Is He “On” Or Is He “Off”?

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10-6 love yourselfThe Question:

Dear Rori,

I have bought 3 of your programs. Commitment Blueprint, Have The Relationship You Want and Love Scripts. Love Scripts really helped me get in tuned with how I feel and I sense the difference in myself.

People compliment me on how honest I am.

One thing that stuck out to me in the program was that if I am honest with how I feel, a man has no room to mislead me because I trust myself. I had no problem meeting men, but I had a problem going from dating to a relationship.

I met a man. Actually several. Meeting men has never been an issue, its more about them lasting and leading to commitment that I’ve struggled with.

I just moved here from a smaller city to attend graduate school. I met him out one night and we completely hit it off.

Everyone around us could feel our magnetic pull. I was out with friends, he was with a friend and we made eye contact and starting talking. We had an instant connection and things flowed easily.

Through hanging out and a few dates, he told me that he was “seeing someone.” At that point I told him that I do not share. And I will not share.

He expressed that they had been on and off for some years and after he met me, it was like a breath of fresh air, he said he realized that the type of women he wants is out there. I asked him to not call or text me, that I didn’t want to get attached to someone who is not available and I cut off all communication.

One day after about a month, I received a message from him that he was afraid of losing me, that for the first time, because I’m someone he feels he could spend the rest of his life with.

I told him I was speechless and that my emotions were all over the place. He said his were too.

I went home for break and a month later ran into him at a meet up group that I am a part of (it felt like he knew I was going to be there) he told me that he had been trying to contact me (I blocked him from my phone, email etc. more so for my sanity) he told me that the meeting that he was single and that he loves me. (All of which has been confirmed.) I trust him and know that he was not lying or trying to be a “player”.

We began to date and things were good but fizzled off to me, I wasn’t getting what I wanted – dates, romance etc.

I told him that I also didn’t want to be rebound, that I am looking for a real relationship. I honestly can count the times on both hands that I have called him in 8 months.

He calls all the time, face times me or messages, but that wasn’t enough. There was a time we went without speaking for a whole month and when I did hear from him, I told him I wasn’t interested in speaking with him.

He asked to explain why we hadn’t spoken and he said he was upset that he felt like I didn’t call enough (plus some other things going on in his life, family, work and he left out of the country he said during that time, he reflected and realized that he really wants to be with me and realizes that our relationship will take time to build.)

The following week I went to a concert and we literally entered into the line at the same time. It felt like the universe was bringing us together to explore some more. The truth is, I feel a lot of love in my heart for him.

Rori, we’ve had some ups and downs, as we write our love story.

And when we are together it’s great.

I remember all of your tools.

However after he’s said all of those things to me, It would feel good to go out and build experiences which I feel like we do not do enough of.

I realize that I might be on a different level, I might be a little pushy and I am trying to circular date, involved in some groups and practice letting him go (visually) when I feel myself obsessing.

I have only had 2 relationships in my life, I am 30. So I feel inexperienced and sometimes my feelings are new and I don’t know what to do about them.

I don’t know if the are normal, sometimes I work myself up and realize that everything is actually ok. My best friend is married and she really likes this guy for me. She often tells me to relax and take baby steps.

Right now I am leaning back, I don’t feel like I over function with giving or doing. But I do find myself thinking a lot about what he says, does and doesn’t do. Fading Rose”

My Answer:

Dear “Rose” – what I hear more than anything is – just as you say – sheer inexperience.

There are some women who can “handle” a man like this brilliantly: wrap him right around their little finger.

And most of us can’t even imagine that.

Most of us always feel like we’re slightly “under” him, slightly “off” – and so our own feelings come and go, and our feelings “about” him change.

It’s hard to say whether the man’s feelings and actions change when ours do – or if the “Rubberband thing” is a simple, direct signal that he doesn’t know what he wants.

So – here’s the straight-forward advice I hand out generally:

The “why” of his behavior is irrelevant.

He’s either coming toward you or he isn’t.

