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    A little over 2 years ago, at the age of 38, I met the love of my life. We knew immediately that we were each other’s home and moved in together 5 days after we met. Everything was perfect. Prior to our relationship, my partner had been married. It was a situation where there were children involved and he felt he needed to stay for the kids (though none are biologically his) because their mother was unable to provide for them. He was particularly attached to the youngest girl and they had a strong and loving relationship; he feels she is his daughter and refers to her as such.

    When the ex found out we were involved, she sent me nasty text messages saying my partner had raped her and that he was only using me – the typical things females tend to say when they realize an ex has moved on. She tried to cut my partner off from the daughter he loves. Eventually, they worked things out so that he could still play a part in the child’s life. Fast forward a few months. One day, I went through his phone. I don’t know why, I just did. I found out that he was communicating with his ex on a friendly basis and I went insane. Literally, I went crazy on him. It was a side I didn’t recognize and had never seen of myself. When I calmed down, he explained that he was afraid he would not be able to maintain the relationship with his daughter and was trying to be on a friendly basis with her to keep that relationship intact. I was angry he didn’t tell me this was going on. I felt betrayed and hurt beyond belief. I kept asking why he hid it if there were no emotions attached? A few months after that, she was sending him graphic pics of herself and I wanted him to immediately confront her via phone but he did not. He let it go until the next time he went to visit his daughter; at that point, he says he told her not to do that and he didn’t want to see it and was not interested in seeing them. I got angry because he didn’t confront her immediately and in front of me. I felt I needed vindication.

    So here I am today – it has been over a year since this last incident and I am still having trust issues. I don’t know why. It’s not like he really did anything. I am just angry that he chose to be nice to someone that had tried to break us up. I understand there is a child involved – I know what is at stake and can rationalize it. It’s just my head – my head is so messed up. I feel like I am continuing to punish him. For some reason, I can’t forgive and I am deathly afraid of being hurt and betrayed. He is not the greatest at expressing emotion but I want to understand what he is feeling about my inability to move forward. Maybe if I can gain a different perspective, I can find more compassion and actually move from this state that I feel is crippling our relationship.

    Please help. Any and all perspectives are welcome.



    I’m sorry for your continued suffering, and can understand why it is sometimes difficult to let go. When we open our heart to another, there is a vulnerability that arises as the walls are let down. Its natural to go a little crazy when we get scared our heartfelt warmth is unreturned or betrayed. The mind kicks and bucks, the body becomes stressed, agitated, fearful. All very natural, very normal. A few things came to heart as I read your words.

    Consider that you two fell very quickly into a place of vulnerability, of love, which may be very storybook, but also problematic. As you’ve seen, prince charming isn’t all rainbows and love ballads, and the princess isn’t all ball gowns and laughter. There is a reality to our lives that challenges us to make the right decisions, to see things clearly, to accept each other as we are… not just lips and hips, but also the poop and grime.

    That being said, consider the situation from a neutral side. You dug through his phone, found the friendly kindness that he gives to his ex, and became jealous and afraid. As those emotions arose, not only did they cloud your view of what was really there (him trying to stay in good graces, which is noble of him), but more destructively, it perhaps popped the fairy tale. When we fall fast and hard into love, a lot of the trust we have is in “the power of love” and the fairytale, not the actual man. What assurances did you have that he won’t cheat? Because Prince Charming doesn’t cheat? How well did you actually know this guy? How many of his words, his tender assurances, had you spoken for him?

    So, consider the jealous rage, the “This is not how the story is supposed to go”, perhaps as though he broke something, crushed something precious of yours. Consider, however, that you broke the trust first by digging through his phone. Then, again when you fell into anger, jealousy, and rage, instead of trust, patience and curiosity. Said differently, you made the situation all about you, instead of having the space for him to be who he really is. Then, more anger that he didn’t want to try to enforce his boundaries with her while the Laura-firecracker was there!

    Its great that you’re looking to find forgiveness, but I think you’re aiming at the wrong person. Perhaps you need to forgive yourself, dear sister, for accidently betraying the love you two were growing. First, by nosing in where you weren’t invited, and then, by being cold and fiery to his heart with what you found.

