” My boyfriend and I have been together for 5 years (including a couple of months that we broke up). We have a 4 yr. old daughter together, she is perfect. When I first
found out that I was pregnant, our relationship totally changed and he didn’t
seem to want to have anything to do with me. I did something that I will always
regret, I cheated on him. I was lonely, scared and felt very unloved (I know
those aren’t excuses). This is our third try to make things work…. but the
same problems keep popping up. The majority of my friends have been men, I just
get along better with them… and he is constantly thinking that I’m seeing or
sleeping with my friends. One of my “friends” did say that he wanted more that
just being friends… should I cut this person totally out of my life even
though I told me that I’m happy in the relationship I’m in? Yesterday things
escalated from bad to worse when he said he’s done with out relationship
because he feels like I don’t care if he is happy or not because I still talk
to the guy who said he wanted more at one point. I truly love my boyfriend and
I do want things to work out…. what can I do? Will he always think I’m
cheating on him? Is there anything I can do to regain trust…(even though the
cheating incident was 4 1/2 yrs. ago and was a one time thing?) Are we just
torturing each other by being together?”

NML says: OK, without trust, it is very difficult to conduct a relationship. Whilst you did cheat and you were in the wrong, your boyfriend needs to either take a leap of faith and trust you, or walk away. It is literally one or the other. However there are some things that you need to think about.

I do think that men and women can be friends, but more often than not, guys are friends with you but wouldn’t say no if the opportunity to sleep with you came up. From the moment that your friend said that he wanted more…he was no longer your friend. Bearing in mind that he knows that you’re in a relationship, he was either hoping that you’d cheat or expecting you to dump your boyfriend. At the end of the day, he is not acting from friendship..he is operating with his penis…and yes possibly his heart, but you can’t blame your boyfriend for not being keen on the both of you being friends. Friendship between you both relies on both of you having no desire to screw each other and that clearly is not the case. I suggest that you put distance between you both and focus on friendships that don’t involve the guy coming on to you.

You need to ask yourself why you still need the attentions of a guy who has stated that he wants more than friendship from you, despite the fact that your boyfriend objects? Sometimes we like knowing that we have someone’s interest even if we are not going to do anything with it – It feels good for the ego. Be careful of always surrounding yourself with male friends. Whilst there is nothing wrong with genuinely getting on with the male species better, do examine whether you are seeking these friendships because they cater to a need for male attention. The fact that your boyfriend knows that this guy has said that he’s interested in you is worrying because either he sensed it or you told him – If you told your boyfriend, you have to ask yourself what you were trying to achieve by telling him? If you didn’t tell him, your boyfriend is actually right to feel concerned because his beliefs are actually true. Flip the situation around and ask yourself: If your boyfriend surrounded himself with lots of female friends and one of them said that they wanted more than friendship, how comfortable would you be if he continued to be friends with her, despite the fact that you have expressed your discomfort?

Remember that when men surround themselves with female friends, we often call it their narcissistic harem… They have a woman for all of their attention needs…. Ask yourself if you had more of a balance of male AND female friends would this expose even more problems in your relationship with your boyfriend?

It seems that your relationship with your boyfriend is struggling, irrespective of the fact that this ‘friend’ has expressed interest. You admit to cheating when you felt unloved and lonely and you’re on the third try. What this says to me is that whatever is at the heart of your problems with your boyfriend, it is still unresolved. Often we talk about the surface stuff, but we don’t get to the root of the problem. If you are both co-existing in a relationship where there are clear trust and attention issues, you both need to confront this and either be committed to moving on from the past or ending things. Yes you both have a child together but none of you need to be in an unhappy situation and if you are both never going to resolve this issue, your relationship is doomed anyway. In order for you both to move on from the cheating, your boyfriend needs to forgive. Remember, if your reasons for cheating are that you felt unloved and lonely, he may feel that your leanings towards male friendships are catering to your unease about these things.

I don’t think that there is anything wrong with having male friends if friendship is all that it’s about, but friendship should not come at the expense of your relationship, but also true friendship shouldn’t be gotten rid of due to someone’s insecurity and jealousy. You don’t have true friendship with this guy…however if you take him out of the equation and you’re still left with insecurity and jealousy, then you clearly have bigger issues to resolve.

You say you truly love your boyfriend and that you want things to work out. Whilst I don’t suggest you bin off all of your male friendships, I do suggest that you  avoid antagonising your relationship any further by continuing to be friends with the guy who is interested. Let that be a show of faith to your boyfriend that you respect his concerns about the guy but also be clear with your boyfriend that you are committed to him and that if he wants to be with you, he must trust you. Agree some boundaries and be clear about distinguishing between a genuine concern based on behavior and paranoia, because he can’t control everything.

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