And when he isn’t – if that turns you off – you’re doing this right!

And when you turn off – if he comes toward you then – that’s normal, yes, but after awhile, it loses its charm.

Speak your truth: “When I don’t hear from you, or when I’m not getting the kind of attention and affection I love to get – I feel turned off.”

And see what he does.

Brava to you for Circular Dating – that is the cure, the answer, the solution to all aspects of your situation.

Meeting, flirting with, seeing, playing with as many men as you can will get you the experience you need to “get” what’s going on with any man.

Pretty soon – every “shift” that happens between you will just be “more information” for you!

Love, Rori


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  1.  #1MissStix on July 18, 2016 at 9:01 am

    I’m feeling…. Out of touch with nature. I drove past one of my favourite parks this morning and heard, felt the trees and their roots and shadows and the soft forest floor calling my name. Feels like ancient friends asking me over for refreshment. To breathe in and absorb their energy would feel so enriching and invigorating.
    I’ll have to carve out some forest siren time this week.

  2.  #2Azure Blu on July 18, 2016 at 11:05 am

    lots of overwhelming feelings… fear of being alone, fear of hurting him, excitement,
    feeling out of my comfort zone cause i’m leaning out of my relationship in a loving way…
    loving to me and loving to him….
    sitting with my lovely feelings… feeling VERY uncomfortable with these feelings…
    splashing in the enormety of the change…
    realizing **I** do want and deserve a life of harmony…
    harmony with the universe… harmony with my Mr. Right
    harmony with my heart, body, mind spirit…
    NOT always on guard…
    I LOVE relaxed, calm …. soft warm luschioous HARMONY!!!
    I close my eyes and feel it
    hear it feel it vibrating throughout MY being
    I will meditate on Harmony
    bringing my heart back to where **I** want to be…
    I can’t live my life the way someone else wants me to. just because
    I don’t want to hurt them…

  3.  #3Femininewoman on July 18, 2016 at 11:39 am

    I feel you Azure. Happy to see you pop in

  4.  #4Grace on July 18, 2016 at 12:17 pm

    (((Azure Blu))) I’ve been wondering how things were going with Spirit. Much much love to you, I applaud your courage.

  5.  #5Grace on July 18, 2016 at 12:18 pm

    The man that Rose is asking about sounds like he is doing the same “on again/off again” pattern with her that he was with the previous girlfriend. This could go on forever…

  6.  #6Sirenity on July 18, 2016 at 2:18 pm

    Fading Rose , you are doing things the RIGHT way with all the tools at your disposal. So many of us here have done it all wrong without the tools and without the strong self care that you just exude ! Of course this man keeps bouncing back because that self love is magnetic.

    I remember the bleak unhappiness of being with a man like this while NOT feeling the self love and enforcing the boundaries that fading Rose is doing so brilliantly. Without the tools its addictive and dangerous. Many here write of similar on and off interactions. But Rose is doing brilliantly ! She has total choice and she knows it.

    Quite likely he will come to bore you with his games. That certainly happened for me . As you use experiences with other men and feel stronger in what you want he may just naturally slip away. I do wonder if when after 8 months he is still playing with commitment , he may just be unready. What seems to be lacking is his masculine drive to snap up a good woman , so maybe he isn’t at that place in life where it is a priority.

    A woman like Rose needs and deserves to be her mans first priority. As is true for us all. There is something addictive about being adored and pursued .My current guy actually said ” I am never going to stop pursuing you!” And he hasn’t , it feels amazing to have that consistency of interest and commitment . Whats more he is 100% “on” and that is such a different place to be in dynamically that I can’t see myself ever tolerating an on/off man again.But Rori is right, and its down to experience. And you don’t know what to want till you have felt your way through the different states.

    As Rose is CDing more I expect better men will present themselves as Rori says. It seemed to always happen that way for me.

  7.  #7MissStix on July 18, 2016 at 5:42 pm


    I totally agree with you that once you have been pursued like that it’s really hard to picture settling for less than. I know self esteem comes from within but some things make a lasting impression when they are shown to you. It’s like *aha* so that’s what it looks/feels like.

