I dated a guy last year who proposed to me after five months. He was sweet and caring and generous, if a bit insecure (he was always telling me I was out of his league and putting himself down.) A few months after the proposal, I discovered he had lied to me about watching porn (he had done it twice within a five month period.) He told me that he had lied to me about it. I was absolutely devastated, and became incredibly paranoid that he was lying to me about other things. I broke off the engagement, told him that I wanted to see other people, and began flirting with a mutual friend. I also said some pretty hurtful things to him that exacerbated his insecurities. He broke up with me after a year of dating, although he told me a couple days later that he wanted to come back to me. When we did get back together three weeks later, we were both miserable, and I was constantly accusing him of cheating on me. I didn’t have any proof—I was just concerned because he had lied about the porn. We broke up again three months later. A month later I contacted him because I knew I loved him and missed him and I felt horrible about the way I treated him. We tentatively started dating again, but six weeks later he said the pain and mistrust was still fresh and he wasn’t ready. I told him I would wait for two months before moving on. Six weeks into the waiting phase he contacted me and said he wanted to try again. Since that time, things have been wonderful. But I’m wondering if he’s really sincere about wanting to be with me. I asked him if he had seen anyone during the time we were broken up, and he mentioned that he had flirted with a girl at a book club meeting two or three times. He said he got her number but never called. The problem is that he said he met her during that six week waiting window when in reality he met her a few months before (still during a time when we were broken up). He said he didn’t mention that because he would only occasionally see her at campus meetings and they didn’t talk to each other until a few months later. I just don’t know if he’s being honest about that and if I can trust him. When I asked him why he didn’t pursue something with her he says it’s because he would rather be with me. I don’t know if I’m being a complete fool or not. I don’t know if I should trust him and try to move forward, or if this is a big red flag. I’m really struggling with jealousy/insecurity and I know how toxic that is for relationships. I just don’t know if it’s warranted in this situation. I really do love him and want to make the relationship work, and I'm prepared to work on trust issues. I'm just not sure if it's wise to trust him in this area.
Hello, I am Rafael. Thanks for asking your question - I'm here to support you. (Information posted here is not private or confidential but public).
I ma very sorry to know about this painful situation.
It seems both of you have been hurt with it and want to make it work.
My recommendation is always to be cautious and realistic about close relationships. He made mistakes and has held accountability for them and from your words it seems things are working very goon din the present.
Thank you. I just don't know if I should trust him or if he is being sincere about wanting to be with me.
How to approach it? Well, what if you start giving him a new chance to deserve your trust not based on nice words and promises but on concrete actions, at different settings and circumstances. You are still a very young relationship and still need a lot to share in order to know and understand each other, so to be able to literally build a healthy and fulfilling relationship.
When we take things without pushing ourselves nor the other person, there should not be a problem, since you allow yourself to get the time to work on building trust, openness, intimacy, and every other things required to create a good relationship.
So are there practical things we can do to reestablish trust?
Cultivate and promote daily dialogue, where openness, honesty and empathy happen to be core ingredients. Share your fears and hope during these talks, as well as your needs and expectations, so you could work on how to support each other .
Take initiative to promote trust, show you care for each other using words, attitudes and specially consistent behaviors-actions, both need to do the same, just as a real couple-team.
DO eradicate avoidance, denial or repression, but be more and more open and supportive with each other, in that way you would know when an issue arises and how to cope with it.
Share different activities and different settings and areas together as a way to enrich your relationship and its strength.
Make a list of priorities in your relationship and discuss how you could support each other to make them be fulfilled the best possible way through concrete actions.
Thank you. How do I deal with jealousy surrounding this other girl that he flirted with while we were broken up? He says if he wanted to be with her he would have pursued her and not be with me. Does that sound plausabile?
Sure it does. You learn to trust a person if you follow what your senses show you about his concrete actions in time and at different settings. Words could manipulate but actions cannot that easily. This episode is a normal-common example of situations that happen in life and relationships, situations that should not be denied but used to mature and promote your trust and affection. Denial or acting out would never help.
You're very welcome. Thank you for your trust and honesty here.
Final questions: what are some concrete things that he can do to show me that he is trustworthy? Should I ask him to do certain things or see if he volunteers? What are the red flags that I should be award of that would indicate that I should not trust him and get out of the relationship?
Previous statements address much of what you can do to build mutual trust and to develop a healthy and fulfilling relationship. "Consistency" between hos words and actions would be the most important factor for you to know if he is being respectful and honest or not. Both, he needs to take initiatives -as well as you- in order to show you truly care for each other. You would let him know how he could show caring and support you to be and feel loved and fulfilled, secure and happy, never in a codependent way.red flags: lack of consistency between words and actions, agreements, not respecting boundaries, not sharing enough as a cuple, poor communication.
MHT-MHRS-MS-MA Integral Psychotherapist & Life Coach
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