Yes, I have trust issues and I don't think my girlfriend is helping any... I'm ready for therapy... what can I expect, what can I do to make it the most helpful, and what can I do to preserve my relationship through this -- or should I?
posted by doompuppy to Human Relations (32 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Yes, if you look at my last 2 questions I obviously have some trust issues because of my past - which includes being cheated on by all but 1 of my long term girlfriends prior. My current girlfriend has also agitated those trust issues - not in any relationship-breaking way that I'm aware - but she has certainly not made things easier on me. If you view my last post, the follow up is: we talked about it. It was a low self esteem moment for her, she was embarrassed by it but didn't think I should feel so threatened by it -- still she respected why I did feel upset by it.
To be clear: I've not been the type to ask her where she's been, pry her for details, etc. I have trust issues, but I've kept them mostly to myself until the picture incident (see my last post)...
Well, she recently went on a 2.5 week trip home, and we texted constantly night and day almost the entire time... Without my asking, she told me who she was with and what she was up to... until one night when she took 2 hours to respond to a text, and just said "I'm out with a friend, sorry I didn't respond for a while"
I said "no problem, have a great time with your friend" and left it at that... The recap I got later that night before I went to bed was that she was "with friends, got a blanket and a bottle of wine and watched the fireworks"
I know, it's probably stupid - but the sudden change in communication from constant to cut-off, and the inconsistency of "with a friend" to "with friends" was enough to start consuming my thoughts.
After I stewed over it for a day, I couldn't help myself. I asked why things were so inconsistent. I said that I wasn't accusing her of anything, and that I hope she understood that I'm just freaking out probably because of my past and I could use some reassurance. She was upset (I understand why, even if I say I'm not accusing, it hurts to hear that I can't fully trust her), and she admitted (with some coaxing on my part) that it was a guy. She says she hid it from me because she was concerned I'd freak out that she was with a guy.
Reminder: I do not have a history of prying from her. Our only history of "trust issues" in 2+ years is my confronting her over a picture (see my last question).
I told her, and meant it, that I'd have felt far more comfortable about it if she told me it was a guy from the get go, instead of telling a little white lie. This would make me trust her more, because she was being honest about it and I would feel there's nothing to worry about.
Well, we talked it out, we admitted we both need to communicate better, etc. She insists nothing happened with this guy, but has volunteered no information at all (and I'm trying not to pry) about who this guy is, etc. I realize I don't have a "right to know", and I'm doing my best not to ask.
When I next saw her, I nearly lost it. She left the room for a bit and I grabbed her phone and turned it on, but stopped myself from actually looking through it. I shut it off and returned it to her purse before she got back. Still, my heart was racing so fast that I felt I just needed to tell her. I admitted to her that I nearly cracked, and I nearly snooped her phone. I felt horrible about it.
Since then (it has been about 2 weeks), we've had a number of talks about our communication, and a lot of positive has come out of it. She's said she feels closer to me than ever before, and she wants to help me work through my anxiety as well as my trust issues from my past... All's going great, right?
This past weekend, I'm at her place helping her with some house related work, and I ask if I can use her browser real quick to see what this event is going on at a nearby park. I type the name of the park, and thanks to Firefox's elephant-like memory, I find she has searched Craigslist Missed Connections for "m4w" and the name of that park.
Now I realize, maybe she's just curious or looking for an ego boost... so again - I say I shouldn't be alarmed by this and I should just either ignore it and forget it, or talk to her about it. I opt to talk to her. She says she just browses them for curiosity and we leave it at that.
Now I'm worried I'm looking like a total privacy-invading freak and I'm probably worrying about stuff I shouldn't be.
I recognize I need to have my head examined, so to speak. I have an appointment for Friday to talk to my general doctor about my anxiety and I imagine I will get a referral to a psychiatrist.
Given these moments, my relationship with my girlfriend is simultaneously stronger than ever, and more tenuous, it seems. We're opening up in ways we haven't - I'm telling her about my insecurities and she's sharing a bit more too. We're suddenly talking about getting through things "together" and "for better or for worse", almost as if it's marriage -- and this is not unappealing to me!
However, I can't shake the fact that each of the few times we've talked and I've explained why I got panicky, etc, she has not volunteered to expand on her night with this guy, a bottle of wine, a blanket and fireworks. I'm finding myself obsessing over it a bit now, but I don't want to ruin things by harassing her about it too much.
I've also caught her in a couple of little white lies about totally mundane and unimportant things that I can't fathom ANY reason why she'd even lie about, which raises a tiny alarm bell but since it's not stuff about "us", I am trying to just dismiss.
On the flip side of her being weirdly quiet / not so reassuring about that incident - she has volunteered to go to relationship counseling with me. Clearly she has shown a vested interest in making things work between us. She also agrees she has communication issues (worse than I do in some aspects), and that therapy would help.
So, finally my questions:
1) I'm just being paranoid because of my past and I'm overly insecure, right? This is what I'm going to talk to my future therapist about and work on? I should focus on the fact that she's showing such a strong interest in making "us" work, instead of my unsettled concerns, right?
2) What can I expect in terms of therapy? Can this sort of thing be dealt with on my own, or is couple's counseling a must? If I go solo, I'm covered by insurance. My insurance won't help for couples therapy.
3) Are there good techniques for overcoming trust issues? Anyone here have experience with this?
4) Yes, I obviously have trust issues and I'm obviously letting them put a strain on my current relationship. Have I ruined it beyond hope? If not, how do I make sure I don't?