    Imagine you’re sitting on a couch next to him, and you’re twenty days into knowing him. Suddenly, you get an itch, a desire to see beyond the curtain, and so you stick your finger in his nose to see what’s there. You feel a little chunk, pull it out, and then become enraged that he has brought such garbage to the home.

    To let it go, consider a few different things about that situation. First, we all have baggage, difficulties, and oddities that require our unique heartfelt adaptations. Said differently, we all have texts, emails, interactions and so forth that challenge us to be kind and skillful. When you encounter those, either internally (your anger) or externally (his texts), consider trying to make space for them, open to them, accept them. Wipe the booger on a tissue and toss it out. For instance, “what a lucky woman I am to be in love with a man that is kind to people, and can set aside differences to bring love to children. And yet, that’s scary.. I better make sure his attentions on her a genuinely platonic.” Or, with the naughty pics, “he could choose to be with her, and he doesn’t… what luck to have a man whose heart is louder than his groin. And yet, I wasn’t there, so don’t know for sure what he said or did.” And so forth. When we do this, try to see what’s really there, or at least give space to find out more, our inner peace doesn’t unravel.

    But sometimes, and perhaps here, it thrums across an insecurity, a piece of ourselves that becomes disturbed to see such things happen in our story. “How could he?!?” Or “Love sucks” or “I bet he wants to bang her.” and so forth. These come from our own baggage, our own nosing, and deserve to be let go of as well. Said differently, forgive yourself, as well, for losing faith in him, for mistrusting. It was a chance to bring him kindness, and you failed. Understandably, unavoidably, but still… the space collapsed and you brought fire. This perhaps spread mistrust from your heart to his, as his secrets (insecurities) were torched and burnt.

    But all is not lost when love shines, as its light is a healing salve to hurt feelings. Said differently, bent trust in an intimacy is easy enough to repair when both people can see, accept, make space for, and grow from the situation. To start this, first we have to find acceptance for our inner spirit… for instance, the aspect of the Laura-goddess that wishes to be seen, heard, felt and loved but gets scared. Its OK, dear sister, to yearn for him and become fearful that he isn’t in the same place. It sucks a bit that you went so ballistic on him… I mean, yikes, right? But, also consider that the fire you brought was passion, desire, heat. All twisted from fear, but still strong, aimed at him, and wanting to protect your home. That’s great! To be ignorant of how to do that skillfully, to punch instead of kiss, wound instead of heal… all very normal and usual, happens to most of us as we learn to love well. When you can sit with that peacefully, then youre in a good place to bring it up with him. Poised to be strong, honest, and kind as you work together to rebuild the trust.

    If that were my wife, the way I would start the healing conversation/path would be: “My love, I still feel unsettled by the way those texts and pics changed our connection. I’m sorry for the fire I brought, I never wish to scour your tender heart with my fears and jealousy. I pulled away from you, and what’s worse, I’m afraid you pulled away from me. Will you meet me halfway between us? I will try to make space to see you being kind and gentle for your daughter’s mother, if try to make space to see my fire as insecurities, and offer a soothing kiss to my flame, help me settle, remember your love, open back up. I wish to just dance with you, freely, with happiness, and wish to see whatever shadows are left between us go away.”

    Or whatever it is that your heart has to say, in whatever language and terms etc. Take his hand, try to help each other see it from all sides, patiently, with an aim of mutual overcoming, healing. Then, open together, unpack, connect, share… patiently listen to whatever consequences of the behavior have. It takes time to heal, as you learn to ask for assurances, and he learns to give them. As you learn to see that his love for others is not a threat, and he learns that his love has to have specific, strong, and clear boundaries to protect his home. Etc. Your heart, speaking to his, and his speaking to you. When stuff comes up, just start again, recreate the space between you, see it from all sides, accept, and hand in hand find a path home.

    One of my teachers said that its not mutual desire that keeps a relationship together, its mutual view. For instance, it doesn’t really matter that much to the heart if he wishes to be kind to the ex, and you wish for him to tell her to go screw herself. What matters is whether or not you can see it from the same space. Can you see what he is really doing? Can you see the choices he’s making? Can you hear why? Can he see the Laura behind your actions? Can he see why you react like you do? Are you two hand in hand, looking at the same sky? The same environment outside the home?

