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How to rebuild trust that has been rattled?


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Hi there.. I realize this is a bigger issue than a message board can handle, however I am hoping someone else has been through a similar situation and can offer advice that may help me in the right direction. I have posted before around this topic somewhat, but I am still having trouble getting over an issue now 14 months into my relationship.

Brief background (as I KNOW it applies to my situation)... I was engaged/living with my ex from 2006 to January 2009. We had a very toxic relationship, he was very controlling, insecure etc. Before him I dated someone for 5 years, had healthy relationships, etc. He put me through a great deal of emotional abuse and eventually physically abused me which is why I left abrubtly in Jan 2009. I went to counseling for it and never spoke to him since. I dealt with a great deal of lies with this person and although I do not know if cheating was ever invloved, there were many lies revolving around ex-girlfriend's, sex partners, etc. throughout points in our relationship. He shattered my ability to trust him and now my ability to trust men on some level.

I met my current boyfriend in May 2009.. So only 4 months after this toxic relationship. He was very understanding about my past and gave me the space I needed early on... As things progressed he wanted me to move in but knew my hesitation because of my past live-in fiance being a very rough experience for me. I was afraid to fully give my heart to someone again. So I kept my boyfriend as a semi-serious relationship for at least 4-6 months... I was 100% faithful & committed, but kept my space/friends/not moving in, etc. He was patient with me... Around the 5 month mark, I stumbled upon something one morning waking up at his place. It was a highway toll bill on his counter that showed one morning him leaving at 9pm in the evening and returning at 8am the next morning. I was not with him that evening and he went to work straight from where he was that night. My bf is very mature, homebody type, etc. 35 years old... I could not think of a logical explanation for him not coming home one night. When I asked, he was embarassed but said he was with a guy friend and told me he lived that way. They all went out and he figured it was safer to sleep over since he had a few drinks. (VERY out of character for him) But ok I accepted that.

A month or so later the topic came up (as it still didn't sit right) and he confessed that he actually had to help his friend go collect money (this guy was dealing drugs) and my boyfriend is a bigger guy and can protect him if something gets out of hand. He told me he didn't want to tell me the full truth as he was not proud of getting involved and it was his friend involved in this behaviour not him. Since we were dating only 4 months he didn't think it was right to involve me. Ok fine.


3 months go by things are going amazing with us... I spend more time at his house, we took our first vacation together.. Things are blossoming and I feel the love between us stronger everyday. By December we've been dating 8 months and I am basically living there since our first vacation in November... I sleep over all the time, we discuss future and formalizing our living arrangement, even discuss engagement.

One day (New years eve to be exact) I come home from work and my BF is in the kitchen. His phone rings and he doesn't answer it, but looks at who is calling.

I got a bad intuitive feeling and asked who called? He said he didn't recognize the #.. but once the phone beeped again (indicating a voicemail or text) he said "Oh it's Allan" his coworker/friend... I'm relaxing on the couch and he runs out to grab our take-out food as planned.. When he is gone I realize something is STILL not sitting right. So I ask... when you get back can you please show me the text or call from Allan to make me feel better because I felt weird you wouldn't answer the phone. He then says he can't because he deleted it while he was at the store. I demand him to come home and talk right away. When he arrived I ask him again and he finally confesses it was his ex-girlfriend from about a year before he met me. I knew enough about her, her name, her occupation, etc. As we have talked in great deal about our pasts. I even know they dated for 1.5 years and he couldn't get over her past. She was 24 when he met her and had confessed she slept with over 35 men. He was disgusted and tried to continue a relationship with her but realized that he could not marry a woman like that with such different values than his. They never lived together, nor discussed engagement.

I was not angry he communicated with her. Her birthday was that day and he was wishing her a happy birthday. What shocked me and upsetted me was that he NEVER in 8 months mentioned they even talked once. Apparently she asked him to go for coffee 6 months into our relationship, called him on his birthday in November and sporadically they talked through text since before I ever met my boyfriend. This situation nearly broke us up... I'm a VERY honest person... I told my bf about every ex I talk to, no matter how infrequent it was. If my ex asked me to go for coffee and I declined, I would STILL mention that at some point. I felt completely betrayed that after how strong our relationship had progressed and that I had moved in by then he never once mentioned this ex contact to me. He had plenty of opportunities to do so, her name came up often as did other exes of both of ours. I wrote her myself on facebook and she was very understanding and said their communication was honestly nothing.


I got past it (well obviously not deep down emotionally) and my bf has been completely open about everything since. He tells me to check his cell if it makes me feel better, he broke off communication with her completely and he has shown me genuinely that he doesn't want to hurt or hide anything from me again.

