"Dear Thelma" is a relationship advice column that appears in The Star, a publication that is part of the Asia News Network.
I am in a long-distance relationship with Y, a childhood friend. We have been together for two years now. Both of us have separated from our spouses.
Last year, I discovered he was having an affair with a girl almost half his age. He got angry when I confronted him. He did not admit to the affair, so I confronted the girl and she confirmed it.
After that, I kept asking the girl if she was still in contact with Y, and she assured me that she had stopped communicating with him.
I quarrelled with Y whenever I got jealous. After a few days, we patched up.
Then in February, he seemed to have a change of heart. He seldom texted me unless I sent him an SMS.
Later, I saw some changes on his Facebook account. He told me he couldn't access his account as his children had changed his password, but I did not believe him.
I saw a flirty message from his ex-wife. When I confronted him, he denied that they had reconciled.
Then he blocked me on Facebook. I felt hurt.
Now our only form of communication is via SMS. I sense that Y has returned to his ex-wife.
What should I do? I love him very much and I don't want to be hurt. I have invested so much money for his medication, and now I'm not sure if he is really sick.
I feel he is taking advantage of me because he knows I am deeply in love with him. I feel so lost and empty. What should I do? - Lost
Long distance relationships are always hard. Coupled with doubts and jealousy, it becomes almost unbearable.
There are a few issues here. First off is your overarching doubt about your partner. You say you have provided financial support for his illness. Yet, you doubt that he is even ill. You feel he is taking advantage of you and your love for him.
Second is the jealousy that you feel. Many people view jealousy as an important part of a relationship. It is a symbol of passion for some. For others, it is a sign of how much their partner is loved. Ultimately, though, jealousy stems out of a sense of insecurity.
The only evidence you have of your partner's alleged infidelity is this other girl's testament. Is there any other evidence? Were they just talking to each other? Or, was there something more? If you think she has stopped all contact with him, why are you still jealous? What is fuelling this feeling? You will not be able to get to the bottom of things if you do not resolve the root issue.
Now, you suspect that he has reconciled with his ex-wife. Again, what evidence do you have of this? Why do you not believe him? So, his ex-wife leaves a message on his Facebook wall. What makes you think this is an indication that he is now back with her? Did he reply? If so, was his reply just as flirtatious?
You can argue that this jealousy is caused by your partner's actions. That could be part of the reason. The other part is dependent upon how you feel about yourself, how you think your partner views you, and whether or not you feel respected in this relationship.
Why do you think the bond you share with Y is so fragile? What was it that brought both of you together in the first place? Is that still a valid reason to remain in the relationship?
Sorting that out is one thing. The more important thing to do is to sort out your insecurities. If you don't, you will find similar patterns disrupting other relationships you get into in the future.
Jealousy is not healthy in a relationship. There is only so much a person can do to convince their partner of their fidelity. The rest is up to the person to address. You cannot expect your partner to stop talking to or interacting with people of the opposite sex. Neither can you expect your partner to completely cut himself off from his ex-wife when they have children to raise together. These are things you have to deal with.
It is not only a question of trust. It is the value you place on each other and the relationship. It is the amount of respect you have for each other in the relationship. Finally, it is about a person's confidence in knowing that they are worthy and deserve to be in a loving and trusting relationship.
In order to gain trust, you must trust. In order to gain love, you must love.
Coming back to the issues in your relationship, it is important that you consider all of them separately. Put aside your jealousy. Take an impartial view of what has happened - without letting your feelings cloud your judgment. Do you believe there is sufficient evidence that your partner is cheating on you?
Do you think your partner values you and what you bring into the relationship? Do you feel like you and your wants are respected in this relationship?
Ultimately, why is it that you have so much doubt about him? And, this is not limited to just his fidelity. Have you, perhaps, romanticised this relationship because you are childhood friends? Are you in this relationship because of what your partner can bring to you? Do you value him for who and what he is now, or are you in love with the person you knew from your childhood?
Are you in this relationship because you want a future with your partner? Or, are you with him because of the money you have already spent? Do you want to be in this relationship because that is better than being alone?
Seeking the answers to these question may shed some light as to where you should go from here. Only you can answer these questions and decide on the future of your relationship.
Whatever it is, you have to be honest with yourself. You owe it to yourself. This is about you and your future. You must be able to work this out without letting your feelings - jealousy, or frustration about the money you have spent - affect your thinking process.
While you are trying to figure things out, it may help to stop all communication with him. And that means you have to stop looking at his Facebook page as well.
It is said that absence makes the heart grow fonder. You will have to wait and see if this is true for you.