- Gender and Relationships
Dear Gabby: trust issues
Gabby: Hello. How can I help you?
Babs: Thank you for offering help today
Gabby: No problem. What's up?
Babs: My boyfriend and I have been together for a year and a half now, and we have a good relationship. However he has trust issues from his parents, and an ex girlfriend. How can I help him to overcome this so he can trust me?
Gabby: The first thing to do is tell him that it's not fair to measure you against other people. I'm sure we all have experiences of infidelity and fidelity in our lives.
Gabby: How does he manifest this mistrust?
Babs: He doesn't question me or accuse me of infidelity at all, and he knows that I have not hurt him. He doesn't really manifest it obviously so. I can just feel that he is holding back a little. And if we ever argue or have a disagreement, he will beg me not to leave regardless of how small the issue was.
Gabby: This is actually a different problem than one of trust. He is very insecure.
Babs: He is.
Babs: He doesn't think he is good enough.
Gabby: You need to reassure him even in your anger that he needs to look back -- you have never walked out during an altercation. And tell him that when/if you want to leave him, you will announce it - loudly.
Gabby: But also recognize that this begging is a manipulative action.
Babs: I have told him a thousand times I am not going to leave. I love him. And he knows that. He just doesn't know why I do (his words). Can you explain the last part please?
Gabby: Again - insecurity. He thinks he is not worthy of you. At the same time, if this is such a constant part of your discussions, he is not only asking for reassurance -- he is also backing you into a corner. By coming off as a weak victim, he is stopping you from disagreeing with him. You are stuck in a relationship which is defined as poor-little-boyfriend vs powerful-girlfriend
Babs: I do still express my thoughts, even if it is in disagreement. I usually bring it up more than he does outside of a disagreement, because I want to help. It hurts him that he doesn't trust me to stay and that he is insecure.
Gabby: Hurts him? It hurts you as well. There is a self-fulfilling prophesy possible here. It's not lack of trust; you should remove that word from your vocabulary. It is fear of losing you.
Babs: How can I help him?
Babs: Whatever it is...
Gabby: You can't help much on your own, except to list to him the things that *would* push you away. You might want to consider couples counseling, before this becomes a serious problem. If one partner is so insecure, it will eventually destroy the relationship.
Babs: We are underage
Gabby: How old are you?
Gabby: Oh. Well, like I said, ask him to be more fair in his evaluation of you and tell him what things would make you leave him. A teenage boy is less mature than you are, and rather stubborn. And keep in mind that you are being mistreated by his attitude.
Babs: I will. That makes sense. Thank you for your help.
Gabby: Hello. How can I help you?
Eddie: Hi. I seem to be having a little difficulty in my relationship here as of late.
Gabby: Can you be a little more specific?
Eddie: Well, it seems that my girlfriend holds me to different relationship standards than she does herself.
Gabby: Not unusual. Which standards does she hold you to that you don't like?
Eddie: Well, to be completely honest. When we started our relationship, she made clear there were certain things she wasn't comfortable with. Like, speaking to ex lovers, sending female friends pictures of myself, going out with female friends without her. Things like that. I laid down a list of boundaries that basically matched hers. I am generally okay with these things, I don't typically want to do them. But, in the same hand, I can't help but to feel a little but like my boundaries are being ignored when she does the very same things herself.
Gabby: Fair enough. Have you tried to let her know that this is unequal?
Eddie: I have. In one instance, she went so far as to imply that me doing the same things would give me "all the power" in the relationship. That me doing these things would make her so uncomfortable, she wouldn't want to do them herself, out of fear for being uncomfortable that I am doing them. More recently, we have discussed her speaking to her ex over the phone, and sending him pictures in the early hours of the morning. She says she "never said I couldn't do these things" but, also agrees that if I were she'd be very upset.
Gabby: How long have the two of you been together?
Eddie: I have stated that I think it's fair she only do the things she is okay with me doing.
Eddie: Going on three years.
Gabby: Egads. Time for this relationship to move up. She sounds like she is trying to get away with something.
Gabby: Saying that this gives you power is absurd.
Eddie: I mean.. Is that unreasonable? To think if she doesn't want me speaking to ex lovers on the phone, she shouldn't be doing it herself?
Gabby: If she expects you to trust her (I wouldn't) then she must trust you.
Gabby: She wouldn't fear losing you when giving you the same rights -- unless she is misusing the same rights.
Eddie: She states that she is doing no wrong, and that I should just trust that there isn't. But she doesn't understand that overstepping my boundaries is what is causing the distrust
Gabby: She's handing you hogwash. Put your foot down -- this ex-boyfriend is making YOU uncomfortable.
Eddie: I've explained that. Especially in the way he talks to her. He flirts, tells her when he is masturbating (although that could be jokingly) and even talks badly about me TO her. She doesn't reciprocate, but she doesn't stop it either. I want her to remain his friend, but I also want her to object to the inappropriate content and/or the bad talk against me.
Eddie: She declines (or has until recently) saying she doesn't want conflict.
Eddie: Though, to her defense, she has said she will start confronting him about the sexual and flirty behavior.
Eddie: It just feels like my emotions aren't very important. I feel like she should be willing to do these things to keep me comfortable, even if she doesn't particularly agree.
