“Can I Trust Him?”


Dear Jovanna,

I have been dating a man for five months and we had agreed to not date other people. Recently my girlfriend found his profile on a dating website. When I told him I knew about it, he laughed and said it was nothing. That it was just a fun thing, he did once in a while for entertainment and I shouldn’t be worried.  He’s never lied to me before, but I don’t know whether or not to trust him. Can I trust him?  -Emily

Dear Emily,

People act like themselves. And you can trust this. From what you’ve told me so far, we can trust that, when you have a concern about his behavior, he will most likely disregard it. And we can trust he will minimize what is important to you.

What I am not trusting here is you. I am not trusting you to respect your own feelings, desires and relationship guidelines. I am not trusting you to speak up and tell him it is not okay for him to laugh at your concerns. I am not trusting you to tell him what you want and expect in a relationship.

Even if he is just doing this for fun (which I doubt) you don’t like it. Don’t get stuck in the endless loop of trying to get him to agree with you that there is something wrong with him going on dating sites when he has agreed to be monogamous. Either he is being very sneaky and lying or his view of committed relationships is severely different than yours. In either case, something is wrong.

You say he has never lied to you before,  but you will never know if he has or not. That’s what lying is. You have no power over whether or not he lies to you, but you do have control over how you let other people treat you.  You can speak up or you can be passive.  You can set limits or you can begrudgingly go along with things. You can keep showing up for more bad treatment or you can move on. That is up to you. Time to stop using The Invisible Boundary Problem Style.

I have a sneaking suspicion you have a bad habit of minimizing what want or need for fear of someone leaving you. Typically, this comes from low-self esteem help or fear of abandonment. Get thee to a therapist.

And in the meantime, it is time for a meeting with him. Let him know, while you respect that he has his own way of doing “monogamous” relationships, it just doesn’t work for you. And you choose to be in a relationship with someone who presents himself publically, privately and on-line as not available. Calmly, tell him while he has every right to continue being on dating sites as much as he wants- it just won’t be with you as his girlfriend. Calmly, tell him he has two weeks to decide what he is going to do. And, for those two weeks you are taking a break from seeing him.

If you feel at all anxious about not seeing him for two weeks, this is a sure sign of your abandonment issues. Your regressed “little girl” self has been in charge of your relationship decisions. She is still trying to get love from her absent dad (or mom) via your latest boyfriend. The pattern repeats on into adulthood.

By the way, I bet there are a number of other things he does that don’t fit your description of your perfect mate. A “committed” guy who thinks being on dating sites is okay, is usually someone who has not grown up yet. Do you want to be dating a perpetual teenager or a man?

Think about it, Jovanna