Web of deception

All Woman

Dear Counsellor,

I have been with my boyfriend for six years. We both started the relationship with lies: I lied to him about my age and name, and he lied to me about being an expectant father and not being in a relationship.

At the time, I was just ending a long-term relationship and was just seeking a distraction. I did tell him that I was not certain I was serious about him, but in return he said that he was serious and wanted a relationship.

I am a very beautiful girl and I have a nice shape — I think those were the qualities he was most interested in.

A few months into the relationship, I found out that he had a child on the way and because of me being in his life, he ended it with his babymother. I felt sad and cursed him out for it, however, he said they were having problems before me and she only wanted a child. I don't know what I was thinking, but I believed him and we continued the relationship.

He would make plans with me on how we would co-parent with his babymother, and I would always asked if his child's mom is aware of these plans and if she is okay with them. He would always say, yes, she knows that I'm in his life and will be involved in the child's life.

From the very moment I found out about his child he had on the way, I tried my best to make it something we all would be involved in. However, when the child was born, it was not so. I was completely left out and pushed aside.

I was now living with him at his home. When his babymother and child came home from the hospital, he would spend most of the night at her home and come home in the wee hours of the morning. When I expressed how I felt about the situation, it was as if I was being a mean person because it was his son he was staying with. I decided to not say anything more on the matter and just observe what would happen. I started to feel lonelier.

I was at work one day and a guy walked in to do business and noticed me. He approached me and we developed a conversation, which led to further conversations. I ended up going out with this man while living with my boyfriend. I cannot justify what I did, but at the time I needed my boyfriend's attention and love and I was not getting it. I love him so much I couldn't bare leaving him, so I made the stupid decision of cheating on him.

When it happened, I couldn't think straight. I was angry at myself and my boyfriend, too. It ended up that he fell in love with me and demanded I leave my boyfriend. When I told him no, he got upset and threatened me.

I ended things with this man, but he threatened to let my boyfriend know what he and I did, so I came clean to my boyfriend.

He was so forgiving. He even took me out and decided we should seek counselling. At the time I wasn't thinking much of it, because I was so happy he had forgiven me. However, later on I found out he was cheating as well, with his child's mother and another female. I love this man and he had forgiven me — so I did the same.

Then one day he went out and returned and told me that it was over. I was so devastated and crushed. When I asked him why and what happened, he said he wanted to try to work things out with his son's mother. I decided fine, I would not fight it no matter how much I was hurting.

After a year of being with her, he decided it wasn't working out for him, so he came back to me with his sweet words. We got back together. This time around, I told him I want to speak with his son's mom, which he did facilitate. She blamed me for everything bad that had happened between them, but after our talk she realised that I'm not a bad person and, yes, sometimes things do happen.

This man and I are still together, but my problem with him now is I cannot trust him. And on top of the trust issue, we argue a lot. Honestly, when he touches me I get irritable and brush him off. When he asks me why I always do this, I always tell him I'm just stressed and tired, that's all. Deep down I really want to feel his touch, but for some reason my body reacts differently. I don't know why my body reacts to him that way; sometimes I force myself to not react that way, but afterwards he isn't supportive of me.

When it comes to me wanting to do something for myself, I've noticed, several times, when I put business ideas to him that I want to venture in, he would brush them aside. I don't know what to think about this man anymore. I feel like I'm suffocating in the relationship, but the idea of leaving him scares me.

I did a fake profile page once on Facebook , just to see what he was up to, and just as I thought, he immediately got friendly with the person on the fake profile that he didn't even know. He sent her nudes of himself and told her he was single and wanted a relationship. Up to this day he doesn't know I'm the one he was texting.

Please, I am awaiting your advice.

From the inception, there was a heavy cloud of deception that blanketed the relationship. You both were dishonest, and it seemed to play out throughout the life of the relationship. You both played the cheating game and have been hurt by its consequences.

This is a classic case of rebound relationship on your part, where you jumped in one relationship before processing the former one. As you stated, the new relationship was just a distraction, but for your partner it wasn't and so you both were not on the same page from day one.

When the male partner has a child with another woman outside of the original couple unit, there is always the need for a conversation around how the father and the mother of the child are going to co-parent. The boundaries and responsibilities must be mutually established and maintained. It is commendable that you made an effort to be in the life of the child, as it is always a good thing when the child can feel that he is loved by both his mother and stepmother.

What happens sometimes is what may have happened with you — the parents of the child reignite the passion they once shared and so the co-parenting arrangement goes beyond caring for the child, to the parents caring for each other in an intimate way.

It is not unusual for the partner in a relationship to intentionally or unintentionally reach out to someone else when his/her partner is emotionally and physically unavailable. In your vulnerable state, you succumbed to the attention and affection showed to you that was missing from your partner. And as they say, one thing led to another, and before you know it a full-blown affair has started.

Your back was against the wall and so you decided to come clean, while Mr Mention was under pressure from his babymother to cut you off and commit to her. Fortunately, or unfortunately, it did not work out for them and he found his way back “home”.

So the relationship is now at a stalemate and you seem to have lost the intimate connection that you once had.

The truth is, the lack of trust makes it difficult for you to open your heart and share your body with this gentleman. He obviously has a wandering predisposition that he does not seem to be able to curb, and so you have decided if and how you are going to deal with his weakness for sweetness.

Partners in a functional relationship provide emotional and moral support to each other and so your personal development should not be seen as a threat to him. He should want to see you be the best at what you want to be and vice versa.

Your pronouncement that you feel suffocated in the relationship is quite instructive. You must decide if you want to put on the life jacket and float along, or if you want to swim to shore. Like everything else, making a life-changing decision is going to be difficult, but ultimately your personal happiness is paramount.

It is not too late to follow-up on the offer your partner made about counselling. This could be a timely intervention that could save the relationship from disintegrating.

All the best to you.

Wayne Powell is a relationship counsellor. Write to agapemft@gmail.com. Check his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/MFTCounselor/.

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