Tuesday, September 13, 2005

The Plot Thickens

This letter is a continuation of the story from In the Dark in Canada, whose situation we first addressed yesterday.

Dearest Terry-

The man moved downstairs this weekend, and it just left me rocked. I found myself going into his old room just to be near his smell and vibes, and now he's gone. I really love this guy.

Yes, I know if you look at the details, he looks really bad, but he used to never want to be apart from me. How do you know when to give up on a relationship?

I have been abused a few times, but this man was more than not an abuser. He was my best friend. I've hurt him deeply. I hurt my back at work three years ago and began to abuse painkillers. I went into rehab. He missed me so much that he wanted me to leave the program and come home. This is where it gets gray because I really felt he was being selfish and questioned whether it was love asking me to come home, or something else. I began to question our relationship.

I met a guy at one of the meetings who left me with that "tingly" feeling. There was very little to do at rehab, and I like to write. I wrote a little about him, and then started asking questions like "What am I thinking?" and "Affair?" As I wrote the word "affair" down, I had a strong feeling that was the wrong thing to do.

I left the program early so I could work out my relationship with my guy. He found the piece of paper! (I should've thrown it out because it was garbage.) He walked out on me, heartbroken. His feelings for were tainted. Can a man get over this kind of thing? He's treating me like I cheated on him, but I feel like he read my diary.

Got any more advice?

-Still Dark in Canada

Hello, there-

Okay, so now I know more of the story.

I'm no psychologist, but seems to me that this man had some trust issues, despite the fact that you'd happily been together for several years. I'm not quite sure why he didn't want you to continue with rehab. You needed help. He should have helped you get it.

Now, when he found the piece of paper, had he been snooping or did you leave it in a conspicuous place? Because if he was snooping,that indicates lack of trust as well. But if you left it lying around, perhaps subconsciously you wanted him to know you were attracted to another person. I don't mean you deliberately set out to hurt him, but sometimes we do things to sabotage ourselves without even thinking about it.

So, he found out about this attraction, and now he doesn't trust you. I guess you have to put yourself in his place: How would you feel if you found out he was considering an affair with another woman?

In other words, what would he have to do to win back your trust? Could he? I would think less about him being a man whose mind you have to change, and more about him as another human being whose trust you want to earn back.

But, before you do that, think about this attraction you harbored for another man. Even though you didn't have the affair, it was a possibility for you. This is what's getting the guy. You didn't do it this time, but you might another time. From his perspective, that's a scary proposition.

Just because you move into a house with a guy doesn't mean all the other attractive men in the world will slide off the planet. Temptation abounds. He needs to know that you're big enough to handle it.

If you think you are, then by all means, tell this guy what you told me: Yes, you were attracted to another man, you considered an affair, but didn't go through with it because you knew it was wrong. Tell him you love him.

Then, go back upstairs and back to your own life. Take good care of yourself and your boys. Your guy may need time to think things out in the privacy of his own space, or he may have already made his decision. He may come back, or he may not. Respect his decision and move on.

Before you talk to him, though, consider whether he ever really trusted you from the very beginning. It's hard to build a house on quick sand, you know. And it still bothers me that he took it out on your boys. None of this was ever their fault.