Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Your Turn: “I Don’t Trust Men”

In a feature I call “Your Turn,” in which you, the readers, get to answer the question, I’m presenting the following letter without commentary from me:

I have had a rough dating life. I am 28 years old and I’ve only really had three long-term relationships. All three of them were abusive, all three of them cheated on me, and all three of them lied to me about EVERYTHING. I have no trust in anyone because of these men. I recently met a really great guy on a singles website. He lives out of state and we make trips to see each other every few months. We have been talking for seven months now, but he is not ready to call me his girlfriend or make a commitment because of my insecurity.

Today he called me and told me he doesn’t know if he wants this to work because of the way I have been. He said I am clingy, controlling and he feels like he has no life because of me. He pointed out all the things I do wrong which I am going to share with you. His top issue is when he goes out with his friends I “freak out.” I get all nervous and scared that he is going to meet someone else while he is out or that he is going to give out his phone number or that he’s going to take down a girl’s phone number.

I am scared to death of getting hurt again. I’ve always been the girl who gets ditched for other girls. I’m the girl who gets cheated on, and I’m scared that he is going to do the same thing to me. He said he is sick of paying for my ex’s mistakes. I feel, though, that if he really cared about me he would try to show and prove to me that he isn’t going to hurt me. Am I wrong to think that way? My mom told me that, when he tells me he is going out with his friends, I should say “ok, have fun” and leave it at that. I can’t do that. The second I know he is going to be out I start panicking that someone else is going to go catch his eye and that he is going to forget about me or that he’s going to to tell himself “well, she’s not my girlfriend so I can do whatever I want.” I will literally start crying when and if I know he is out because billions of horrible thoughts start flooding my head.

In my past one of my ex-boyfriends used to take his phone into the bathroom when he showered. I later discovered that those “showers” were phone calls to the other girl while the water was running. So now this new guy likes to take his phone into the bathroom too. One day when I was visiting and caught him in the shower with his phone and it scared the shit out of me, but the thing that he was doing was watching one of his favorite shows while he soaked in the bath. Another issue is his damn phone. He has an iPhone and he loves it to death. He’s always doing something on it, and I can’t help but to think that, when he’s on it, he’s texting another girl. I instantly start to panic because in my past my ex had his other girl saved under a guy’s name and they were ALWAYS texting, so when I see the new guy texting or typing, I panic.

Another issue I have is that his closest friend where he lives is a girl. He swears up and down that there is no attraction and that they are just friends. Recently I saw my best friend get cheated on by her boyfriend of three years and he cheated on her with his “best girl-friend.” I do not believe that guys and girls can hang out one-on-one and “just be friends” especially after seeing what one of my best friends went through.

He said he is not going to let me control who he hangs out with either. He tells me that I’m too hot to be insecure, but that doesn’t help AT ALL. When he tell me I’m hot, it makes me feel like that is all he thinks of me — that I’m just a hot girl and it makes him feel good to keep me around simply because I’m good-looking and not because he wants something with me. I sometimes feel like I’m a time-filler until something better comes along.

Lately, he also feels like I have been shoving my feelings down his throat. I told him it’s not that I’m trying to do that; I’m just trying to prove and show him that I’m worth giving a chance, but he told me that the way I can prove that to him is by NOT trying. How does that work? I feel like that, if I don’t try, then he won’t know that I want to be with him. How do I make him want me? I have never had a positive experience when it comes to men and I ALWAYS expect the worst. I don’t want to feel this way anymore. Please help me. — More than a Time-Filler

***************

You can follow me on Facebook here.

If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at [email protected].

123 comments… add one
  • LadyinPurpleNotRed

    LadyinPurpleNotRed August 29, 2012, 9:07 am

    You don’t sound like you are ready to date. He’s right, if you are going to be in a relationship, ESPECIALLY one that is long distance you need to trust him. You need to trust him when he goes out with his friends, when he’s on the phone, etc. It doesn’t seem like he’s given you a reason not to trust him. I understand you’ve been through a lot and as much as the therapy card gets thrown around here, I think you could really benefit from talking to someone and figuring out a way to move past the shitty boyfriends of past and moving onto awesome guys who will treat you well. If you keep up the way you are right now it could very much push him away because you’re really not being fair to him.

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    • avatar

      camorzilla August 29, 2012, 9:28 am

      WORD.

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  • iwannatalktosampson

    iwannatalktosampson August 29, 2012, 9:08 am

    Oh my god. I need a Xanax after reading that letter.

    Get yourself to therapy. Stat.

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    • avatar

      Amanda August 29, 2012, 9:28 am

      Seriously, WWTTSS. I couldn’t even read the entire letter.

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  • avatar

    Joanna August 29, 2012, 9:10 am

    Relax and don’t try so hard.

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  • avatar

    kerrycontrary August 29, 2012, 9:10 am

    We can’t help you because you need therapy. I’m not saying that to be mean, but seriously, you need to get professional help from someone who is equipped to deal with these sort of situations. You’re boyfriend is right that you are making him pay for your exes’ mistakes. You will not be ready to be in a healthy relationship until you sort through all of the damage caused by previous men. Not only that, you need to figure out why you are drawn towards abusive men who lie. Having 3 abusive boyfriends makes it a pattern, and there’s some reason why you keep entering these relationships. You need to love yourself before someone can love you properly, so please seek the help that you need.

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    • avatar

      j2 August 29, 2012, 9:20 am

      Ditto.

      (WKS?)

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      • katie

        katie August 29, 2012, 10:00 am

        defintely WKS!

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    • avatar

      painted_lady August 29, 2012, 4:37 pm

      Agreed. I think conflating “assholes” with “people with penises” can be sorted out in therapy. Also, mixing up “normal behavior” vs “shady behavior masked to look normal” is totally unhealthy. I don’t think this guy is going to be able to do this for her. And I don’t know that there’s a whole lot that any of us can say beyond that, because her worldview is so grossly skewed that I’m not sure she will comprehend anything in a useful way.

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      • avatar

        GTR August 29, 2012, 9:50 pm

        Exactly my thought, painted_lady.

        Honey, most guys aren’t assholes… but if you go around radiating the idea that men are pigs, cheats and abusers, guess what? Most guys will sense this and run a mile. This combination of neediness and hostility is about as enticing as razorblade-filled underwear. The only ones who will stick around are the ones who just want to use you: the assholes.

        The key to breaking this cycle is YOU. Change your view and behaviour, grow some standards and dignity, and the good guys will stop running away.

        To do this you need therapy, urgently and comprehensively. A therapist will be able to give you the tools you need to change, to realise what’s good about yourself and to stop defining yourself by your past mistakes.

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  • JK

    JK August 29, 2012, 9:10 am

    Um… where to begin?
    LW, please get yourself to therapy. ASAP. I get that you´ve been through a lot of crap in your previous relationships, and (at least in the letter) it would appear that all of that has wreaked havoc in your ability to trust, and your self confidence.
    Next: yes, there are a lot of assholes, cheaters, etc out there. But there are also A LOT of decent guys, guys that won´t lie to you or abuse you.
    About your current relationship, from what you´ve written, I don´t know that this is the right relationship for you (beyond thinking that you should take a break from relationships in general until you can get some of your issues resolved). LDRs aren´t for everyone. And that´s OK.

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    • avatar

      Desiree August 29, 2012, 9:19 am

      You make a good point. LDRs are hard even for emotionally healthy people in very strong, committed relationships. I don’t think it is at all a good idea for the LW to be in any LDR, particularly this LDR.

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  • avatar

    MJ August 29, 2012, 9:15 am

    You have had a lot of bad experiences.

    I think you need to take a break from dating, find a therapist you can talk to, and get this insecurity under control. It will destroy all your attempts at future relationships, even if there is nothing wrong. Insecurity is a beast that will wreck things, because there’s no way to fix it with reassurance from your partner (although that can help). The confidence has to come from within you.

    This guy doesn’t sound like he’s ready to be a boyfriend, either, so if a boyfriend is what you want, stop chasing him. And stop defining yourself as “the girl who gets cheated on.” That is a ridiculous statement. Yes, some scumbags have cheated on you. That is not a reflection on who YOU are, it’s a reflection of their messed up ideas and stupid behavior.

    The only way you’re ever going to have a healthy relationship is if you work through your past hurts and trust a loving and open guy who is ready to be in a committed relationship. You have to learn to at least keep the insecurity under control and you should probably have a therapist to help you do that.

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    • avatar

      Guy Friday August 29, 2012, 9:33 am

      This guy doesn’t sound like he’s ready to be a boyfriend, either

      See, I’m not sure where you get that from. Granted, it could be argued that maybe he could have been a bit more patient with her massive insecurity, but I think that the fact that he’s stuck around through the constant questioning and doubting and distrust speaks to his being VERY ready to commit to her but for her issues.

