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Q: I can't seem to trust my girlfriend... but I wish I could. ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   11 Comments )
Subject: I can't seem to trust my girlfriend... but I wish I could.
Category: Relationships and Society > Relationships
Asked by: varigear-ga
List Price: $50.00
Posted: 06 Nov 2005 12:09 PST
Expires: 06 Dec 2005 12:09 PST
Question ID: 589799
I can't trust my girlfriend. The screwy part is that I have no really
substantial resons not to. Here's the landscape:

I'm currently 26 and she's 20, have been together for 1.5 years, and
we just started living together.

She had a very tumultuous high school experience (drugs, 6 sexual
partners from junior year to graduation) and made some choices that I
found very bothersome - but all of that happened and ended 2-3 months
before I met her. She was keeping in contact with a number of the guys
she had relations with even after we started dating, but it was just
talk - over the phone and IM - and I think she did it because she was
in denial of being used for sex, and somehow maintaining a friendship
made it seem okay. But anyway...

I caught her in a few lies very early on, mostly around whether or not
she was still in contact with past boyfriends even after our
relationship started.

She spent her first year of college in Chicago where I flew to visit
her every few weeks. The whole thing made me nervous, her being around
a totally new group of people and place, with our relationship being
only a few months old.

There was an incident, once, where she drank and fell asleep on a
guy's shoulder (when I had first heard about her talking with this guy
in class etc., knowing college students, I figured he was making some
sort of play to get with her). That incident never amounted to
anything but her sleeping. She only told me about this issue later on,
weeks after it happened, and I felt bad that she had let it happen at
all, much less not tell me.

Overall I am often worried about her ability to make good decisions
and hold her self to an acceptable standard of behavior for someone in
a committed relationship (we're both on the same page about those
standards). She often seems naive about the intentions of other
people, and despite my efforts to try and help elucidate, she often
seems to misjudge just how selfish people can be.

Now she has started her second year of college in our home town, and
again, new people. She's also started a new job.

Every time that I think about her working at her job, or working out
of class on a project, with anyone male my mind instantly constructs
this horrible scenario where she's cheating or doing something that
would undermine our relationship.

I never perceive her as being a "bad" person for it - I just think
it's inevitable that someday, or maybe already and she hasn't told me,
she's going to be at work and end up making out or having sex with one
of her coworkers. Or that next time she's at the library doing a
project with a male classmate, she's going to start kissing with him.

I have this mental picture of her as being unable to resist temptation
(her being woefully ignorant of when a guy is flirting with her fuels
this), or being so transfixed on having fun and doing something new
and different that she would disgard her fidelity to me to pursue it.
Worst yet, is that I picture her never telling me.

I provide her with a warm bed at night, a house to live in, etc. I am
terrified of being taken for a chump, and somehow that anxiety creates
these mental scenarios where she's having fun and screwing around, but
won't ever tell me because she likes all of the perks of being in a
relationship with me.

We also don't have sex nearly as much as we used to, but that's
probably because of our hectic schedules, and the fact that I'm in the
mood a lot less with all of this stress weighing on me.

I am starting to believe that we both have different life
philosophies: Hers very bohemian, open, trusting, perhaps naive, but
light-hearted and Mine being more cynical, realistic, skeptical,
pragmatic and driven by a sense of honor.

Overall  we've been a good compliment thus far, since together we tend
to have a well-rounded world view. But on issues like the ones above,
it makes it very hard for us to talk since we both think the other
person is being too strict or too careless, respectively.

I want to trust her. She's a really great person and she's matured a
lot from when I first met her, and I love her madly. But I think,
after our last argument on this same issue, that we can't go much
farther unless this trust thing gets fixed.

Am I just making all of this up, or have all of the past events just
molded my current perception of her and justified my distrust?

