Q: Hi I need dating advice. My live-in girlfriend who I have a child with ended our relationship and moved out and then two months later she came back, felt bad and wanted us to be a couple again moving back in. I noticed while we are together her phone is always on silent. Out of curiosity, I asked why. She explained it was because of a man calling and bothering her. Then yesterday her phone rang and I answered it. It was this mysterious man she told me about and he explained my live-in girlfriend is his girlfriend.
I am confused. We have a child together. We live together. She wanted me back but she has a man on the side. What do I do?
A: It sounds like your girlfriend is confused too. Honest communication is the only way to try to make your relationship work. Did you tell her you spoke to this man? I think you need to. But don’t attack her or accuse her. In a calm loving way tell her you are confused and explain what you did, what you learned and how you’re feeling. Ask her to please be honest with you. It’s hard for me to fully offer advice without all the details: how long you’ve been together, how old each of you are, how old is your child? If your child is an infant she may be experiencing some form of postpartum depression which is causing her to act out. Or she may be feeling confined being a mom and having a family, a form of commitment phobia Or she might just be feeling unattractive because her body changed and likes the attention she’s getting from another man. Women usually cheat for a reason. You need to get to the bottom of what she’s feeling and then decide if you can work it out. I know it might be hard, but try to take your anger and hurt feelings out of it and ask her what she needs from you to feel happy again. And tell her what you need from her if you’re going to stay together. The best thing for your child is a stable loving home. If you can’t provide that by being together you may have to let her go. Read my last post about the girlfriend wanting to see her ex-boyfriend, that advice is relevant for you too. Having a child does complicate things but you still have to take care of your own needs. Don’t allow your girlfriend to make you her doormat. Make sure you stand up for yourself and get what is important to you. As your child grows, he or she is learning what relationships are about from you. Make sure you provide an empowered example. If your girlfriend would be willing it sounds like counseling would help both of you.
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Donna Barnes is a NYU Certified Life & Relationship Coach and the author of Giving Up Junk-Food Relationships: Recipes for Healthy Choices.. She is based on New York’s Upper West Side but coaches clients all over the world via Skype or telephone to help them find the romantic bliss they crave. She’s been the on-air Relationship Expert for ABC News’ hit series “What Would You Do?” for three seasons. She taught Bret Michael’s girls to “Rock at Love” on VH-1. And you may have previously seen her on Good Morning America, Fox News, Late Show with David Letterman, NBC’s Today Show, CBS’s Early Show and CNN just to name a few. www.DonnaBarnes.com