      Yes, we’re generally harsh on significant others who sit their bfs/gfs down and lay out every issue with them, but I’m inclined to make an exception in this case because I believe his motivation here wasn’t to shame the LW but rather to say, “Look, this is a serious problem that is pushing me away. I can’t stay around if this is how I’m being treated,” and I support the notion of giving your partner a head’s up about these kinds of things and giving them a chance to improve upon it instead of just walking away. And these aren’t minor issues either. Can you imagine coming home from a night out, calling your girlfriend, and immediately being accused of hitting on other women? Can you imagine being always considered guilty until proven innocent in every situation, that if you’re 5 minutes late in calling her it must mean you were out with some other date? And then, when he tells her she has nothing to worry about because she’s so hot — which was an unfortunate choice of compliment, I grant you, but the LW herself keeps saying she thinks he’s just going to drop her for a better model, so it’s understandable he’d try to say there wasn’t a better model — she then assumes it’s all he sees.

      I think it’s fair to ask why this guy is sticking around, but I also think he should be commended for doing so. Clearly, LW, he sees something in you that is worth standing by you through this. Most men wouldn’t, and few would blame them. So, basically, I echo what others have said. I think you need to get some professional help rather than writing in to an advice column, and I think you need to decide whether, while getting this help, you want to be single or dating someone. Because, honestly, if this guy has stuck around this long, I think it shows he’s worthy of being with you when you’ve fixed the problems plaguing you at the moment.

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      • LadyinPurpleNotRed

        LadyinPurpleNotRed August 29, 2012, 9:36 am

        WGFS!!

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      • avatar

        MJ August 29, 2012, 9:46 am

        I guess it was the whole “not ready to call you my girlfriend” thing that prompted that comment. (Past baggage on my part.) If it really is just her insecurity that’s causing him to hold back, then yeah, hopefully she can get it under control and he will decide he can be with her.

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      • avatar

        Savannah August 29, 2012, 1:33 pm

        “Can you imagine coming home from a night out, calling your girlfriend, and immediately being accused of hitting on other women?”
        *If* they were acutally in an exclusive boyfriend/girlfriend relationship I would agree with you. But you are glossing over the fact that they are not. He’s unwilling to commit and brushed off her insecuries (‘unfortunate compliement’ is a pretty rosey outlook) and generally keeping her in this unclear and unresoved situation. I mean hes not ready to be a boyfreind because hes not her boyfriend.
        And since when did it become commendable to stick around in a bad relationship? I acutally think hes doing her no favors by lingering around and keeping their relationship in a psudeo and murky non-relationship relationship. She clearly needs to be by herself right now and he should have been able to recongize that- he bascially did but is unwilling to commit or let her go.

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        Guy Friday August 29, 2012, 2:24 pm

        First of all, I don’t think it’s a rosy outlook. As others (for example, Lynn not far below this comment) have noted, guys — and I include myself in this — tend to mistakenly believe that when a girl starts “panicking that someone else is going to go catch his eye” while out at a bar, what they want to hear to be reassured is that they’re so attractive to them that there isn’t anyone who can threaten his desire to “come home to her” (so to speak, because it’s an LDR) at the end of the night. So when I said that it was “an unfortunate comment,” what I meant is that it seems pretty clear to me that this guy is saying he cares about her and that she’s so attractive to him — inside and out, since guys use “hot” to describe more than just external attractiveness — that it’s befuddling to him that she would think any girl could pull him away from her. It’s unfortunate because while the sentiment is right, he could have chosen better words than that. But given that the LW immediately went to “Oh, I’m just a placeholder to him, an object,” I doubt there was anything he could have said that would have done any good.

        Second of all, since when is it a crime to say, “I want to be with you, but I can’t be with you this way?” And why exactly would it benefit him to say that explicitly to a woman so obviously insecure and arguably paranoid about his breaking up with her that she’s analyzing every word out of his mouth for hidden meaning? Why is it so wrong to do to her — because it’s obvious what the risk is for him — for him to silently stand there and take that and still be there to support her in spite of it? It is somehow a mortal sin these days to support someone through the issues they’re facing? You’re saying he’d somehow be doing her a favor if he cut and ran and left her alone to face these issues she’s dealing with?

        You don’t need a title on a relationship for it to be a relationship. Here’s a news flash, both to you and to the LW: they’re in a relationship. And, given that there’s no evidence he’s sneaking around behind her back, I’d say it certainly seems they’re exclusive as well. And suggesting that the only way she can deal with her issues is if she’s alone is, I’m sorry, utter and complete crap. She can go to therapy and work on her issues and come back to him at the end of the day. He is certainly not required to stay — and I doubt anyone at this point would fault him if he walked away — but, yeah, I think a man who sticks around through the 12 types of crazy this LW is putting him through because he sees the diamond underneath this temporary rough she’s facing deserves my respect. Not a lot of guys would do that.

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        Savannah August 29, 2012, 3:09 pm

        “You’re saying he’d somehow be doing her a favor if he cut and ran and left her alone to face these issues she’s dealing with?’
        Absolutly- do you think she’s ready to be in a healthy relationship? I dont. She needs to work on her and he should give her that space even if she doesnt think she needs it.
        and if you’re giving out newsflashes you should sent one to the Lw’s not boyfreind as well since he’s made it pretty clear hes not ready for a relationship with her..since he said so. And you say he’s giving her support- but that might not be the type of suppport she needs right now- since all of her issues seem to be from past relationships why do you think its a good idea to continute in this long distance and dysfucntional one?

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      • avatar

        kf August 29, 2012, 3:16 pm

        You’re right that she shouldn’t be in a relationship with anyone right now, but the ultimate responsibility for her well being doesn’t lie with him, it lies with her. “I’m breaking up with you for your own good, which I understand better than you do” is very condescending.

        Natural consequences should work fine here. “I’m breaking up with you because I’m not enjoying or getting much out of this relationship” will happen sooner or later, if she never recognizes her issues and sets him free.

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      • avatar

        Savannah August 29, 2012, 3:24 pm

        true- but he’s set it up so that he never has to have that conversation since they are in relationship limbo- which is why he’s not doing he any favors sticking around and not committing one way or the other. She should totally break up with him but she seems so insecure i just dont see that as a realsitic outcome.

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      • avatar

        kf August 29, 2012, 5:08 pm

        Maybe he doesn’t think they’re in “relationship limbo”, maybe he thinks they’re just dating casually and he likes it that way. If she doesn’t like it that way she needs to do something, whether it’s “realistic” for her to take charge of her own life or not.

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      • avatar

        Lindsay August 29, 2012, 8:48 pm

        From what I gather, he likes her but is wary of committing to a relationship that is so likely to implode. That doesn’t mean he’s afraid of commitment — just that he’s picking up on the many red flags. Maybe the best thing IS for him to just move on, but he’s likely not looking at it as objectively as we are. I think people tend to assume any guy who hesistates in making a commitment must be shady or generally against commitment, but that’s not always the case.

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  • avatar

    Desiree August 29, 2012, 9:16 am

    Get yourself to a therapist NOW. Look, I can actually empathize. I have some unfortunate family and personal history that makes very close relationships challenging. However, I have been blessed to meet the love of my life, and we are getting married next April. I am currently going to counseling sessions just for me to help me work through some of my own baggage, because I don’t want to burden him with it unnecessarily. He can tell me he will be faithful until he is blue in the face, but it won’t matter, because *he* isn’t the source of my insecurity. I am getting therapy so that I can be whole and a good partner to my fiance. LW, please go get help so you can take care of yourself and eventually share a healthy love with someone else.

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  • avatar

    GatorGirl August 29, 2012, 9:19 am

    You need to go to therapy and work one on one to deal with your insecurities and controlling behaviors. Your not-BF is right- you’re clingy and controlling. He also sounds like an ass. You need to get yourself to a good place mentally before you try to have another relationship.

    How do you (and your friends apparently) find so many men who are cheaters?

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    • avatar

      Lynn August 29, 2012, 10:29 am

      How does he sound like an ass?

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      • avatar

        Temperance August 29, 2012, 10:52 am

        He has been stringing her along for seven months and said she’s not his girlfriend.

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      • avatar

        jlyfsh August 29, 2012, 10:56 am

        it sounds like he actually likes her when she’s not being overly anxious about EVERYthing he does. i mean maybe the guy actually does want a relationship with her but is scared because of the way she already treats him. i would be hesitant to take the relationship further before she dealt with some of her issues too.

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      • avatar

        McLovin August 29, 2012, 11:43 am

        for real.

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark August 29, 2012, 11:37 pm

        They met online and she’s a fucking psycho. If anything, he isn’t an ass — he’s too damn nice. Hell, I’d have kicked her sideways to the curb from the fucking get go. But then most people are DESPERATE to date ANYBODY it seems….

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl August 29, 2012, 10:55 am

        Eh, it was more of an overall feeling but telling her what she is doing “wrong”, always on the phone, “too hot to be insecure”…all seem like dick moves to me. I could be wrong. I just didn’t get the vibe that the guy was respecting her or their relationship. Either way this relationship isn’t worth it for either of them and she needs to spend sometime working on herself.

