They Separated, He "Cheated"
Q: I have been dating a man for a couple of years. I'm 55, he's 63. He's broken up with me four different times, says he stays home for a month mourning, and then 2 to 3 months later, I call him and put things back together. I found out the last time we broke up he had a woman spend the weekend, others out to dinner, others dancing, etc. I stayed home like an idiot, wondering if our relationship could work. Now we're back together, he says he's committed, and that I have to put the past behind so we can move on. He says, "When you're broken up, you're broken up and it doesn't matter what you did." What do you think? -- Stephanie, 55
Dr. Susan: This quandary is going to take some time to resolve. The fact that your boyfriend broke up with you four times is a warning. It tells you he wasn't ever sure about you. And the fact that he immediately went out with other women when you were apart confirms that. But now he's committing to you. (By the way, has he asked you to marry him? That would be a reassuring sign of commitment.) Anyway, I have to agree with him that it's okay to go out when you've broken up. Apparently he felt the need to keep looking, but nothing worked out, and when you contacted him, he was willing to try again with you. And now he's decided you're the best one for him. What you need to do now is establish a new relationship with him in which there is honesty and trust. And if he breaks up with you again, move on and don't call him back.
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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.