From a man in the U.S.: My girlfriend and I have been dating for about 7 months. She is someone whom I have honestly loved since our first date and I knew there was something different about her from all my other partners. In the beginning of our relationship, she had a hard time separating what I was saying/expressing to her vs. what was said and done to her in her past relationships. One day, while I was at work, she read my private diary that I hadn’t written in since my last relationship ended almost two years prior and saw some very intimate thoughts I’d had about the seriousness of my former relationship at an early stage, even considering proposing. This devastated her, understandably, and it started to lend her some very serious doubts of my intentions and trust.
I have/had a not-so complimentary belief that speaking about my past in my new relationship is not productive or healthy, which I now think I was wrong, and when she would ask me specific details about stupid things like whom I went with on certain trips I would lie and say I went alone. I did this partly to not disappoint her with my happier or embarrassing times with someone else and partly because I felt like my request for privacy wasn’t being respected and so I lied to her or omitted the truth, which now she has found out and I’ve shared the truth and she is understandably hurt. I don’t know what to do to regain her trust and I’m afraid she’ll leave me over things that never mattered to begin with but I still lied about. Now she thinks that everything about me was and is a lie, which is devastating.
Finding love as an adult is complicated. Each person usually brings hurts, disappointments, and expectations (positive and negative) from past relationships. It’s not unusual for people to have to work through old issues in a new relationship. Your prior experiences led you to conclude that is is unwise to share anything from your past. Your girlfriend was apparently so hurt by someone that she felt justified in violating your privacy by looking at your private diary. You reacted by getting defensive and lying. Neither of you behaved well.
I think you are taking too much on yourself. I don’t think the question is how you can regain her trust. I think the problem is more properly defined as a problem with trust with each other. This moment in your relationship can be a reason to quit or it can be an opportunity to grow together. For the latter to happen requires that you both acknowledge that hurts in the past are influencing your present. It requires that both of you sincerely apologize for treating the other as if they are someone else.
If you both feel that this relationship has the potential to be something really special, it seems to me that it is worth the work. Both of you have an apology to make. Both of you need to find the courage to give each other your best selves.
I wish you well.
How Do I Regain My Girlfriend’s Trust?
Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker
Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.
APA Reference Hartwell-Walker, D. (2019). How Do I Regain My Girlfriend’s Trust?. Psych Central.
Retrieved on December 5, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2019/11/12/how-do-i-regain-my-girlfriends-trust/
Last updated: 11 Nov 2019 (Originally: 12 Nov 2019) Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 11 Nov 2019 Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.