Lying About His Ex
Q: My boyfriend and I have been dating for eight months, and we both live with his parents. His ex has been a problem from the start, calling and spreading gossip about me, though at the beginning of our relationship we made an agreement not to talk to our exes because they only cause trouble. In the past few months I've noticed that she calls him everyday, so I gave him plenty of chances to tell me the truth, until I finally asked him why he's been lying to me. He "confessed" to me that he talked to her and that he lied about all times that she came over to the house and hung out when I go visit my mother or something, and how his mom and his ex go out shopping every weekend. I got angry, and he got mad at me for that. He said that he kept it from me so I wouldn't get mad at him and leave him because of her. Though I really want to be with him, my trust is very easily broken. Should I just forgive him and leave it in the past, or leave this relationship because he's probably lied about other stuff too? -- Kayley, 19
Dr. Susan: "Just" forgiving him doesn't seem like a real option at this point. Not only has he been lying to you for months, but it sounds as though he's still continuing to see his ex behind your back and has made no promises to stop doing so. Sounds like his plan was to have both of you in his life as long as he could get away with it. What's he angry about, anyway? That you caught him lying? Or that you refuse to be happy if he's got two women in his life at the same time? Three women, actually, since he's still living with his parents, who just so happen to like his ex enough to lie for him about her to you. Not a very comfortable situation all around, I should think. You have every reason to be upset, even if this is the only activity he's been lying about. The first thing I'd do was strongly reconsider living with someone at your age, especially only a few months into knowing him, and then especially if it means living with his parents also, and then on top of that, with both of them not being honest with you. Unless he starts opening up to you and unless he apologizes to you for all the dishonesty, and unless he stops seeing his ex altogether, I don't see how your trust will ever be rebuilt. I don't know what you can do about his ex's friendship and shopping trips with his mom. The burden of rebuilding trust needs to be on him, so dump the problem in his lap. If he won't take your needs seriously, move out and move on.
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.