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      • avatar

        Lynn August 29, 2012, 11:29 am

        I feel ya, but I’m just not so sure because I kind of feel for the guy. The “too hot to be insecure” didn’t really surprise me though. I have a brother who is around my age, and that sounds like something he would say. Lots of guys think that girls want to hear how about how “hot” they are, kind of like it’ll make them feel better. But in reality, yeah you like to hear that you’re good looking, but you want to feel sure that he cares for you beyond your looks.

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      • LadyinPurpleNotRed

        LadyinPurpleNotRed August 29, 2012, 11:32 am

        He also could have said it in response to her saying that she was worried he’ll meet and get/give a number from a hotter girl in an effort to comfort her.

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      • avatar

        Lynn August 29, 2012, 11:52 am

        So true! Unless we know the initial question or comment, we can’t always judge the response too much.

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  • Budj

    Budj August 29, 2012, 9:24 am

    You are making this guy pay for other people’s mistakes… Your actions will become a self-fulfilling prophecy… Dude can’t even try and give you a compliment to ease your mind without you turning into some weird anxiety ridden worry that he just wants your body… He spelled out everything, but you need to be the one that wants to change and you obviously aren’t in the mindset to recognize your behavior as fucked up. Maybe a therapist as others suggested could help you get there.

    With the way you are acting I’m surprised this has lasted 7 months…if you like this guy then get your shit worked out and set an end date for the long distance once you get things in check and not before.

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    • Budj

      Budj August 29, 2012, 9:25 am

      And am I the only one that finds a bath unappealing?

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      • LadyinPurpleNotRed

        LadyinPurpleNotRed August 29, 2012, 9:26 am

        No! I do NOT like baths either.

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        jlyfsh August 29, 2012, 9:34 am

        i like to take baths after i shower, but the idea of getting in a bath dirty kind of freaks me out.

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      • avatar

        bethany August 29, 2012, 9:46 am

        I LOOOOVE baths. Our new house has a tub that actually holds water (unlike our rental), and I’ve taken 2 baths in the past 2 weeks. It’s glorious. There’s just something about laying in your own filth…

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      • avatar

        CJ August 29, 2012, 10:23 am

        I have a new Sunday night ritual. Used to hate baths, but now that we have this giant soaker tub in our master (seriously, 3 people could fit in this bad boy!), I kick my husband out of our room for about an hour. I turn on relaxing music, light some candles, and just chill out in the lavendar scented bubbles. Does wonders for my week. I sleep better on Sunday night, which starts Monday off right, and then the rest of the week is better. I love my spa nights. I look forward to it all day on Sunday.

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      • avatar

        rachel August 29, 2012, 12:13 pm

        Ooh, I want to copy your ritual. Though I just have a normal, crappy, rental tub.

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      • katie

        katie August 29, 2012, 10:06 am

        baths will usually make me very light headed, so no, i dont like them very much. i also never think my bath is clean, no matter how much i clean it. i will take epsom salt baths when i am sick, though, and then shower after.

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      • Budj

        Budj August 29, 2012, 10:33 am

        see that’s how I feel…but if it was MY brand new tub, in MY house and it was big and had jets in it then I may change my mind. haha.

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      • katie

        katie August 29, 2012, 10:40 am

        yep. me too! i have yet to sit down in the tub at my place i rent now… but i saw what it looked like before i got here and cleaned it so i have good reason! lol

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      • avatar

        bethany August 29, 2012, 10:41 am

        The key to a bath is that you need to finish the bath with a “rinse” shower. I could never get out of the tub without rinsing off… I’d feel really dirty.

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      • landygirl

        landygirl August 29, 2012, 10:45 am

        I don’t like them either.

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    • CatsMeow

      CatsMeow August 29, 2012, 10:42 am

      Remember that one time in the forums when we were talking about being able to predict what everyone was going to say?

      I knew you were going to say this was a self-fulfilling prophecy.

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      • Budj

        Budj August 29, 2012, 12:26 pm

        I need to renew my vocabulary 🙁

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      • CatsMeow

        CatsMeow August 29, 2012, 2:26 pm

        It’s not your fault, Budj. I’m just psychic or something.

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  • avatar

    Sheryl August 29, 2012, 9:26 am

    Yes, therapy. Asap.

    One thing I’m not really understanding is if he is at least committed to being exclusive. If he hasn’t, then I would just MOA. Why are you supposed to ‘trust him’ if he can’t even say he isn’t going to see anyone else (even if he doesn’t use the term ‘girlfriend’ for whatever reason)? You also have no right to be concerned if he is talking to someone else if he has not agreed to be exclusive.

    If he has said he is exclusive with you, then you need to learn to back off. I can see with your history that you proceed with caution, but if you are always checking in on him, you WILL push him away. Yes, you risk getting hurt, but you are going to get hurt in this situation, too.

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    • LadyinPurpleNotRed

      LadyinPurpleNotRed August 29, 2012, 9:28 am

      I agree with you, but I also see why he wouldn’t want to be exclusive. If she is being this crazy and controlling WITHOUT that, I would be very worried about what she would be like with it. I don’t think the title of exclusivity would help alleviate her fears whatsoever.

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      • Budj

        Budj August 29, 2012, 9:30 am

        I agree with this. She needs to get over her insecurities, baggage/trust issues, and potentially needs medication to smooth out those highs and lows…

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        Sheryl August 29, 2012, 10:10 am

        this ‘relationship’ has gone on too long without a commitment of exclusivity, if that is what the LW is looking for.

        if she wasn’t meeting the guy’s (very reasonable) standards in 2 months, he should have just cut it off completely. Dragging it out longer isn’t fair to her. I’m not saying he isn’t right to be cautious in a new relationship when there seems to be some trust issues, but dragging it on for 7 months seems like overkill, and this guy really doesn’t have her best interest at heart.

        But in general, I still agree the LW needs to change her ways when she is just getting involved with someone — at the beginning of the relationship it is OK and in fact encouraged to give more freedom — if the guy does shop around at the beginning, its a good thing. If he does find someone else, then it wasn’t meant to be anyway, and your feelings are not as involved –might sting, but won’t hurt. Or, better yet, he promises committment to you, and he’ll be more confident in his decision rather than being forced.

        i personally think this specific relationship may have too much baggage at this point for saving based on the information in this letter.

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      • avatar

        kf August 29, 2012, 1:48 pm

        Ahem…

        ” I recently met a really great guy on a singles website. He lives out of state and we make trips to see each other every few months. We have been talking for seven months now, but he is not ready to call me his girlfriend”

        It’s an LDR. They see each other once every few months. It sounds more like three weeks of an actual relationship than “dragging things on for seven months”. And I’m not seeing what she brings to the table that would make anyone want to commit to her.

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      • avatar

        kf August 29, 2012, 1:57 pm

        also, re: “this guy really doesn’t have her best interest at heart”. Is there any hint of an indication in the mini-novel above that HIS interests are within 500 miles of HER radar?

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      • katie

        katie August 29, 2012, 10:09 am

        i think thats the whole point, isnt it?

        no amount of “good behavior” on his part, no title of exclusivity, no amount of reassurance can help her problems. she has to fix those things, they are not something that can be fixed with a “better” relationship or a “better” partner. they are her issues.

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      • avatar

        Kristen August 29, 2012, 12:23 pm

        I don’t know. I think it makes total sense that being in an exclusive relationship would make it easier to feel secure. If they’re still just casually dating after 7 months, there’s really nothing preventing him from hooking up with someone else (and same for her). I can definitely see why he’s reluctant to make her his girlfriend with the way she’s acting, but I think at this point it’s gone on too long, and they should just break up.

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      • avatar

        jlyfsh August 29, 2012, 12:39 pm

        i wonder though how much of the fact they are still casual has to do with his reactions to her. it sounds like she is very suffocating (VERY) and while he might like her a lot, he’s scared to take the next step until she deals with some of her issues. with someone like this i would worry that making it exclusive would make some of the ‘crazy’ (not that i think the LW is crazy) come out even more than it already is. would she expect him to never go out with friends again, hand over his phone to her for inspection, have her approve every person he was friends with? those are all fears i would have if dating someone like this.

        honestly, i think they should break up too. 7 months in a LDR is probably not long enough to weather the changes that will need to take place with her in order for her to deal with her issues.

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        McLovin August 29, 2012, 1:24 pm

        I agree. I’m exhausted after just reading the letter so I can imagine how cautious the guy would be in committing to her completely. Plus, this doesn’t even really ‘feel’ like a relationship to me. They have known each other for 7 months, live in separate states, and see each other “every few months.” The way I interpret that they may have actually been in the same room together maybe……3, 4 times, at most? Maybe I’m wrong about that – but clearly they haven’t spent much time together physically. It feels like the LW is trying to force a commitment out of him because she has invested quite a bit of herself emotionally already. I’m not against LDR’s, they can, and do, work often. I’m just not sure this is actually the relationship that she believes it to be as it stands currently.

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      • katie

        Katie August 29, 2012, 12:39 pm

        But it won’t matter. It wouldn’t matter if this guy was “perfect”. Her insecurity would pick it apart and give her a reason to doubt and go back into her normal patterns.