  8.  #8Azure Blu on July 19, 2016 at 10:36 am

    Thank you for your warm words and hugs Feminine Woman and Grace….
    I need them…
    my body is vibrating with feelings of missing him, missing not being in a relationship with him… missing his wonderful laugh, his singing to me… his warm sharing texts
    his body in my bed… mornings, afternoons… evenings
    and NOT wanting to do this…
    But I AM ready for the NEXT BETTER adventure!

    Spirit is leaning away from me also…

    I went to our local Townie Party last night… summertime food, music and lots of friends…
    It was Spirit and my 2 year anniversary last night… He didn’t mention it… neither did I.
    Usually we would have planned to go together…
    but I know I need to keep leaning back and out…
    missed him… trying to get used to talking with friends… without him there…
    I’ve lived MOST OF MY LIFE without a partner… boyfriend… husband
    of course I can do this…
    but it has been soooo VERY nice to be with him as a couple, together
    for the past 6 months! :-((

    Angry with life cause HE CAN”T be the one…
    I have to try again???!!!

    I’ve let friends know I will be single again – if they know of any potential beau…
    BUT I really believe – for me- online dating works out the best…

    I’m visualizing letting Spirit go… daydreaming about the conversation…

    Visualizing a new wonderful man in my house… me at his house…
    sunshine through my windows… his laugh…. his smile… packing together …. getting ready for a road trip together… feeling harmony… a man who is in syncronicity with his beliefs and his actions
    who adores me… he has money too!!! :-))

  9.  #9Tee on July 19, 2016 at 11:59 am

    Hey Guys

    Dropping by because (again) I’m feeling out of sorts. Earlier this year, I made my list of things that are about Self-Love/Self-Care for me. Leaning back. E has been odd lately, I feel like he’s been doing alot of negative things to get my attention. Is this what happens when things start to “work”? I keep being told by well-meaning friends that I’m still (energetically speaking) wrapped up in him…and I need to let him go.

    I feel like I dont know which way is up LOL I don’t think that I’m leaning forward with him at all. I’ve been trying to be out more & not in the house all of the time, taking the little one with me. This feels good & not good at the same time.

    Good that he noticed something different but not good that he’s acting out

    Its hard for me to let people go even when I know that they need the space UNLESS I’ve decided that I dont care for you all that much anymore

    I barely reach out to my mom. No calls, no texts. She calls me & I’ve seen her twice within the last week without any push on anyone’s part.
    My sister seems very anti-social these days but I love her so I send her a text every so often that she almost never responds to. usually its just a smiley face or a heart

    I’m feeling very hurt & unsupported. Everyone is tired (some of you too I guess) of me & the same story. The only thing left for me to do is not go home until everyone is asleep, don’t answer the phone if he calls & just act unconcerned. Its confusing because I really dont get what I’m doing wrong if I’m doing the right things.

    I was enjoying the contrast of the ADD/ADHD Partners Support Group online as well as the Co-Dependency Group…but eventually I had to leave. I guess I’ll have to continue to feel my way through this

  10.  #10Dixie on July 19, 2016 at 7:50 pm

    Oh Azure, I am so happy to just see your name here!

    It sounds like you are going through a big transition and I’m sending you a tight hug.

    I’ve started seeing an EMDR therapist to work out some issues/emotional trauma from childhood and I can’t believe already the patterns I can see now in the choices I’ve made, and the ways I’ve allowed people in my life to treat me…. I like the feeling of getting issues “resolved and healed” so the pattern can be changed 🙂 D. is part of this, and seeing how he fits into this makes it easier to understand my own behaviour, my own triggers, my own unresolved issues that try to “show up” in relationships.

    It’s a little heart-opening and not always easy, but I feel like I can trust myself to make really good decisions.

    Azure, I understand about Spirit. D and I are going through a BIG transition period right now….everything was hunky-dory (or so I felt) but the weekend brought some very important issues to the surface, things that feel very shaky and scary but things we need to deal with now, with honesty.


