I frequently read your column and hope you will be able to give me some advice. In 2009 I got involved with a former college mate and things were going fine. I know he was interested in a relationship since college, back in 1998, and I was too.
However, at the time I thought we were both too young to get deeply involved, so after college we both went our separate ways, until 2009. The relationship progressed, but there were tell-tale signs that I was not the only one he was seeing.
I thought it over and realised that all I would have been doing was speculating, irrespective of all the text messages which I got in error. These wrong messages urged me to read his e-mail, which I know I should not have done, but I guess such is the human mind. Things I saw in his mail box just made it worse, as all the messages and promises which he made the other girls were there in black and white. Again, I decided to stay.
In early 2011 we decided to buy a house together, which indicated to me his intention of commitment and a more stable relationship. To my dismay, in 2012 when he went back to work (he works overseas) he sent me a message advising that he has a two-month-old son. This came as a shock and I was sad and eventually angry as I now had confirmation of his infidelity.
Time passed, and I eventually started to get over it and accept the fact that the child had nothing to do with his actions and began to encourage him to visit the child and also take the child out whenever he is here in Jamaica. He is now home on vacation and one day I called him and heard a child in the background.
I know he was at our house and I asked whose baby that was. He told me it was his son. The following day I asked if he could not tell me he was taking the child to our house (from the best of my knowledge this would be the first time). He told me he did not see it necessary, which made me upset. The argument went on, until he made it clear to me that he does not have to report anything to me.
Counsellor, since then, our relationship has not been the same. Please correct me if I am wrong, but I consider his actions very disrespectful to me and the union we share. Since this incident, which happened eight weeks ago, I have been wondering if it really makes sense to continue.
I asked what he expects from a relationship art he said someone to be there for him. This doesn't make sense to him, given that in five years' time he does not see himself getting married. In all that has happened, which includes me having a full-time time job which is very demanding, I still find the time to cater to all his needs and wants. When he was not working I helped with his bills and carried new house expenses without his help.
I was also pregnant at the time and so was his child's mother! Sadly, I lost mine, and list could go on. For the past eight weeks, I only have been talking to him on a need-to basis as when I try to talk about the situation he shuts down and acts very defensive.
The fundamental mistake you and many women and men make in approaching relationships is to ignore the red flags. Some of the arguments advanced are:
* Oh well, he/she will change,
* I am oversensitive,
* I am over-reacting,
* I am the one who is paranoid,
* I am just too jealous,
* When we get married things will improve,
And the excuses go on.
Note that the tendency is to take personal responsibility for the actions of the other person so as to maintain the existence as opposed to the survival of the relationship. A relationship built on such an unstable foundation will not withstand the challenges that all relationships face from time to time. The truth is many persons in their euphoric state at the beginning of a relationship don their 'blinkers' or their shades and focus only on the emotional component of the relationship while totally disregarding the rationale component.
So, your curiosity led you to peruse his email and there before your eyes was incriminating evidence in "black and white", as you put it. Why didn't you confront him then? The fact that you received the messages in error would be another justifiable reason to engage him in a conversation on the discovery. He could not then accuse you of prying into his personal mail. This was the first opportunity that you missed, as at that point you could have made a more informed decision. This maxim always has value: "When in doubt, check it out". Had you done that, you probably would not be in this present predicament.
The decision to jointly purchase a house, though commendable, may have been ill-advised, seeing that you were most cognisant of the fact that the gentleman had no intentions of settling down in a committed relationship.
So, when he states that he does not have to report to you that he took the child to the house, he is right, as technically speaking he owns a percentage of the property and is entitled to access same. God forbid he should take a lady there, would he advance the same argument?
Your assertion that he disrespected you is not unfounded, but informing you after the fact regarding the birth of his son is even more disrespectful. He could have shared the news with you earlier instead of waiting 'till the child was two months old. What does that say about his regard or more so, lack of regard for you and the relationship?
That he doesn't see himself getting married in five years, yet wants somebody to be there for him is a very telling declaration and clearly indicates where his head is. The truth is, sister, the relationship is on very unstable ground and the time spent apart must be used to dispassionately assess its present state. You must receive an equal proportion of what you invest in a relationship. If you don't, frustration and depression will envelop you.
Happiness and peace of mind are indicators of a healthy relationship and if these are absent for a prolonged period and there is no prospect of improvement, then it may be time for you to pack your bags and go.