I am a 34 Y. old female dating a 29 Y. old Male approaching 2 years of dating. We are very much in love and have a wonderful relationship. Last summer we went through a series of very difficult things. I found out that he had been unfaithful to me after we had been dating for 3 months. I found this out almost a year after the fact. i discovered a correspondence of emails from him to her, looking at his emails from over a year ago. I had a hunch and finally looked at his personal things. Like i said, it was over a year after the fact. He explained that he did not know if we were serious yet and that he was very sorry. Even though we were in a monogomas and committed relationship at the 3 month mark. Several weeks later i also found him emailing 2 girls in a very flirtatious way. Saying that he was unsure of his present feelings to his girlfriend and that if things didn;t work out, that they should keep in touch. I was honest with him, told him i looked at his email, and that my trust for him was at zero. At that moment, he said he did not want to lose me, agreed that he had been doing things to sabotage the relationship, and that he needed therapy.

That was 7 months ago. Since then, he has made a complete turn around. Our relationship has made a lot of progress, we are both in therapy separately, and i see how devoted and how much effort he is making to be together and treat me with respect. My problem, i can’t forget about what happened. I feel haunted by the experience and have become exhausted and unmotivated. I fear he will do something to hurt me and i need constant reassurance. He is saying that he loves me and wants a future together, but still cannot discuss taking the next step together.

I know he is trying and i see his struggle, but i feel this relationship is on his terms. I have done all the forgiving. I was lied to and cheated on. Not him. I know he is healing too. He was very unhappy with himself and knowing that he did things to hurt me. But i want to move on, talk about living together, marriage, family. He is still not ready to discuss this with me. I feel tired and beaten up emotionally. I need some sound advice to get my courage back. To know what’s right for me and what steps to take. I cannot continue to live in this anxiety ridden place in my heart. Does he or doesnt he? I also look at his email from time to time to see if anything is going on. i know its disfunctional but it is the only control i seem to feel i have.

A: You and your boyfriend are already in therapy. Those therapists know you each well. It would be far more helpful for you to speak as honestly as you can with your own therapist and perhaps to ask to attend one of your boyfriend’s sessions to talk to his. Your therapists can help you understand why a 29 year old guy in a serious relationship with a woman he says he loves can’t move forward and why a 34 year old woman in a “wonderful relationship” can’t make a leap of faith and trust the man she describes as trying so very hard.

If you aren’t satisfied with your therapist, you have the right to go to another for a second opinion. Although you could say that you’ve done that by writing to me, reading a letter is simply not the same as meeting you. To be valid, the second opinion would have to be based on having the same information (in this case an in-person interview) as the first one.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie