Just Ask Joyce: Should This Couple Get Back Together?
Q: “How do I know if I can trust someone who has lied to me and has almost cheated on me? My boyfriend showed up four hours late and said his phone had been without service all day and he couldn’t return my messages. When he got in the shower, a text appeared on his phone from one of my friends. The two of them had texted several times that day, and he had met her for a drink that ended in a passionate kiss. We broke up, but now, a year later, he has come back to say he wants only me. I’m skeptical, but even more frightening is my ex-friend works where he does. Should fear override love?”
Joyce’s FIX: Love has managed to confound the wisest of men for centuries.
Whether your heart takes up residence with him again or someone else, “almost cheated” tells me a couple of things about this situation: 1) you don’t value and respect yourself as much as you should, and 2) you find ways to excuse the transgressions of those you love. Therefore, let’s definitively call the kiss a betrayal. That kiss crossed a boundary of wrongs when two people are involved in a committed relationship.
A year of separation has obviously given him ample time to contemplate your value. I would hope the time has caused him to consider the cost of deceit, as well, so that he would not fall into a pattern of ever considering deception in any manner again. Your skepticism is plausible, but there is a good reason to entertain reuniting this relationship — love.
It’s clear you still have strong feelings (i.e., love) for him. He has remorsefully made his way back to you as the love of his life, which he squandered initially. That is a really good starting-over point for both of you. I would certainly take it slow and not dive back into the full-blown relationship. He needs to earn your respect and trust again. While this is happening, there are some “ifs” I would encourage you to look at closely.
- If he lies to you about anything, he hasn’t learned his lesson on trust.
- If he doesn’t respect you in all things, he won’t respect you in important things. If you are not his primary focus, you need to consider what is. You can’t be all the time, of course — there are jobs and family and life that must be considered. But you should be a center of his attention and important enough for him to maintain reasonable contact with during each day.
- If he is ever flirty or has questionable behavior around this coworker/ex-friend, there could be cause for concern.
- If he doesn’t put a ring on your finger after he has passed your litmus test, you should examine whether you truly are the love of his life. There should be little to no hesitation regarding matrimony when someone is certain about a soulmate.
Should love override fear? I would consider myself in a prison if I ever feared in any regard the man I love. Total trust, utmost respect, and complete devotion are ingredients for lifetime commitments. What you need to decide for yourself is if your fear is warranted. You haven’t really given him an opportunity to prove himself. If he’s half the man you think you’re in love with, he will rise to the occasion and give your heart no reason to doubt his intentions. Should your uncertainty fail to subside, either he will break your heart or you will break his.
Struggling with a relationship issue? Write Joyce Oglesby, Family Life FIX-IT Pro at firstname.lastname@example.org and find a solution for life.