  11.  #11Indigo on July 20, 2016 at 4:46 am

    Azure Blu, I am very sorry to hear about you and Spirit. Sending you hugs.

    Sirens, I just wanted to check in to let you know that things between me and J are going very well, and we officially moved in together the other day. It is wonderful how a relationship can feel when you both love each other so much and are both so committed. It is very comforting and safe to feel like you and your man are on the same page, even though we have had our bumps to work through and still will have. Obviously we both have deep pain from the past but we are aware of each other’s pain and we communicate and work through it together. I’ve realised from my past experience that this kind of relationship is very unusual and requires a very high degree of safety and commitment to undertake, as you both have to be so vulnerable. Overall it’s just a very deep feeling, what I have always wanted.

  12.  #12Indigo on July 20, 2016 at 4:52 am


    On the note of what you’ve said, I remember a therapist once telling me that healing in and through a relationship was the best way to heal. Some people will tell you that you should try to be “whole” before you try to have a relationship, but the truth is that the biggest amount of healing occurs when you open up to another person and allow true intimacy. I sincerely hope that D can work through this with you, many people run away from this kind of thing.

  13.  #13Liquid Light on July 20, 2016 at 10:22 am


    Nice to see you back here! Sorry to hear about Spirit! Hang in there, sweetie, its not easy. Stay strong! Yes, I believe that you can find what you are looking for – the ease, flow, and harmony in a relationship! Believe! 🙂

  14.  #14Emerson on July 20, 2016 at 10:32 pm

    Azure Blue
    Ahh sweet siren… I am sorry about Spirit…I hear your words as you express that it’s felt good to be with him as a couple ….and yes you can socialize without him but it’s natural to miss him of course….you don’t need me to tell you that…just letting you know I hear you…


  15.  #15Millie on July 20, 2016 at 10:39 pm

    Hi Ladies!
    Guess what?! I’m circular dating! Yay!!! I am dating three guys who are so far wonderful and I feel so happy and smiley and sireny! One is an old friend that I ran into. We had always liked each other, but the timing and place in life was off. He is really successful now and texted me that night saying how beautiful I am and asked me out the next day. He brought me roses and said that I had grown into a beautiful woman. That what prompted him to ask me out again wasn’t only that but how I had been making laugh and the sassy side of me that I now have. He said I’d always been very sweet and nice, but he likes this bad-a** side of me! Haha, ok who knew! He kept making jokes about “when we are married..” which I thought was cute. We kissed and cuddled and I love being around him. Even though we hooked up in the past he went out of his way to make sure the date felt nothing like that. It was really sweet. I am seeing him again saturday, he’s picking me up 🙂 The second guy is someone I met off of Bumble. He is everything I have been looking for and he is enamored with me. Outdoorsy, manly, a gentleman. I can see being with him, but it’s early!!! Right now I’m just getting to know them all and having fun!! Guy 3 is shy, but very sweet, polite, and also a gentleman. He has a patient and go with the flow demeanor, but he isn’t as aggressive or forthcoming with his affections for me. He has a cool exterior, but we shall see! Yay I am happy!!

  16.  #16Waterfall on July 21, 2016 at 7:37 am

    Hello Sirens,

    I am just popping by to update you on my life.

    Well, I have been having an extremely tough time of it lately. I have wanted to come to this blog and vent but I have been too upset and tormented.

    Anyway, here’s my latest revelations and reasons not to let a man back into your life once you have parted ways.

    I don’t know if people know but I had been on and off seeing a man for about 3 years. The first year was okay but there were a lot of problems with him and I ended up finishing the relationship. He didn’t seem committed and the relationship felt like it was going no-where.

    Well, he pursued and pursued me but still never really offered me anything. Occasionally out of emotional blackmail I would see him, but all too soon things would go back to the way they were and pretty quickly I felt trapped in the whole scenario of this on again, off again relationship. Mainly because I also had trouble finding anyone else that I felt so comfortable with. I could not let go.

