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Trust issues with my boyfriend

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I have trust issues with a boyfriend who I know would never cheat on me. I spent the first six months of our relationship trying to figure out just how into me he was... he spent the first six highly cautious, cryptic about his feelings, and debating whether we were right for each other.


I couldn't help but feel as though he was second-guessing things that shouldn't have been second-guessed. Sometimes I still wonder whether I made the right decision by staying. By sticking around, I made myself available to a lot of uncertainty on his end, and subsequently a lot of emotional pain. I know his intentions have always been good, but I had no idea for the first several months what he really wanted with me. The problem was never in my head... he really didn't know what he wanted.


Once in a while he needs to "make up" for his past indecisiveness... usually when I get depressed and upset about how solid I always felt about him and how inadequate I feel because I didn't immediately make him feel the same way. He always goes above in beyond in trying to make up for the past, and I always end up feeling guilty that I have remaining fears, but a large part of me still worries (mostly about whether he'll once again doubt our chemistry).


Lately he's been pretty forward about the fact that he is thinking about marriage with me. I think he mentions marriage for a couple of reasons... for one, he's slightly past the age initially appropriate for marriage (but firmly of-age to be married at about 31), and I think he mentions it also because he knows his past uncertainties about us have hurt and damaged our relationship, and he wants to be more reassuring than he used to be.


I don't say much when he brings up the topic of marriage. In my mind, I'm still thinking "God kill me if I'm going to count my chickens before they hatch." Like I said, I know he WANTS to get married, preferably in the next few years... he's made that clear. But I wonder if he actually wants it with me, or if he just wants "it." Don't get me wrong... I know he wants a relationship with me by this point... but I don't know whether he wants marriage with me. Until February, I had every inkling that our relationship was going to end... not because I wasn't crazy about him (I've never been this in love) but because he gave me every reason to believe that he wasn't.


In fact, his goals with regard to marriage may have been what plagued our relationship from the get-go; he didn't want to commit to someone until he knew without a doubt that that person was right for him. (At the expense, perhaps, of just listening to his heart.)


So, fast forward a few months and suddenly he's bringing up marriage. Part of me wants to tell him, "Honey, you have a lot to do to repair things before we talk about taking that step."


The worst part is that I don't feel like, at any time he raises the topic of marriage, I'm an actual contributor to the discussion. It's more about him informing me of his intentions, and not an invitation to tell him how I personally feel.


That's not to say he wouldn't invite it... it's just to say that, given the fact that I've had four months of certainty about our solidity out of about 10, I feel more compelled to listen and try to absorb what he is saying than offer him emotional vulnerability.


I also see him somewhat contradicting himself, although I'm not sure he's fully aware he's doing it. For example... he speaks of marriage on the one hand, but then talks of buying a condo on the other. He knows I would never buy a condo (I've mentioned this), so if his intention would be to live there for a number of years, I wouldn't feel as though we mutually made the decision to buy a condo. Does this mean he wants to live on his own for a number of years? Probably... he's seemed to indicate that. OK... where does that put us, then? The timeline doesn't make sense. Why buy a place (or even rent a place) to live in for only a year when you can work toward saving and buying a house? He is still absolutely making independent living decisions. We haven't made any move toward talking about how we might pool our resources together another year from now. To me, that should logically come first.


I know other girls my age who put more pressure on their boyfriends about the future... I suppose I just never felt entitled to. But I wonder if I should. If he's bringing up marriage, perhaps I should ask him when he'd like to be married, and at the very least, when he thinks it would be wise to move in together / pool resources.


Funny enough, I think a large part of me is still feeling not quite up-to-par... like I don't deserve to pressure him about anything, or be a part of his independent life... or make him consider my needs. I'm still afraid that any real conversation about a real future will scare him away... or perhaps I'm not quite ready, myself.

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I was in a mixed message relationship for 2 years, and I was madly in love, and he finally left me. Alot the same in the beginning. I tried having talks, but the talks were just full of mixed messages too.


I don't know what to suggest, but I won't be with anyone who sends mixed messages all the time anymore. It is too painful and not fair. I went out on a date last week, and the guy was already doing the mixed message thing. That was enough for me.


My guy was nebulous, and I would say I wanted to live with someone, and share my life with them. He would always say, that is what I want too, but it always felt like he didn't mean me, and that was true, because in the end he left me for another woman.


Why doesn't he just propose? Would you say yes if he did? What does your gut say?

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I'm thinking something here, and I don't mean to be hurtful at all...but I'm wondering if you've ever thought about or had issues with self esteem? Your opening paragraph mentions that your biggest issue was that you constantly wondered how interested he was, and that he seemed very cautious. Since then, it seems like that thought, that doubt in him, that lack of trust in his conviction, has festered in your mind and diminished your feelings for him. That is a characteristic of a person with low self esteem. You have created a self-fulfilling prophecy. It sounds like he was taking a mindful approach towards building a lasting relationship. He didn't just jump in with both feet, and that a characteristic of a person with good self esteem.


