If you’re going to build trust with someone, they have to be honest with you. But you also have to be a place for your partner to bring you honesty. That doesn’t mean it’s ever your fault if someone lies to you, but in order to help create a relationship that is most conducive to honesty, you have to be open to hear even the stuff you don’t want to hear…
You’ve got to be honest with him about what you found on the flash drive, and how it made you feel. Try to approach him with an open heart, explaining how hurt you feel, but also with curiosity about why he didn’t tell you the truth about his sexual history. He needs to be honest with you, and it all needs to be broken down completely—-down to the very basics of when the dishonesty started and what he wants from the relationship.
I wish I knew more about what personal things of yours were on the flash drive, but it sounds like you feel like your privacy has been invaded. This all makes me very uneasy, and I don’t think you should live with these secrets any longer. If your first conversation with your boyfriend doesn’t yield a huge revelation from him, I think it may be time to either ask for help from a couples’ therapist or perhaps end the relationship.
Remember: Your relationship should bring you joy and honest partnership. If he can’t offer you that, you both need to fix it or start fresh.
He Said: Relationships are about trust, and trust is a two-way street. Let’s start with one side. If he’s lying to you about his sexual past, and clearly you’ve been asking direct questions, your boyfriend’s not doing anyone any favors. So you need to sit down and call him out on his truth-bending. Come prepared, so you can (hopefully) get answers to the specific questions you have. Also let your boyfriend know how you were hurt by what you found.
But before you do all that, here are a few things to keep in mind. First, your boyfriend could have been lying to you about his sexual past (playing DOWN his experience), thinking you might feel worse if you knew about ALL of his past sexual escapades. Second, men are more sentimental than most women understand. It’s why we don’t get rid of those ratty, old underwear you’ve been begging us to throw out. Okay, maybe that’s just laziness. But trust me, we’re sentimental. He just might not have been ready to part with the flash drive (yet). Lastly, it’s time to talk about that OTHER side of trust.
So… how’d you find this flash drive again? Cleaning up? And you decided to plug it in, even though it wasn’t yours? Look, I’m sure it went down just as you said, and it was a completely innocent discovery (of things not so innocent). However, I think you should be prepared, when you call your boyfriend out about the flash drive, and honesty, trust, and the like, he may very well call YOU out for snooping. Your random discovery incriminates him, but he’s going to want to talk about HOW you made your discovery. Two-way streets can be dangerous. So be honest with yourselves, and each other.
Do you have a question for Eli and Josie? Ask it here, anonymously!
Photo of flash drive courtesy of Shutterstock