22 Sep Week 9: ARP (The 8th Red Flag – Cheating #1)
He tells you you’re paranoid when you see signs that he’s cheating.
In my final toxic relationship with a man I call Mr. Cruelly Handsome it took dating two years before he finally gave me a key to his apartment.
When that day arrived I was thrilled. It seemed to usher in a new era of closeness and commitment. Finally I could relax and know that I was his Only One. Otherwise he never would have given me a key to his apartment where I could let myself in any time of the day or night!
Two months later he wanted it back.
I was shocked. I thought we’d reached a milestone and now, suddenly, we were going backwards?
To me that meant three things. Redhead. Brunette. Blond.
And I was right about one, if not all of them.
Perhaps, like I did, you feel uneasy about what happens in your love’s life when you’re not around and you’re noticing some behavior that seems like signs he’s cheating.
- He doesn’t want you to see who he’s texting.
- He’s uber-territorial about his computer.
- He doesn’t want you just “dropping by” without calling first.
- He accuses you of snooping when you’re looking for the stapler on his desk.
- He cancels plans at the last minute for no good reason.
- He’s defensive and angry when you ask about his schedule.
- He has a new friendship with someone you haven’t met that he won’t include you in.
- He’s distant and distracted in bed.
Finally you muster the courage to ask him what’s wrong. Is he seeing someone else? And this is when he goes on the offensive. He begins to label you.
He tells you that you’re “too needy,” “too clingy,” “you’re smothering him,” “you’re paranoid,” “you need to get a life.”
He’s right. You do. One without him.
What I learned in my own recovery is that when a lover attacks you for not trusting him, instead of finding ways to show you he’s trustworthy, something is afoot.
There’s one caveat:
If all the people you date think you’re too needy, clingy, smothery, you might be and should get counseling to determine why you can’t trust people when there’s no evidence you shouldn’t.
You might also be a person who attracts the same kind of toxic relationships over and over again, in which case, you should seek professional help to uncover why you’re drawn to Asshats and how to break the cycle.
But before you ditch this relationship you can say something like this to your love:
“I’ve noticed some behavior of yours that makes it difficult for me to trust you. Trust isn’t given, it’s earned. If you want me to trust you, this is what I need …”
Then make a list of what you need.
While no one has a right to curtail any individual’s privacy, if there’s a trust issue you might simply ask for more transparency. Some examples:
- Being friends on social media.
- Being invited out with any “new” friends he has that you haven’t met yet.
- More transparency when it comes to his computer and phone. (This does not mean you get to snoop or have passwords, but it might mean asking him not to sneak off to the bathroom when he has a phone call.)
- Ask for consistency and reliability in his behavior. Call when you say you will. Arrive when you say you will. Follow through on promises and commitments.
Your partner may, or may not being willing to meet your needs.
The important thing is that you’ve had the courage to ask for what you need, and now you can make an informed decision about what to do with the relationship, depending on your partner’s response.