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It's Hard To Trust Again

Question:

I am having terrible trouble in my new relationship. It starts when I was married and happy then my mother passed away just before Christmas, 1999 and I found it very hard, then my husband left me the following year on Christmas eve. He took everything leaving me with no food, etc. I went into shock but friends helped me through and I started to get my life together again and I met someone new who is wonderful. He does everything for me, money, time, etc. but I have terrible trouble trusting him. He has never done anything to warrant my distrust but if he says that he is going out with his friends for a drink ( which he does very rarely ) I go in to panic mode and stress very badly. All I can think about is that he will see someone better than me and leave me. I have tried so hard to overcome this but it is beginning to take over our lives, we can’t go anywhere without me thinking that he is on the look out for a new person ( like my ex-husband did ) and will dump me. Where do I go from here? All I want is to go out and have fun with him without worrying that he is looking else where.

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

It’s quite human of you to have a deep fear of being alone and helpless and to not have any supportive place to which you may retreat. Several years ago, you suffered in rapid succession two significant losses of people you trusted and relied upon for emotional support and security (your mother and your husband). You’ve been traumatized to some extent by these losses and are afraid of losing someone you love again. It’s normal enough to have these fears, given what you’ve been through. Forgive yourself, and please don’t beat yourself up. But do take steps to help yourself and your fledgling relationship. Get some psychotherapy for yourself. You’ve described the problem as basically one which you are carrying (and not one where your boyfriend is causing difficulty). For this reason, I’m thinking that individual therapy (where you are the sole patient) may be the best format to recommend to you. Use the therapy as place to talk about your fears and how they are being expressed in your new relationship. Your boyfriend could be invited into the sessions as appropriate. Good luck with addressing your fears and learning to trust again in spite of them.

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