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Can't Trust Anymore

Question:

I have currently been in a relationship for almost a year now. Prior to this relationship I was in a relationship with someone for about 2 1/2 years. During our time together we talked of marriage and she assured me that she was certain she wanted to spend the rest of her life with me. But alas she had a change of heart after leaving for college. The relationship that I am in currently is wonderful except for the fact that I can’t seem to believe my partner when she tells me that we will “be together forever” or that she wont have a change of heart. Even though deep down I feel that this relationship is much deeper and has much more promise for the future I cannot seem to trust her words. This is sad because she has given me no reason to not trust her. I wonder how I can combat this and stop driving her crazy with my distrust.

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  • ‘Anne’ is the pseudonym for the individual who writes this relationship advice column.
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Answer:

It is not uncommon for a person who has been dropped on his butt unexpectedly to become cautious about believing statements to the effect of “my love will never die”. After all, this is what you had heard before and it turned out to be not so true. So, in a way, you’ve learned an important life lesson which could make you less naive with regards to future love relationships. The problem seems to be that you are over-generalizing this important lesson. Sure, you have every right to have a little doubt in your mind that your girlfriend will be able to deliver on her statement, “we’ll be together forever”. She might fall out of love with you, she might die, you might die, she might have an affair, you might have an affair, etc. You are right in the technical sense to distrust her statements. However, while it is okay to keep a little doubt about your relationship present in your mind, you should not allow this doubt to contaminate your ability to join with her in the joy and love that are possible in this moment. When your present girlfriend says, “We’ll be together forever” she is probably expressing how she feels right now. If you allow your fears about the future to stomp on the love you can have now you are loosing out on something very precious. You were too naive your first time out and you got hurt. Now, in your second time out, you are being over cautious. Work back towards the middle where you can be present with your girlfriend in love and joy, and harbor just enough doubt about whether you both can make it to keep yourself protected from sneak attacks. Relax and enjoy what you have AND remain prepared to be alone (if it becomes necessary). If you need help with finding this balance, by all means seek the counsel of an older and wiser man who has been through this common life process before and can help you out.

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