I just want to be able to feel like I have nothing to worry about, and
that we're both dedicated to each other. Of course, the moment I take
that leap, I start wondering if there will be some great, karmic irony
and she'll start betraying my trust as soon as I finally muster the
will to provide it.

How can I learn to trust her? Should I? Is the relationship
fundamentally flawed because of this issue?

Help. I'm tired of feeling anxious all the time.
Subject: Re: I can't seem to trust my girlfriend... but I wish I could.
Answered By: leapinglizard-ga on 07 Nov 2005 15:31 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Dear varigear,

You can learn to trust your girlfriend, indeed you must if you want this
relationship to continue. Or, for that matter, if you wish to build a
lasting relationship with any woman at all. The anxiety you are feeling
and the visions of betrayal that dance through your head constitute a
condition that in simpler times was known as jealousy. A jealous man
is one who fears being played for a fool by his woman -- that is how he
thinks of her, as His woman -- regardless of who that woman may be. The
woman may change, the woman may be replaced, but a man who cannot rid
himself of jealousy will see the same flaws in every single one.

Today, this common male condition is described variously as a controlling
tendency or possessiveness or insecurity. No matter the name, jealousy is
a habit of mind that invariably proves ruinous to a man's well-being,
whether it is bottled up or allowed to manifest itself in amateur
detective work or spectacular rages. This is not to say that jealousy
cannot be cured. Like any other habit, from fidgeting to smoking,
it can be unlearned through a long and sometimes difficult process of
recognition, determination, and rehabilitation.

Your own jealousy does not seem to be especially deep-seated, for you
recognize the problem and have discussed it with your girlfriend. You
have also maintained the relationship through some unusual conditions,
such as being geographically separated from her while she was at college
in Chicago. The fact that you have openly discussed your feelings on
the subject of fidelity speaks well for both of you. You should find
it reassuring that she agrees with you in principle on the notion of
a monogamous relationship. This philosophical agreement is necessary,
although it is not sufficient, to maintain such a relationship. What
can guarantee that your girlfriend will forever act in accordance with
her principles, that she will never yield to temptation?

There is no such guarantee. The fact is that beyond certain easily
recognized limits, there is no way to know whether one's paramour is,
was, or will be faithful. A person who is not admittedly or visibly
licentious, who professes a staunch fidelity, may nonetheless be lured
in certain circumstances from the practice of monogamy while remaining
committed to the theory. What these circumstances are, and whether they
will ever come into play, is unknowable to anyone. How can we peer into
the heart of another? This question has caused immeasurable agony to
romantics throughout the ages. It is impossible even to know the deepest
truths of one's own heart.

As a first step to doing away with the agony, you must reconcile yourself
to the fact that nothing can guarantee everlasting fidelity. You must also
perceive, as I think you already do, that worrying about the matter and
seeking frantically to shore up the borders of the relationship against
every possibility of attack will only sour the prevailing mood between
the two of you. You must reflect positively on the reassurances she has
given you, and on the generally free and honest communication you enjoy.

Consider, also, that your jealous fits are caused by two pairs of
conflicting visions. First, you are bothered by the discrepancy
between your image of the perfect mate and the actual traits of your
girlfriend. To counteract this, you must acknowledge that no one is
perfect, and that you yourself are far from a paragon of manhood. Second,
there is a tension between what you know about her behavior and what you
imagine her doing when she is out of sight. You must come to recognize
that exerting your powers of imagination by picturing your girlfriend
in compromising situations and salacious poses is useful only as a way
of tormenting yourself. It is also something that you do unwillingly,
for it is a nervous habit. You must stop screening movies of infidelity
in the cinema of your mind.

