February 17, 2014

“So I have a question: if you love someone, have been through hell, and tried to work on trust, how then can you ignore that his reputation both in the relationship and outside are always on your mind? I have a guy that refuses to take responsibility for his side dealings, and while the evidence is clear we are lost in translation. I’ve dated escorts, dealers and even bankers, but never loved like I do now but the trust and honesty are gone. How do you get it back when they think the truth will hurt you more than the lies?”

Trust takes years to build and seconds to break. Once broken it is very rare that it can ever be fully repaired, and repairing it takes monumental effort on the part of the person doing the trusting. What kinds of efforts can you make? A friend of mine once told me that they found inner peace with their trust issues by trusting everyone to be themselves, nothing more, nothing less. If you can do that with your partner, you can start to build trust again. Instead of fighting his reputation, try embracing it. Don’t force him to pretend to be something he’s not in order to please you, but allow him to be himself and love him for all of that self.

Show him that the truth doesn’t hurt you, because you love him. Don’t pull “ah ha, gotcha” moments on him, when you have all the evidence, just let him know gently and non-judgmentally that you know what’s going on. If his “other man” was at your house and left his undies, wash them, fold them, and tell your boyfriend where they are and mention that he should make sure the other man gets them back. If they leave a used condom in the bathroom trash can, ask him nicely to take it out.

The more he knows you know, and the more he sees you can handle it without confrontation, the more likely he is to tell you things, and trust you not to freak out. You will be opening the door for communication without trying to force him through it. It’s one thing to tell your partner that he doesn’t have to sneak around, it’s another thing to show him you mean it.

Your boyfriend will continue to exhibit the same patterns of behavior that have “worked” for him in the past, and will fall into the same lies and deflections he’s used before. Don’t rise to his bait, and don’t call out his lies. Just let him have his way, and drop the subject. The more you accept him the way he is, the more he’ll accept that he can be himself around you. Eventually the lies will become unnecessary and stop; you’ll get to the point where you can tell your boyfriend that you’re out of milk and he should ask his fuck bud to pick some up on the way over.

As for the “reputation” outside the relationship, ignore it. If someone tries to hurt you with it, don’t be hurt by it. Say, “I know all about it, why are you gossiping about my boyfriend?”

I am not saying you need to be a pushover or a doormat; by all means, get what you need out of the relationship or get out. At the same time, accept that he’s getting his needs met too, and if you love him, you should be happy that he is. If he’s 15 minutes late for dinner, eat without him and serve him up some cold leftovers, and let him know you missed him at dinner and wished he was there. If he isn’t there to watch your tv show together, watch it without him; tell him you did, and he needs to catch up on his own. You know by now when his excuses are legitimate and when they’re bullshit. Reward the legitimate excuses by waiting longer, and ignore the bullshit ones. He’ll figure out the pattern quickly enough: “tell the truth, I wait; lie to me and eat alone.”

Do you have an question for “Ask Daddy”? Send it to me, for a chance to have it answered in a future column.

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