For the past two years I’ve been living with a man who is fourteen years older than I am. He has two children from two different relationships…. Since the beginning of our relationship, he has had a password on his phone. I told him many times that I didn’t like that, and that as a couple we should have nothing to hide. One time he was careless, and I read messages from his ex during a time when, according to him, he wasn’t in contact with her…. Now he has no password on his phone, but he won’t ever put it down…. It goes with him to the bathroom, and at night he hides it. I trust him… but it hurts me that he does this.

Dear Friend,

You say that you trust him, but all your other words shout loudly that you do not. In fact, your entire story is all about how you do not trust him. You have convinced yourself that you trust him because you believe that trust is essential in a relationship. But the fact that you feel compelled to read his messages all the time proves that you do not trust him.

It is extremely unwise for anyone to use an electronic device without setting a password. Passwords protect your personal information from theft. A phone can be stolen at any time, and personal information is at risk. So for you to demand that your boyfriend not have a password is irresponsible.

Your boyfriend is obviously aware that you are intent upon checking up on him. You are probably right in saying that he has something to hide. He is a man with at least two previous relationships and no history of fidelity. So the chances are good that he is actively seeking his next girlfriend.

You don’t seem to understand that, in order to parent his two children, your boyfriend must have some communication with the mothers of those children. An honorable man has regular visitation with his children and contributes to at least half of their support. Communication is required to accomplish this, so he has at least one good reason to be texting those women.

You want a loving and faithful relationship, but you will never get that by living with a man who has not made a formal commitment to you. If he really loved you, he would ask you to marry him. But we would never advise you to marry him unless you can accept and approve of him talking to his ex-girlfriends to arrange visitation with his children, and with him contributing to the support of his children. And you would need to trust him enough that he could stop hiding his phone from you. Since all of this is not likely to happen, it is clear that you are wasting some of the best years of your life by staying with this man.

The kind of relationship that you want can only be found when you follow God’s plan for sex. That means getting to know a man without having a sexual relationship with him, learning to trust him before you make a commitment to him, and then marrying him as a symbol of your trust and commitment. Otherwise, when you have an intimate relationship with a man before passing through all these steps, neurotransmitters that are released in your brain during sex can cause you to misinterpret the status of the relationship. Those brain chemicals can cause you to overlook danger signs and make decisions based on wishful thinking rather than reality.

We wish you the best,