This was sent to Aunt B via email...
Dear Aunt B,
What do you do when you love a guy so much and want to only be with him but you don't trust him enough to be in a relationship with him? I had gotten close to this guy and I love him dearly and he asked me if I can trust him that he'll do right by me but I just don't because I barely hear from him because he had problems. What do I do?
Really, trust is the only thing we really have in a relationship. It is the foundation, without it, you stand to lose.
You have not stated what he did to cause you to not trust him. In actuality, it could be many things; from something he has done, to your own in general trust issues.
I have been burned. Nothing hurts worse than when you have put all your trust in one person and they throw it all away. If this is the case, where he has hurt you already, I'll say this;
You hand them a little at a time. If you were burned by him, he'll have to understand your apprehension. But you must make a choice to give it or walk away. He may be truly sorry for what he did and if he is, it is not fair to not forgive, now is it? Turn the tables and imagine that it was you, who hurt him. You are really sorry but he doesn't believe you. You try and try, you talk till your blue in the face but he just will not give you his trust again. So, you get fed up, you get defensive because that's what we do and you finally give up, walk away and tell him to go play with rocks, you are tired of telling him you are sorry. The sad part is that you were sincere, you loved him and you two would have made beautiful music together.
The other side of the scenario, may be your own issues. You may have been in a past relationship and that person burned you. It is all too clear to you that men are dogs, good for nothing and you will not have your heart stomped on again. Now, you've built this wall and they'll be damn hard pressed to even climb over it. They could be the nicest guy, with good intentions but oh hell no, they will not hurt you again. If this is the case, you have to realize that not all guys are dogs and not all are wolves in sheep's clothing. The third and final play I shall present, is the guy who takes forever to get himself together. You wait in the wings, you're bound by good intentions but he keeps pussyfootin' around. He can't seem to get his act together. There's always one thing or another. He's got problem after problem and each and every one, he uses to place a distance between you. He may not even realize he's doing it but he does it and you are getting tired of it. Rightfully so!
One thing I will point out to you and I suggest you have him read this. Every relationship is carved out of two things; Trust and Communication. Love is a big word, you obviously, do not give it freely? But you say you love him, right? Do you have a love for him, as I don't see you being, "In Love," with him and there is a difference. When you are in love, you do not throw that relationship on the back burner. No, it is that relationship, that person that you love, who stands beside you, weathers the storm with you and you work through it together. You trust each others emotions, meaning that you know when the shit hits the fan, that person won't turn and run. In a true relationship, that person threw on a pair of designer shit goggles and stood there with you, held your hand and did not allow one piece to be flung that they were not willing to wear, right along side of you. When the storm was over and you stood there covered in the remnants, the two of you talked about how hard that was, how much it really stank but you say, "Hey, that was a lot of shit, they flung but we got through it. That wasn't as bad with you by my side." Two heads are always better than one, right?
Communicating your thoughts and fears, words of consolation and strength, well that is the cornerstone of the relationship. You may not have had a relationship, if he put you on the back burner in the name of, "Hey, I got problems." So, you sat there and sat there while he worked it out. Then, he comes back and says, all is well, "let's dance" and you've been sitting so long, you'd finally figured out that it was not a relationship in the first place, really, only an acquaintance, a drive-by affair. I'd be a little pissed and not so willing to just say, "OK, here's my heart. Next time that shit hits the fan, I'll expect you to just run and you won't need me, right?"
If this guy was here right now, I'd just love to watch you tell him , I just will not stand for a drive-by romance, anymore. Either you are in or you are out, stop playing and stop faking the funk. I will not play any more games. Now, here's a gram of trust, you are not getting the ounce, until I see you will not run and hide with it in your pocket. When I see that this is a relationship and you don't use YOUR problems against me, then you'll get an ounce. Once we have a real relationship here and I can trust your emotions as well as you trust mine, you may get more. You do realize that I own a pair of... Dooce Gabbana Shit Goggles? If I never wear them, we are or never have been in a relationship.
If you want my trust, I only give it to those I am in a relationship with. Now, are we in a real relationship or are we just pretending here? Real relationships involve team work and there's no "I" in team, huh? If you want to do this all on your own, just say so but stop wasting my time.