    Finally, consider taking up a metta meditation practice. Metta is the feeling of warm friendship in our chest, and is like our inner light. When we chug through tough emotions, feelings, experiences, our light can dim. Then the mind becomes more spinny, agitated, unsettled. When we sit, rest, and concentrate on wishing ourselves and others to be happy, peaceful, nourished… the warmth rises, the mind settles, and the light rekindles, grows brighter. Then, we don’t use up our precious concentration on useless mental fantasies (all the what ifs and so forth), and can instead turn our attentions to growing what we want to grow. Consider “Sharon Salzburg guided metta meditation” on youtube, if interested.

    Namaste, dear sister, may your passions temper and your joy blossom.

    With warmth,

    Angela D

    Laura MATT( KUDOS) you could not have written that any better I thank God for your perspective. Laura I was in a relationship that I decided to end after ten years but throughout those years I experienced everything and more as you have described in your letter, babies born into our relationship, going thru his phone when he wasn’t around just trying to find some type of understanding that would make me see the bigger picture but all it kept doing was hurting me. I think Matt clearly explained why and how you should handle the situation but one thing I would like to add is that we as women (human beings) tend to develop resent towards those we open our heart to because we allow ourselves to deal with things we feel we shouldn’t have to but you and your friend can overcome this communication is GOLDEN when your facing issues that seem to come at different perspectives and he has to open up to you to give you the insight into his heart just as you did him but do not approach it with a “SHOULD BE” mentality better yet let him know ” THIS IS WHAT I WOULD LIKE OR EXPECT” and even putting expectations on others sometime can hinder your ability to see things from both sides because the other person may not have even known you had certain expectations for them. Sometimes we see more in a person than they see themselves. So try to forgive him but mainly forgive yourself don’t develop resentment it will hold you back from the LOVE you both were building. I hope this helps you in some way and I know I stated I ended my relationship but it was more issues outside of his baby mama drama that involved that and I don’t mind telling you more if you would like to know but overall we are still good friends and I had to realize that I went into my relationships with no boundaries and that was not his mistake but my own. You are more than a conqueror already for still sticking by him believe me he knows how special you are but try your best to open up to him and I am sure he will follow. WISH YOU BOTH EVERLASTING LOVE!!!!!!!!

    Check out this link it truly blessed me and hope it can do you the same. This is how I actually found out about this Forum and website.


    Hi Laura,

    Thanks for having the courage to be so candid! Matt gave you such wonderful and loving feedback, it may be all you require, though if I may, I’d like to humbly submit this added thought: This experience triggered your “shadow” which is the unresolved or unprocessed pain which we all have stored in the unconscious part of ourselves, as brilliantly defined by Carl Jung.

    If you’re human you have a shadow. In fact, no one gets through life without one. It’s the great unifier and nothing to be ashamed. When the shadow shows up (usually at what feels like the worst moments), it meant to challenge us by showing us the “unpretty” sides of ourselves, which ultimately are crying out to be healed.

    So, as I see it, the good news is that this experience occurred in order for you to heal something within yourself. You may want to start by asking, “What pain or fear made me look at his phone?” just to get the ball rolling.

    By getting to the root of our shadows, we are solving the great mysteries of our lives. If we can better understand this unconscious part of ourselves, then these kinds of situations will have served their purposes, so we can heal, and in turn, forgive.

    I hope this is helpful!

    To learn more about the shadow, the work of the late great Debbie Ford is wonderful. Her book, The Shadow Effect, is life changing. She made a movie about it as well. Both are terrific! 🙂



    I am overwhelmed with emotion at the forthright truth you have been willing to share with me. I do recognize and acknowledge that I broke trust first and do acknowledge that I need to forgive myself for that.

    One of the things I notice as I read all of these beautiful responses is that my immediate reaction is to dispute any suggestion. I want to say that if he had only done this or that, then I wouldn’t feel this or that. I am making him responsible for my emotions when I actually know that this is not his responsibility.