        I do agree that this particular relationship doesn’t sound that great, but the relationship isn’t the problem- she is

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    jlyfsh August 29, 2012, 9:32 am

    I agree with everyone that you need to go to therapy. There is no way that the guy you are currently dating will ever be able to live up to every one of your requirements. Don’t go out with friends, don’t use the phone too much or in ‘secret’ (my husband is addicted to his phone too, he has an iphone and plays so many games on it, mostly when we poops, haha), who he can and can’t be friends with, etc. obviously there are ways people can do the things mentioned in a shady way, but it doesn’t sound like your guy is.

    no one can be your everything. you have to learn to be happy, which it doesn’t sound like you are, in order to be happy in a relationship.

    it would also be good to remember that what happens to other people isn’t automatically going to happen to you. definitely time to learn some ways to cope with your anxiety from a professional. it can’t be fun to live life that worried all the time.

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  • Fabelle

    Fabelle August 29, 2012, 9:32 am

    Wow, there are sooo many things to address in this letter & I don’t know where to start. Hm.

    Okay– firstly, I’ll say that I know how you feel. I’m an anxious person, imaginative with my relationship worries, and cynical of everything. To give you some background: My first boyfriend broke my heart. In my next long-term relationship, I was actually the one who cheated. I’ve also known a lot of cheaters because some of my friends– while fun people– are terrible in relationships. Thankfully, most have passed that stage & have either found stable relationships, open relationships, or decided they were just better off single.

    Anyway, since I’m so familiar with the behaviors of cheaters, I found it almost impossible to trust anybody. I’m currently in a relationship, & it took me quite a while to get to the point where I wasn’t afraid he’d cheat. It worked out due to a combination of his patience & my willingness NOT to voice every. little. thing that worried me.

    So I think that’s what your mom & your boyfriend are trying to tell you (I know, he’s not your “official” boyfriend but for the sake of brevity, I’m going to refer to him as such). I know it might seem impossible, but try saying “have fun!” next time the guy tells you he’s going out. And keep it at that. I’m getting the impression that, for you, showing your insecurity only makes your feelings more intense. Saying “have fun” when you WANT to say “no, are you seriously going out again? what if you meet some girl, how would I even know if you’re cheating on me??” might actually have a calming effect. It’s not bottling things up, per se– it’s more like putting a lid on a roaring fire.

    My other advice is… uh. Do you REALLY want to date this guy? An out-of-state, long distance partner is not the best thing for someone with trust issues. This guy also doesn’t sound patient or willing to commit. Do you like him, a lot, or are you just clinging to anyone who doesn’t seem as shitty as the last 3 guys you dated? (Sorry if that sounds harsh, but it needs to be said) I’m sure the other commenters are going to recommend remaining single until you get therapy to work out these issues, so that’s something you might also consider. In the meantime, remember that everyone is different– NOT everyone is a cheater– & “freak out” reactions to simple things like a boyfriend going out with friends is only going to drive people away.

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    • avatar

      Kristen August 29, 2012, 12:27 pm

      This is exactly what I wanted to say. If you’re really set on continuing this relationship, you have to stop telling him every single fear, worry and insecurity you have. It’s going to feel like you’re about to burst, but yes, tell him you hope he has fun and that you’ll talk to him later. It will do wonders to the way he sees you. Right now, he probably walks around on eggshells, wondering what’s going to set you off next. All you’re doing is setting yourself up to be lied to, especially by omission, because he won’t want to tell you things he thinks will upset you. This is a terrible combination, especially in a long-distance relationship.

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  • avatar

    bethany August 29, 2012, 9:43 am

    Wow… You have some SERIOUS issues you need to work on before you can expect to be in a loving, healthy relationship. If I was a guy I would NEVER date you. You sound like an emotional, jealous wreck, and it’s not surprising that you’re driving this guy away.

    It sounds to me like you need to learn to love yourself, and really appreciate who you are. You’re obviously very insecure. I don’t really know how to tell you to get over that, other than to really take a good hard look at yourself- at your true self, and learn to start appreciating all the great qualities you have. If you can’t find anything in yourself to be proud of, then make some changes in your life so you can be proud of who you are.

    Take some time as a single person to really get comfortable with who you are, and once you have some confidence in yourself, and your decision making abilities, then think about getting back out into the dating world.

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  • avatar

    ktfran August 29, 2012, 9:47 am

    Break up with this dude. Go to therapy. Work out your issues. Be happy with yourself. Then start dating again. I’m convinced you won’t have a happy and fulfilling life until you take these steps.

    And I’m sorry, but this is what crazy sounds like when people throw around the crazy card. Sorry LW.

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  • avatar

    CJ August 29, 2012, 9:52 am

    Holy major issues, Batman!

    Break up with this guy, go to therapy, and be single until you can start liking yourself more. No one wants to be with a debby downer like this. It’s completely unsexy, unfun, tedious, and annoying as hell. You need to find an outlet for your insecurities and work on improving your sense of self-worth before you try another go at a relationship. They will never work out until you are able to put some distance between your future and your past. Your past may have scarred you (whose hasn’t??), but it absolutely does not define your future.

    Lots of people get cheated on and move on to wonderful relationships. I was cheated on twice, and lied to about it, and one of those indescretions led my last ex to become a father and to marry the mother. Being cheated on super sucked, but it had NOTHING to do with me, and EVERYTHING to do with them and their issues. I was hurt, sure, but I moved on, and have been in an incredibly happy, and VERY healthy relationship for the past 5 years, and am about to celebrate our first wedding anniversary in a couple of weeks. My cheating ex’s did not define my ability to move on in life, and neither do yours.

    Also, yes, women and men absolutely, 100% CAN be friends without sleeping together, or cheating on SO’s with them. When I met my husband, his best friend at the time was a girl. She lived several hours away, but there were plenty of occasions that he would talk on the phone with her for a while or go down and visit her and NOTHING HAPPENED. My husband even hangs out with my bestie all the time (who happens to live with us, as well) and it’s an awesome situation – she does things with him that I have no interest in doing, and she does things with me that he has no interest in doing, so it’s like we both a girlfriend (we just don’t sleep with her). I have several good friends who are guys, and who are important people in my life, and NOTHING HAS EVER HAPPENED. It’s possible to be friends with the opposite sex and that be the extent of your relationship. Not everyone cheats with their opposite sex friends.

    Honestly, you DO sound pretty clingy. How awesome would it be if everytime you want to do something with your friends, your boyfriend “freak[ed] out” thinking you’re going to give your number out to some random dude? Relationships are built on trust, and if you can’t trust each other, you shouldn’t date. Period.

    Summary – break up, go to therapy, be single.

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  • avatar

    Jenny August 29, 2012, 10:04 am

    LW, the problem didn’t begin when your exes abused you or cheated. The problem existed before that, otherwise you wouldn’t have chosen such awful men. Please go to therapy and work on yourself and your insecurity before trying to be in a relationship. Look up “insecure attachment style” — that sounds like you completely. If you keep accusing this guy of cheating, eventually he will cheat. It sounds like being in a relationship with you is exhausting. It sounds like BEING you is exhausting. I know its hard, but you can heal and learn how to trust other people, and also learn how to choose men who won’t hurt you.

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    • avatar

      SweetPeaG August 29, 2012, 10:17 am

      Agreed. There is a reason she is choosing these guys.

      My Grandfather was a horrible, abusive person to his family. From what I am told, my two Aunts always dated jerks who drank too much, knocked them around, etc. I wonder if they chose those kinds of men because that is what they grew up with.

      I am not saying our LW had a bad childhood or anything. But, I am saying that there may be SOMETHING from her past or even just good old-fashioned low self-esteem that has lead her to get involved with three jerks in a row. That can’t just be bad luck, right?

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      • avatar

        Jenny August 29, 2012, 10:33 am

        Exactly.

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    SweetPeaG August 29, 2012, 10:04 am

    Yikes. I am really sorry about your past and the resulting anxiety. I can empathize and I can relate… but on a much smaller level. Everyone who suggests therapy is probably right. Although, I wouldn’t use the word “crazy”… you are not crazy… but you need to find a way to be healthy. A therapist can really help you understand where some of your anxiety is coming from. He or she can also help you understand WHY you seem to choose the men you have in your past… what about them appealed to you. But, best of all, I think a therapist can give you calming/relaxation techniques. When you are feeling overpowered with strong fear about being cheated on, abandoned, or abused, there are ways that you can feel better.

    I might also suggest you stay away from long distance relationships… now and in the future. I think that although they work wonderfully for many people, it is much more difficult to foster a healthy level of trust & communication. You need a relationship that can at least start out easily! You don’t need this huge hurdle right from the get go.

    Look, I get it. I was treated terribly in a past relationship. He did the secretive cell phone crap. He did a lot of disgusting, shady things. And he made me feel really small, anxious, and afraid. It took me a bit of time, self-reflection, and healing to get to a place where I could be with someone again. I had to find a way to realize that not all men are like that. So… I do understand! But, DO NOT let those dicks dictate the rest of your life!! That is the takeaway here. You need to be single, go to therapy, and then dip your toes into dating very slowly. Listen to everyone… even if what they say is hard to hear.

