“Someday you will look back and know exactly how it had to happen”
A friend called me quite recently with a problem I think so many of us will be familiar with I had to share it. She had been dating/ seeing a guy for a couple of months and it had been going so well that they decided to book a last minute break together. Whilst they were away, she saw a text on his phone from another girl. After completing her social media investigation and discovering that he had previously been speaking to her, she was in turmoil and called me for some advice…
Isn’t it great when you start dating someone new? That genuine unpredictability and element of risk, getting to know someone and going to fun and interesting places together. Yes it’s exhilarating, but sometimes we find that relationships take hold of us quicker than we expect, and the next thing we know we’re spending Saturday nights meandering through Netflix for hours just so we can be in the presence of that person. This is not a bad thing whilst you are in those initial dating phases, but in many instances one party eventually wants more, and the move from casual to official can be on that is hard to initiate.
Going back to my friend and her dilemma, my first thought was that confronting this guy midway through a holiday could be disastrous. I told her that there were two assumptions she could make based on what she had seen:
- Assume that he was actively messaging this girl, and confront him
- Assume that this is someone from a past encounter and that he had no intention of responding, but by doing this she must continue to trust him unless he gave her a genuine reason not to.
My absolute NO-NO in a situation like this is to adopt even a remotely passive aggressive approach. Under no circumstances is giving someone the silent treatment in the hope that they miraculously guess what is wrong an effective way of dealing with this kind of issue. The likelihood is that if you try and hold it in without any intention of moving on, the truth will come out in a state of anger (or worse, drunkenness) and you may eventually risk pushing that person away unintentionally. Just to clarify, I am by no means saying that if you think your partner is cheating on you or treating you unfairly that you should forget about it, just that there are still certain ways of going about these situations that are better than others.
As I spoke to my friend, I realised that it wasn’t just the message from an unexpected party that was bothering her. The reality of the situation was that even if she wanted to confront him, did she really have the right to do so with their current status, or lack of it? The real problem was that she was now ready for a relationship, but was still stuck in the dating phase. Quite quickly after this the truth unraveled, and it was clear a conversation needed to be had – and not just one about deleting Tinder.
When we find ourselves in these situations, we become extremely vulnerable. One thing I would urge anyone not to do in this scenario is to try and find the evidence themselves by searching through someone’s phone – this is a line that cannot be uncrossed, and sometimes you do genuinely just have to believe that the truth will come out in the end. During these times it’s quite common that we begin questioning ourselves. We have spent so much time being the ‘best version’ of ourselves in the hope that this person will choose us, that we don’t want things to end, and god forbid they brand us as some kind of psycho for exposing our true selves.
The reality of this situation is that eventually something has got to give. Even though you may still be having a great time, if your thoughts are littered with doubts you are ultimately only compromising your own happiness, and nobody should have to give someone all of the perks of being in a relationship without actually being in one – unless both parties are completely satisfied with the arrangement. It’s a scary thought, but if you’re at this stage you need to be honest, not only with them but most importantly with yourself. Yes, you may not get the answer you want, you may get taken by surprise, but either way you will be able to continue to live your life knowing where you stand.