This week’s question comes from Chika in Eldoraigne: “I’ve had a new partner for the past three years while finalising my divorce. My loveless and abusive marriage had no intimacy for the past 10 of 20 years, during which time I focused on my career. While my kids grew up, being married served me.
"My new lover has a big vision and holds several degrees. But I recently found out that my lover, whom I met through work, has been seeing several women.
"Since he declared that he is committed to me, I confronted him, which he denied until I showed him the proof. He apologised, but I am not sure if I can believe him. I feel disrespected. Am I expecting too much from him or not? What should I do?”
Answer: If I had a crystal ball I would then tell you the same thing I’m telling you now. People do not change their personality. If someone has a tendency to lie, that is what you can expect of him.
Psychologist Michael Lewis in the 1980s performed an experiment on 2-year-old children, which proved that lying is not only normal but a sign of higher intelligence.
This doesn't mean we can lie, it just means that there is a link between being bright and getting away with lying. I mention this because your new lover only admitted his error once you held him accountable.
You cannot expect him to now stop lying, because you found him out once. But, you can express your feelings of "being disrespected" when he lies to you. You can also tell him what your boundaries are and what the consequences are of him crossing these boundaries again.
The real issue you have in this situation is how you will handle accountability in your relationship. Who will hold him accountable when he lies again?
If you want to know what you can expect of him, I recommend that you have a heart-to- heart conversation with him about it.
Whatever he wants you to believe you can agree too, provided that you make an agreement about the consequences. On your part, you will have to be prepared to execute those consequences if the time comes. If you do not, it will be you who does not respect your own needs enough. And, the consequences of that are having your needs abused by your partner. Then you cannot blame anyone but yourself.
Expect him to be himself. Stand up for what you believe about your own values and hold yourself accountable. Knowing what to do is easy now.
I suggest that you reflect deeply on what is the same between your soon-to-be ex-husband and new lover. If you have difficulty with this exercise, consult a professional relationship coach who works in this area and who can be sensitive for your transformational needs.
Seeing ourselves is harder than observing our partners faults.
* Adelé Green is a transformation specialist coach and author of Can You See Me Naked: Grow in a conscious relationship. She provides answers here when posted on www.adele-green.com/askadele/ or you can chat to her online. Also listen to #360Brunch on mix93.fm on Sundays.