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Ask a Southern Belle: Am I Paranoid or Is He Cheating on Me?

Conventional Wisdom is a different kind of advice column. Your questions will be answered by people from all walks of life rather than by advice experts. To help Sick Sommer who isn't sure if she's paranoid or if her boyfriend really is cheating on her, a Southern Belle will offer her common sense advice today. You can submit questions here.

Today's Question:

I have been in a relationship with this guy for three-and-a-half years. For the most part, our relationship has been pretty good. However, over the past five or six months, I have developed a fear of him cheating on me. Ironically, I never had this feeling at any earlier time in our relationship.

I have come to believe that the reason I have developed this fear is because a couple of times over the past few months, I have caught him lying to me about drinking with his guy friends and dipping (two things that he knows I don't approve of). He told me that the reason he lied about those things is because he didn't want me to be upset with him. Since he lied to me about those things, I feel like he might be lying to me about cheating.

Fortunately, he has never given me any reason to think that he is cheating, and he tells me all the time that he loves me so much and that I am the person he wants to spend the rest of his life with. Even though he tells me all of these sweet things, I still don't trust him and I often accuse him of going behind my back with other girls. He reassures me he would never do that and often becomes very upset that I would think he would hurt me like that. It seems like all day, every day, I constantly think about what he is doing, who he is with, etc. I have literally made myself sick from worrying so much and I am afraid it is going to cost me my health and relationship. I don't know what to do!

— Sick Sommer

To hear what advice a Southern Belle has to give, read more

Dear Sick Sommer:

Well bless your heart!

When I was a young woman, I heard a story about a little girl walking toward a bridge. She encountered a snake who asked for her help in crossing the river. The girl demurred, saying, “You are a snake; you will bite me.” The snake told a sad story about being misunderstood and promised to do no harm. The trusting girl picked up the snake and carried him across the bridge, whereupon he bit her. She cried out, “You promised you would not hurt me! Why? Why?” As the snake slithered away, he said, “You knew what I was when you picked me up.”

In light of this little tale, ask yourself a couple of questions. Have you had this fear of being cheated on with other boyfriends? If so, perhaps you are sabotaging this relationship with your accusations. Or, have you picked other guys whose bad habits you immediately tried to fix? Why, after three-and-a-half years, do you not have trust in this man?

People, as snakes, rarely change, no matter how much their partners want it. The question of trust may only be in your mind, but if you cannot trust this guy after three-and-a-half years and he is still doing things of which you do not approve, one of you might want to slither away.

Signed,

A Southern Belle

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