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Some recent questions:
I have a nagging gut feeling that my boyfriend cheated on me in the past and has not come clean. We’ve been together for 1.5 years and we live together. Throughout our relationship, my boyfriend has had several moments where he questioned my commitment to him. (Really, it was more like he would stonewall me until I asked what’s wrong about 100 times and then say something to the effect of “I know you cheated I wish you would just admit it!”) I have NEVER cheated on my boyfriend. Not even come close. Yet, it seems that we can’t go an entire month without him having some question about my trustworthiness. And, if it’s not about trustworthiness, it’s about something I did that happened over a year ago that I have long since apologized for. I feel like I am always waiting for the other shoe to drop. No matter how many times I apologize for something, it always comes back later and I feel like it’s pointless to argue with him because the same issues always resurface later.
Recently, my boyfriend told me that during the first month of our relationship, he cheated on me because he thought that I was cheating on HIM. I asked him some clarification questions (i.e., were we living together, when did this happen, etc.) and he got very vague and non-responsive. I was beside myself with hurt, anger, and frustration. After about 3 minutes of us sitting there, he said he was only joking. It didn’t feel like a joke, and I definitely wasn’t laughing, and neither was he. I explained to him my hurt over this “joke” and that I did not find it funny, and he apologized. This is not the first time this has happened. A while back, when he was questioning me AGAIN about my fidelity, he said something to the effect of, “I just want to know if you were with someone else when we started dating, because I was.” Again, when I started having my feelings about it, he took it back and said “I was only JOKING! God, you’re so serious!”
I don’t know how to proceed. My gut tells me something is very wrong, yet I feel powerless to even discuss this with him, as he will deny it no matter what because I have no other evidence than my uneasy gut. I can understand someone making a joke in bad taste, but for him to say that he cheated on me in a manner that seems very serious to me and then say he’s joking without even laughing, I can’t help but feel like he was being honest with me the first time around.
Should I kick him out?
Confused and Anxious
Dear Confused and Anxious,
Thanks for your question.
You have some serious trust issues going on in your relationship—from both sides. You allude to some incident that happened with you, but you don’t clarify. We assume the incident was serious enough—even though it might not have been “cheating”—for him to question your trustworthiness. And as you know, once trust is in question, it becomes very difficult to be in a relationship, because without trust there is no relationship.
We have no idea whether or not he cheated on you. But we do always say, “Trust your Gut.” (Watch our video on this topic.) You would know better than we do about whether he’s dabbling beyond the four walls of your apartment. However, we can say that sometimes a person will cheat if they think their partner is cheating. They say to themselves, “I might as well beat them to the punch. I’ll hurt them if they’re going to hurt me.” It’s up to you to figure out whether or not he was joking. (We agree. This is in bad taste. Not the best way to conduct yourself in a loving, committed relationship.) But some people never get over being hurt. It could be that he wants to trust you, but something in his gut tells him not to as well.
So our suggestion: Both of you need to totally come clean in order for this to work. You two need to start over. Rewind. Forgive, if there’s something to be forgiven about. And move on. If you can’t do this, then it’s time to truly move on from each other.
How do you do this?
Start talking. And if you can’t figure out how to do that, then go see a professional. (Couples counselor) But it all starts with honest and open communication. Otherwise, this back and forth—you did this, you did that—negativity will continue in perpetuity.
ps. Let your friends know about us. Thanks.