Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Nicola's Story - When Texts Becomes A Problem

I have recently found out that my partner of 5 years has been exchanging intimate texts with a work colleague. He left his phone on the table and I saw one of the texts! He says it's just a bit of fun and doesn't mean anything. He says I'm overreacting  but I'm having difficulty seeing that way. I don't understand it? To me it feels like a betrayal? How can we see this so differently? I thought we were ok and now this! 

After I found out I went back to stay with my Mum but after a few days of him ringing and texting me continuously I went back home. We argue constantly and I'm not sure how much more either of us can take. I'm not sure what I want from you,  perhaps an unbiased voice, but is there anything you can do to help? 

Bab's Reply

Hi Nicola you sound between a rock and a hard place? I do understand what you mean about the texts being unacceptable to you. In fact when you say 'how can we see things so differently' I'm wondering do you have the same core values or is it just this particular issue that divides? 

I guess if I'm honest I hear similar problems on a regular basis. I am not saying it's normal just that it's there. One of the reasons it's there I think is because it's done at a remove. It has an air of unreality and people say things they wouldn't say face to face. I'm assuming you've found me through twitter so you probably know what I mean - people say inappropriate things all the time? 

In my opinion the real issue is not what your partner has done but what has made him act in this destructive way? You say 'you thought you were ok' and I'm thinking how could you both be ok? Perhaps you were ok and he wasn't?  Perhaps he just wasn't saying?  What would make you look at his phone?

The first step is to work out what you want. If you want the relationship?  If you do what do you want it for? What life enhancing qualities does it have? If you could turn back the clock would you still enter into a relationship with him? How equal is the relationship? I think now is the time for you to speak honestly with each other. If you find that difficult to do perhaps seeking the help of a relationship counsellor could help. See my links page. Remember they are not there to stick you together but to explore your options.

Arguments often occur  between couples because they are stuck with the concrete idea of right and wrong and if that's the case they often slug it out metaphorically and sometimes physically to prove a point and themselves right. I have noted some guidelines for arguing constructively because it feels as if you need some help in keeping safe.

Remain seated & maintain eye contact
 Know why you are arguing
 Listen & check that you have heard before replying
Say an understanding thing before launching into a response
Don’t make counter-accusations or justifications
Keep to ‘I’ rather than ‘you’ statements
Admit mistakes & misunderstandings
Stick to the subject in hand
 If the question has not been resolved after 30 minutes, agree to differ and return to it the following day

Finally I am sorry you are unhappy but you can use this hurtful experience in a positive way - take care.



  1. since writing to you I have done a lot of thinking and you're right things haven't been ok for sometime. I have spoken to my partner and he doesn't want to go for counselling. I am unhappy but think whatever change is coming is coming from me. Is it ok if I write again in the future? Thank you so much for you're help.

  2. Hi Nicola I was wondering what was happening with you. I am sorry your partner is unwilling to attend counselling but I guess that tells you something? You do know you could go to Relate on your own if you need help to make sense? Of course you can contact me again if you feel it would be useful. In the interim take care