    Because I loved him, I guess, I let him keep coming back and I gave him chance after chance, even though things did feel very off to me. I could never quite put my finger on what it was that was wrong.

    In principle he seemed to idolise me, and always told me how amazing he thought I was and that I was the love of his life, etc. etc..

    Anyway, to cut a long story short I have recently found out that he has been leading a double life and behind the scenes he now has a baby and possibly girlfriend (though he denies he is with the woman).

    The situation has completely ripped me apart as for the most part me and him were getting on a lot, lot better and was starting to see the possibility of future for us.

    I think what all this has thrown up for me is why was I with this man who was offering me so little?? Why couldn’t I move on….

    I think the answer is this: I am possibly a-sexual. I struggle to feel chemistry and attraction to almost anybody, this is why I was hanging on so desperately to him.

    I meet some lovely men, who would offer me the world. But for some reason I am not interested. I feel so confused because really for all of this time I have been in love with an unavailable man.

  17.  #17Femininewoman on July 21, 2016 at 12:20 pm

    Feeling so proud of you Millie

  18.  #18Angela on July 21, 2016 at 1:01 pm

    Hi Sirens.
    I am back with an update… about the “married man”
    So it turns out his wife passed away january.
    How did i discover/ believe that he was married. Well on his dating page, he had blurred out his ring finger.
    Anyway i came out straight and i said never contact me again. He begged and said “please you dont understand that is not the way it is” But he didn’t bring it up anymore. I kept seeing him he just said “trust me please , When you know the truth you will feel bad tat you judged me so soon”.
    So i kept seeing him. And then he lightly touched on the subject of how his wife had died. I left it at that because i felt he didnt want to talk more about it.
    So far we have gone on a few more dates.
    But sirens…. the communication is what kills me. he calls almost every morning. But i guess i am used to men just putting more effort with text. He says to me you have to change, you have to call me. Please. i need this, change for me. And i say that its not what i am used to.
    When he is in front of me is such a gentleman so loving, we did sleep together and the sex was amazing. It keeps being that way.

    I gave him a speech, truly, we have been seeing each other for almost 3 weeks and i feel nervous about where do we stand.
    I said to him that i wanted to see other men, date only.
    This he said was not fair as he was not doing it so why should I . I felt so pressured that i agreed with him. to keep dating only him.
    Yes I feel off balance because i know we are dating but not in a relationship. And i dont know sometimes i wonder if he is seeing other women.
    He works a lot that is what he says.
    So i trust that. But with my past it is almost impossible to trust.
    I know i made a mistake by giving in and agreeing to only date him

    For now I feel like I totally must change my thoughts.
    Sometimes i feel like he’s too good to be true, to gorgeous for me, he says things that no one has ever said to me like “i will never break your heart, we will talk about things and work our problems out, and it will all end with a kiss, i want to be your best friend, the way you feel for me is how i feel for you” it makes me happy and then i just wonder if he’s just a player.
    I was reading some of roris articles, and what stood out to me was that i needed to change the perception i have of myself.
    Heck.. he is not better than me! Yes he is the most handsome man i have ever dated, but so what i am beautiful, i am a woman and being a woman is good enough, i am a beautiful siren, i need to do nothing to get his love, there are a million men out there powerful sexy that i will have the opportunity to meet, if this man doesn’t step up. i am the damn price! , I am wanted. I am loved. I love this. I deserve love his love. I can trust him. I can trust that the right man will show up, my forever man. My good man. It might be him or not. But telling myself i am the prize and that i have to do nothing to be loved to keep his attention feels damn good. When he is distant i will tel myself this. I am enough! oh i love it.

  19.  #19Dixie on July 21, 2016 at 7:05 pm


    Thank you :). Yes, I have been going through all this with D, as in he’s been totally and enthusiastically supportive of my counselling. I like that our communication has become so easy, and so open that I can share this with him without feeling any self-consciousness.

