Ask Gigi: My Trust Issues Are Ruining My Relationship
Welcome to Ask Gigi, a bi-monthly column in which sex and relationships writer Gigi Engle answers your most intimate questions. Nothing is off-limits! From threesomes to anal, unrequited love to cheating: we want to hear it all.
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Dear Auntie G,
I’m 20 and have been with my boyfriend for two years.
Throughout the relationship, I've had some pretty serious, ongoing trust issues. My insecurities seem to rise out of nowhere and compel me to overthink, make up the worst possible scenarios in my head, and completely stress out. And I've had a horrible habit of taking my fears and jealousy issues out on my boyfriend.
It's gotten so bad that last month, my boyfriend broke things off with me. He told me the relationship has become unbearable and he needs space. He said he didn’t want a permanent break, but also didn't say how much time he needed. I told him I didn't want to wait for him, and that if we had any shot in the future, he wouldn’t sleep with anyone else.
This past weekend, I made a huge mistake and slept with him, only to find out later that day that he had sex with someone else the night before. I freaked and told him to leave me alone for good. Now I'm at a crossroads. He keeps telling me that sex "isn’t significant" with anyone else. And while I know sex isn't always sacred for everyone, it is sacred to me. He says that he’s sorry, but I don’t know if I can ever trust him again.
Everyone tells me I deserve so much more but how are they supposed to judge when they don’t understand how I feel about him. It’s so hard to just give up on someone I love so much. I don’t know what to do.
Lost and Confused
Dear Lost and Confused,
Let’s start with the bones of this story.
You say you’re at a crossroads, but the truth is that your trust issues were around long before your ex hooked up with someone else. To say you suddenly don’t know whether you can trust him is misleading. Let's be real: you never trusted him in the first place. Your relationship was built on your insecurities.
That's not a healthy partnership -- it's a broken one.
I have to wonder what originally spawned these trust issues. I get that personal insecurity is likely the culprit, but there must be more to it than that. Perhaps a family member broke your trust in the past? Maybe your parents are divorced? Did you have a boyfriend before this one who belittled you or cheated on you? Did you do something dishonest that you can't forgive yourself for? Or is this relationship just NOT RIGHT?
I’m also curious about this guy’s motives and self-awareness. He tells you he wants a break, but keeps you at arm's length. He heard you say there was no future if he hooked up with someone else, but promptly went out and did exactly that. Both of these elements signal to me that he's pretty flippant about your relationship. That should be very unattractive to you -- not tie you up in knots over whether he's forgivable.
Your ex was probably trying to cope with the complicated feelings of a breakup. I see this as him attempting to determine what else was out there before returning to what felt familiar. The mess you're in stems from your irrational distrust of him. Then he goes out and sleeps with someone else; reinforcing your insecurities and justifying your fears.
What a mess.
Maybe subconsciously, you knew what this guy was really capable of. Sometimes a person can just sense a cheater. Or maybe, your ex is knowingly sabotaging things because he sees how unhealthy the relationship is and doesn't know how else to get out of it. Regardless, the "sex isn’t significant with anyone else" argument is garbage. How about, “I’m sorry I did exactly what you always worried about and will do everything in my power to give you a reason to trust me."
At the end of the day though, it doesn't matter why, or who's to blame. If you haven't already noticed, this relationship has run its course. Your ex already broke things off -- in large part, it appears, because of your trust issues -- and then did specifically what you asked him not to. Your friends see this for what it is; and saying they don’t understand is exactly people in unhealthy relationships say to make excuses for staying in unhealthy relationships.
Your friends love you. They are not trying to ruin your life. Do not try to turn the tables on them and pull the, “They don’t know how it feels to be in love!” card. That's crap. Listen to what they are telling you because they want you to find happiness and be treated with respect.
You and your ex need a BREAK from each other. You’re making each other completely miserable. Unfollow him on Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook. Block his number. Date some new people. For goodness sake, you're only 20! Get out there and live your life.
Love your favorite internet auntie,