No future

Joey Garcia

My boyfriend seemed distant, so I snooped in his e-mail. Well, he had been corresponding with a high-school female friend for four months and stating he wished they lived closer and would love to see her. His last ex-girlfriend e-mails him daily and he gets calls from the ex before her. Well, we broke up. He can’t trust me since I looked at his e-mail. I don’t think he is trustworthy either. What is your opinion? He wants to be friends. So I get to be another one in his circle of friends.

Or not. Hey, you have the power of choice. Don’t let disappointment seduce you into clinging to a guy whose definition of honesty is not compatible with yours. But do investigate your choice to betray his trust by reading his e-mail. Yes, he failed to share the details of his relationships with other women. No, you can’t be certain that those connections are threats. If you are intimidated, it’s possible that the bond between you and your guy is weak. After three to six months of a committed dating relationship, the couple should be comfortable enough to introduce each other to their respective friends. That includes ex-girlfriends. If those former connections are truly platonic, there’s nothing to stress about. Any comparison shopping that you try (she’s prettier than me!) is about your insecurity, not his. He can help you by telling you how important you are to him and you can help yourself by listening and accepting it when he does.

If you date another guy who grows distant, give him a little space. If his self-absorption continues, ask him directly how you can improve the relationship. Then do it. But if his ex-girlfriends have more or as much priority in his life as you do, beware. Some people keep old flames alive so they have options if the current relationship falters. They fail to see that it’s just a means to avoid real commitment.

My four-year relationship has had its good and bad moments. I make more money than he does and take care of all the bills. He works part time. Financially, it’s hurting us and putting a strain on our relationship. We love each other, but he has lots of emotional baggage, including two kids that live with their two moms. Should I stick around and see if he changes or move on?

You’ve waited four years for this relationship to become what you desire. The longer you stay, the harder it is to disentangle your heart from his. But remember, all relationships include sweet moments and bitter ones. So if this relationship allows you to grow spiritually, to expand your capacity to give and receive love, to deepen your sense of gratitude for being alive, to face the persnickety parts of your personality and get the support needed to change annoying habits and defenses while being accepted as you are, well, stay. Tight finances are frustrating but not a reason to leave a relationship that helps you fulfill your spiritual potential. Unless, of course, you are unmarried and paying for his child support, or if you think he is taking advantage of you financially in other ways. Then, you need the backbone to treat yourself as a woman of worth.

Real love includes challenge. You are being challenged to create what you want while embracing what you have as enough. And your man is being challenged to be an adult and take care of his responsibilities. That doesn’t mean both of you must work full time. The two of you can negotiate any structure to your relationship that you like. But you must both invest emotionally in the relationship. If you’re working longer hours, he should handle more household responsibilities. Without a partnership, there is no future.

Meditation of the week
“So much of our time is preparation, so much is routine, and so much retrospect, that the path of each man’s genius contracts itself to a very few hours,” wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson. Spark your genius. Travel home by a different route, pick by the phone with the opposite hand, find something to love about your enemies and spend more time with plants than people. Avoid routines and see if your genius comes out (from behind your need to conform) for a play date with you.

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