    He’s been really interested in the whole process of EMDR, but most of all, his support has really, really, helped me heal. From our conversation today it felt so clear that he is “healing” through our relationship as well. I’m just loving this “growth through healing” mindset. Love, love, love it. I’ve never felt closer to him mostly because we’ve made a conscious effort to improve our communication.

    Thank you so much for your encouragement!

  20.  #20Victoria on July 22, 2016 at 12:58 am

    I feel somehow things are more complicated between this guy and you than they need to be, Like, it seems simpler to say “hey, I looked carefully at your profile picture, and it seems to me you wear a wedding ring there, am I imagining things?”. And, when someone asks you “are you married” it is very simple to say, “No, I am a widower, my wife passed away recently”. If his wife passed away in January, it is only six months or so, so it must be a very important and stressful event in his life.
    What I can share with you, is that the relationship with the right man is EASY. With the right man, you do not need to twist each other’s arms about who should call whom. The right man will be enthusiastic to call you and spend time with you, and, if at three weeks he is very busy and working a lot, based on my experience, it will not get better with time. I would not give up dating other men. It is not about whether you are better than him, or good enough, or whatever, you just need to be having fun and positive emotions from interacting with people, and if there are other men out there willing to devote their time to you, there is absolutely no reason to wait for some one who is busy with work, and is not even your boyfriend. Just my two cents.

  21.  #21Femininewoman on July 22, 2016 at 5:56 am

    Angela you can always change your mind if things are not playing out as you want. For goodness sake its only 3 weeks. 3 weeks does not a relationship make. It takes time and experience. My only concern if he put pressure on you would be if he turns out in the long run to be a control freak. In any event have you considered what your terms of agreement for a relationship would be and what it would look like? You can also agree to date him exclusively for a month only and at the end of the month you review your experience and commitment that you have given and change the terms of the agreement if need be. Speeching a man after 3 weeks??? I dunno. I’d encourage sharing instead.

    ” He says to me you have to change, you have to call me. Please. i need this, change for me” emm I’d watch this if it were me. I don’t like the “have to”. If he is asking you to call I guess I’d experiment with it if it were me, maybe one time after his 8 initiations.

    Feeling off balance is not a feeling to ignore. Tap into it and share that. Right now you ar drenched in oxytocin. The connection is new and he will say sweet things to impress you. Wait till things have settled. You have already offered him your body and no fool would let go of that. However I’d suggest you find out about “The Bonding Code”. If Zara were on she also point you to Dr. Pat Allen who provides some very practical advise about how men operate.

    With recent experience with Lanky and him “lightly” touching on his wife’s death kind of suggests to me that you are not protective enough of your own heart to have intense conversations. Essentially this man is a stranger and neither of you really have nothing to lose. Men are also very easy to get the truth from in the first few dates. Be open to asking about wife or ex, especially if you feel off balance.

  22.  #22Azure Blu on July 22, 2016 at 8:19 am

    Lovely Sirens,
    Thank you so much for you warm responses and your yummie hugs!!

    Indigo how very wonderful that you are living with your boyfriend… it all sounds so good!
    All the wonderful reminders that it should be EASY!
    i’m feeling out of sorts and grumpy
    I shared my feelings about the dancing… of course he’s a ballroom dancer so it all seems pretty normal to him…
    which is totally understandable… just NOT for me…
    I want to make this light hearted… we both gave it our best shot at learning to love and grow together…
    Yay us for trying to learn to talk and laugh and make all our differences be ok!!
    I feel proud about how lovely it all was… and it was an experiment… and i got to feel the magical warmth of being close, cared for and loved and adored by a Yummie man!

  23.  #23Feminewoman on July 22, 2016 at 9:01 am


    I am reading your words sense that you are trying to be positive and upbeat and it feels disappointing to me. Its like I’d prefer to see you angry, ranting and raving and throwing things.