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  • avatar

    Lucy August 29, 2012, 10:05 am

    Everyone who says you need therapy is right. Specifically you should find a cognitive behaviour therapist. Take your letter exactly as written and give it to the therapist. CBT is extremely effective at helping with these kinds of issues.

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    • avatar

      MissDre August 29, 2012, 10:44 am

      Agree, that’s what I did. It really really helped me. I was just like this LW. I still get insecure of course (just the other day I posted in the forum about it!) but the CBT techniques really help me deal with it in a healthy/productive way.

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    • I'm An Earth Rocker!

      Miss V August 29, 2012, 10:33 pm

      CBT helped me out as well. Unfortunately it can be pricey depending on insurance coverage, so, I suggest also checking out some books, websites, etc. on relationships, anxiety, depression, etc. I just ordered ‘The Feel Good Handbook’ by David Burns, it’s been recommended all over the web, and is based on cognital therapy. I, too can emphasize on a smaller scale, getting lost in my head with the what if’s, and I have huge trust issues due to the past (and present, for that matter), but I learned to recognize when I’m overreacting, and when to cut my losses. I commend the guy for being straight up honest in a “heads up” kind of way; too many people are afraid to speak up when it comes to the harsh truths. Good luck, LW!

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  • avatar

    cdobbs August 29, 2012, 10:13 am

    i feel for the LW…the last guy I dated lied to me big time…told me he was a police officer…long story short the day he got arrested I found out that he was unemployed, married and had two children!…so it has been hard to trust again…i have also been lied to and cheated on by other guys…but you know what even Angelina Jolie has been cheated on! (hello Billy Bob Thorton!)…so don’t take it as you are not good enough, hot enough or smart enough for these guys!..the problem here is that you are so scared of losing your boyfriend that you are going to drive him away…the very thing you don’t want…so what do you do?…my advice is to relax and try to enjoy the relationship…when doubts start to creep into your mind…tell yourself that you are just holding on to the sins of past boyfriends…give the new guy the benefit of the doubt (take a leap of faith)…i know its scary but it might just be worth it in the end!

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    • avatar

      SweetPeaG August 29, 2012, 10:23 am

      Conventionally hot people get cheated on ALL the time.

      Just look at Tiger Woods’ ex wife. I don’t know her name… but she is SUPER hot. And her husband cheated on her with some grubby looking females.

      So, yea… it is very silly that her boyfriend told her she is too hot to be insecure. That is SO not the issue at hand.

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      • Kate B.

        Kate B August 29, 2012, 10:41 am

        I think the hot comment was a misguided attempt to make her feel better. Unfortunately, it backfired.

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      • avatar

        cdobbs August 29, 2012, 10:43 am

        Exactly, Tiger Woods cheated on Elin Nordegren and she is beautiful…what really sucks is probably more people cheat in relationships now than don’t…so how does anybody trust anybody? sad 🙁

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    Addie Pray August 29, 2012, 10:15 am

    I didn’t read the whole letter on account of me being super busy and trying my damnest (damnedest? damnedestest?) to be productive today, but hahahaha “too hot to be insecure” – what a load of smelly bullshit. (1) the hottet are the most insecure! which is why btw you should try not to be friends or date really really beautiful people – I have a theory about that but no. time. to. get. into. that. (2) so, does this guy think if you’re not “hot” you should be insecure? (3) anyone who thinks looks and security should go together is a ridiculous, and probably really shallow and stupid; (4) I have sooooooo much work to do; and (5) Life is so wonderful!!!! Tra la la tee da.

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    • Fabelle

      Fabelle August 29, 2012, 10:23 am

      I agree wholeheartedly with “the hottest people are the most insecure” & also “anyone who thinks looks and security should go together is ridiculous” I’m not sure why that is true, but it does tend to be & I’d love to hear your theory when you have time!

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    • katie

      katie August 29, 2012, 10:39 am

      hehe.. i think AP is high on texty, texty lurve..

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    • Budj

      Budj August 29, 2012, 12:25 pm

      I think he was trying to say that he thinks she is prettier than random girls he runs into and she has nothing to worry about.

      Also keep in mind she is paraphrasing this and anything she filters through her brain is probably coming out in the worst way possible.

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  • avatar

    Sue Jones August 29, 2012, 10:20 am

    LW, please go get some therapy. It sounds like you have had some rotten luck in the past, but when things like this become a pattern, you need to look at how YOU may be co-creating these situations. By being whiny and clingy and controlling, you are wanting to put your boyfriend in a jail and to be his jailer. That is not love. Please do not date until you work out your insecurities. Every woman on this forum was cheated on at one time, in one old relationship, I guarantee this, but the healthiest way to deal with it is to say to yourself “What a disappointment, he is not the man I thought he was!” and move on until you find one that is worthy. And to deserve one that is worthy, you must be worthy too. Clinginess and controlling behavior is the best relationship repellant around, even if you ARE “hot”!

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  • mandalee

    mandalee August 29, 2012, 10:22 am

    I’m going to join the chorus of DWers who say you need therapy. And I can honestly say that because from experience I was very similar to you when I was younger. I was a shitty guy magnet and had terrible self-esteem and self-worth. I went and talked to a therapist in college, and I worked through a lot of self-esteem and anxiety issues I had, and it really helped.

    Just because some guys have cheated on you or your girls have got cheated on, does not mean every guy will do this and you are clearly driving yourself crazy over the new guy. It seems like your projecting all your past insecurities on this guy. Frankly, I’m surprised he stuck it out this long, so he must actually like you, but your insecure behavior is making him question if this is something he wants to be committed too. I couldn’t imagine being hounded every time I left the house without my husband. It would drive me crazy! You might really need to step back from this relationship and all relationships in general, so that you can get to a good place mentally where you can handle being in one.

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  • Shell

    Shell August 29, 2012, 10:35 am

    LW, you need to heal yourself and feel whole before pursuing a relationship. You need to develop some faith in yourself that you do deserve the good guy, who will not do you wrong or cheat on you, someone you’ll feel an innate trust in when you’re not around them.

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  • Kate B.

    Kate B August 29, 2012, 10:36 am

    Please take a break from dating for a while. You need some professional help to deal with the issues your past dating life has left you with. I understand that you want him to “prove that he won’t hurt you” but he will never be able to do that. You are setting him up for failure. When we love someone, we leave ourselves open to being hurt by them even if their intentions are good. That’s the power love has over us. How do you prove you are innocent when the other person always assumes you are guilty? He deserves a life, too, and right now, you are not giving it to him. You need to work on yourself and break this pattern or it will repeat itself in every future relationship you have. Please let him go and focus on yourself.

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  • katie

    katie August 29, 2012, 10:37 am

    wow. ok, so everything that you think about relationships is wrong.

    “I have no trust in anyone because of these men.” –i find it telling you say anyone (not just men). this is a real, serious issues. this is one that only a therapist can tackle, i think.

    “when he goes out with his friends I “freak out.” I get all nervous and scared that he is going to meet someone else while he is out or that he is going to give out his phone number or that he’s going to take down a girl’s phone number” — this is, i have to say, pretty normal. i think the majority of ladies here would say that they have some twinge of insecurity knowing their guys are going out and the potential to meet other women is there… the difference, though, with a confident woman who is in a healthy relationship, is that they throw that fear away. when we talked about it here once, someone had a great quote that maybe you can use someday- “we like him. we trust him. we are not a manatee”. in saying that, you seperate yourself from your insecurity (hence the “we”), and you tell yourself that you like your boyfriend, you trust him (which you have to mean), and then you tell your insecurity to shove it because you are wonderful- you are not a manatee. there is a healthy way to deal with those feelings. hopefully one day you can find it.

    “He said he is sick of paying for my ex’s mistakes”– how would you feel in his situation? you cant do that to people. its wrong.

    the whole thing about this guys iphone– i think this also shows serious, real issues. no person should freak out so much about a phone. that just doesnt happen. it reminds me of a dog who has been beaten and the reactions they have to certain triggers from that… you need to work through that somehow so you do not see a phone as an evil cheating device, but just as, you know, a phone.

    “I do not believe that guys and girls can hang out one-on-one and “just be friends”– they can. trust me, they can. do you not have any guy-friends? find one. prove it to yourself that you can just be friends with a guy by being friends with a guy. this does happen.

    “He said he is not going to let me control who he hangs out with either”– you shouldnt do that anyway.

    “I sometimes feel like I’m a time-filler until something better comes along.” — again, real, serious insecurity issues. you shouldnt feel like that. maybe this guy is just a jerk, i dunno, but i feel like this is more about you.

    “How do I make him want me?”– i feel like this is really the issue. this is what is lurking below under everything else- how do i make him want me/love me enough so that he wont go out and find better women to leave me for. thats what your saying. so, here it is: you dont make him want you. that happens naturally. you also dont “make” him not cheat- you dont “make” him do anything, really. and that is the thing you are going to have to work through… you are not goinig to effect a positive change on a relationship all by yourself. a relationship is two people, its an even playing field, and you work on it together. the power your trying to pull here doesnt work. its just not the way it works. your issues are telling you to pull harder, harder, harder until he bends to your will and becomes the partner you want. that doesnt happen! its not the way the world works. you have to come into the relationship as a full person for it to work, and you dont have that right now, and thats ok. so stop the relationships for now. i think therapy would be a huge help for you. get some friends. volunteer somewhere. excel in your career. become the full person you need to be, and then try to find a partner that you can foster a healthy relationship with.

