[Two Pronged] Cheating boyfriends and second chances
Jeremy has a master's degree in law from Oxford University. A banker of 37 years who worked in 3 continents, he has been training with Dr Holmes for the last 10 years as co-lecturer and, occasionally, as co-therapist, especially with clients whose financial concerns intrude into their daily lives
Together, they have written two books: Love Triangles: Understanding the Macho-Mistress Mentality and Imported Love: Filipino-Foreign Liaisons.
Dear Dr Holmes and Mr Baer,
I’m 39 years old; my partner, a transman, is 40. We are both OB-GYNs. The first 3 years of our 5 years together was the best. I helped A pass his fellowship exam. I was already a fellow, with subspecialty. He returned to his hometown, when certified and started his practice. He is open about who he is with his parents.
I stayed with A there, but we did not live in. We are known as “the couple” in his hometown.
I handle all his finances, pay the bills, like a wife would do. Two years ago, A became distant. I kept asking if something was wrong but he always denied it. He became short tempered, harsh. Whenever I asked him why, he answers “it’s the testosterone.”
Three weeks before I discovered his 2-year affair with a nurse, “Liza,” he formally introduced me to his parents. His mom asked if he was sure about me; he said yes. Yet a week after these introductions, he said he was not happy anymore and he needed space. I gave him space, but he kept calling me.
When I found out about the affair, he and the nurse concocted a reason to deny the affair, but there were pictures. I confronted A about it, telling him it was over. For closure, I confronted the nurse who told me: A planned to wait 6 months until his completion surgery before breaking things off. I heard it myself on loudspeaker.
I called A that I’m done, but he blurted out he loves, and cannot afford to lose, me, denying the 6 month plan. Because I love him soooo much, I agreed to try again.
A let her go.
My problem: A loves the girl more than me, since A did everything the nurse demanded from him, up to the point of demanding not to have sex with me.
So why choose me and want a second chance? His friends say when asked who he would choose, his answer was always me. If he planned to break up with me, why introduce me to his parents, thefirst girlfriend he ever introduced?
He wants to try again, but he never said sorry, still treats me harshly, is very distant.. although it’s only been a week since we reconciled.
But I love him.
Thank you for your letter. It strikes me that your story has little, if anything, to do with "A" being a transman. It is instead a rerun of the traditional themes of love and betrayal: While you were enjoying what you thought was an exclusive relationship, A was having a two year affair with someone else.
There are a number of classic reactions to infidelity. The most hardline is to sever all ties since the betrayed party feels that trust has been irrevocably breached. People who react this way often have previous experience (personal or family) of betrayal.
Then there are the forgivers. This group often include those with strong religious convictions since forgiveness is an important part of the Bible, etc. Also included are those willing to give a second chance, those who feel they have invested too much in the relationship to walk away, those who believe their partner when he/she promises never to transgress again.
Another group is simply not bothered by infidelity. For them the relationship is about a nice house, good education for the children, platinum credit cards, or a need to be married. Also included here are those who enjoy varying degrees of open marriages.
But you, Bee, seem predisposed to forgive because you love A but you are hesitant because of his mixed messages: saying he loves and does not want to lose you, yet harsh and distant. If you are truly sure A loves the nurse more than you, then that alone should be your guide. Leave him, however painful it may be in the short term, because otherwise you risk a lifetime of betrayal.
All the best,
You have reconciled for just a week and already A is distant and harsh. This is not the sort of behavior a person exhibits when thankful his partner has given him another chance.
You didn’t have to forgive him, but you did and now he behaves as if you were the culprit and he the wronged one. People arrogant enough to behave like this have usually gotten away with it in the past… as he has, for the last two years of your relationship when you kept on asking him what was wrong and he didn’t change but instead trivialized your concerns by blaming “the testosterone.”
He behaved terribly, Bee. Not because he fell in love with Liza; we are, after all, not responsible for how we feel. We are responsible, however, for how we behave, and his choosing to lie, to manipulate, and to string you along and the devastation this brought can be laid at his feet.
A had a choice to behave decently and he didn’t. Instead, he lied, made unnecessarily cruel plans (leaving you, but only after he had his completion surgery), and didn’t care if everyone knew about Liza but you. A is so insensitive to your feelings he has not even apologized for hurting you.
Oh, Bee. Not leaving him the previous two years (when he had the affair) is understandable: you didn’t really know what was going on and were hoping the “testosterone excuse” was true. But now you know the kind of person A is.
Here’s hoping you do not find yet another excuse to stay.
Need advice from our Two Pronged duo? Email email@example.com with subject heading TWO PRONGED. Unfortunately, the volume of correspondence precludes a personal response.