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Lack of Trust in Relationship

by Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

My boyfriend and I have been together for almost 4 years. He is significantly younger than me and it has been a rough road. He has come a long way and really does try to be more mature and responsible than he has been in the past. He wasn’t shown alot of affection and encouragement as a child and has a hard time giving and receiving love. He is very insecure and it comes across as alot of false bravado. I am the first real adult relationship he has been involved in and I think I have made him very aware of alot of his “issues”. We recently split up for almost 3 months and he started dating someone else. He mistakenly thought he could use her to forget about me. After 2 weeks he came back and admitted it was a mistake. I refused to let him move back in. I told him we needed to start from the bottom and work our way back up. I no longer trusted him and I felt he needed to take some time to figure out what he really wanted. Things have gone well and he continues to try to fix what was broken but now the other woman is pregnant. Needless to say, I am devastated. I love him and don’t want to end it, but I see this as a nightmare waiting to happen. The other woman still wants him and I’m afraid she will use the pregnancy as an excuse to get close to him. I told him his responsibility is to the child (when it gets here) and not her. If he feels he needs to be a part of the pregnancy, then he should be with her. Is this wrong of me? I’m trying to be realistic but now I am subjected to another woman that will be a part of our relationship from now on. She is almost a perfect stranger to both of us and I don’t know how to handle it. HELP!!!!!

It would be helpful if I had the opportunity to speak to you in person. This is because I have many questions regarding the relationship. For instance it would be useful to know how much younger your boyfriend is than you, how the two of you met, what you mean by the expressions “rough road” and “false bravado” and how much you think he has grown in the relationship i.e. from where he started related to maturity in the beginning to where he is now. I would also want to know the reason for the recent break up. Knowing all of this information would make it easier to give you a more complete and informed answer.

Because there are many aspects of your situation that I do not know and since you did not ask a specific question I am only able to offer you general advice.

When your boyfriend impregnated another female, your relationship changed. It changed because the pregnancy means that your boyfriend has permanently linked himself to another woman and their child. He has literally created a whole new life. He has essentially formed a family outside of the relationship that you and he share. The question, among many others, that you are faced with at this juncture is: are you ready, willing and able to live with this new reality?

Other questions to consider are can you forgive him? Should you forgive him? Are you going to mind having another woman being part of your life in some form or another? These are all very tough questions that you are going to have to consider.

There are no easy answers. Realize that if you do continue dating your boyfriend then the reality is that the other woman will be in his life too. Think through whether it is worth it to continue the relationship.

You asked whether it was wrong to suggest that he “be with” her because of the baby. The answer is that it depends. What do you mean by “be with?” Do you mean that he “be with” her temporarily until the baby is born or did you did suggest that he enter into a relationship with her? Do you really want that? What made you suggest that? What was his response? How well do they know each other? It is difficult to answer the question of whether it was right or wrong of you to make the suggestion you did without knowing more details.

The bottom line is this: you have been presented with a very difficult situation. Generally speaking, the relationship may be worth continuing if your boyfriend earns your trust (if he is worthy of you allowing him the chance to earn your trust) and if it is healthy for the both of you to remain a couple.

I realize that these are very general recommendations. If you’d like to write back and provide more information and details about the relationship, I’d be happy to try to give you a more precise answer. Thanks for writing. Good luck.

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