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    • avatar

      Jubietta August 29, 2012, 1:50 pm

      WOW! I hope the LW listens to your advice!

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    • I'm An Earth Rocker!

      Miss V August 29, 2012, 11:02 pm

      WKS! Very well put! Oh, and just to ease LW’s mind regarding the iPhone: I read and post to this column on mine, and honestly, I’m talking/texting only 25% of time I am on it (and my eyes are getting bad!)

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  • the_optimist

    the_optimist August 29, 2012, 9:39 am

    I agree with everyone who has said you need to get thee to therapy. I speak from personal experience. It’s worth it and it’s absolutely necessary.

    I, too, used to get extremely insecure when old boyfriends would hang out without me, because I feared they’d find someone “better.” And you know what? Sometimes they did. I did get cheated on a couple of times, and you know what it taught me? It taught me that I was making really shitty decisions. I was picking men who weren’t worthy of my trust, because I didn’t believe that I was worthy of a man I could trust. I hope that makes sense. Basically, it all comes down to you, and to the choices you make. And I’m not trying to place all or any of the blame on you, but I do want to emphasize that, while you can’t mold the men in your life into whomever or whatever you choose, you can work on yourself, FOR yourself. Then, perhaps, when the time is right, someone will come into your life who actually makes sense for you, whose actions you aren’t constantly questioning, whom you value and who values you. It took me a few years in therapy to learn all of that and I strongly, strongly recommend it to you. Best of luck.

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    • avatar

      MissDre August 29, 2012, 10:41 am

      I agree with this. I’ve been where this LW is. I’ve never been cheated on (that I know of) but I have been THIS insecure. And I’ve also been dumped twice because of it. This LW really really needs to be single and celibate (I say celibate because she seems to tie her self worth to what a man thinks of her, and she can’t get a clear head if she’s sleeping with someone) for a good long while. She needs to spend time in therapy and work on her self esteem. When she has discovered her confidence and learned to find fulfilment outside of a man’s love and affection, then she will be ready to open herself up to the right man.

      LW, I know. I’ve been in your shoes exactly. You need to get help.

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  • avatar

    Bossy Italian Wife August 29, 2012, 10:51 am

    You do not need a boyfriend–you need a therapist! You have issues with men and you are going to chase away any men who might actually be worth having if you keep up with these shenanigans!

    It sounds to me like you have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from dating so many douche bags…and I’m not saying it isn’t justified. Perhaps it is, but it’s ruining your dating life, and a shot with a perfectly nice guy who you are raking over the coals for something he hasn’t done.

    This guy might like you, but he doesn’t have to “prove” anything to you! Going out with your friends is a perfectly normal thing to do and your eroded trust is your issue, not his… so you better get out there and find a way to get over it, chose better guys (which it sounds like you are) and learn to trust and love again so that you can stop this self-sabotaging behavior!

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  • avatar

    a_different_Wendy August 29, 2012, 10:55 am

    Ditto what everyone else says. LW, you are not in a place where you are capable of being in a relationship. He’s right, he shouldn’t have to pay for his ex’s mistakes, and he shouldn’t have to work to prove he’s trustworthy, because he’s done nothing to show he’s not. You need to let him go and get yourself into therapy until you are ready to trust again, because no relationship is going to work for you until that happens.

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  • avatar

    melikeycheesecake August 29, 2012, 10:56 am

    Therapy! Please reach out for help! You’re pushing him away by your insecurity and codependency. This is so far beyond an un-healthy relationship.

    You must look into therapy pronto!

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  • avatar

    Temperance August 29, 2012, 10:59 am

    I’m not going to echo everyone and say “therapy”, but I am going to say that you need to break it off with this dude and be single for a while while you see the therapist that everyone else has already suggested. He’s preying on your insecurities, too – he’s not your boyfriend, LW, and has said as much, which could mean anything for the commitment level (not to add to your high level of insecurity, but there it is).

    I have been cheated on by a loser in the past, and had accidentally made out with a dude with a girlfriend (accidentally on the girlfriend part, not making out … I’m not in the business of being a homewrecker, generally speaking) who was also not high quality. As Wendy would say … Aim Higher. The guy who cheated on me was a huge loser – he couldn’t even get his shit together to rent an apartment, so he lived in his grandmother’s basement at age 24. It took him 6 years to finish a bullshit undergrad degree at a branch campus of a state school. Oh, and I found out later that he had a girlfriend when we started “dating”. I didn’t know, obviously, because I have morals and all that.

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  • avatar

    sia August 29, 2012, 11:06 am

    “He said he is sick of paying for my ex’s mistakes. I feel, though, that if he really cared about me he would try to show and prove to me that he isn’t going to hurt me. Am I wrong to think that way? ”

    I’ve tried typing out a sensible, wise answer for you about three times now, but the sentences above get me SO riled up. You can’t possibly believe this is acceptable? Do you have some sort of birthright that entitles you to have other people fix your issues for you, or do you just not see how that’s what you’re asking him to do? I don’t even know which is worse. Get thee to therapy, and best of luck.

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  • avatar

    LANY August 29, 2012, 11:30 am

    Therapy. Therapy!!!

    One thing though, which struck me in your email: “…all three of them were abusive, all three of them cheated on me, and all three of them lied to me about EVERYTHING.”

    If you put up with abuse, cheating and lying in LONG TERM relationships, then your problems are less about trusting men because of how you’ve been treated in the past, and more about why you would possibly put up with men who are so disrespectful and sound so tragically awful. I assume it all comes from the same place (insecurity), but staying in an abusive relationship means that there are much bigger issues to fry than not trusting men.

    Therapy! (and perhaps anti-anxiety meds?)

    PS (Loving this edit comment feature!): When you say you want him to “show and prove to me that he isn’t going to hurt me”, how exactly do you want him to do that? Move into your place, go to work/school with you, spend 24 hours a day with you and talking to no one else without you there to chaperone, showering with you in the room, etc.? Respecting someone (the foundation of any relationship) means that they get to have a LIFE, and that that life isn’t 100% you. Do you actually not want him to have friends that he goes out with because he might meet a woman? Or go to work because there may be a woman there? Or walk down the street because (gasp!) there are WOMEN OUT THERE?! This isn’t just a needing therapy thing, but a complete overhaul of what you think a relationship is supposed to be…

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    Mccrotchity August 29, 2012, 11:33 am

    Perhaps therapy IS best. Or, perhaps you just need to choose if you want to be the victim for the rest of your life. You’ve been dating the guy LONG DISTANCE for seven months. To me, LDRs need twice as much time to blossom as regular ol’ run of the mill relationships. You don’t really get a feel for someone every other weekend.

    That being said, do you really think you’ll be heartbroken over this guy if it doesn’t work out, or do you think you’d be heartbroken about yet another guy seemingly not finding you deserving of fidelity? Because there is a huge difference and I’d wager that you don’t really care as much about this guy as you say you do.

    The problem with tying your self worth up in what others think is that they are always going to let you down. Maybe he’d never cheat on you or become abusive, but there will be a time when he is going to make you feel like you aren’t worthy of his love. Why? Because he’s human. A significant other cannot be your sole crutch in life. The whole loving yourself first thing is so cliché it’s almost lost its meaning, but it is true.

    However, I don’t think this guy sounds like a great catch for you. Yes, you are probably smothering the heck out of him. But, from the sound of it, he isn’t going to be able to give you what you need in a relationship anyway.

    Take this from the girl who had- literally- no female friends when I met my husband. If someone truly cares about their partner’s feelings AND sees a future with said partner, they will limit the alone time they spend with friends of the opposite sex. Whether he cares about you but doesn’t see a future or whether he is just ambivalent and likes the arm candy, I can’t tell from your question. But either way, do you want to stick around and find out? Or do you want to start working on yourself so that you might really be able to find the right guy for you?

    Also- when I realized I had a pattern of dating douche bags, I happened along a Buddhist book named Teachings On Love by Thich Nhat Hanh. The simpliest suggestion which helped to guide me was “Question Everything.” Start questioning what it is that attracts you to each person in which you find yourself interested. The answer might surprise you.

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  • TaraMonster

    TaraMonster August 29, 2012, 10:53 am

    Just about everyone on here has said you need to get your ass to therapy and they are 100% right.

    Your letter was anxiety inducing- it exuded so much anxiety and insecurity that I could FEEL that whirlwind cycle of panic that goes on when you think he’s up to something. And I’ve got unpleasant news for you- there is only one way to stop that cycle, and it means letting go of your insecurities and having self compassion. And that takes A LOT of work.

