Her boyfriend doesn’t trust her

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

My boyfriend and I have been together for 1.5 years. He has been emotionally abused from his mother from when he was a child (age 5/6 up to about 12/13). His parents have always been together and seemingly happy but his mother was having an affair. He saw his mother and this guy talk to each other secretly and even witnessed them having intimate exchanges. He told me how he would hide and see if his mother was going to make a move to ring they guy while his dad was away to work and he tells me how he would indeed see his mother ring somebody and whisper-talk. He says he has ever only told two people and never discussed these issues or confronted anybody about the affair.

Now, the problem is he doesn’t trust me. He would always accuse me of wrong-doings, especially to do with male friends, or in fact a lot of things like when a message comes through to my phone he would be sensitive about it and even ask whether it was a man or not (even if it isn’t he would sometimes not even beleive me). He would also make comments when I go out with my friends whether I had made any good male friends. He would also accuse me of not posting any photographs of him on my social networking page and to him that is a sign that I am trying to find somebody else. None of this is true and I am fully committed to him. These all sound very childish but he is 29.

The truth is I am a little scared of this relationship because I feel that he is trying to control me. Precisely because of the emotional abuse his mother had put him through during childhood. He is quite possesive and make sly comments if I do my own things or go socialise with my friends. I hate his mother for what she has done to him. She doesn’t even realise all the effects her affair has had on him (according to my boyfriend, she beleived that she kept everything “clean” so to speak). I try not to think about the past but every now and then when I see I’m reminded of what I’m going through with my boyfriend.

Things are looking much better than how it was, say a year ago. It seems however that every single argument we have, which is pretty frequent at about once every 10 days, seem to be related to his unresolved issues. It makes me angry that he doesn’t seem to want to see a therapist or a doctor about it. He’s letting his issues define him and our relationship.

A: I’m sorry to tell you that I’m concerned about this relationship too. Although things are better than they were, I have to wonder if they are better because he is relaxing or because you have given in to more of his demands. Of special concern is that he is aware of the impact of his childhood but is unwilling to do the therapeutic work he apparently needs to do so it won’t spoil his relationship with you. He seems to want you to change your life so he won’t be suspicious. Instead, he should be changing himself so that he isn’t so suspicious of someone he loves.

Frequent fighting about this issue is an indicator to me that he isn’t ready to be in a relationship with anyone. As much as you care for him, I think it would be wise to slow down. It’s very possible that you will never reassure him enough, no matter what you do. Consider very carefully what kind of life that means you will have if you stick with him.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 7 May 2009

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2009). Her boyfriend doesn’t trust her. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 26, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2009/05/07/her-boyfriend-doesnt-trust-her/