It has been 6 months since this issue and things have been wonderful. I find at times however, I doubt him. I don't have specific examples just a general feeling of not trusting him 100%. I think he is a good person, I do believe he loves me and will treat me right... But I do not trust him to the fullest. I want to........ I want the feeling I have to go away completely. When I met him and let my guard down finally deciding to move in I felt I could trust him 100%... The two separate episodes of him lying ruined that 100% trust. Now it's down to about 85-90%.

He is nothing like my ex-fiance, I would never put them in the same category and I know this. The only thing they have in common is they both lied to me on more than 1 occasion.

My bf feels terrible, he knows he hurt me and he knows it's amplified by the fact that my ex fiance ruined my trust completely. So all I want to know is how he and I can get over this..... And if it is ME completely that needs to get help over this I'm willing. Counseling, books, whatever I need to do.

My trust feels so fragile with my bf and I want things to be more solid... We are discussing future (marriage+kids) and I want in my heart to trust him 100% with my life when the time comes that he gets down on one knee and proposes to me. I don't want to go into a life with him thinking "you need to prove to me you're trustworthy".. I want to just know he is despite the fact that he did lie to me on 2 occassions.


Thank you for listening and any words of encouragement would be appreciated..

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I have to add.. part of what is not sitting well about the whole ex-gf issue is that months before this happened, we had my facebook open (he doesn't have fb) and we pulled up a few of our exes to show each other what they looked like, innocently. When I pulled her up, I commented she was pretty and flipped through some pics until he said "ok enough about her I don't want to see that stuff".. So we stopped. There was chance right there to mention her asking to go for coffee, or her messaging him once in a blue, etc. Here I am thinking they haven't even chatted SINCE long ago when they broke up even before me. I didn't ask directly "DO you two still talk" so I did not get any information voluntarily.

2ndly... He showed me at some point that he no longer had people of his past in his phone... Scrolled through and voluntarily showed me his phonebook. There are a few females on there, including 1 long term ex from 15 years ago and a few female plantonic acquantences. No biggie. This ex's name was NO WHERE to be found on his phonebook.

So occassionally when she texts him her # would come up with no name. On her birthday he texted HER so clearly he remembers her phone # off by heart. No problem.

What seems sneaky to me is 1) not telling me they chat ever and 2) making a point to show me who is in his phonebook that he talks to once in a blue with her being omitted.


That is the essence of why it bothers me... I'm a logical person and to me is this something that really slipped his mind? Or is there a deeper reason he failed to mention them being in contact no matter how in-frequent he says it may be?

That is hard for me to swallow....

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I know exactly how you feel. I've gone through having to deal with an SO's "ex they can't quite get over" syndrome. It's not easy.


I wouldn't worry about it too much, but stay alert. Don't ignore suspicious behavior, but don't be suspicious if you don't have any evidence. That's paranoia. Prior indiscretions are NOT evidence, but it is a reason to stay vigilant.


I have a strong belief that indiscretions and deceit have a tendency to want to be found, if you stay vigilant. People get sloppy and make mistakes, especially if it's a chronic problem that stretches over a long period of time.


I personally wouldn't worry about it. 6 months is a pretty good stretch for a non-sexual "indiscretion", and volunteering info and saying he doesn't text her something I would not consider evidence of anything but reassurance to make you feel better. Just stay vigilant. Not paranoid - vigilant.

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That's good advice and true I agree about deceit..

Deep down though I believe my bf is trusthworthy.. I didn't even think there was anything going on when she called, what I was worried about was something potentially going on towards the beginning of our relationship? I know since we became pretty serious he was always around and available, etc. And she lives about an hour away.. So the likeliness of him seeing her as well would have been slim.. However, it still seemed odd to me and didn't sit right, probably just more to the story that I don't know about and I guess that's ok it's their past, none of my business.

I do have her # written down so if she calls again I will eventually find out. He says he has no need to communicate her and because it was so infrequent he didn't care to mention any contact with her. She also said the same thing on FB and said she hadn't told her bf about contact with my bf either, since it was so insignificant. So who knows... All she said was a bunch of good stuff about my boyfriend and that he's a very trustworthy person and when he met me he mentioned to her that he wanted to focus on dating me. It sounds from his end, although they didn't work out he said she was a good person and had a friend quality. She was extremely nice to me, so I did thank her for taking the time to explain her side.

So I guess all I can do is just like you said stay vigilent... I'm just not one of those "too trusting" people, I don't like letting things completely slide and then kicking myself later going OMG I should have seen that all along... A bit of a overly-cautious attitude but so be it I guess. Thanks so much for the post...

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