-- Question for John --
I have been with my partner for about 9 months now. He has a reputation as a womanizer, and of late has been showing me this side of his personality. It started with letters from ex-girlfriends that were descriptive of things that they would do to each other, and just today I found that he has sent another girl another suggestive email.
The problem is that I have nowhere to go if I end the relationship, which I may do as I don’t think I can handle this anymore! Can you give me some advice on how to approach him in a diplomatic way?
-- Answer from John --
The diplomatic thing to do is to simply give him a clear choice. Tell him your own thoughts and values about being honest with each other, being faithful, committing to being monogamous and keeping all sexual energy within the relationship. Just be straight with him about where you are coming from and what you want in a relationship that has any chance of going long term.
Tell him that at 9 months into a new relationship like yours, it is probably the right time now for each of you to make a judgment call on whether this relationship is worth making a commitment to being faithful, monogamous, and keeping all sexual energy within the relationship. Ask him to think about it for a week and let you know which way he is prepared to go on that.
Tell him in no uncertain terms that his being honest with you is what really matters here, and that honesty is more important than which decision he reaches.
Then all you can really do is wait a week and see what he says. Give him a chance to mull it over. Give him some time and space, in fact.
Find your own center again, in the meantime. Get your power back. You may have given it away here. It saddens me to hear you be the one who feels she needs to be diplomatic when he is the one acting inappropriately (assuming you have any kind of agreement on monogamy already — which you well may not).
Then if he does not present you with a solid sense that he wants to commit and if you do not get all kinds of warm fuzzies that he can be trusted, then you will need to make a serious judgment call as to whether this is worth the heartache — no matter how wonderful and gorgeous he might be.
It all comes down to you finding your power again — which I suspect this guy has a habit of taking women’s power away as he takes their breath away too. Ultimately, if he is more committed to his own ambivalence and keeping backdoors wide open, I’d say you already had nowhere to go.
The thing of most importance here is not whether you get the guy — it’s whether you keep your own soul in the process. Think of it that way.