Singlestalk: Starting over

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Sunday, February 23, 2014


Darwin John Moises and Michelle Mendez-Palmares

Michelle: Joy, 31, now engaged with a boyfriend who cheated on her three years ago, says that while she and her boyfriend are okay now, she still doubts if he will remain faithful in the years to come if they get married. Should she or should she not go on with the relationship?

Trust is an all or nothing thing. It’s either you trust that person or you do not.

It is difficult to keep on doubting the person in whom you put your trust and in a relationship, this inevitably leads to friction and misunderstanding. If that is the case, staying in a relationship where there are unresolved trust issues is a sign of bad things to come.

DJ: We’ve heard usual excuses like “It just happened” or “I didn’t see it coming.” Whatever is the reason, cheating remains to be a relationship spoiler. It’s like a vase that’s broken. One can piece it together but it’s not the same.

I just wonder why it’s already been three years and Joy is still trying to come to terms with whether this past indiscretion is something she can take or leave.

M: I read in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy that: “Trust is important, but it is also dangerous. It is important because it allows us to form relationships with others and to depend on others—for love, for advice, for help with our plumbing, or what have you—especially when we know that no outside force compels them to give us such things.

“But trust also involves the risk that people we trust will not pull through for us; for, if there were some guarantee that they would pull through, then we would have no need to trust them. Thus trust is also dangerous.

What we risk while trusting is the loss of the things that we entrust to others, including our self-respect, perhaps, which can be shattered by the betrayal of our trust.”

Joy, you have been betrayed once and since you decided to go on with your relationship with your boyfriend, it would seem that you have forgiven him and overcame your issues on his trustworthiness.

Now, three years later, you are doubting if he could remain faithful if you get married. For sure, nothing is certain in this life and this uncertainty is precisely why trusting and loving is leap of faith.

DJ: Perhaps Joy needs to check is whether she can forgive her boyfriend.

I also suggest she should take a breather, if she needs to, so she can reflect and figure things out whether she can or cannot get past this slip.

Was it a momentary lapse or is there a pattern of unfaithfulness? Is he truly sorry and is this supported by his actions? Is the relationship they share stronger than this issue? Can she imagine a future with him? Is it a great relationship worth keeping or is she just afraid to let go? Were things getting better since they got back together or are they on a plateau or worse, spirally going downward?

Going through these questions can help her come to terms with this issue.

If her boyfriend has remained faithful since then, the ball is now on her court. Because once she decides to marry him, she has to get through this blemished past and move forward.

M: Eventually, keeping the relationship is not just the choice of one but should be of both parties. However, working out one’s issues about one’s ability to trust is one’s choice alone.

If you do not get past your doubts about someone, no matter what he or she says or does to keep your trust, there will always be a niggling suspicion at the back of your mind.

This puts a strain in the relationship and does not bode well for its future. Trust like love in a relationship is important. As a quote says “A relationship without trust is like having a phone with no service. And what do you do with a phone with no service? You play games.”

DJ: Wow, a profound statement linked to one flappy bird! But seriously, it’s still up to Joy to change her circumstance or to change the way she looks at it. It’s been three years. Perhaps it’s about time to move forward with or without him.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 23, 2014.

Lifestyle

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