What do you do when your underage boyfriend is house-sitting for your parents over the holidays and throws a keg party (without your knowledge or permission) that gets out of hand?
When you confront him, he makes comments like, “it was not that big of a deal, lighten up.” You find yourself repeatedly catching him in lies. He goes for days without calling, texting, or emailing. You start to worry but you know he is alive and well because he is posting pictures of girls he met at a party, a party that you were not invited to, on Facebook.
It is hard for you to confront him, and when you do, he proclaims how much he loves you and how sorry he is. This is the pattern of your relationship. He lies, he cheats, and he walks all over your feelings. However, he is ALWAYS apologizing and promising to be “better.” You buy his “I’m sorry’s” every time. And you stay. Why? Because he is the first boy you ever fell “in love” with, the boy you gave your virginity to, the boy who shared your love for literature and foreign films with subtitles. The boy you shared your deepest thoughts with and the boy who makes you laugh when things are good. He is also the boy who took you to your first fraternity dance but then left you there without so much as a good bye, to hook up with another girl (he apologized, and you took him back).
Your parents and close friends and relatives are concerned about your relationship with him and share those concerns with you. ‘They just do not understand,” you tell yourself. ”Deep down he is such a good person and when that person shows up to be with me, it is amazing.” Unfortunately, that person only shows up about 20% of the time. So guess what, you are only 20% happy in your relationship.
This is the real-life tale of a beautiful, intelligent college student just like you. Sadly, she was wasting her time with the wrong guy. Does any of this sound familiar? Do you find yourself accepting the same old false apologies again and again? Do you struggle with his empty promises? If you’ve been grappling with a similar situation (or your friends and family have been questioning your relationship), here are three things to consider to help you decide what you should do next:
1. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice and shame on me. Everyone deserves forgiveness, but how big is your heart and what are the reasons you are forgiving him? Is he abusing your forgiveness rights?
2. Do his words reflect his actions? Has he shown any progress or improvement? Does he walk the walk and talk the talk?
3. We all make mistakes in relationships. But, what are you willing to live with (hopefully not pictures of him making out with a busty co-ed) and what are the deal breakers? Are you flipping and flopping on your values and standards in your relationship for the sake of staying together or having a boyfriend?
The next step is up to you. But do you really want a guy who is a great boyfriend only 20% of the time? You deserve better than that. And like we always say, if you’re stuck in a relationship with the wrong guy, you will miss out if the right guy comes along!
Milford and Gauvain are the authors of How Not to Marry the Wrong Guy: Is He the One or Should You Run? (Broadway/Random House). Gauvain works as a marriage and family therapist with clients around the country and Milford writes and speaks extensively on the subject of dating and relationships. For more information visit their blog at coldfeetpress.com.