Advice: Am I paranoid about him cheating?

Last updated 05:00 25/04/2013

She's found out that her partner is chatting to other women online. Is she being paranoid about him cheating?

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I've had two relationships where it wasn't until they ended that I found out the guy was incredibly deceitful for our entire relationship, so I'm a little paranoid when it comes to people lying to me.

My current relationship has been wonderful so far. He's a great guy, treats me and my son right, apart from one incident around two months ago when I read his Facebook.

I acknowledge this was wrong to begin with, but there were messages from him to another girl of a sexual nature. I confronted him and at first he didn't see anything wrong with it as he didn't intend to follow through with the act, however he then acknowledged his mistake and was very upset, apologising and wanting another
chance.

I gave him another chance and he deleted that girl and others that he knew wanted to be with him from his Facebook. He has given me his permission to look at his phone if I want to. I know he still chats with other girls online and it makes me feel very uneasy, to the point where I feel I need to check his Facebook/phone and worry about it A LOT.

Am I being over the top paranoid? Should I just be focusing on the good?
Paranoid

It is painful to discover that someone that you have trusted has betrayed that trust by being deceitful. That fact that this has occurred to you not once, but twice before, will mean that you are sensitised to this area and you are on the alert.

The security of our attachment to our partner is incredibly important for most of us. We want to feel safe, connected, respected and loved, and to know that what we see is how it is. When we feel safe, our need to reassure ourselves around safety by checking that things are as they seem can fall away. We can trust that we can take communications at face value, and that there is nothing hidden that could threaten the relationship.

Building trust is a dynamic process, it occurs over time, and the vulnerable parts of ourselves may want to check many times to be sure that things are what they seem. This area of how we feel safe and connected with one another is incredibly important in our primary relationship, the relationship will work best when you both are able to see and respond to each other's needs.

If your partner can see that he needs to be transparent with you about his relationships with others and have clear boundaries in regard to any female friendships, over time you will have a basis to come to trust in this. Also if you can provide him with a safe enough place to talk with you about what it is that he has been seeking in his contact with other women online, what need is he seeking to meet, you both might come to understand his behaviour more
deeply.

It is very important that he has agreed to stop the sexualised communications with others on Facebook, and said you can look at his phone. It seems he understands that this is important to you and wants to show you that you can trust him. These are the right things to do when trust has been injured. That's great. It is also important that he understands and appreciates the impact of this on you, and why he should stop, not that he is simply stopping because you are upset. From what you say it seems that he does.

When you check his phone are you reassured? Can you start to relax a bit and start to let a new story between you develop? If not what do you need to feel the trust can grow? If you can both keep talking about this with one another, what has been an injury to the trust between you can be turned into a strength.

However if you continue to have concerns, or feel that he is lapsing you may then want to consider getting some professional help as a couple - and early on. Better to catch these things quickly and be happy with one another than to let them drag on and become embedded issues.

For more advice and information on counselling, visit Relationships Aotearoa online or join them on Facebook.

We'd love to hear your take on this week's issue. Before you comment below, though, remember that this is a real-life situation. This reader has bravely shared their personal life with you; please show them respect by refraining from hurtful or abusive comments.

- Stuff

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