  24.  #24Millie on July 22, 2016 at 9:24 am

    Ladies! I am amazed at the men in my rotation. They are all high quality, have great jobs, homeowners, family oriented, and fit. I like them all! Just when I think one is #3 I see him or talk to him and he becomes a contender again. I like each one for different reasons!! Taking them all slow though and seeing how I feel! I am concerned about what happens when sex comes on the horizon. I sense it will be a delicate situation because I don’t think a masculine man will be ok with a woman sleeping with other men and I don’t want to be “sleeping around” but at the same time I do want to try them all out…. What do you ladies think about that?

  25.  #25Azure Blu on July 22, 2016 at 10:07 am

    Feminine Woman #23
    Ohhh… darling… I agree with you… I dont want to hide from my feelings…
    but I was beginning to get bored with feelings of sadness, disappointment and hopelessness…
    sometimes I find if I just say STOP… I have loved on those other feelings…
    sat down with my feelings of fear, confusion and anger. and panic..
    hugged them
    gave them an extra dose of compassion
    and acceptance… listened to them for days…

    Now I want to open my heart and realize this was my choice…

    I did want to give exclusivity with Spirit and open hearted… loving try
    and know if it didn’t work it would heart breaking to call it “enough”.

    How successful it really was… how wonderful it did feel to be with him…
    how much we both compromised while trying to stay true to ourselves…
    He just told me the other night…ever so sweetly… “Azure, I am trying to be a good boyfriend.”
    It doesnt bother him that we dont agree on these basic principles…
    so it is I who am slowly pulling away…
    He says he feels sad that we can’t seem to work this stuff out…
    I feel sad also.

  26.  #26Femininewoman on July 22, 2016 at 11:13 am

    mmmmmm Azure

  27.  #27Angela on July 22, 2016 at 12:24 pm

    Oh Ladies! Thank you for your input with this situation. I will date him and see where it goes. And I will, like you say femininewoman, check in with how I feel about all this; My off balance feelings. Sometimes I forget that how I feel is important to.

  28.  #28Lucinda on August 17, 2016 at 1:56 pm

    I’m wondering how much sense (if any) to make of a recent situation with my husband. We’ve been married for almost a year, living together for almost 2 years, and we have an infant together. I’m the financial breadwinner of the household, but I have a very stressful job that is very time consuming and has no opportunities for advancement. Last year while pregnant I found out my husband had been flirting with girls on social media. This had been going on for a few months by the time I found these messages popping up on his phone. No sexts, nude pictures, or anything obscene but the messages were very flirty though. Most of them were faraway people he’d never met, but months later he admitted that one of them was someone who used to live local, who he knew personally from his AA meetings. I had a hard time getting over his online flirting but I did, because we had a kid on the way + in my eyes it wasn’t technically cheating since it wasn’t physical. I did make him go to couple’s therapy with me though to discuss this because I didn’t want him thinking he’d gotten off the hook consequence-free. I still kinda resented the girl for having kept the flirting so ongoing, but I figured the flirting was done and over with.

    A few months after our baby was born, I found a box of condoms left behind. We don’t use condoms. Worse, one was missing from the box. When I finally gathered up the courage to confront him with this, initially he was in denial, defensive, hostile, slept in a different room that night, etc. A full day later after he sought advice from his close male friend (also from AA), he finally admitted the condoms were his, but he promised he’d never used them, nor did anything physical with anyone else during the timespan we’ve been together. He showed me the missing condom from the box, which he’d apparently been keeping in his wallet all these months, still unopened. Of course I asked him why he was carrying condoms on him, something we never use. His stories and lies kept changing, starting with “I thought it was a good idea we start using them after the baby was born” to admitting that he had considered cheating but ultimately decided not to because he didn’t want to lose me. His “considering cheating” situation went from describing a girl who’d showed interest in him, to admitting that there was no particular girl he met, just that he was out on the prowl hoping to find the opportunity. I did some detective work and found that the “missing” condom he’d kept in his wallet was in fact the missing condom, because the manufacture codes matched up. I also used the manufacture codes to estimate that he’d purchased the condoms in the days after our baby was born (which he later admitted). I felt hurt, confused, didn’t know what to do, but enrolled us back in couple’s therapy ASAP. We’re still going on a regular basis.

