(Like the previous girl who wrote in), I too, was cheated on with escorts. I didn’t talk to him for a couple of months, but he never stopped texting, emailing, sending flowers, etc… When I saw him again he had lost, like, 30 pounds, and looked completely devastated.
In an effort to regain my trust, he gave me a clone phone, put cameras in his house, started going to meetings, therapists, church, he now wants to convert to my religious beliefs, (even though I never asked him to), and he even proposed.
I do believe he is truly remorseful for all the pain he caused, and I even started trusting him a little. Then I caught him LYING about porn and it all went down the toilet.
Am I just wasting my time here? Can people REALLY change that much?
-Fool Me Once…
Dear “Fool Me Once…”
Goodness, me! What the heck are you doing over there to turn “sinners” into “saints” like THAT?! Lol… (Inquiring priests wanna know, haha…)
But in all seriousness, I love this question. It not only allows me to expound upon my last answer, but it gives me a chance to address the MAJOR mistake I see most people make when dating. So, let’s get to it.
Picking up where I left off last time, let’s say you’ve done the work. You got clear on how you want to feel in a relationship, stayed focused on your vision, and, as a result, you attracted a man who was compatible with that vision.
Now, the guy who seemingly was a match is “cutting up,” and instead of getting the man of your dreams you feel like all you’re getting are trust issues.
However! [*Index finger raised*] You remember that no one is perfect, and reflect back on what I shared with you in “The Secret to a Wonderful Relationship.”
You also remember Harville Hendrix’ assertion within that article that “the best one can hope for, (in someone they have chemistry with), is to find someone who is aware of his or her problems and willing to do, with you, the hard work necessary to heal.” (Keeping the Love You Find, pg. 131)
BUT! [*You argue again*] there’s a BIG difference between someone’s willingness and desire to change, and their capacity to change… And now that’s got you wondering if all of your boyfriend’s/fiancé’s efforts to show you that he truly is “your guy” are Real Deal Holyfield changes, of if you’re just wasting your time.
Well, I’ve got good news and bad news.
The “bad news” is that an individual’s capacity to change can only be revealed in time. The “good news” is that – (God-willing) – you’ve got time! (Knock on wood).
And this brings me to the MAJOR mistake I see most people make when dating: They make a commitment BEFORE they have a great relationship.
Happy and healthy relationships require time to (1) allow you to see what you’re consistently getting, (2) grow in trust, and (3) get to a place where you both feel completely safe and secure enough to go “all in.”
And outside of marriage, there’s absolutely NO obligation to enter, or stay, in a relationship you’re not pleased with.
So, feel free to take a step back from committing, (or recommitting), to a relationship you’re unsure of, regain your focus on your vision for the relationship that you desire, (as described in my last answer), and allow time to tell you if a person is someone you truly should commit, (or recommit), to.
When you approach a relationship in this low-pressure, let’s-see-if-we’re-truly-compatible-first way, you not only create the opportunity to lay the strong, friendship-first foundation necessary for a great relationship; but you don’t have to worry about wasting your time because you’re still free to live your best life while discovering if the other person is a match to your deepest desires, (opposed to someone you just want to be).
So, “Fool Me Once,” if this relationship has any long-term romantic potential return to the basics. Focus on creating a great (friendship-based) relationship FIRST, while you let your other friend, Father Time, show you if this guy really can be the consistent and trustworthy man of your dreams. It will go a long way in letting you know if you should, in fact, eventually “say yes to the dress.” Best of luck.
Note: As this column is designed to be a judgement-free zone, only those who have been, (or know someone who has been), in a similar situation are invited to comment; especially if the question is unorthodox or hard for one to relate to. And for even more relevant insight, those seeking answers are always encouraged to go within.