You ask, I answer. Here one woman shares her concerns with running into her boyfriend searching on Craigslist for "casual encounters." Should she be worried?
I am at a crossroads in my relationship and I don’t know what to do. A few weeks ago I was at my boyfriend’s house and got on his computer to check my email. When the browser popped up, I noticed that he had been browsing the San Diego Craigslist page… for casual encounters.
I got really mad and accused him of cheating on me. He says that he only browsed the ads and never followed through with contacting anyone, so he didn’t technically cheat. We have been having problems lately, but I never thought he would consider hooking up with someone else. I don’t know how to trust him again, or if I should.
Even though your boyfriend says he didn’t actually have sex with or meet someone else on Craigslist, it is totally normal that you feel confused and betrayed. Instead of turning to you to deal with the issues in your relationship, he turned to an outside source in San Diego Craigslist.
As for whether or not you can trust him again, know that it will take time to rebuild trust if you decide to stay in the relationship. When your boyfriend violated the boundaries you thought were clear in your relationship, your secure attachment suffered a wound. It sounds like there were already other relationship issues before this happened, which can make things even more confusing.
The first thing I would recommend is sitting down and making a commitment to each other to work on the relationship. You can’t move forward and repair things unless both people are really on board. If he doesn’t feel genuine remorse for his behavior or care that he hurt you, it may be better to move on.
If you both express an honest commitment to improve the relationship and your boyfriend shows genuine understanding of why you’re hurt, have honest communication about what changes you need see in the relationship. Let him do the same. Even though you’re upset with him, let him be open and honest about what led him to consider stepping outside of the relationship. If you both decide you are willing to work on the changes the other person has requested, make a game plan for specific actions you can both take to hold up your end of the bargain. Let your boyfriend know that it is essential for him to follow through on his promises so you can slowly rebuild your trust in him.
Sitting with a counselor may be the best way to rebuild your secure attachment. A therapist provides an impartial mediator to hear both sides of the story and give suggestions about how you can start to rebuild the trust in your relationship. Good luck to you during this time.
Jennine Estes, MFT
About Jennine Estes, MFT
Think of me as your relationship consultant, I'm your neutral third party that can help you untangle the emotions and help you figure out what's really going on. I am a Marriage and Family Therapist in San Diego, CA. Certified in Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples. Supervisor. I write relationship and self growth advice for my column Relationships in the Raw. Creator of #BeingLOVEDIs campaign. MFC#47653