Reader Questions Fiancee's Commitment
Heartbreak asks: "A few weeks ago, my boyfriend and I got engaged. The past year of our relationship has been nothing short of amazing, and we've both often spoken about how truly special our love is for each other. Last night, we got into a bit of an argument (which happens every few weeks or so), and when it was clear that nothing constructive was being said, I grabbed my laptop that he had been using and went upstairs to be alone for a while. When I opened my laptop, his online social network account was open and in the "messages" section. To my utter shock and dismay, there were messages that he sent to almost 10 RANDOM, foreign women, introducing himself and saying he would "like to get to know them better".
I confronted him about the messages which, at first, he denied being anything more than spam, but when I showed him the impossibility of the messages being spam since HE INITIATED THEM, he fell silent. I packed up my things, hysterically crying from heartbreak, and went to stay at my friend's house. When I got back in the morning to grab my toothbrush, he tried hard to reconcile. I told him that I didn't know if I could get past something like this.
Does he love me and want to spend the rest of his life with me (according to the whole engagement concept)? Then does he go and solicit the attentions of beautiful strangers? He insists that he's had this "problem" for a while and that its started up again because he's not getting the affection that he needs from me. He brought up wanting me to be more "effusive" with him in the past, maybe a few times at most, and never let on that this inadequacy was driving him down an old vice of his. I am lost and heartbroken and don't know if I can believe him or trust him ever again. Can someone please lend any advice on what I should do? Has anyone experienced anything similar and, if so, was a reconciliation possible and how?"
How Would You Answer This Dating Question? Comment here
Lying About Online Contact Is More Common Than You May Think
Thanks for your challenging question Heartbreak, which is more common of a situation than you might think. Many folks, be they male or female, in a relationship or otherwise, have found themselves relying upon the quick rush that a stranger's online admiration and attention provides them with. Available at anytime of the day or night and providing a smorgasbord of options, I can both appreciate and understand the need your fiancee's lying fulfills.
Now, that isn't to say I condone his lying or his behavior; I don't. I've worked with countless men and women in the same situation as you, and I've been in a relationship where lying about online contact was an issue. I've yet to see any sort of reconciliation work however, both personally and professionally, unless the person seeking the online contact (a) admits they have a problem, (b) stops blaming others for their behavior (in this case, you), and (c) seeks some sort of support, counseling or assistance to deal with the urges and impulses and to find better ways to communicate and connect in the real-world. In some ways, what your fiancee is doing is similar to the game addiction question a reader asked last week, and therefore I have similar suggestions for you.
Suggestions And Tips For Dealing With A Lying Partner
First off, taking a bit of time and space to mull things over is a good idea. Being heartbroken may be a bit premature, but this is definitely a serious situation. Your fiancee is not getting something he needs in your relationship, so he's chosen to seek it elsewhere for the time being lie about it. Is that your fault? In my opinion, no. He made the choice to contact these women, and he decided to keep this information from you. Yet he did mention to you on several occasions that something important (for him) was lacking in your relationship, although you don't say if the conversation changed anything between you or not. I liken it to someone who says, "If you don't do A, I'm going to do B," i.e. "I'll start drinking again," or "I'll start seeking out the online companionship of strangers," or "I'll eat his whole cherry cheesecake". You get my drift. Point being, he's responsible for his own behavior and you, yours.
Next, I'd take a look at how you may have contributed to the problem. Did you acknowledge your fiancee's concerns initially, or did you think they weren't that serious? By mentioning it a 'couple' times, did it not make you think, "Hm, maybe I need to find ways to show him I care that might be different than what I'm doing now?" Its a conscious choice to love someone, and it needs to more of a conscious choice for you. Again, this isn't to imply you 'made him do it' - he decided to start lying to you, and he fell back into past patterns when he felt he wasn't getting what he needed - but it takes two to tango, and ignoring something important to him is a huge red flag, too.
Lastly, I'd have a sit down with him about what you've shared with us here. Be frank, supportive and as kind as you can, and listen to what he has to say. Put aside your hurt if you are able for an hour, and be present with your fiancee. Does he try to make excuses, blame you or refuse to accept responsibility for his actions? If that's the case, you'll likely be better off going your separate ways now, and getting some counseling yourself. But if he's apologetic, wanting to make you happy and accepting that he's got a problem that is affecting your relationship negatively, suggest the two of see a professional therapist or counselor for a session or two, and make a point of working towards new ways of communicating with one another, as well as techniques to support your fiancee when he's feeling the urge to start lying again.