All Woman

Should I stay with this serial cheater?

With Wayne Powell MA Counselling Psychology Relationship Counsellor

Monday, May 12, 2014    

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Dear Counsellor,

My boyfriend and I have been together for six years. We have a two month old. For the past five years he has been cheating. Each time I find out I get upset, move out and go to my mom's house, then I will miss him and forgive him. I found out that he was living with another woman in the same neighbourhood that we were building our house. I was so upset and embarrassed but he told me that he just lived there so that our building material wouldn't get stolen. Like a fool I believed him and forgave him.

I found out about another girl when she called my phone and told me that he was at her house every night before he came home. He would come home at 3:00 or 4:00 am and sometimes none at all.

I broke up with him after she came to the house on three separate occasions and one time she fought with my boyfriend.

We got back together because he was not working and I was taking care of him. And again I found out that he was with an older married woman who lives in the neighbourhood. He even drove her car. I began to hate him and so I cheated. My boyfriend found out, hit me, and I left. He then said that he would change and that he was sorry.

I got back with my boyfriend who told me to see a counsellor as I was the one having problems. I was ready to leave again but then I got pregnant.

Now he wants to make it work for our child's sake, saying it's a sign from God because we have been trying to have a child for four years and the moment I was ready to walk away I got pregnant.

He's a great dad but when it comes to relationships he fails miserably. I am tired of the games and my heart is broken all over, but when I look at my son, I wonder if I should give my boyfriend another chance. Please help me.

What you have described is relationship that is dysfunctional and in need of immediate counselling intervention. And the counselling sessions need to involve both partners, not just the offended partner.

Your boyfriend, like many men, is of the view that it is acceptable to relate sexually with other women while they are going steady with one partner. Some will even say that they can't resist the sexual advances of other women and so being "weak to the flesh", they yield. These expressions as you know are lame excuses for refusing to exercise self-control and respect for their partners. And what is unfortunate is that some women encourage this behaviour by saying men are cheaters by nature.

As with your case, the other woman sometimes abandons the "stay in the background" script and comes forward and announces her presence in a no-nonsense way. And thereafter the drama of matey vs wife/girlfriend/baby mother unfolds.

What is disturbing about your story is the fact that you not only endure emotional and psychological pain but physical pain as well. How much is enough?

You have indicated that he is a good dad but a relationship is more than that. The arrival of your son could well be the bonding agent for the relationship but this would be like putting a band aid on a gaping wound. It will only last as long as the novelty lasts and then it's back to square one. Using the presence of the child to hold the relationship together is never a good idea as the source of the problem is not addressed.

Your brief fling with the other guy as a revenge move was counterproductive as you have realised. In your vulnerable state, a man who offers the emotional support that your boyfriend failed to provide could lead you not only to his heart, but to his bed as well. So you have to be careful as other opportunities will come and you need to know how to handle the temptations when they appear.

Giving your boyfriend another chance should be contingent on him acknowledging that his present flirtatious lifestyle is destructive to the relationship and that he must be willing to make the required changes. He must appreciate that he is causing you much emotional/psychological hurt and must desist from issuing physical blows. It is highly recommended that he engages in anger management sessions without delay.

In a non-threatening way suggest to him again the need for relationship counselling that must involve both of you. Let him know that if you are to consider a continuation of the relationship it cannot be business as usual.

You have to be decisive. The back and forth is only sending mixed signals and he will just continue on his present path.

Wayne Powell is a relationship counsellor. Write to crisscounselloronline@gmail.com.

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