DEAR AMY: My boyfriend and I have been together for two years. I am 26, and he is 49. He has been married and divorced twice. I have heard from his friends that he has not had a great track record with being faithful. My boyfriend’s response to this is that I should believe him over his friends. I have just recently found out that he has been having an affair with another woman (whom he works with) for almost a year. Amy, I am completely broken. I cannot eat or sleep. He came crying back to me, telling me he wants to make things work with me and wants me to move in immediately and get married! I am not sure what to do. I have absolutely no trust in him. He has said he will do whatever it takes to make it work. He has suggested counseling (which he never did in either of his marriages) and he has even suggested that we have tracking apps put on our phones so I know where he is at all times. Even with all of this, I do not know what to do. A part of me feels like saying “once a cheater, always a cheater,” but the other part tells me to give him a chance because I still love him very much.
DEAR CHEATED ON: I can’t say for certain, “Once a cheater, always a cheater,” but I can say this: Not to put too fine a point on it, but if a 49-year-old man with a cheating history can’t manage to stay faithful to a young and fine woman he is in a new relationship with, then he is a certified and chronic cheater.
Do not marry him. Do not move in with him. Do not put tracking apps on your phone — this puts you in the position of trying to police his movements.
A new relationship should not have the pressure of mutual surveillance in order to maintain trust.
Your guy should pursue counseling for himself. Pulling you into counseling with him holds the assumption that you two have a relationship problem as a couple. You don’t. He has a cheating problem.
If you want to maintain contact with him, then he should demonstrate over a long period that he has gained insight into his own problems, is committed to change and has demonstrated very real change.
There are so many good men out there who don’t cheat. Don’t sell yourself short, and make all of your future choices in service of your own self-esteem and personal worth.
DEAR AMY: I was over the moon recently to be recruited for and offered a senior executive position with a small company. I have been with the company three months. In that time I’ve seen my CEO angrily go after underlings with impunity, often arguing with them over some imagined task that they forgot, but none of us has ever heard of before. She has reduced some of her junior staff to tears and fired some. After she fired one of her staff at Christmas, she started coming after me, angrily asking where “such and such” report or task was, only she’s never asked me for this work before. She then chewed me out in front of colleagues in the middle of a meeting, again over work she had not asked me to do. I feel like I’m days away from getting fired. I know this is an abusive relationship, but I really need to be successful in my first executive position. I need to make this work. Do you have any suggestions for me to get my job back on track?
DEAR WORRIED: My first suggestion is that you should undertake a job search immediately. In the meantime, you should meet with your CEO and hold a fresh and sincere conversation about the communication chain, since there seem to be gaps in terms of her directives. Her scorched earth approach can’t possibly be good for the business’s future.
DEAR AMY: What is wrong with you? You advised “Bullied Husband” to stay in his marriage with an abusive wife. That is just patently wrong, and you should be ashamed of yourself.
DEAR DISMAYED: “Bullied Husband” has been in this marriage for 30 years. My advice to him was to stick with therapy. I then suggested that “Liberation from this dynamic through leaving the marriage might ultimately be the only path.”