Q: I was seeing this guy for almost two years. Everything was going really well until I found out that he had taken another woman out on a date. I was hurt and angered by his deception. We had a huge fight, and I ended things. We didn’t talk for several weeks, but then he called me and begged for forgiveness. He said that he had made a mistake and asked for another chance. I have mixed feelings because I’m not sure that I can forgive and forget. Do you think his feelings are real or will he stray again? – Fearful

Dear Fearful: Okay, so let’s say that he made a mistake and feels genuine regret. Why do you think he did it? I sense that he was attracted to this girl, but I don’t believe he would have stayed with her. He was probably hungry for re-assurance that other women find him attractive. You may not have seen it in him before, but he has a deep-seated craving for attention. I do believe that he cares for you, but you’ll have to decide whether you can trust him again. Personally, I don’t see you staying with him for the long haul. You might go back to him, but it will only last for a short time. It’s time for you to expand your horizons. It’s better to be alone and have peace of mind than always worrying that your guy might be on the prowl.

Q: I’ve been in a relationship with the same man for 15 years. Three months ago, I found out that I was pregnant. For about a month before that, we’d been fighting on a regular basis. He wanted to leave on numerous occasions, but he didn’t. Since he found out about the baby, his behaviour has been very unpredictable. Some days, he tells me that he doesn’t want anything to do with me or the baby. Then, a few days later, he says he’s okay with things. The next thing I know, he says he wants to move out, although he hasn’t yet. Does he enjoy torturing me like this? Why is he still with me if he feels this way about our situation? On top of everything, he’s grappling with a gambling problem. I know this may sound crazy, but I do still love him and would like very much for us to remain a family. The whole situation is driving me nuts. I don’t know what to do. Can you give me some advice? – Confused

Dear Confused: He’s clearly mixed up! To make matters worse, he has absolutely no idea how to articulate what’s going on inside his head. My sense is that he feels trapped and is terrified at the prospect of becoming a father. This fear is triggering his urge to gamble, which, in turn, only makes him feel even more desperate about the situation. In the past, he knew that he could always rely on you to support him through the rough patches, but now he realizes that you and the baby will be depending more on him. He’s so paralyzed with fear that he doesn’t know what to say or do. He’s not going to resolve this situation, so it’s up to you. It’s time to take the bull by the horns and confront him in a calm and gentle manner. Set your anger aside for now; it’s time to strategize. The two of you need to sort out where your lives are going and if there’s a future for the three of you. I think that you’ve been avoiding this kind of honest exchange because you’re afraid to hear his answer. I feel that if you’re both patient and honest, it could work. You have a long history together, which you can draw upon. He needs to know that he has your love and support, but he must understand that, in the end, you will act on what’s best for you and your child.

Image courtesy of Norbert Mayer

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