Dear Brittany: I need advice desperately! I am a single mom and I started talking to this guy in November. He is sweet, fun to be around, always makes me happy, and accepts my child (which most guys wouldn’t). When we first started talking I had told him I wasn’t looking for anything serious as I had just gotten out of something serious and was hurt. He agreed. I messed up and saw him enter his phone password. (I know I know, I messed up there). So one night I looked through his phone and he was talking to 2 girls. He never hung out with them, just harmless flirting. We spoke about it and he said he was testing the waters because he didn’t think I wanted a relationship. I figured since we were seeing each other 3-4 times a week, we were getting more serious. I told him that I do want a relationship. He agreed to immediately stop talking to the girls but a week later I check his phone again and there’s another girl. He said she was a girl he always liked but never gave him the time of day and he wants to be with me but he feels like he is only used for pleasure. We went back and forth for over 24 hours and at first, I was done but something told me to give him another chance. He suggested he’d change his number and since then (2 weeks) things have been great. I still have my guard up and I’m scared to get hurt again. What should I do?
Okay, so let’s dissect everything you’ve said.
“He accepts my child which most guys wouldn’t.”
Don’t settle! I know that finding a man that accepts your children is difficult, especially if they don’t have any of their own. But the right man for you and your child is going to be the one that you can trust unconditionally. If a man can’t respect you, then he definitely won’t respect your child.
“I had told him I wasn’t looking for anything serious.”
Okay so to make things fair, you did tell him you weren’t looking for a relationship. You can’t really get mad if he flirts with a couple of other girls here and there at this point. Don’t allow your past relationships to dictate how you will treat and trust the next man.
“I looked through his phone.”
Unfortunately most men need you to spell it out for them. Although you assumed that your “situationship” was starting to get serious, you did originally tell him that you weren’t looking for a relationship. That being said, you shouldn’t have felt comfortable enough to look through his phone until you’ve had the “what are we?” conversation for the second time.
“I told him I do want a relationship.”
Boom, here you made the right step. Communication is one key to a successful relationship. You’ve voiced that you do want a relationship and he agreed. You voiced that him texting other girls was a problem and he understood. There should be no more issues regarding that matter from this point on.
“A week later there’s another girl.”
Annnnnd here’s an issue. There is no reason for him to be texting a girl that he wanted (or wants because otherwise why would he still be texting her)? His excuse that you are using him for pleasure is LAME. He should come up with a new one! He is still keeping his options open because he is not ready to commit.
You clearly don’t trust him and I don’t think a person should have to change their number in order for that to happen. If he doesn’t have enough self-control to not entertain other women, then he is not worth your time. Also, it might seem like he has changed, but he might have just gotten good at hiding.
Notice how you’ve been faithfully asserting all of your attention onto him, without him having to remind you not to entertain other men. Why? Because you like him! When you really like or love someone, you no longer feel the need to get attention from other people. The person you are dating becomes enough for you. And guess what? You are enough for someone too. Don’t allow social media to distort your mind into thinking that you have to settle for a man that “harmlessly flirts” with other girls because it’s the “guy thing” to do.
If you decide to stay, I would still absolutely keep my guard up. Especially when you have a child to think about. Checking his phone all the time is definitely a sign of mistrust. And a healthy relationship requires trust. I know personally this could be hard but try not looking through it unless he’s giving you a reason to believe he is hiding something. In other words, if he’s acting different, distant, or secretive. Don’t entirely let him back in until he’s proven himself worthy. But monitoring his every move is not the answer.
Stay alert and don’t ignore the red flags. You’ve already received red flag number 1.
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