    As a formerly neurotic girlfriend (tho to be honest- I was never on your level), I can tell you that you will never enjoy your LIFE, much less a relationship, if you are trying to control the thoughts and actions of the people around you. Your “boyfriend” feels suffocated because you’re suffocating him. Right now you are a reactionary person and you are completely ruled by your emotions. I don’t know what they are, but you’ve got issues that are keeping you from truly knowing who you are because your true self is buried under layers upon layers of insecurity, fear, and anxiety. Just a thought- perhaps your anxiety and magnetic pull towards abusive men predates your first romantic relationship? The anxiety you described sounds incredibly deep-seated. I just keep thinking “What the F*** happened to her as a kid to make her inner voice so full of panic?”

    Because you have such severe anxiety, I’m going to suggest you try what worked for me: mindfulness meditation. Links below- read the self compassion entry carefully. Self compassion is not about pity or thinking what has happened to you is unfair, but rather that it was unfortunate. It’s about being kind to yourself and the world. Mindfulness might not be perfect for you, and it might seem utterly ridiculous at first, but you have to calm that inner storm or you’re going to drive yourself crazy. It’s also a good foundation to bring with you to therapy (which you HAVE to do- that’s an order from a stranger on the internet!). I would search for a therapist who uses mindfulness, actually.

    Go through this website; read the articles; watch the videos:

    Poke around this one too, but if you’re going to start meditating, I would start with the Loving-Kindness meditation under the downloads (free!):
    http://www.mindfulness-solution.com/

    Good luck, hun. You deserve a healthy relationship, a happy life, and the love of a good man- but you have to be healthy, happy, and love yourself first.

    ETA: I am not diagnosing you, or saying you have an anxiety disorder- just that your issues are causing you to behave anxiously. I don’t know you and I’m not a professional! Just sayin!

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    emmkat August 29, 2012, 11:58 am

    I think everyone here has already said it: you need some good counseling because you have some deep seated issues that an advice comlumnist and her readers simply cannot help you with. It’s terrible that you’ve had some bad experiences with men, but you can’t project your past onto every new guy; if you do, you’ll just be stressed out and miserable the rest of your life and you’ll never be able to have a stable, trusting, and loving relationship. Not every guy is an asshole and if those are the only guys you’ve been with, then maybe you should ask yourself why you are attracted to (or why you attract) those guys in the first place? A professional therapist can help you work that out.

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    ele4phant August 29, 2012, 12:01 pm

    If you can’t so insecure about your relationship that you don’t trust the guy when he goes to the bathroom, you are too insecure to date.

    I’m sorry, I know you’ve had a rough road, but maybe some of your issues contribute to you finding yourself and staying in bad relationships. Its certainly going to poison any healthy relationship you have.

    So, like everyone has been saying, go to a therapist and work on yourself for a while.

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  • bittergaymark

    bittergaymark August 29, 2012, 12:20 pm

    Agreed. Therapy. STAT. Look, if all the men you date are assholes — well then the problem ultimately lies with you, LW, because you are somehow CHOOSING to date only assholes. Now go figure out why that is.

    As to this new guy, you’ve been seeing. Sadly, I have to agree with him. He will have no life whatsoever dating you. See, I hate it when people use their issues as a blanket excuse to be controlling psychos… And that’s pretty much what you are doing, LW. No matter WHAT he says, you make a huge drama out of it. Seriously, get help now. The sad truth of your letter is that after reading paragraph after paragraph about how completely bonkers you act about so many things, I was like: Sheesh, no wonder guys keep leaving you for somebody else, pretty much ANYBODY else would be better. You are a self-fulfilling prophecy, LW. You don’t want guys to dump you, but then you make it damn near impossible for anybody to actually want to stick around.

    And seriously, MOST relationships end. That’s part of it. Hell, three failed relationships at 28 isn’t exactly a record. Stop whining. Get Therapy. Grow up.

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    • Just Max

      Just Max August 29, 2012, 12:29 pm

      “You are a self-fulfilling prophecy, LW. You don’t want guys to dump you, but then you make it damn near impossible for anybody to actually want to stick around.”

      THIS.

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    new August 29, 2012, 12:56 pm

    HAHA are we sure this is even real? Am i really the only one here that thinks this is a joke/fake letter? All these things that he points out also tend to be common bad partner behavior – each paragraph is basically a stereotype of “crazy” girl actions.

    Jeez, if this is real then wow. HELP NEEDED

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    ebstarr August 29, 2012, 12:58 pm

    This letter makes me sad because I totally understand where you’re coming from. I don’t believe in blaming you for your bad choice in men… the moral blame lies with them, not you, and you’ve suffered through no fault of your own, and I am so sorry for that.

    But there IS something big you’re doing wrong here and that’s making a great guy pay for all those other jerks (and I say this with compassion, but you do need to hear it). What you’re doing to this new guy could end up bordering on emotional abuse. When someone has a jealous partner who doesn’t want them to see other friends, who wants to know everything on their phone or email, who needs to know where they are at all times… that can scar them *just as badly as you’ve been scarred by your past relationships.* You don’t want to do that to this guy. If you care about him, you may need to step aside until you work on your jealousy and control.

    I totally sympathize with you. I had a boyfriend who was super secretive about his phone, lied to me about being exclusive (and had an active OKCupid profile for nine months before we broke up that I only discovered after I left him and started my own), and was borderline sexually abusive on top of being generally kind of a jerk. It left me devastated and completely unable to trust my instincts about people. It was hard for me to say to my current boyfriend “OK have fun! OK have fun!” when what I wanted to say was “But will you text me every twenty minutes or less so that I know you’re not forgetting about me and talking to some other girl?” It was hard for me to say to my current boyfriend “Sure, enjoy dinner with your ex and I’ll see you tomorrow,” when what I wanted to say was “Please promise me you never think about her ever ever ever.” I had to learn because I cared enough about him to treat him the way he deserved, and you need to learn to treat people with respect too.

    I think that I know something of how you feel even though you’ve been through much worse than me, and I have nothing but sympathy for this agony you’re going through every time you get insecure. But, I agree with everyone that you need therapy to deal with the very real damage that you have suffered through no fault of your own AND to help you avoid inflicting damage on others, that a long-distance relationship is probably a bad idea for someone with trust issues, and that being single might just be the best way for you to gain more self-respect and balance in your life that you can then bring into a relationship.

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    • avatar

      ebstarr August 29, 2012, 12:59 pm

      PS. I think you do have the right to ask your boyfriend not to be on his phone all the time in front of you. He should be paying attention to you if he’s hanging out with you, especially if you don’t see each other all the time!

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      ele4phant August 29, 2012, 1:48 pm

      So quick thought here, and I am will acknowledge upfront that I haven’t been in an abusive relationship myself, so I may be talking out my ass.

      But, is it not approporiate to hold her accountable for her part in her past relationships? I mean obvisouly, the abuser is clearly abusing, and that’s wrong in any circumstance. No one deserves to be beaten. And she shouldn’t be blamed for these guys hitting or controlling her.

      At the same time, doesn’t asking women to examine why they contiune to find themselves in such circumstances empower them to make changes and take ownership of their own insecurities and issues, ultimately helping them identify and avoid such relationships down the road?

      No one should ever be blamed when their partner decides to abuse them mentally, physically, or otherwise. No one can ever do anything that justifies them being beaten. Still, I find the thinking of “Oh sweetie, its not your fault. Its all on him. You’re just the victim” to be unproductive. I’m a big fan of compassion, but I think you can be compassionate and ask “Why? Why do you keep dating men who treat you like this? How can you change that pattern so you don’t keep finding yourself with guys who treat you like crap?”

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        ebstarr August 29, 2012, 2:17 pm

        Ele4phant, I think you make a great point, she should probably ask herself why she ends up in relationships like this. Her therapist, if she gets one, certainly will, and is probably better trained for asking questions like that in a compassionate manner!

        But. In answer to your question about why I resisted saying that, I guess I just feel like I’m seeing a lot of phrasing in the comments like “the problem starts with you.” The problem with her past relationships does NOT start with her. If there were no abusive people, there would be no abuse, period. Victims of abuse get blame from their abusers, then they get blame from the people they tell about it, and it sucks, and DW should hopefully be a space where people other than BGM are careful about their phrasing when they talk about these issues.

        And I also wanted to make a clear distinction that I didn’t think her insecurities and pain were her fault, but I DO think it will be her fault if she crosses the line into emotional abuse with her own behavior (or has crossed it already, though I couldn’t tell from the letter if she has or not).

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        ebstarr August 29, 2012, 2:20 pm

        (And I know you yourself are not blaming her or saying the abuse was her fault, in case that wasn’t clear! I just didn’t want to go there in my original reply.)

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      • CatsMeow

        CatsMeow August 29, 2012, 2:37 pm

        I’m glad you pointed out that her controlling behavior IS bordering on emotional abuse, even though it’s stemming from her own anxieties. On one hand, I really feel for her – but on the other, what she’s doing is NOT okay.

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        Lindsay August 29, 2012, 8:40 pm

        Yeah, that’s the funny thing. She’s worried about protecting herself, while her boyfriend is trying to protect himself from her behavior.

