Relationship Advice

 Thank you for saying that not all people can just “get over” their partner’s cheating. I used to feel bad because I couldn’t forgive my boyfriend.

     We dated long distance for two and a half years. We lived in different cities and saw each other every other weekend. A year and a half into dating, I found out he “had coffee” with a woman two different times. I forgave him, thinking maybe he was scared because we were getting closer.

     Five months ago I learned he had been to bed with the woman he “had coffee with,” more than once and at his home! Still later I learned he had sex with other women.

     I was devastated! I tried to forgive, but in my mind there was no justification. He could have told me as this affected my life, too. I was livid that he put my health in danger. At first, I felt so alone, not wanting to tell anyone because I felt something was wrong with me because he couldn’t love me exclusively.

     Friends said I must forgive him, but I couldn’t because he knew what he did was wrong. He had unprotected sex with these women, and I thought we were monogamous. I was on the pill but didn’t use any other form of protection.

     Today I go through the motions of living. I haven’t been intimate with him in a long time. Thank you for saying I don’t have to forgive or that I should change my thinking and excuse what he did because he had “reasons.”

     I can’t get over it. We bought a house together and I feel stuck. He should have known the dangers of what he was doing.

    ~ Kate

     Kate, the key line in your letter is “he should have known the dangers of what he was doing.” Of course, he knew. He wasn’t thinking about you, he was thinking about himself.

     As an ordinary good person, you cannot understand that way of thinking. When you make a mistake, you own it and try to do better next time. You thought he understood the world as you understand the world. You thought he believed as you believe.

     But he does not see things from your perspective. If you want to understand his perspective, read the “Narcissist’s Prayer,” a so-called prayer that has been making the rounds on social media for a few years.

     It begins this way. “I didn’t do it. If I did it, it wasn’t that bad. If it was that bad, it wasn’t a big deal. If it was a big deal, it’s not my fault. If it was my fault, I didn’t mean it. If I did mean it, then you deserved it.”

     He doesn’t care about your well-being. If it took both your incomes to buy the house, he saw it as simply meeting his own needs.

     Thinking you can or should forgive a narcissist is a mistake. A narcissist doesn’t want it or need it because they don’t feel they are doing anything wrong. It’s like trying to “forgive” a snake for biting you. It was just being a snake.

     Good people have a hard time understanding people who lack empathy. They think politeness, manners, and good intentions will always win the day. But the rules of sportsmanship don’t work on people who are not good sports.

     Sometimes women fall for men who act strong, confusing their narcissism with strength. Perhaps that’s what happened to you. He was on the prowl, and as the Persian poet Rumi said, “A lion is most handsome when looking for food.”

     Now that you know the truth, look for the first opportunity to escape. See a lawyer and plan your exit strategy. Don’t live your life with hand-me-downs. Don’t tolerate in him what he would never tolerate in you.

     Your heart became a meal for him. He stole your past, but that is no reason to let him steal your future.

A note from Wayne & Tamara

     We are looking for a few people who would like to be a beta reader for our new book. A beta reader simply reads the book and makes any comments or suggestions that come to mind. Email us at [email protected]

     We will respond individually to each beta reader. 

     The book is about a 3-4 hour read, and the feedback needs to be completed within 10 days.

     The title is Age Difference Relationships, When Is the Gap Insurmountable? and you will probably find it applies to more than just age-difference relationships.

     Many thanks,

     Wayne & Tamara

     Email us at [email protected]

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