    It’s been a month now and I still have questions, confusion, and wavering doubts. It seems plausible that he didn’t actually physically cheat, but I still feel very disrespected that he’d even think of cheating when I was in such a stressful situation with my job during my pregnancy, and again when I’d just had a baby. He has admitted that my moodiness from my stressful job caused him to want to cheat, along with him feeling inferior that I make more money than him (even though my job’s salary is very limited), and times that I wasn’t able to have sex. I feel slighted that having sex with someone else would even be on his mind, even in a hypothetical fantasy way, when I was only a few days postpartum. Even though it’s plausible at this point that he never physically cheated, because of all his lies and hiding, my trust in him is at zero. There are also times where I still question if he is being completely honest now or if he physically cheated on me. I question the grave possibility that he fooled around with a girl but never had sex, hence no condom getting used, along with other worse scenarios. I wonder if he’s just hiding the sordid truth because he doesn’t want to lose me and/or have me cheat back on him out of revenge. He gets too uptight and emotional at therapy, even walking out of the room during our last session because he was having an anxiety attack after I bluntly said some tough love stuff. I worry because I know in my heart that if he physically cheated, I wouldn’t want to just go on continuing to be the loyal wife; in that case, I’d want to either have my own affair, or leave him completely. I’ve considered circular dating because the last thing I want is to keep my loyalty 100% at a time that I’m not even sure I have the whole truth. I’ve already started doing some flirting of my own, including an ongoing flirty friendship with a guy online who lives in my city.

    Rori, what do you recommend for a wife in this kind of limbo situation? The “not knowing” for sure is ripping me apart, and making me feel like time has stopped, at least as far as how I should proceed with the marriage. I do not want to be the pushover who loyally stays with a guy who later turns out to be a cheater. I also worry about the possibility that he might start flirting, contemplating cheating, or even actually physically cheating again in the near future. Any advice? Thanks in advance.

  29.  #29Lucinda on August 17, 2016 at 2:24 pm

    Sorry Rori, it’s me again. I forgot to mention a few other details about my situation with my husband’s possible cheating or desire to cheat:

    – When I first confronted him about the condoms, I told him he should prove it by letting me see his phone and social media messages. He refused, then told me I could only see it the next morning. When he finally handed over his phone the next morning, the previous threads of online flirty messages he’d sent those girls months earlier had been completely deleted. I feel that’s very suspicious, even underhanded, behavior on his part.

    – During the two known periods that he was at least flirting and contemplating cheating, we were not having any major falling-outs but things did get a little mundane with us, and our sex life was at a stagnant “low”. Since then I’ve been reading your stuff about how to be more of a “siren,” and I would become more sexual again (like I used to be when I was younger and single). However, when I’ve asked him why it seems that our sex life goes up and down, he has admitted his own role in the sex “low” times, saying that sometimes his sex drive decreases but he doesn’t know why.

    – During the immediate postpartum period when I wasn’t supposed to be having any sex, he was very interested in having sex and would try to initiate it many times. We’re talking he wanted sex right when I came home from the hospital! Also, only a day after I came home, I was very sick with a health complication for about a week. Overall I was supposed to wait 6wks postpartum but I gave in and started having sex with him only 2wks later. Is it unreasonable for me to think he should have been more patient, and not be trying to “hit up” other girls for sex?

    – Since the time we had the huge fallout concerning the found condoms last month, he has been trying to improve. He’s been nicer to me, complimenting me more, initiating sex more, and engaging in all the home improvement projects we’d been looking to start. He’s been more open, which is hard for him, but I worry that he’s still not being completely open. He still tells little lies, and even initially lied to our therapist about his reason for having condoms (claimed he’d considered hooking up with a particular girl, later admitted the girl did not really exist). Overall though he keeps promising he will never again desire to stray or cheat. He claims things are different now, but how? Wasn’t getting his wife pregnant with the baby he always wanted something that should have made him only want to think about me?