Manipulation isn’t love

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Hello! I am 21 years old and was with my boyfriend (or ex now) for the last 4 years. He is three years older than me and we have grown up together throughout our relationship. In the past we have both been dishonest and unfaithful. We do have a very good connection and I could still possibly see myself marrying him even though some of the cheating in the past has hurt our relationship. We tend to try to make each other jealous. However we both have a lot going for each other with school, careers and we are a huge support system and we better each other.

Lately however, me and my boyfriend broke up (for the bazillionth time) because we both were arguing so much and we were miserable. We hadnt had sex for 3 months and it was just bad. We ended up getting back together and he left to Japan for school.

I was very worried that he was going to cheat on me, we left on good terms but i had a feeling. He ended up telling me that there was a girl there that liked him very much. I automatically knew he cheated. He admitted that he kissed her but later admitted he slept with her as well. I thought we had grown up and i am very very hurt. She is super ugly and he claims it was nothing. He says that when he was over there, he wasnt thinking because he was in a whole other country and he was partying every night. It is a girl that was in his travel group so still lives next to us. He said they had similar situations and it was just sex. He also said he could easily get over me and didnt expect me to talk to him ever again.

He called me crying from Japan begging me to forgive him. He just arrived home yesterday and has been calling me and texting me non stop saying that he has realized that he wants to marry me and that i am the only one he loves. We decided to not talk for 2 weeks but i have a feeling that he could possibly still talk/sleep with that girl. Also, I am scared that if i do get back with him that he could cheat on me again.

He claims he has learned from his mistake and that he really thinks i should forgive him but i am scared that i will never trust him again. And the thought of him sleeping with another girl kills me. I really dont know what i want. I do know that aside from our jealousy battles in the past, i do want to settle down. He says thats what he wants too, but how can i exactly be sure. Maybe in the future when our relationship is at another low he will want to sleep with someone else again. I dont know what to do. I have looked in the mirror and still cant decide. what do you think?

A: I think that if you marry this man, it will be more of the same. The two of you are in the habit of manipulating each other through jealousy, cheating, and high drama. You may have a lot of supports from the outside but you don’t have the trust, fidelity, and integrity inside the relationship that is needed for a marriage to last. I worry that the “connection” you talk about is more about familiarity than real love.

My suggestion? Take a long break from each other. Work on yourselves. (You both have some growing up to do. ) Choose people to date who have high self esteem and who treat you well to see how that feels. Then see if you are even interested in each other.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

Photo

 

 

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 19 Jan 2009

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2009). Manipulation isn’t love. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 1, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2009/01/19/manipulation-isnt-love/