Hello everybody, welcome to episode 201 of Optimal Living Advice, the podcast where we take any questions you might have about the many struggles of life and get them answered for you here on the show. Today's question involves flirty texts being sent to a former fling.
I’m your host, certified life coach Greg Audino reminding you before we begin that if you have a question you would like help with on the show, we welcome you to email it to us at advice AT oldpodcast DOT com
So glad to have you all here today. Thanks for showing up. In this episode of OLA, we’re going to take a question sent in from a woman who caught her boyfriend in an act of what she calls “emotional infidelity.” Infidelity of all types is certainly something that we tend to have strong opinions on, but our asker today isn’t quite sure what to do with her feelings or the road ahead. I really admire her for taking a step back and looking for some help on what to do next. Let’s hear what’s on her mind and see if we can help guide her. Here it is…
QUESTION: “Hi, Greg. I’m reaching out because I need advice on how to get over my boyfriend’s “emotional infidelity”. I put it in quotation marks as you notice because he wasn’t really cheating on me, but I caught him flirting with one of his old flings through texts. We talked about it and he said it wasn’t anything serious, he apologized, and I forgave him. I don’t think he will do this again but a part of me is wondering if I am being naive and ignoring a big sign and I should just walk away? I think he could be the guy I end up marrying but I also don’t want my love for him to blind me from reality. What do you think I should do?“
Thumbs Up on Not Making A Quick Decision
Ok, good question! Thanks for sending this in. Definitely a topic that I think many people will have strong opinions on, so for those of you who I disappoint today, I apologize from the get go. I think it’s great that you haven’t made too quick of a decision about this.
Seems you’re not forgetting about this mishap, but also not quick to leave in a huff because you’ve been wronged and don’t feel you can trust this man anymore.
I can see why you’re confused, but as far as I’m concerned, you’ve positioned yourself really well and the confusion that comes with this position is normal.
Flirty Texts: Is There A Future With This Guy?
You’re basically asking me if there’s any way of telling the future with this guy and this relationship. We both know I can’t do that and neither can you. All you can do right now is all we ever do before making even the simplest of decisions, and that is look at the best odds based on what you know about the big picture. We do this every time we even sit down.
No guarantees on whether or not this chair will break as I sit in it, but it hasn’t happened before, so the odds are that it’ll be fine this time around, too.
The only difference is that we usually don’t think about marrying chairs. I mean the internet has shown us that people have a wide variety of “interests” so maybe someone out there has a thing for chairs. But here it is again; since I haven’t met anyone who does like chairs in that way, I can safely assume you don’t.
This has taken an interesting turn, but what I’m saying is that since you actually have feelings for this guy and your emotions are far more involved this time than they are in the countless other decisions you make at any given moment, you’re going to have to look at this as objectively as possible and remove your emotions from the equation if you want to get as accurate a gauge as possible about what to expect from your boyfriend in the future.
Catching him sending those messages may be a troubling standout event in your relationship, but ultimately, you’re better off looking at his character and whole persona than you are if you instead isolate this event too much.
What Kind of Guy Is Your Boyfriend?
Beyond this, what kind of guy is he? Is he loving and devout, or does he have a pattern of suspicious behavior? There’s something to be said of what you might perceive as suspicious given your own history and any trust issues you may have, but generally speaking, has this guy proven to be really special or do you know he’s involved in things he maybe shouldn’t be, maybe behind people’s backs?
Also, how has his general behavior been since you caught him? Has he seemed more loving towards you and held himself accountable as though he truly understands the depth at which this has affected you and how he could’ve been better? Or is he being sneaky or maybe dismissive of your feelings and not giving you a chance to air them out – choosing instead to tell you you’re being crazy and that you need to get over it?
I would also try to bring this objective analysis to the text messages themselves. Emotions aside, can you step into his mind and see how it might’ve actually been something you misinterpreted or exaggerated?
What The Future May Hold
Depending on what you find when you really consider all of this, you’ll have a clearer idea of what the future may hold. Maybe he’s actually been doing stuff like this all along and doesn’t necessarily show a lack of remorse. If so, you might’ve already stayed too long.
Or maybe this was a one-off singular event without unfaithful intentions that he regrets or just perceived differently than you did. If so, it’s fair to forgive him whilst also remembering this and not condemning him for it, but just staying aware in case something similar happens again.
Now, we’ve talked all this time about his devotion to you. But I also think that before you do or don’t walk away, it’s also important for you to consider your role and your devotion to him.
You say you really care about him, love him and may end up marrying him. If you want to be what I personally consider to be a good marital partner, you don’t necessarily have to stay with him if there’s a clear problem and it obviously isn’t working, but you do have to initially demonstrate patience and understanding during these tough times as a means of trying to work through them.
Maybe you yell at him for something like this; that’s natural. I’m not saying you have no right to be angry. But what I am saying is that you also have to ask him honest, loving questions about it.
Ask him what drives him to do this. Is he okay? Is he not satisfied? Is he nervous about committing to you and only having one person? Does he want an open relationship? Does part of his security depend on feeling as though many women desire him? Was there more to the relationship he has with the person he was texting?
Flirty Texts: Conclusion
Ask these types of questions, put your ego aside, and listen to the answers. The those answers will help you get to know one another better and provide a good indicator of if you two are as compatible as you should be, as ready as you should be, etc. If you come to the conclusion after that that it isn’t a good fit, walk away knowing that you tried and that this is what was best for both of you.
But if you actually care for him enough to maybe marry him, you’ll have to put your pride aside and make the effort to understand and sympathize with him when he does things to upset you. His excuses don’t always have to be good enough for you to stay with him or not hold him accountable to poor decisions, but making the effort to hear him and understand him rather than only getting angry and stomping your feet is the best thing for both of you.
In this case alone, it’ll prevent you from grouping all female friends in his life to being women he’s interested in, it’ll encourage him to be equally open with you about things you do to upset him, it’ll give you a better idea of what he’s struggling with and how these struggles influence his behavior. The list goes on.
Thanks once more to our asker for sharing her question today on flirty texts. Sometimes it’s easy to feel as though certain things are just so inexcusable that we should immediately act based on what we perceive to be the worst possible outcomes. After all, how could there be a gray area? Well, there’s always gray.
And whether it be emotional or physical infidelity, that holds true. Again, I can’t reiterate enough that the layers of each situation should prevent us from holding people accountable, getting ourselves out, or taking action based on our original instincts. But the more evidence you can have to justify any decision, the better. And that requires being patient enough to at least try to look beyond your initial reactions.
Everybody, thanks for being here today for 201. I highly appreciate all of you as always. It’s time to wrap up, so I do hope you enjoyed this one and that you’ll choose to come back for our next episode where we’ll look to help out another person looking for some extra support. That’ll be on Wednesday. I’ll see you all there.