    It is true that there there is always something that brings up these feelings and I never know where it will come from. The reason for me writing this in the first place is because he took me to work yesterday. We share a car and though he was off yesterday, he decided he needed to take me to work. It triggered negative feelings and wondering why he wouldn’t stay home and catch up on rest or whatever else he needed to do. And the next thing I knew by last night, it turned into me being angry because he rarely compliments me and then it turned into me vocalizing that maybe we should not be together. WHAT HAPPENED?! How did it escalate so quickly? Why am I unable to forgive? Why does one thing turn into 30? I am making him feel like I am giving him a laundry list of things that are wrong with him. I DO NOT want to do this but do not know how to break the cycle.

    My partner is a straight up, old school alpha male. He does not know how to express feelings but says he is willing to learn and to try. He is good and loyal. He works and comes home. He works multiple jobs to do what he can to provide for our family. He is an amazing father to my 10 year old son (who lost his bio father last summer).

    I just want to stop. I would like to know what feelings he may be experiencing, but he is unable to actually put them into words. I don’t want to make him feel like crap. I want to show him love. I feel like there is something wrong with me and I am ruining something amazing.

    Much gratitude to all who have responded. I am humbled and appreciative.




    Wow, that’s amazing! Consider that you have such a strong heart, to be able to so quickly peel away from old hurt and blame and take responsibility for your troubled feelings. How refreshing that makes it, how empowering! Said differently, now that we’re looking inward, we have something we can actually do, change we can grow. Namaste, Laura-buddha.

    Consider that you are a very passionate person, your emotions vibrant, deep. When he dragged you to work, on his day off, its not exactly a surprise floral arrangement, right? You want to be with him, and would love to go dancing, and instead he brings you to his work. As this sat with you, perhaps it tugged at some insecurity, and woke up mamma bear. Something funky here, and she sniffed around, and began to growl and roar. Then, instead of a dance next to your loved one, it looked like a series of pokes and prods, proof that he’s an asshole, uncaring, ignoring. Mamma bear is a protector, wanting to keep home safe, warm, fun. But when she gets spooked, yeehaw, those claws can really rip and shred.

    Consider a different view… when you begin to notice you’re agitated, try to breathe with it. When you were in the car, for instance, and mamma bear was waking up, gathering steam, perhaps if you had breathed “come on mamma bear, let’s do this with gentleness”, and opened up to him, perhaps it would have made sense what he was doing. Was he just trying to get more work done? Was he proud of his work and wanted you to see? Did he want to show off his woman? What were his goals, desires?

    Then, you can bring your light, your passion and desire with more stability. Said differently, when we have the space to wish for their desires and our desires to be met, we can try to see everyone happy. For instance, if he wanted to work, and you wanted some ice cream, if you both lay them out there, express the desires, you guys can choose. Maybe just ice cream, maybe just work, maybe one then the other, or whatnot. Sometimes for him, sometimes for you, but either met together, with patience. Metta helps keep that space open, for the record, making our heart strong, resilient.

    For helping him open his emotions, become more expressive with his feelings, consider asking him for them. Give him yours, and ask for his in response. For instance “I feel afraid I’ve lost your interest, when you look at me, what do you find beautiful?” At first, it might feel like fishing for assurance, but its the truth, and what you want, so why obscure it? Instead, invite him to flatter you, to sing to you his poetry. And whatever comes, listen, and accept it. It may be a scribble, it may be too “oh, hot body” or “because you cook for me”… but that’s what you’re helping ripen, so accept his attempts in the spirit he gives them. And, reward him for his efforts. Grab him and kiss him, express back in whatever feels right. He’s trying, and loves you… plus, just because he doesn’t know how to sing well, doesn’t mean that you don’t raise his body to song with your passion. Its just a communication issue, and as with many relationships, the woman has to take the lead in growing that, help aim it for both of you.

    Finally, consider that the 1 to 2 to 3 to 4 building of anger inside you is a lot like foreplay. Neck to wrist to lips to eyes, passion builds. This is why communication is so necessary, because hot relationships can easily cause blistering. You get used to grabbing hands and running, which is a little ouchy when its in different directions.

    With warmth,

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