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Betrayal May be Too Hard to Overcome

  • Please forgive my betrayal

Betrayal May be Too Hard to Overcome

Lostlove in Baltimore, Maryland

Dear Lostlove: You are describing a double betrayal of your boyfriend—by both you and his brother. Virtually no one would find that easy to handle. Express regret for hurting and betraying him. Do not justify or explain your behavior, and don’t defend what you did. Then ask him what he would need—or what you could do—in order for him to give you one more chance to be a loyal, loving and faithful partner.

If he still can’t come back to you, or come toward you, the chances are that too much damage has been done, and he can’t let go of the ghosts of the past and forgive you.

Dear Neil: My boyfriend and I have been together for nine months. Every time there is a problem, he gets mad and calls me names. Then he says he’s sorry, that he does indeed love me. He does this every time that there is a problem. I don’t know what to think. He breaks up when things don’t go his way. He doesn’t act loving with me as much as I would like. Should I find someone that is going to give me what I want? He is a good guy, it’s just that I want someone who is more emotionally there for me.

Help Me

Dear Help Me: A man who is disrespectful and who fights dirty may or may not love you, but you’re certainly not going to feel loved by him. And you can bet the farm that you’re going to feel controlled and manipulated by him, because it will feel that you have to do everything his way in order to be treated well and valued.

It sounds as if you’ve answered you own question. If you want somebody more emotionally present, let the boyfriend go and go find what it is you want.

Everyone—including you—deserves to be wanted, valued, cherished and treated well.

Dear Neil: I am a single mom of three children. I met a man about a month ago. We are both Christian/Baptist and share the same values. One night we started to get intimate, and I stopped us because I thought it might be too soon. We had only been out on a couple of dates and I wanted to wait. He said he understood and promised to call me—but never did. Then he sent me an e-mail saying that he felt incredibly guilty over his behavior. He feels that, being the man, he should have had more self-control, should not have put us in such a compromising position. He said he needed to step away from the relationship with me until God could give him more self-control, and until then he won’t return my phone calls or e-mails. I really started to fall for him and now I don’t know what to make out of it. Is it possible he is telling me the truth? What should I do?

Heartbroken in Texas

Dear Heartbroken: Some very religious people do adopt the stand that you’ve described, and there is no harm in trusting that he is telling you the truth. But he is still saying “no” to you, because he’s declaring he wants no contact with you, and no contact will destroy a budding romance. It sounds like he is saying “no” to the normal, erotic sexual energy that two people generate.

Has your relationship turned cold and distant? Neil’s book Love, Sex, and Staying Warm can help you rekindle your passion.

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About the Author

Neil Rosenthal, LMFT, offers couples therapy and marriage counseling in Denver, Westminster, and Boulder, Colorado. He specializes in strengthening intimate relationships. His internationally syndicated "Relationships" column is now in its 23rd year. Regularly interviewed by the media, Rosenthal has appeared as an expert on ABC, NBC, FOX and more. He is the author of Love, Sex and Staying Warm: Keeping the Flame Alive.

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