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Has he changed, or has she? Could be either, both, neither

Has he changed, or has she? Could be either, both, neither

Q: This guy and I dated in college, and he was not faithful to me. I guess some of it was typical college behavior, but it still wrecked me pretty badly. He was also a big drinker, very sociable, never had time for me on weekends because he had to be in the thick of everything.

Fast-forward six years — we reconnected via Facebook and started dating again. In many ways he's nothing like the college kid I once knew, but in others (outgoing, many female friends, likes to party) he's very much the same. All I see are reminders of the same behaviors that led to his cheating in college. How do I convince myself it's not going to happen again now?

Learning To Trust?

A: If I rephrased your question — "How do I keep my blinders from slipping, so I don't see anything bad?" — would you still think it's a worthy goal?

It's a tricky business, figuring out whether you're the problem or someone else is. Once you start trying to "convince yourself," though, you're essentially saying you've decided where the problem lies, and you're only willing to accept evidence in support of that one conclusion.

But what if you're the one who has grown up — at least to the point where you now recognize signs you missed six years ago?

Certainly it's possible he's both very friendly and very faithful. I have no interest in fueling groundless suspicion.

But the only way you'll be able to recognize the truth of what's going on is if you get rid of your preconceived ideas — along with any idealized visions of how this second go-round will turn out — and let the facts tell you what's happening.

His having a lot of female friends, for example, could be good, bad or neutral — but if he still doesn't have "time for (you) on weekends," then please ask yourself why you're forcing yourself to grant him trust he hasn't earned.

If you've already tried to have an open mind and you still can't tell whether you're just paranoid or he's still playing around, then it might be time to step back from dating altogether for a while.

While it may seem extreme to break up with someone who has possibly done nothing wrong, it's of vital importance that you learn to read your feelings — and recognize what's good for you amid competing influences, pressures, desires and needs. It's possible that any relationship will create confusing amounts of background noise until you've locked in on your own voice.

Not mentioning she is adopted leaves boyfriend 'confused'

Q: I just invited my boyfriend to meet my parents. After dinner, my boyfriend confronted me because he was "confused" about why I had not told him I am adopted (I am Asian and my parents are white). Why this would upset anyone is beyond me, but I accept that his feelings are truly hurt. What's your take on this?


A: Even if you don't believe being adopted matters, that in itself says something about you. You withheld a lot. It sounds to me as if he cares, and asked a legitimate question.

In a sensitive way, too: He used the word "confused," not "upset" — inviting you to explain your thoughts, vs. tend to his feelings.

Has he changed, or has she? Could be either, both, neither 02/24/11 [Last modified: Thursday, February 24, 2011 1:27pm]
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