Friday 20 October 2017

Dear Mary: I miss my man so much but I'm not sure if I can ever truly trust him again

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Mary O’Conor

I am looking for guidance please. I am a 56-year-old divorced woman. I met a man over 10 years ago after a marriage break-up. We fell in love and eventually moved in together.

We lived happily for years and then suddenly he changed. He became secretive and distant.

I became suspicious and started trying to find out why. I eventually found out he was seeing another woman and had told her we were separated.

I was devastated as I thought he was going to be with me for the rest of my life.

I kicked him out because I was so hurt and humiliated. He has been so apologetic, and says he loves me even though he can't explain why this happened. I have been distancing myself from him for the last two years.

He messaged me regularly, stating he would love me forever. I told him I needed to move on with my life and he should do the same.

Shortly after I told him this, I learned he was starting to date. I was hit with such strong emotions it floored me. I met him to tell him good luck and when I started to talk, I realised I still loved him deeply. When he knew I had feelings for him he finished dating and we have started seeing each other once a week for walks, coffee and chats.

I had missed things we did together, just normal things like chatting on the phone, holding hands and a shared interest in things.

I still do not trust him and I doubt everything he says. I have not told family or friends that I see him as they would be disappointed in my decision. Is what I am feeling love or just jealousy?

I do not want to risk family relationships being damaged because I make a bad decision and take him back.

Mary replies:  You are naturally afraid that if you take this man back, he will repeat his past behaviour.

It is not enough for him to simply say he couldn't explain what happened two years ago, and this is where you have to start before you can trust him again. There must have been some reason why he went outside of your relationship. Was he bored, was he unhappy with some aspect of your life together, and does he have a history of being disloyal in other relationships? Obviously, the relationship with the woman he was then seeing did not continue as he was back dating again when you met up with him.

In essence, what I'm saying is that you need to be fully satisfied as to why things went wrong before you give him another chance. Then it will be a slow process as it is not possible to suddenly start trusting him again.

Your trust will have to be built up over a period of time. In this instant age, where we expect replies to text and emails within minutes and where the average span of concentration is acknowledged to be limited to two or three minutes, it is very difficult to grasp the concept of something taking a long time. But it is the only way that you will be able to truly learn to trust him again.

The most important thing in all of this is that you should be happy, so try not to worry about what friends or family may say if you do re-unite with him. They do not want you to be hurt, but ultimately they want you to be happy, and if being with him makes you happy then so be it.

You can contact Mary O’Conor anonymously by visiting www.dearmary.ie or email her at dearmary@independent.ie or write c/o 27-32 Talbot Street, Dublin 1. All correspondence will be treated in confidence. Mary O’Conor regrets that she is unable to answer any questions privately.

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