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Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark, Psychotherapist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 5220
Experience:  Dr. Mark is a PhD in psychology helping with relationships
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I am in a relation ship with a boyfriend of 3 years. I have

Customer Question

I am in a relation ship with a boyfriend of 3 years. I have been checking his phone since we got together.I know this is not a good sign the only thing I have ever found is jokes about other woman with his work colleagues who are also male. 1of the jokes did say that he could have sex with another girl if he wanted but written in a different way.when I asked him about this he was clearly annoyed I looked at his phone he says it's just banter and would never actually do anything. I know he really loves me and I know his male friends have banter like this all of the time. Am I right in feeling hurt over this as it happend months ago but it still upsets me. Do males do this behind there girlfriends backs? And am I looking too much into things and over reacting? He has said now he will stop as it does upset me and he really wants me to trust him. But I get worried it still could be happening we keep arguing over it and its spoiling our relationship the thoughts I have am I being really insecure and is it normal for blokes to have banter like this when they are in a serious relationship? As there are also lots of great qualities he has and I do believe he loves me and Is maybe just showing off ... Please help as I want to put a stop to the way I feel as I've promised never to look at his phone again
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 3 years ago.

Dr. Mark :

Hi. I'll be glad to help you.

Dr. Mark :

Let me start with my first impression and see what you think, okay?

Dr. Mark :

This is how trust works. Trust is not a GUARANTEE about the future. Trust is a mutual agreement among people. You can't ever be certain about what anyone will do in the future, including him. So how do you trust in him? You have to BESTOW trust in him.

Let's make sure this is clear. Trust is not something about the future. We never know what somebody might do in the future if you think about it. You've seen people do unexpected things. Well, there's no way to guarantee against unexpected behavior. But that doesn't stop of us from bestowing trust on people. We bestow trust based on our faith in their relationship with us. So trust is based on PAST behavior, not future behavior. And he has shown that he deserves to have you trust him that this was a careless hurt he inflicted.

Dr. Mark :

What do you think?

Dr. Mark :

The system says you're standing by. I see you haven't replied yet' do you need more time ?

Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 3 years ago.

Hi! Because you didn't reply in the chat mode, the system reverted to the question/answer mode. So I'll answer you here, okay?

First, allow me to say I can imagine that it is hurtful and frustrating this situation is for you. Clearly, you are a loving and caring person and you want to receive that love and caring back. You are right, many young guys treat what your boyfriend did as normal guy behavior and not a violation of relationship rules at all. Many would view looking at the other's phone log as being more of a violation. But you are sensitive and he seems like he's quite a nice person as well. And he agreed to stop with that guy kind of flirtatiousness. That's great.

And even though in your mind you know your bf's behavior was not a major violation, still you feel like that loving and caring is a little broken. And that hurts. And really you would be right if your relationship together was a beautiful china vase, it is cracked now.

And this is the key that I want you to use to reorient your view of what is actually happening. Relationships aren't really like china vases. They are like a lily plant that you put in the center of your garden. A lily plant is something that you have to nurture in order for it to grow. And sometimes we forget to water at the right time and sometimes we are careless or angry or stubborn, etc. But we move forward and nurture some more and it comes back to health and full bloom.

Your bf was careless. True. And even careless mistakes can hurt someone. True. But there are levels of hurt. Not hurts have to be such big hurts just because they hurt, agreed?

This was certainly a hurt he inflicted because of carelessness. But you can let it be a little hurt that eventually goes away. Because he won't be doing this over and over, so it will go away. He even was willing to look at it your way and change what he's doing with his buddies. That's pretty fantastic.

So let me repeat what I wrote in the chat:

This is how trust works. Trust is not a GUARANTEE about the future. Trust is a mutual agreement among people. You can't ever be certain about what anyone will do in the future, including him. So how do you trust in him? You have to BESTOW trust in him.

Let's make sure this is clear. Trust is not something about the future. We never know what somebody might do in the future if you think about it. You've seen people do unexpected things. Well, there's no way to guarantee against unexpected behavior. But that doesn't stop of us from bestowing trust on people. We bestow trust based on our faith in their relationship with us. So trust is based on PAST behavior, not future behavior. And he has shown that he deserves to have you trust him that this was a careless hurt he inflicted.

You have a bf who affirms his love for you and is close to everything you want. But a Pandora's box was opened and you can't find a way to close it. So let me give you the tool:

You remember his behavior with his buddies in your mind and you focus on one moment in time: his careless behavior with his buddy. You look at this behavior in your mind and you see yourself being diminished.

I want you to reorient your view: when you think of him you need to focus on THE PRESENT: he chose YOU. He affirmed his love for YOU. He continues to affirm his love for YOU. He made a small mistake. Thank goodness it was just a little mistake.

Look at the lily plant blooming and not the struggle to get to this good moment.

I wish you the very best!

My goal is for you to feel like you've gotten Great Service from me and the site. If we need to continue the discussion for that to happen, then please feel free to reply and we'll continue working on this. If the answer has given you the help you need, please remember to give a rating of 5 (Great Service) or 4 (Informative and helpful), or even 3 (Got the job done) button. This will make sure that I am credited for the answer and you are not charged anything more than the deposit you already made by pressing any of these buttons. Bonuses are always appreciated! If I can be of further help with any issue now or in the future, just put "For Dr. Mark" in the front of your new question, and I'll be the one to answer it. All the best, Dr. Mark

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