Finally, handing someone your heart and your trust, is never easy. But it is your heart and your trust, so, you take control of it. You can give a bit at a time but you make it clear that it is reserved for a true relationship. You point out that real relationships are not just for or only when convenient. If he wants convenience, he needs to go down to the local store because that's not you. You take control and state your needs. If he can't fill that order, then he needs to go away, find someone who's an easy target. Once you have stated your needs and made things clear, "Hey, poop or get off the pot here," tell him, I'm not waiting any longer than I have, you have a problem and it's not me. It's him and he's using his problems to keep from even the slightest commitment. You just have to be on top of the program and not willing to continue. But I encourage you to try to give your trust but use the formula of stating exactly how things should be and you will not tolerate anything less. You wait and you watch for the tell tale signs that he is making excuses, using problems to keep from the smallest commitment.
Trust is never easily given, once you've been hurt. But you must learn to trust again. You have to make a conscience effort to never be stupid or not on top of the game, that's all. You take control of YOUR trust, it belongs to you. Now, start the game over but read him the rules. Put your trust in the pot, in the middle. Tell him, if he wants to earn that trust, it's so simple; You have to be in the game to win!
After reading my answer, the reader wrote with this further comment...
Dear Aunt B
Thank you for that advice because it taught me some things but I'm still
stuck. The thing is every time I try to tell him how I feel he gets mad and
says I complain too much because he's not ignoring me, he just has problems
and is too busy. He says he loves me and blah blah blah. I don't want to talk
to him about my feelings anymore because we always end up fighting. I love
him to death but I don't want to wait around for him because despite my
feelings for him, the reality is we are just friends and nothing more so I
can't really expect too much from him. What's the best way to go about this?
Girlfriend, it's time to cinch up your Bitch Belt and take control. Let me remind you, that if you do not, you are as stuck as you believe you are, that's it, that's all.
You have a right to your feelings, they are yours. He is being insensitive to act or portray your communicating them, as nagging. Are you trying to make more of the relationship than he's willing to give? If this is the problem, you may have to bow out gracefully but... not before you write down exactly how you feel and give it to him. I don't like that feeling, that you can't express, how you feel. This is paramount in any relationship whether it is even, your best friend. Ask yourself this; if he behaves this way, this early in the relationship or friendship or whatever you want to call it, how will he behave if you two do become serious? I mean really, in the first part of any relationship, there is usually a courting period. Somehow, you stepped over that period and waltzed right up to the end of a bad relationship.
Communication is the only thing a couple has and if you already feel stifled, you really need to assess that. It is not a good thing. You begin to shut down, you begin shut up and stuff your emotions. You are already setting into place a very passive stance and he knows it.
If you do decide to take the bull by the horns, I would write him a letter. I would tell him that you feel that you can't express your emotions and it is not nagging. (I'm sorry but nothing pisses me off more than when I am pouring out true feeling, only to be told I am nagging. I dislike that as much as someone mocking me, it makes my blood boil) You'd better nip it in the bud right now or forever be in that holding pattern. You tell him that you are not willing to be shut down,or be shooed off like a bug, any longer. These are your feelings and if he can not help you work through this, he really has nothing to offer. That last sentence, sums it up, doesn't it?
At this point in the game, what does he have to offer, other than a half assed relationship? He is only there for you, when and if it is convenient, so it seems? Now, don't get me wrong, I think you love him for a reason? He must have some good qualities or you'd probably have kicked him to the curb a while ago, right? I want you to ask yourself, what those qualities are and if they are worth fighting for? If they are; write the letter.
What do you stand to lose, if you make your feelings known and take a stance that you won't be pushed out any longer? I see a pattern of questioning your very relationship; is he just a good friend or are we in a "Couple's Relationship"? What would it hurt, for you to ask him that same question in your letter? Call his bluff and tell him, if he can't answer you, you no longer want this semblance of a relationship.
Right now, I think he has you all sewn up in this pretty little package of a girlfriend on demand. If you tolerate and continue to endure this behavior in the name of, "his problems" you will continue to be treated less than, what you deserve and yes, you do deserve better than this. I just so happen to know that you are a timid and caring woman, who sacrifices her own feelings for the sake of others. I want you to stop being a martyr, he does not deserve that and you do not deserve to live your life anything less than happy.
Somehow, I don't think he is doing this on purpose. No, I think he explains his behavior on having problems. But now he has projected those problems on you by denying you his affection, denying you healthy communique and and a lack of definition concerning your relationship. Every single one of those items, I just mentioned are the cornerstone of any relationship. You don't have this and it would not sit well with any normal person. Let me also point out that you are a normal person and you have not been unreasonable with him. You have been unreasonable for allowing this to go on.
Write the letter, stating your feelings, matter of fact. Ask him what really defines your relationship, together and let him know, if he can't give you that, you are going to say good-bye.
This is like letting your dog off the leash; if he's your dog, he won't run away, he will know where you stand and loyally stick by your side.