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Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5467
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Hello, I have been in a relationship for over 3 years now

Customer Question

Hello,

I have been in a relationship for over 3 years now with someone I find completes me in almost every way. I was sexually abused as a child, and he is the first person I've ever been able to allow myself to have true feelings for, engage in a fulfilling sexual relationship with, and truly trust. With everyone before him I was cripplingly dependent on and controlling of, to the point where I would be uncomfortable with them even going to the grocery store without me. Over time I've found myself truly blossoming in my current relationship, and with a lot of hard work, growing as a person. I am no longer dependent on anyone and my trust issues have improved significantly, I'd say to an almost-normal level. I never thought I could be this comfortable in myself or happy with another person. The only problem is that my significant other has developed the same trust issues tenfold. In the first few months of our relationship I carried on an emotional attachment to my ex. I lied to my now fiance about it repeatedly. When he found out he was devastated. Since then (almost three years now) I have severed all contact with my ex in any way. I have done anything and everything my fiance has needed me to do in order for him to feel comfortable. I've changed the way I dress, I don't go anywhere without him except to the grocery store or to work, I have no male friends (or any friends really) outside of him, I share an email and Facebook account with him, he has access to every part of my life, I have no privacy. He knows where I am and what I'm doing every minute of the day. And while I know this sounds bad, I understand how he's feeling completely (I've been there before) and I feel I owe it to him because of the lies I told him early on. But...it seems to be getting worse for him. I thought doing these things would make him more comfortable in our relationship, when in fact they seem to be getting worse. I have to constantly monitor anything I do or say to make sure I don't accidentally do something that might upset him, for fear of the huge argument it will cause. He will interrogate me for hours, and everything I say is only a sign pointing to my guilt. If I try to be understanding he'll say if I truly wasn't doing anything wrong I would be outraged at the accusation. If I am outraged, he says that I'm trying to cover my guilt and flip the situation on him. He won't be able to let go of the issue for days, weeks, sometimes months. He completely shuts me off emotionally, is cold and distant and angry for days. This can happen if I take more than 3-4 minutes to answer a text, if I go to a store without him, if I go into work more than 2-3 minutes early, if I wear the wrong pair of shoes. The reason I am writing this right now is because I haven't been sleeping well and have been too tired to have sex for three days. Last night when I tried to initiate it, he turned me down. This morning he accused me of not wanting to be with him because of the three days this week I was too tired for sex. It has turned into a huge argument. Mostly because I am starting to lose my patience. I feel like I spend almost every minute of my day trying to watch what I say, do, wear, the places I go. It is exhausting sometimes. All to still have weekly fights over what I feel are sometimes ridiculous accusations. He is so good at manipulating the argument, is so confident in his claims that I am lying and covering up my guilt with anger, that I start to feel like I am crazy. It is starting to eat away at me as a person. I want to enjoy the new found happiness in my life, but the distrust is killing me inside. Am I wrong to feel this way? Do I owe him this because of what I did in the beginning of our relationship, the lies I told? I feel that I do, and he certainly feels that I do. And he is the only person to ever help me get past my childhood abuse and start living my life. I feel I owe him everything for that.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 1 year ago.
Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.

You are not wrong for how you feel. You may have done things in the beginning of the relationship to cause mistrust, but you have taken action to fix those things and to prove that you can be trusted. However, your fiance seems to have his own issues with trust. It sounds like he is using what you did to try to control you and prevent himself from getting hurt again.

When two people enter into a relationship, they bring all their past issues with them. Many times, if they are not aware of them (like you are of your own), they put those beliefs and dysfunction on their partner. And the partner then becomes unhappy because they spend their time reacting to the issues rather than developing the relationship. It sounds like that is what your fiance is doing. He hasn't worked out his own issues so he is putting them on you, trying to make you do things that lessen his anxiety about trust. However, it is not working because he is not feeling better and you are miserable in the relationship.

Your fiance needs to accept that you have done what you can to repair the damage from your past and now it is up to him to deal with his issues. No matter how long he tries to control you, he is never going to be able to trust because the issue is no longer you, it's him.

Your fiance needs to be willing to face his past and how that has affected his believes about relationships. He was abandoned so he probably fears you leaving him the most. But trying to control you is not going to make you stay, it will make you leave, exactly what he doesn't want. So getting help for his issues is imperative. Without help, he may stay on the same path as he is now, destroying your relationship.

Learning more about trust is good. However, your fiance needs to be willing to see himself as the issue here, not you. Talk to him and let him know that you support him but that his demands of you is hurting the relationship. Encourage him to see a therapist. If he won't go to a therapist, try asking trusted friends and family to encourage him. You can even see if he will talk to his doctor. Some people will listen to their doctor when they won't listen to loved ones. Call the doctor ahead of time and let him/her know what you are seeing. It will help.

If your fiance refuses to do anything, then it leaves you to decide if you can continue in a relationship like this. He is bordering on emotionally abusive and likely will not get better without insight and a willingness to get help. You may want to consider therapy on you own then, to decide how best to handle the relationship.

I hope this has helped you,
Kate
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5467
Experience: Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC and 2 other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 1 year ago.
This resource may also help your fiance as it deals with how abuse damages trust:

The Courage to Trust: A Guide to Building Deep and Lasting Relationships by Cynthia Lynn Wall LCSW and Sue Patton Thoele

Kate





May I please request that if you find the service I provided helpful at all that you rate me with three or above? Your rating is the only way I am reimbursed for my answer. Thank you so much!
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thank you so much for your response. It is extremely relieving to have someone see my side of this,.

Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 1 year ago.
You're very welcome! I understand how distressing it can be. There may be another resource that can help you called Should I Stay or Should I Go? By Lundy Bancroft. You may not be considering leaving at this point, but this book is invaluable in helping you see objectively if you are in a bad situation that can't be repaired.

My best to you,
Kate

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