She Won't Be His Second Choice
Q: My boyfriend of almost two years and I are both in the military. He recently got stationed overseas, and since we're not married, there's no chance of us being stationed together. We haven't seen each other for a couple of months but we plan to get married in the near future. I have a nasty habit of checking his e-mail, especially his sent messages.
This morning when I checked, I found he had sent a confession of love to one of his old female friends who is a single mom and pregnant with her second child, both pregnancies by different fathers. He said he really cares about her and knows that they should be together. He asked that she not get married to anyone else because he doesn't want to miss anything else in her life. In none of his correspondence, besides to his mother, does he ever mention me.
I don't know how to react to this because I know I am in the wrong for checking his e-mail. I do love him, but I can't imagine being his second choice, which his e-mail to this other girl makes me feel like. -- Jane
Dr. Susan: What a creepy two-timer your so-called boyfriend is. Rather than think about marrying him, why not just smack yourself in the face repeatedly instead? Because that's what it's going to feel like from here on out, if you stick with him. You're right about one thing: It's not nice to snoop into someone else's e-mail. But I bet you had some lurking suspicion that you couldn't trust him, and that's why you peeked.
Telling him you discovered what he meant to keep secret is going to be hard, but the other choice is acting like everything's normal, which would be crazy-making. If you're going to see him pretty soon, talk about it then, and if not, bring it up by phone or e-mail. You're going to be tempted to keep checking his mail, and nothing I say is going to stop you, so I won't even try. After all, this is your whole future we're talking about. I wouldn't make any wedding plans for a long long time, not with this fellow.
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Advice for Her
Advice for Him
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.