Me and my boyfriend broke up a few months ago after being together for a couple of years. We lived together and had every intention of staying together, getting married, having babies – the lot! We broke up because something clearly wasn’t right and I felt that there was something else, or someone else, involved. My boyfriend made me out to be paranoid and said he couldn’t be with someone who didn’t trust him, and that’s where it ended. A few months down the line I’m happy and loving life, but I recently found out that there was actually another woman involved in our relationship ending, but I had to find out from one of his friends. I’m past the point of being upset by this new information, but I can’t help but think that I won’t be able to trust anyone again after being cheated on, being made to feel paranoid and then lied to about the whole thing! I’d really appreciate some advice, I don’t know what to do to even attempt to overcome these trust issues. Will I be able to trust again after what I’ve been through?
Thanks for your letter and your question. I sense that there is a long story here and you have naturally left out many details, but I can probably fill in the blanks. Since you mention having had plans to tie the knot and start a family, I presume that you probably have had some dating experience prior to this relationship. I also know that you were taking the whole affair very seriously, and that he was apparently not of the same mind. The break-up sounds like it was initiated by you based on your suspicions and your confronting him with how you felt, but he actually called it quits at that point – and rather painfully, I’m certain.
First, I think you should try to understand that there is nothing wrong with you – it’s completely normal to feel as you do. Being the victim of infidelity is an especially difficult way to end a close relationship, because, as you know, it complicates the way you feel about the future. Such an experience can change your life, and the change can be for the better or for the worse, but please realise that you are in charge of how it plays out from here on.
Now to your question on how to overcome your trust issues. If at all possible, I would recommend that you get some professional guidance from a counselor with experience in these areas. After all, infidelity and trust issues stemming from it are the most common problems dealt with by marriage and divorce therapists. You should try to accept the idea that everyone is different despite common human flaws, and that your personal experience does not have to be repeated – you will definitely find someone to love and trust, and with whom you can build a life. Also, review your life history and cherish the memories of relationships you have had where trust was not a problem. Then use that positive energy to allow new ones to happen without being suspicious and afraid from the start.
And that is really the key for you at this stage – don’t let your bad experiences stop you from having a new relationship, or the kind of trust and the quality of relationship you desire will never happen. It may be a cliché, but it is true that unless you are willing to take a chance and possibly get hurt again, you will not be able to conquer your fears and move ahead with your life. So, get back on the horse, and ride like the wind!