Confronting this self-torture and talking about it is a good start. I
can also recommend as a practical procedure that you begin keeping a
record of the occasions when you lapse into jealous daydreams. Carry
around a small notebook and a pen so that every time you find that you
are imagining scenarios of betrayal or otherwise fretting about your
girlfriend's fidelity, you can make a note of it. It is enough to record
a stroke so that you can count these occasions, or, if you feel like
it, to jot down a word or two remarking on the nature and duration of
the episode. You will eventually find it useful to review your records
so that you can see what progress you have made in carrying out your
resolution to eliminate the jealous fits. You should also find that the
act of keeping track is itself a good countermeasure, since you will
begin to form the habit of catching yourself as your mind begins to
wander into the rut. This will naturally serve to reduce the duration
and eventually the frequency of your unhealthy thoughts.

If you are the worrying type, you will in the end find something else to
worry about: your job, your lawn, your football team, your government,
your environment. These are things you can control or at least investigate
to some degree. The last thing you should worry about is something you
cannot control. And bear in mind, always, that you would do far better
to improve yourself than to seek to improve another.


varigear-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Somewhere, in my mind, I knew this answer. However, I could have never
come to terms with it had it not been so eloquently stated.

Subject: Re: I can't seem to trust my girlfriend... but I wish I could.
From: blahdu-ga on 06 Nov 2005 13:39 PST
not that it's much help but i know the way you feel. it's more like
the opposite thing in my relationship, i'm the "bohemian" one.

just as a point, perhaps you're being too harsh on her so-called
naivete. i find that girls only play dumb, at least when it comes to

but that's just my world view i guess.
Subject: Re: I can't seem to trust my friend... but I wish I could.
From: painternow-ga on 07 Nov 2005 20:27 PST
On the other hand, I think it good to trust your instincts.  Also,
trust is built over a period of time.  Her behaviors only ended
(partially) 2-3 months before.  This is not enough time.  Living
together only complicates things.  She's not being trustworthy - and
neither are you - to the committment of marriage.
I would tread lightly see if she, and you, have the character for a
true committed relationship.  My sense of it is that you are further
down that road than she is.
Yes, there are no guarantees.  But choosing the wronging person to
settle for is not improving your chances.  You deserve respect from a
good woman, and she deserves to live as she chooses.
Subject: Re: I can't seem to trust my girlfriend... but I wish I could.
From: traducer-ga on 08 Nov 2005 07:31 PST
Just remember - its YOU she is living with, the rest is just visual
entertainment to her.
Subject: Re: I can't seem to trust my girlfriend... but I wish I could.
From: andrewr47-ga on 13 Nov 2005 11:02 PST
Even though the guy should get rid of his jealous tendencies, but I
think it is also the girl's job to be more discreet with her actions,
esp around other guys and esp if she knows her bf is a jealous type.
Both sides should be more aware and thoughtful as to what the other
partner will feel if one does certain things.
Subject: Re: I can't seem to trust my girlfriend... but I wish I could.
From: joelbryan-ga on 19 Nov 2005 02:21 PST
yes, i feel the same way as you do, i'm currently involved with a
pessimistic-optimistic relationship, and it's really hard. I'm the
"bohemian" playful optimistic sagittarius while she is the cynical,
realist, pessimistic capricorn. we don't agree on alot of things, and
we most likely to torture ourselves with disappointing talks. But we
agree on one thing, we love them so much, no matter what the
difficulties are.
Subject: Re: I can't seem to trust my girlfriend... but I wish I could.
From: experienceknowledge-ga on 20 Nov 2005 00:54 PST
I have been in similar relationship as yours.  Someone else had a
similar situation which I wrote an answer to.  The answer helped that
person.  I hope it helps you.

I definitely identity with what you are saying.  I don't think you are
a jealous person.  Your gut is probably well-aware of what is going
on, even though you don't see anything.  I definitely had those
unconscious thoughts.  I tried denying them.  It wasn't until later
that I understood why I felt the way I felt.

