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Ask Ellie: Moving on from serial cheater shows self-respect

Has he previously been a cheater? If so, why still listen to what you believe are his lies?

Dear Ellie: My boyfriend is cheating with his neighbour and keeps saying he’s just a friend.

What Should I Do?

Ask yourself, is it possible that he’s telling the truth? Do you have knowledge, beyond suspicions, that this is truly cheating, not just an innocent friendship?

Has he previously been a cheater? If so, why still listen to what you believe are his lies?

You have the right in a relationship to receive answers you can believe. That’s not happening.

Display your self-respect. Say that you deserve better than how he treats you. Start considering a safe, logical plan for moving on without him.

It might cause him to reconsider his behaviour that’s raised your mistrust. If he doesn’t believably change or explain the true nature of his involvement with the neighbour, start planning toward a better life without him.

Dear Reader: Yes, this relationship columnist got the message from a letter writer yesterday, that each person reads information directly, then processes it according to their personal interest and viewpoint

So, for today as example, a gathering of individual views:

Reader 1: “Here’s what came to mind for me regarding the jealous partner in the polyamorous relationship (Feb., 12):

“It reminds me of a couple I know. The husband declared years ago that he and his wife were in an “open” relationship (I think this was what it was called back then).

“He then attempted to seduce a friend who was staying over at their place, and then me.

“I found out later that when his wife had begun an affair of her own, he was upset… so the “open” nature of their relationship was really just for him.” (Ellie: The book Open Marriage: A New Life Style for Couples was a best-selling book published by M. Evans & Company in 1972 by Nena O’Neill and George O’Neill. The O’Neill’s eventually divorced.)

Reader 2: Regarding the letter-writer whose mom wants more connection with him which his wife considers “creepy” (Feb. 17):

“I’m unsure if this is our western value but seeing your mom once a year is too often? His children will likely have a poor model of family relationships when they see that being together with parents more often than once a year is somehow too much.

“I believe this emphasis on individualism and “independence” is a huge problem in our society, leading to intense loneliness and isolation, which then contributes to many psychological disorders.

“We’ve raised children to despise dependence and relying on others for our happiness. We show disdain for societies wherein children are taught community values of responsibility for each other, and having close family nearby is an advantage unless they’re dysfunctional. In these societies, the sense of loneliness is much lower and elders are admired for their guidance/life experience.

“Research repeatedly shows that it’s not financial gains that create a meaningful life but a sense of belonging and meaning.”

Dr. Hannah Rockman, PsyD.

Reader 3: Regarding the woman trying to help her grieving friend (Feb. 15):

“Thank you so much for printing my email, and for your kind words. Oddly enough, just the day before the email appeared, I bumped into a friend whose husband died a year ago.

“She told me about the counselling she had, and how helpful it had been. It was a six-week program on Zoom. She had contacted the Newmarket Doanne Hospice. Such an excellent idea. Here are the Details: Doanehospice.org/Bereavement-Program.

“Hope this is of use.”

Reader 4: Regarding helping someone who’s grieving (Feb. 15):

“Bereaved Families of Ontario (BFO) offers free groups for adults (Living with Loss), and groups for those who have lost a child, or a loved one to substance use. There’s also a group for young people. (The range of programs may vary depending on area). They are co-facilitated by peers who have also experienced loss. Facilitators are volunteers who are trained to lead these groups.

“I’m sure if she Googles the name, she may find a chapter in her area. (I’m in Kitchener, so it’s BFO Midwestern Region).

“Perhaps her friend could combine this with any private therapy she’s receiving.”

Reader 5: “Grief counsellors include counselling or clinical psychologists with a doctorate in clinical or counselling psychology as well as licensure or registration as being qualified to provide psychotherapy and counselling. As well, some psychologists specialize in grief counselling.”

Ellie’s tip of the day

Never accept from a relationship partner what you believe are lies and repeated cheating. Show self-respect and plan a better life without them.

Send relationship questions to ellie@thestar.ca.