Monday 16 January 2017

Ask Majella... Majella O'Donnell solves your problems

Majella O'Donnell

Published 19/04/2015 | 02:30

Majella O'Donnell
Majella O'Donnell

Dear Majella: My boyfriend and I had been going out for three years, and had moved in together, when I discovered that he had cheated on me with a colleague. I was devastated and we broke up, but he swore that it was just a drunken mistake and after a few months we got back together.

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A few months later we got engaged and have been happy together since. Recently, however, I have started to notice that he is behaving oddly. He stays late at work all the time and is dismissive or defensive when I ask about where he's been, saying that I should trust him. He's secretive with his phone messages and once said he was out with a friend whose Facebook said he was somewhere else. I have tried to take what he says at face value but I can't shake the nagging feeling that there is something more going on. What should I do?

Via email

Majella replies...

Dear Reader,

I am sorry to hear that your relationship is going through this uncertain time. When a partner cheats, they break a trust that is very difficult to regain. It can take years to build back up and sometimes you can never trust that person again. But can I tell you this, women have very strong instincts and they should listen to them. They are not always right, but more often than not, they are. If you have nagging suspicions then don't just push them aside. You have them for a reason.

You are engaged to this man and you really need to know that he is not going to stray again especially when you are married and maybe have children. Firstly, you could ask him straight out if something is going on because things are just not adding up. Some people will answer truthfully and others won't, but it's a start.

He needs to be totally upfront with you after his past behaviour otherwise you are going to think something is going on. That is only natural.

Do you know any of his work colleagues that you could casually chat to about what's going on at his workplace. Is there extra work on that you are not aware of that requires him to stay late? Why did his friend's Facebook say he was somewhere different to what he told you?

He should have no problem explaining these things to you if they are true. If I were in your situation, I would probably have the same concerns. If he continues to be secretive and defensive then I think you have two choices.

You can stay with him and believe what he says although I think your suspicions will continue to eat away at you.

The other option is to tell him that you no longer feel you can trust him and it would be better for you both to make a clean break now rather than later, when a lot more than your feelings could be at risk.

Don't let this situation carry on because it only makes you doubt yourself and you start to lose confidence in your judgement.

At the moment your instincts are telling you things are not right. My advice is to believe them.

Dear Majella

My boyfriend of four years broke up with me last year and left me broken-hearted. I thought that things between us were good so it took me totally by surprise when he said he just didn't see a future for us. It took me a long time to pick myself back up after the break up. We were friends for years before we started going out and have a lot of mutual friends. Now, one of them is getting married in September and I've been invited to the wedding. My ex is the best man and is bringing his new girlfriend. I have a plus-one invitation but I'm not in a relationship so I don't know what to do. No matter whether I go it alone or bring a friend as a date I know that everyone else will be looking at me pittyingly. I'm dreading it.

Anonymous

Majella replies...

Dear Anonymous

This is a real dilemma for couples who split up but have the same circle of friends. I'm glad that you have moved on and picked yourself back up again after your relationship broke down. There is no point in looking back as it achieves nothing and only makes you miserable. It's not easy, but it's the right thing to do.

I understand how awkward it may seem to you to go to this wedding but I don't think everybody else will take as much notice as you think they will. One or two friends may be curious to see how you react to your ex and his girlfriend but once that has passed, I don't think it will be a problem at all.

You say you have moved on so I will take it that that is the case. Really you have two choices.

You can decide not to go to the wedding which might send out the wrong message altogether or you go and enjoy the day. I would go and bring a close friend as your plus-one as it may help to have someone with you that understands the situation without making a big deal of it.

Here's something else you might consider. Have you ever thought that his new girlfriend might be as anxious as you are about this wedding? If you think about it, she is going to a wedding with her new boyfriend and has to meet his old girlfriend of four years.

We all have different ways of dealing with things so if I were you I would go, look my best and be the nicest, friendliest version of myself that I could be.

Hold your head up high and have no regrets.

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