Question of Trust
My boyfriend and I first started dating a year ago (we knew each other from high school). It was shortly after his fiancée broke up with him. He always said I'd never love him because he has very bad self-esteem. The first time we had a fight - a month into our relationship - he slept with his ex and they got back together. He told me about it when it happened and said that he was scum and didn't deserve me. They broke up again last February, but even throughout the course of their relationship he contacted me to tell me how much he missed me.
We got back together several months ago, but we have so many problems. The both of us are insecure though he assures me he'll never do it again. His ex is still trying to get back with him again. He doesn't believe me when I express caring emotions, although he's always affectionate with me. He's the funniest person I've ever know; he's expressive, sensitive, and nurturing. He's the only man I've ever made love to. He's told me that I hold his life in my hands. Even with the problems, we both have the same desires out of life, to be in a good marriage and raise families. I truly feel a strong bond with him.
Should I give the relationship more time to work out these insecurities? Neither of us completely trust the other, but is that something that can come with time?
First of all I commend you for wanting to take a close look at your relationship. It takes courage to honestly face the reality of a situation. It is understandable that you feel such a strong bond with this man. After all, he's the only man you've ever made love to and it is natural to feel close to the person with whom you've shared such an important event in your life.
However let's look at the facts. This man cheated on you when he slept with his ex-fiancee and they got back together. Then he betrayed her by contacting you and telling you how much he missed you. So you know that it's in his nature to cheat. The fact that he told you that you hold his life in your hands sets off all kinds of alarms. At best he's very dependent which will undoubtedly cause many problems in your future relationship. More likely he makes statements like this and his other self-deprecating remarks as a way to manipulate your sympathies which brings out your natural inclination to "rescue" him.
You need to examine closely the possibility that you are drawn to this man because he presents himself as so needy. You don't mention your own family. For some people that have received little real nurturing themselves, they try to fill this unmet need vicariously by becoming a care-giver, especially to needy men.
I'm concerned with your own level of self-esteem that allows you to put up with this kind of relationship. By being drawn to people with problems that need fixing, you keep from focusing on your responsibility to yourself. Sometimes by being enmeshed in situations that are uncertain and chaotic, we aren't able to discover who we are and what we really want.
Bottom line? You have every reason to be concerned about the future of this relationship. You might want to consider counseling for yourself to explore your own feelings as to what you believe you deserve as a person and the qualities you're looking for in a partner.
This question was answered by Stuart Klein MA, LPCC. Stuart Klein is a licensed professional clinical counselor and has been practicing psychotherapy since 1974 including 12 years as the Clinical Director of two mental health centers. He is the founder of "Tele-Therapist", a convenient and confidential way to receive professional psychotherapy on the phone.For more information visit: http://www.tele-therapist.com/