Dr. G, Hello!!

My boyfriend and I have been together for 3 years. We are both 24, and until recently, have been very happy. Our parents have met and marriage has been discussed, but I am having second thoughts. Several months ago I was told by a mutual friend of ours that he, my boyfriend, has been going to strip joints. When I confronted him about this, he was apologetic and embarrassed. He says that he will never step foot in a strip joint again but I don’t know anymore…I truly do love him, but I just can’t seem to get over this and even question whether he is or is not marriage material. Our parents are both very traditional and I want to protect him by not letting the family in on this “dirty” secret. Our relationship is kind of tense right now, and it is just a matter of time before our parents try to get to the bottom of it. Please help…

-Bita

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It sounds like you are feeling a little conflicted at the moment. 3 years is a long time, really a pretty solid relationship. But perhaps this would be a good time to do a little soul-searching yourself, and maybe this recent incident will help you step back and gain a little perspective. The fact is, everyone has a past, and you cannot hold this against anyone, however, it sounds like your boyfriend has been keeping something from you (a sort of dishonesty?) for quite some time, because he knows is would bother you and perhaps even end the relationship.

Still, the deeper question is: why keep this from you? If he does not feel as though he can trust you with everything and he is withholding parts of his present lifestyle from you, what else is he not telling you? can you trust him now? At this point, you may want to reevaluate how important this strip joint issue is to you. Ask him why he feels the need to go even though he is supposedly happy with you. Consider the fact that he is still a young man and may not feel ready for the kind of committed relationship that you are, even though he loves you.

If you decide to keep him, you must be able to trust him, and vice versa. A healthy relationship is based on honesty and forgiveness. Another thing: do you want him to not go to strip joints because he knows it bothers YOU or he will lose you, or do you want him to be the type of man who just doesn’t go because HE doesn’t want to go??? Remember, women… don’t ever marry a man that you think you need to change. They come “AS IS”! And for now, Bita, keep the family in the dark… you may forget and forgive, but I promise you, they won’t! Good luck, Bita.

Always trust your instincts.

Sincerely,

– Dr. G.

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Important: Responses or feedback provided to your posts are NOT a substitute for therapy or in any way meant to be therapeutic. While I hope my feedback will be beneficial, please understand that responses should be interpreted with caution and in the appropriate context, as often very limited information is provided.

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