Q&A with John Gray: “I Caught Him with His Ex!”

By John Gray

Dear John, I never knew my boyfriend of three years still had feelings for his ex—until I discovered a few text messages on his iPhone that clearly indicate that they’ve been seeing each other on the slyI’m so angry! Of course, I want to read him the riot act. I no longer trust him, and I think this is the end of this. What should I do? — Carla L.,  Sebastopol, CA


Trust. It’s one of the key planks in the foundation of any relationship, along with respect, passion, and commitment.

Looks like all four of them have cracked in your relationship.

Yes, he’s lost your trust. I’m guessing it happened prior to your looking on his iPhone—which is why you read his private messages in the first place.

Can this relationship be saved? That depends on the following:

1. Think before you speak.

Yes, you have every right to tell him that you are hurt at his actions. No, you shouldn’t call him (or his other girlfriend) names that will either make him angry and send him packing—that is, unless that is the result you want. If not, then don’t initiate this very important discussion before you’ve thought through what you want to say.

Start by writing a “feeling letter” which is exactly like it sounds: your thoughts, in writing: your hurt, anger, humiliation, pain, and your concerns about your future together. Now put down on paper your hopes for resolving the issues that stand between you.  You don’t have to send this letter to him, or even read it out loud to him. The goal is to structure your thoughts in a way that helps you articulate them when you do talk it out. 

2. Pick the right time to talk it out.

This should not happen when you’re angry. It should take place in private. And it should happen when you’re calm enough to make your point. Don’t accuse. Instead ask him questions about his feelings for you, and come clean on what you already know, and how you know it. Of course, he has every right to question why you looked at his phone messages, which was wrong on his part. But since he had already lost your trust, he needs to face up to the fact that his actions put him there in the first place—and come clean.

3. Make the decision to work it out—or not.

If he is seeing his ex, he has to come clean about it, then make a decision as to whether he’s willing to commit to you exclusively. (And considering his deception, that may mean committing to counseling as well.) Even if he begs for forgiveness, you have a decision to make, too: Can you feel you can trust him again?

Re-establishing the trust (and respect and passion) between you won’t be easy. But it will be worth it, because it is the only thing that will prove his commitment to your relationship work in the long haul.

Additional Relationship Advice

Q&A with John Gray: “Why Am I a Lousy First Date?”
Q&A with John Gray: “Why doesn’t he call?”

Q&A with John Gray: Why am I a lousy first date?”

John Gray is the author of Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus. the
number one best-selling relationship book of the last decade. In the
past ten years, over 30 million Mars and Venus books have been sold in
over 40 languages throughout the world.
His latest book is Mars and Venus Collide: Improving Relationships While Understanding How Men and Women Cope with Stress.  Check out John’s website: www.MarsVenusLiving.com