). A healthy relationship is not based on such behaviors (see healthy relationships).
It might be wise to either slow things down or take a break. Talk to a therapist who specializes in cognitive behavioral therapy. With the right therapist and a few months of work, you should be able to develop a mindset that will help you 1) see things more clearly, 2) not fall into old patterns (which most people do), and 3) make wiser choices when it comes to dating. If you can accomplish those three things – you will greatly improve the odds of having a healthy, successful relationship where you feel appreciated, loved and secure.
I have my own question to ask
Truth About Deception – back to our home page.