Gabby: Again - hogwash. If you don't nip this in the bud, you will get an unpleasant surprise one day. She should have, well before this, put him in his place about the sexual innuendos and defended you.
Eddie: Not because it's what I want, but because that’s what’s best for us.
Eddie: I feel like it should be what she wants too.
Gabby: But it isn't. Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. She wants you under control in case the ex doesn't work out.
Eddie: I've said exactly that line to her "What’s good for the goose is good for the gander"
Eddie: I just wanted to make sure I wasn't being unreasonable in my thinking that she should only do as she wants me to do.
Gabby: Well, consider yourself confirmed. This relationship is going downhill rapidly. Don't box yourself in.
Eddie: Thank you for your time
Gabby: You're welcome.
Gabby: Hello. How can I help you?
Janice: I have a few questions. My guy friend wants us to be faithful to one another, but doesn’t want to be tied down. What does that mean?
Gabby: That means he wants to have his cake and eat it too.
Janice: Then again he wants to be faithful to me and of course I want to be faithful to him.
Gabby: In my view, that is the definition to being "tied down".
Janice: That is the same thing I said. I try to do FBI work and see if he is hiding things. I thought that he had certain things private on his Facebook page that I can’t see, but I have had many friends to add him as a friend to see if they see anything different, but they see what I see, that he just doesn't post things on there and he isn't into it like others.
Gabby: Many people don't like to spread their whole lives out in Facebook.
Gabby: Why are you so suspicious of him?
Janice: I have so many trust issues. You won’t even believe how I have been treated, thinking about them makes me want to cry. I can say that over the almost four years that I have known him, he has fought for my love, and I have left him for three different guys. He never brings it up or anything. He forgives me and he trusts me a lot. I always share the stories with him of how guys try to talk to me and we laugh at them together,
Gabby: Then he should be suspicious of you, not vice versa
Janice: He isn't. I'm trying so hard. I don't have that adult figure in my life to help me though that. My mother is so judgmental. He has even drove about 100 miles to see me on a flat.
Janice: He had a flat tire. He didn't tell me because he knew that I would fuss.
Janice: Then make him stay home.
Gabby: He sounds like a keeper. Why do you wander off?
Janice: When something good happens to me, I expect the worse out of everyone. So when that bad thing happens, I don't get hurt. He does have a lot of things on his plate, and he loves being around his family. All of his family are his neighbors. He spends a lot of time with them. I don't hear from him like I want, which makes me wonder.
Gabby: You are shooting yourself in the foot. If yours eyes roam, then you suspect others of the same thing. Usually when a person acts like this, it is because the person feels she doesn't deserve something good.
Gabby: Nay, nay! You have as much of a right to have a good man as anyone else. All you have to do is earn it by being good to him -- and faithful.
Janice: I feel like I do, I just feel like there is a catch
Janice: I have to work on another thing of being open with him and talk to him about how I feel. I will walk around and be mad with him, but won’t let him know why. Then when I find out the truth, I feel bad. I’m learning to step out of my comfort zone for him, because he has done it for me. I know that if someone left me for three other people, I couldn't even think of a life with them
Gabby: Many people have difficulty expressing anger. And you are finding that your anger is misplaced. You have to learn how to talk to yourself, before you talk to him. Is there any evidence of him stepping out, or are you just feeling insecure? etc., etc.
Janice: I'm very insecure. I will not let him see me with my shirt off.
Gabby: That's body image - that will fade as the relationship grows. More important is your image of yourself as worthy of his love.
Janice: I have been cheated on in each relationship, so that's what I expect out of him.
Gabby: Self-fulfilling prophesy.
Gabby: You expect to be dumped and act accordingly. Thus you will be dumped.
Gabby: You view him as your handy-dandy backup. But in reality he is offering you unconditional love, and that is something you really have no concept of.
Janice: Your right. I have a lot of work to do. I love him. I know how to please him sexually, when he needs someone to talk to, I'm always there and give him my advice. I just don't know how to give him my trust. He has disappeared many times. I find out the reasons, it’s just that he doesn't let me know ahead of time, and by the time he does let me know what’s been going on, I have started getting to know someone else. I still don't see an excuse for him not to contact me in three weeks, if it’s just shooting me a text or Facebook message.
Gabby: You need to be very honest with him that your imagination goes wild when he doesn't stay in touch, and you end up acting improperly. A text telling you he is busy but thinking of you would go a long way. Allow him to not to have to tell you what he's doing every minute -- just that he's not wandering off.
Janice: Ok I think that I can do that. He always tells me that if I don't trust him, that our relationship won’t work or last.
Gabby: Basically he's right - but that little text will teach you to trust him.
Janice: You’re right. I will try. I’m all alone when it comes to learning to trust. I learn by trial and error
Gabby: Painful method. Decide on a time span. For instance, if you get itchy after a week of no word, then ask him to text you once a week, just to touch base.
Janice: Ok. The last time I did hear from him was Sunday.
Gabby: That's only one day -- take it easy, girl.
Gabby: Check back in and let me know how it's going.
Janice: Ok. Sure. I will message you later. Thank you for your help.
Gabby: You're very welcome.