Jewish Journal

“Don’t know why I keep doing this”

by Golie Zarabi

October 15, 2013 | 12:44 pm


My boyfriend and I have been together for almost five years. I believe that he is thinking about marriage soon. I am afraid of committing to marriage because I feel he may not be the one I am supposed to be with. For the last three years I have been also seeing other people here and there and my boyfriend has no idea about it. My boyfriend works all the time and at night is usually too exhausted to take me out or spend time with me. He doesn't have time to give me attention but I know he is working hard to make money for our future. The other men I have been seeing have been very attentive and fun to be around. They know it is nothing serious and I don't want anything serious from them. I don't know why I keep doing this to him he does not deserve this.


Dear Anonymous

Thank you for sharing your situation with us. I understand the need to gain an awareness of the motivations behind our actions and to figure out how to improve our current situations.
You shared that you have been "seeing other people here and there" for much of your relationship. I wonder about these experiences and whether they are isolated events or continuous relationships? What were your intentions for these encounters and in what periods in your life do these relationships emerge? You expressed that your boyfriend is often too busy working or too tired to spend time with you. Often times when we are not given the attention or affection we are seeking from our partner, we search to get these needs met elsewhere. The sense of loneliness or feelings of rejection are filled by other means or by other people. Often our current relationship dynamics are indicative of our relationships and attachment styles in childhood. Do you remember ever feeling abandoned or rejected by your early childhood caregivers? Were you able to express your needs and get those needs met? Do you feel comfortable speaking to your partner about your dissatisfaction with the amount of time you spend together or the quality of those interactions? Often we look for connection outside of our relationships when we are unable to assert ourselves and ask to have our needs met within the boundaries of our committed relationships. If the work is done within the relationship between partners, it lessens the necessity to look outside of the relationship to give us what we feel we are lacking. Interestingly, there is often a subconscious motivation behind what we do. Your experiences with other men have given you enough of the "attention" you are looking for in order to actually stay in your relationship with your boyfriend. These indiscretions have worked as a crutch to help you fill the void you have been feeling, allowing you to continue your relationship with your boyfriend for this long. I wonder, if you were to stop your extra marital relationships how much longer would your relationship with your boyfriend last? Would you be able to tolerate your sense of isolation? With what you have shared, I can understand why you may be ambivalent about an upcoming marriage proposal. Until partners are both able to ask for what they want and work to build a relationship where both partners are getting their needs met, each individual is more likely to look outside of their relationship to feel completely satisfied.

Good luck !


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Golie Zarabi is a Marriage & Family Therapist Intern. Golie practices psychotherapy in both English and Farsi. She received her Bachelor’s degree from University of...

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