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        ele4phant August 29, 2012, 2:38 pm

        I agree, its a sticky situation to discuss. On the one hand, people are not at fault for being on the recieving of abuse. At the same time, people do have some agency and ability to make decisions that can help them avoid bad situations. Helping empower people to do so without coming off as though they were asking for it is difficult.

        I think we can all agree for this LW: Therapy!

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        ebstarr August 29, 2012, 2:43 pm

        Haha yes, therapy! That verdict is practically unanimous, for once. 🙂

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  • avatar

    Violet August 29, 2012, 1:01 pm

    LW, I am not going to be harsh. But speaking as someone who has been through some horrible things, I urge you to get out of this situation immediately, and get a therapist as soon as possible. This will NOT get better, and the LDR is going to make it so, so much worse. Trust me on this one. Exit and then work on your issues.

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  • avatar

    Jessibel5 August 29, 2012, 1:10 pm

    I say this with all the love and affection in the world:

    Get thee to therapy.

    It will help, if you give it a chance.

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  • avatar

    Lindsay August 29, 2012, 1:11 pm

    I second and third what everyone has already said. You need to work on your trust issues and self-esteem before you can probably expect to have a successful relationship. I do want to address two things you mentioned in your letter.

    One, that you feel like if he really cared about you, he’d try to reassure you. But that’s not his job. Considering he doesn’t appear to be doing anything sketchy, I’m not sure what else he could do. And honestly, I don’t think any reassurance on his part is going to help your level of distrust. Think about it from his perspective — your behavior is a major red flag to him, much as it would (or should) be if you were witnessing it from him.

    Second, yes, guys can cheat with their female friends, but if a guy is going to cheat, he’s going to do it regardless of whether he has female friends or not. They aren’t the determining factor. I have several male friends, and most of them have had girlfriends during the time that we’ve been friends, and nothing has ever happened between us. It IS possible.

    Anyway, neither of these two points is all that important because there are bigger problems here.

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    AKchic August 29, 2012, 1:45 pm

    While reading this, all I could do was quietly sing the Offspring song “She’s Got Issues”.

    Darlin’, you’ve got issues, and now, he’s going to pay. You’re taking your insecurities, your past injustices, your pasts wrongings, out on him. How would you like it if he didn’t want you to go out with friends? Didn’t want you to do the things you normally do. i.e., watch a movie while soaking, play with your gadgets, or deities above – use a vibrator because his last girlfriend decided that her vibrator pleased her more than him so she no longer needed him?

    Men are not cardboard cut-outs. You cannot punish someone for something that another person did. YOU chose badly when it came to potential mates. Is that his fault? No. So quit acting like he’s the one who fucking wronged you. He hasn’t, nor has he given you any reason to suspect that he will wrong you. If you can’t trust him, then you shouldn’t be dating him, long distance or otherwise.

    Get thee to a therapist. STAT. You need to sort your problems out before you subject some poor guy to your issues. I don’t care how great the sex is – I wouldn’t put up with the shit you just described.

    Break up with him, for his sake, sort out your issues, and only when you’re truly ready for a true, healthy relationship, should you even look into dating. And only a local relationship. I don’t think you’re cut out for long distance ones.

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  • avatar

    Oldie August 29, 2012, 2:06 pm

    Yes on therapy and please give some priority to what was wrong with your past relationships. You’ve had three relationships, which ended. That’s not a lot. That a guy would end a relationship with you is not the end of the world. You’ll date more than a few guys, before you find one who is a good match for you, in all likelihood. You should not be focusing upon a fear that your relationship will end, but on determining whether it is the right relationship for you. Unfortunately a lot of guys take the douche route on ending a relationship and start cheating to find a replacement, rather than just breaking up with you if the relationship isn’t working. Still, if the relationship isn’t working the breakup is a good thing.

    What you gloss over is the grossly bad behavior of your prior boyfriends. You can’t tell if a guy will break up with you, but you certainly can tell the grossly bad behavior. All three of your prior boyfriends were abusive. That is the first thing you should be on guard for in your current or any new relationship. It’s not a matter of worrying what the guy’s doing while you’re not around. It’s easy to tell. He’s abusing your or not, physically or verbally. Why did you stay in 3 abusive relationships until the guy left? Once you know you are being abused, you should be out of there like a shot.

    Secondly, you say all three of your former bfs lied to you constantly. The odd lie here and there may pass by undetected, but you are certainly going to know fairly quickly if the guy is lying to you all the time. So, again, why did you stay with 3 constant liars, who also abused you, until they decided to cheat and leave?

    You don’t mention that the current bf has either abused you, or lied to you, or that you’ve found him to be a cheat. See — rather than irrational fears, you have these three very concrete ways in which he differs from your three priors. Work with the tangible. It seems like you tolerate abuse, lies, and cheating, because you don’t want a bf to leave you. Once you get to the point where you are willing for him to leave, rather than tolerate these awful behaviors, and just determine whether or not you have a healthy relationship, you’ll be able to date a lot more successfully.

    And yes, you badly need counseling to work on the above. You probably need to break up with this guy and just work on yourself. I think one can fix oneself, while in a relationship, but you’re greatest problem seems to be such a great fear of uncoupled time that you are willing to tolerate abuse.

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    • avatar

      kf August 29, 2012, 2:24 pm

      Wow, good catch. She was in relationships with three guys, all three of them were abusive, cheating liars, and her main complaint is that THEY dumped HER.

      Therapy, therapy, therapy, therapy, therapy.

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  • avatar

    Liz August 29, 2012, 3:53 pm

    Random- but what happened to Regina Ray? I miss her comments!

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    painted_lady August 29, 2012, 4:58 pm

    Quick thing I picked up on. LW, like Oldie said, you stayed in relationships with lying, abusive men. Why do you stay? I realize once you’re in so far it becomes very difficult to extricate yourself from an abusive relationship. You believe how worthless he says you are, that he’s doing you a favor by being with you, etc.

    But you seem to have some notion of being swept off your feet, that you want your boyfriend to “prove” himself to you. It may be that he genuinely doesn’t make you feel like he’s happy to be with you, that you’re a hassle to deal with, etc. I have an ex like that, and it sucked. But if you were with three abusive guys, chances are the beginning of the relationships were full of grand gestures and declarations and intense, intense, intense, so you were all caught up in that until the abuse started and you were trapped. If these were the only relationships you’ve had, maybe being in a whirlwind of love and romance and moving really fast is how you think relationships work. If so, oh honey, NO. That is how *abusive* relationships start. If a man is bombarding you with overwhelming feelings and crazy romance so much that you don’t have time to think, its because *he doesn’t want you to think.* And yet, all that romance is intoxicating. I know, I’ve been there. You need to get into therapy for sure…but that’s something you need to know right now. If your equation for a great relationship is someone who beats you about the head and shoulders with his feelings, then you need to see that these are symptoms of something deeper and uglier that has nothing to do with love.

    Good luck, LW!

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    • avatar

      Oldie August 29, 2012, 7:38 pm

      I think you’ve got it. LW has learned to function in a relationship by abusers’ rules. That’s why her LDR bf has to ‘prove his love’ to expiate for sins that aren’t his, but her past. The emotional abuser (or physical) always salvaged the relationship by ‘proving his love’ after bad behavior. He made her feel that she had to take special care to nourish him and make up for what was bad in his prior life. She is now behaving to new bf in the way that she learned from her abusers and has become, in effect, an emotional abuser of her bf, with her endless unwarranted jealousy and feeling that he must prove his love by giving her all the excessive reassurance she needs to assuage a really deep jealousy and fear of abandonment. It is not surprising that new guy is hesitant to sign up for that.

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  • avatar

    Lo August 30, 2012, 12:25 am

    Short term: This isn’t the guy for you. Long distance is not for someone with your insecure personality, nor I would argue is online dating. Look for ways to meet guys more organically in your area…mutual friends, sports teams, whatever.

    Long term. I enjoy DW because unlike other advice sites, her answer to everything isn’t “go to therapy.” But I think in this case Wendy too would agree…I think you would benefit from sitting down with someone on a regular basis and working through these issues. You don’t sound like a very happy person even without the boy drama and I think investing in yourself and your future by paying for some therapy would help.

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  • Cassie

    CassieB September 1, 2012, 1:48 am

    It seems that there are a lot of issues you need to work on before you are ready for a real, committed relationship where you freely give love and receive it. I strongly suggest going to a therapist to work on these issues. You have trust issues from what happened to you, yes, but also self-esteem issues. There’s a lot of crying out in the letter where you seem to think you are not good enough, that your man is always going to be looking for ‘someone better’, etc. You need to work on this issue, because no one can truly and fully love you until you love yourself and see your own value. What you are doing now is chasing this guy away, and perhaps that is what you want so that you can say to yourself, “See? I knew all men were like that,” instead of taking the risk of trusting and opening yourself up to someone. That is just a speculation on my end. Either way, you would greatly benefit from seeing a therapist to help you get past these issues so you can find a good, healthy relationship and, more importantly, healthy self-esteem.

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