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Ask Lynn-What If He’s Cheating?


I met a great guy, but I’m afraid my suspicions are driving him away...

By Lynn Harris

ear Lynn,
I got out of an extremely bad relationship about three months ago with a man who cheated on me. I thought that I was going to stay single for a long time because I knew that I would have a hard time trusting again, yet that’s not how things worked out. I became friends with someone shortly after the
I had never before experienced love at first sight…
break-up, and the more time we spent together, the more we both realized that we were meant to be together. I had never before experienced love at first sight (or “first real date”), but that’s exactly what happened between the two of us.

We have been dating now for one month and, in the past week or so, things have been really difficult for me. I have begun to question his actions and constantly analyze everything he does, trying to figure out if he’s really being honest with me or not. He tells me he loves me and all but has been backing off due to my behavior. He says that all he wants is a normal relationship with trust, and he doesn’t feel that I trust him. I don’t want to lose him, but now it seems that the more I try, the farther away he goes. How do I prove to him that I do trust him and I do want to be with him without being obsessive?
-Scared-to-lose-him

Dear Scared,
First things first: Do you have reason to question his actions? You know, the lipstick-on-the-collar kind of reason: Flakiness about plans or excessive vagueness about where he’s been? Any other reason — and I mean a reason that involves real evidence — to suspect that he is anything other than hopelessly devoted?

This is not to make you more paranoid! Nor am I suggesting that you snoop or that couples who’ve been together one month should know each other’s whereabouts 24/7. But it would be a little too breezy of me to assume 100 percent that your “questioning” is without warrant and go on to tell you how to “learn to trust” a guy who’s got lap-dance receipts on his bureau.

So, let’s assume you believe in your heart that your guy's on the up-and-up—which I think is an excellent place for all of us to start. And let’s assume it’s only that voice in your head left over from your previous relationship that’s telling you to worry
No proof required. That, after all, is what trust is.
about what he’s doing between his 9:16 AM email and his 9:49 AM email. Now, here’s what to do: Stop trying to prove that you trust him. This in itself reads “obsessive” (i.e., “Just to show you how much I trust you, I am going to peek in your first floor window, but not your second”). Your insecure feelings, by the way, are perfectly understandable “emotional leftovers” from your past—but you need to learn how to manage them. Let yourself have the feelings — write them down, even — then let them go. Don’t call him, and don’t call him to tell him you went three hours without calling him.

Instead, tell him: “You know what, I’m sorry about how I’ve been acting. As I explained, I got burned last time and I’m still adjusting to the experience of being with someone great. From now on, I’m just going to trust you. I just am.” No proof required. That, after all, is what trust is.

With a little practice, you’ll quit beating yourself up for what happened before and allow yourself to enjoy what’s happening right now.


Lynn Harris (www.lynnharris.net) is co-creator, with Chris Kalb (www.chriskalb.com), of the award-winning website BreakupGirl.net — you can visit BG's blog to discuss this letter! A longtime journalist, Lynn has written about dating, gender, and culture high and low for Glamour, Marie Claire, The New York Times, Salon.com, Nerve.com, and many others. She is currently the communications strategist for Breakthrough, a transnational organization that creates pop culture to promote human rights. Submit your own dating questions for Ask Lynn via bg@breakupgirl.net. Your question may be answered in a future column.
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