Though the girl may not be cheating you, she is immature.  And having
an immature girlfriend is a drain on your thoughts--which you need to
solve your other problems in life. ;)
Subject: Re: I can't seem to trust my girlfriend... but I wish I could.
From: caltawney-ga on 08 Dec 2005 04:35 PST
Gosh! I think the more important question is: Do you want this woman
to be the mother of your children? If you can trust as a wife how can
you trust her as a mother? Children as a lifetime committment. You
need a mate that you admire not onee that keeps you wondering. This
girl doesn't sound ready yet.
Subject: Re: I can't seem to trust my girlfriend... but I wish I could.
From: kdb8-ga on 17 Jan 2006 12:46 PST
you have put way to much thought into this
Subject: Re: I can't seem to trust my girlfriend... but I wish I could.
From: steven1986-ga on 29 Jun 2006 08:35 PDT
The advice that has been given is really good, however i find it hard
to understand how to do the things that are advised. I am one of those
boyfriends in a relationship at the moment that is amazing when we are
together but as soon as my girlfriend leaves me i get the same visions
as the question answered.I have absolutely no reason to think these
thoughts but i do and it is eating away at our relationship causing
arguements. I would like to know if there are any exercises you can do
to try and sort this as my girlfriend says she will give me time but
doesnt want to put up with it for much longer.
Subject: Re: I can't seem to trust my girlfriend... but I wish I could.
From: timb2-ga on 10 Aug 2006 22:18 PDT
Friend, you every reason in the world to be jealous in this
relationship.  If she is living with you now and there are no marriage
vows why wouldn't she be inclined to indulge in her desires with
another guy when you're not around.  From what I can tell there is no
basis of trust in this relationship and it is doomed to failure unless
you both repent of the fornication you are currently in.

Again, if you have these feelings of jealousy it because they are well
founded in logic.  Women will typically not leave one relationship
before they have found another, something I call the tarzan effect. 
That is the reason your girlfriend is such a flirt, she is constantly
keeping her options open as to have other ropes to swing away on.

Your only solution is to not touch a women outside of marriage, this
is the only way you will build a foundation of real trust in a
Subject: Re: I can't seem to trust my girlfriend... but I wish I could.
From: redsoxfan20-ga on 29 Aug 2006 04:54 PDT
I know exactly what your going through.  I too am feeling the exact
same way.  The best way that I have learned to deal with it is to keep
in mind that she comes home to me everynight.  She talks to me more
then anyone else.  And I have allowed myself to feel her love.  I
truly believe that she does love me and wants to start a family with

I believe that I have had enough of the "Long Conversations" about how
I feel and how my jealousy effects our relationship.  She promises and
promises that she understands and I truly believe that she knows what
would happen if I ever caught her cheating or being immoral.  The
relationship would end no ifs ands or buts about it.  It would be over
at that particular minute in time and I would never speak to her ever

I know this may seem harsh to some of you, but our relationship
started off on a bad foot.  We were both married and in the process of
divorce when we met.  We both work in Law Enforcement and both work in
a field of about 90% men.  She is a dispatcher and I'm a cop.  I know
that she gets hit on everynight she goes into work by at least 5 - 10
other asshole cops who are out for nothing other then a one night
stand.  Before she met me, knowing she was getting a divorce, she used
to flirt with each and everyone of them.  How do you think that made
me feel knowing this?  It was very hard to get over this issue.  But I
have seen change in her over the past few months.  Time heals all
wounds.  Spoke to co-workers and verified she has changed.  She is now
more open and tells me what she tells the jerkoffs who flirt with her.
 She drives my car to work so  they will ask ???'s about who her
boyfriend is.  She is definitly making me feel involved and loved. 
When I feel that she is not hiding me to her co-workers or friends or
family, then I feel that I can trust her and that she truly loves me.

If on the other hand, your woman is keeping you a secret in anyway
shape or form from her other past b/f, or workers, then you might want
to worry a little bit.  Also see how honest she is about when guys hit
on her.  If she tells you it never happens, she is lying.  If she
feels a lil uncomfortable about discussing it...then she is telling
the truth.  Good luck.

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