Mistrustful of Boyfriend

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

I do not know how to trust my boyfriend anymore. We have been dating on and off for 4 years. When we began dating I was still in a relationship with my ex who was serving overseas in the military. I was young at the time (18) and had no idea what I wanted in a relationship. When my ex came back I began cheating on my boyfriend, and eventually he found out. It was horrible. I would go back and forth between the two because to me it seemed like one had something the other did not. My boyfriend began to become abusive and controlling at the time and finally i broke it off with him. We broke up for almost a year (although we did have relations in between) but then eventually began talking consistently again. At that time he (i guess to get back at me) was talking and having sex with other girls behind my back, and became a typical guy, in that he would ignore me for a few days and then call me on his time. It came down to the point where he even invited me and 2 of the other girls he had hooked up with to a party at his house making things very awkward for me. I finally told him that if we were not going to be seriously dating then I was not going to continue in the relationship. He then started to change back into a caring boyfriend and cut off contact with all of the other girls. Everything was going great until about 6 months ago while he was drunk he texted an old girl partner of his and basically was asking her to come over to have sex with him… while i was right beside him. This really hurt our relationship, but he apologized and showed me that he sent the girl a message the next day saying that he was drunk and that he loved me and that he did not mean to send her something like that.

What used to be such a perfect relationship has now become a horrible stressful mess for me. I love him so much, but no matter how hard I try I cannot bring myself to trust him again because I know he might hurt me again. I do not know what to do because I know that I did wrong in the past and he put up with it and he trusts me, but I feel like I was more justified in my actions than he was.

please help!

A: As you pointed out, you both have been less than honorable in the ways you have treated each other. Your boyfriend showed very bad judgment 6 months ago. I have no idea if it was the last gasp of an old behavior or if it means that he is still willing to throw everything with you away on a whim. You need to talk to him about it. For this relationship to have a chance, you both have to agree that all the old game-playing is over and that you will both do everything in your power to be worthy of the other’s trust. You then each need to give the other the gift of a new trust.

Yes, a gift. In cases like yours where there is so much negative history, rebuilding trust requires the ability to forgive and to risk being hurt yet again. If you really can’t bring yourself to make that leap with him again, you owe it to both of you to break up. You both made some big mistakes when you were young. Now that you’ve matured, you need to find someone you can fully give your heart to and so does he. Maybe you can do it with each other. But it may be that too much has happened for you two truly forgive each other. Listen to your own feelings and trust them.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 2 Dec 2011

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2011). Mistrustful of Boyfriend. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 21, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2011/12/02/mistrustful-of-boyfriend/