That being said, it sounds like you still aren't standing up for what YOU want. "When he brings up the topic of marriage..." well, do you ever bring up the topic? If it feels like he's "informing" you of his marriage intentions, and you yourself mentioned "I don't say much," when he does. How can you feel otherwise if you don't contribute to the conversation? His mixed messages may well be from his feeling that you've backed off of this relationship, just as he is becoming more committed to it.


Your thought that "part of me wants to tell him, "Honey, you have a lot to do to repair things before we talk about taking that step,"" shows that you've clearly been hurt through this process. But the evidence shows that he's taken the correct path towards a lasting relationship. And he's still here, and he's ready for the next step. Okay, he's talking about condo's instead of houses, so what? Remember, you need to stand up for what you want, and reiterate it if necessary. Don't expect him to be a mind reader. To do that, you need to TELL him what that is. Yes, if you want this to work, you have to shed your misconception of his earlier circumspection, and offer him the "emotional vulnerability" he deserves.

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His mixed messages may well be from his feeling that you've backed off of this relationship, just as he is becoming more committed to it.


You're very right!!


Yes, I've suffered from self esteem issues for as long as I can remember. Honestly, I don't know how to get back on track. I've gotten jobs... I've gotten a grad degree... no matter what I do I continue to feel inadequate. I think you hit the issue on the head.


It's possible I need to put myself in situations I haven't before to build confidence... but whenever I have, it's only resulted in baby steps... not really a substantial boost in confidence. I'm still somewhat shy and care way too much about what others think of me (especially those I respect).


I know a lot of it comes from my relationship with my mom... she's always been very critical of me... but I wish I could just fix my problem once and for all.


That's exactly it... I don't want it to become a self-fulfilling prophecy. But right now I feel like there's no way to deal with it but get out of this relationship and try to work on my self esteem. On the other hand... I love him, and sometimes I think I would rather build my self esteem and remain with him than not... if that makes sense...


It doesn't take much for me to start feeling like sh*t... I know this from experience. Sometimes I wonder if it's something medical. But now I'm just rambling!

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First, you need to give up on the Prince Charming fantasies that he *should* be totally ecstatic from the very beginning, otherwise it means he doesn't love you. Everyone's feelings and emotions are their own, and you can't and shouldn't try to control that. If he was honest with you about his feelings, and now says he has grown to love you, then you can't hold it against him because he didn't immediately leap in with both feet. Frankly, getting too emotional too early before you really know a person is not a good idea, and based on your fantasies of who you think the other person is, not the reality of who they are which you only discover over time.


So i dont think there was anything wrong at all with him not making any big commitments the first 4 months you were together, in fact it was probably wise for him to make sure you were who he hoped you would be based on first impressions.


So give up your little girl fantasies about love at first sight, and don't hold it against him if he didn't feel the same way you did.


Next, regarding marriage etc., he can't read your mind. If you want to discuss something with him (like condo or not), if he starts talking about it, you need to speak up and ask your questions and discuss it. So if he says he wants to buy a condo, you would ask, but how does that fit into our plan to marry in a couple years... who will own the condo, and how will finances be handled? So don't sit there timidly expecting him to read your mind and know what your concerns or ideas are, if you don't speak up and tell him what you think and what you want.

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It sounds like you both still love each other and, in general, get along really well. That's huge. I don't see that as something you should walk away from. I see this as a tremendous opportunity, or situation as you mentioned, for growth. And yes, bolstering your self esteem is done in baby steps. There's no "light switch" fix with this one.


If you can learn to trust your BF again, that could become a turning point in your life in multiple ways. You know logically that you can trust him. You need to ease your emotions. That can be accomplished by stopping negative thought patterns, like "Honey, you have a lot to do to repair things before we talk about taking that step." He wasn't in the wrong, remember? Thoughts like that are poisonous.


Of course, it's your mind trying to protect you and keep you from harm...but it's not necessary in this case. You can also learn to start speaking up with your opinion here and there, especially on important subjects like your future. When you see that you can talk to him and he won't be critical (like your mother), you also teach your mind the same thing.


Just remember, vigilant baby steps are the key.

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Why doesn't he just propose? Would you say yes if he did? What does your gut say?


I'm very sorry about your post... and am also very glad you escaped that kind of relationship. No one should have to go through that...


I don't know if this is what I'm going through, entirely. We've only been together a year. I've only just finished my education (I'm 6 years younger than him). I'm sure that has something to do with it. I don't expect a prospoal so much as... realize that I have serious, serious trust issues that I need to quell before we get to that point. And the fact that he's mentioned marriage has made me think about it a bit more.

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I don't really think you can do anything with books. Maybe a workbook, if you're really dedicated. Don't be afraid of therapy - it really is very freeing and helpful.


A workbook! OK... this is new to me. Do I create my own? Can I get one from somewhere?

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There are some good workbooks available, if you can't afford counseling. The difficulty there is this isn't easy stuff to endure, and a therapist will keep you focused on the difficult and ugly tasks. Your mind will play tricks with you (again, part of it's attempt to protect you) and steer you towards the less painful avenues. Unfortunately, that won't get you where you want to go.


I've heard good things about this workbook and its companion textbook.


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