Q: A few weeks ago, I started dating what I consider to be a wonderful lady. She is great. We are already spending a lot of time together and the more time we are together, the better are those times. But I have a problem.
My first marriage ended in infidelity. My wife at the time spent more time dating other guys in the neighbourhood than she did at home with me.
Among other things, those little romantic trysts that she had outside of our marriage have left me with a significant inability to trust another person. I do not think that the lady whom I have of late been dating is anywhere near as dishonest to me as my first wife was, but I nonetheless find myself fretting incessantly about her relationships with other men.
I get pretty paranoid, imagining always the worst, and most likely that she will drop my attentions in favour of someone else.
I need reassurance that she is here for the long term, but when I ask for that she says simply that of course she will not do whatever it is that is deceptive and that I need to start to trust her.
I would like to trust her more, but I had that bad experience, and I am not sure what she can do to help me overcome all of those misgivings clouding my ability to trust her.
A: My guess is that the person whom you need to learn to trust is not so much the woman whom you have been dating of late but rather yourself. The more that you learn to trust yourself the more likely it is that you will fall into a successful relationship with another person.
What you need to learn is that no matter what happens in the future, whether you and your new romantic partner are able to turn this thing into a more permanent and lasting relationship, is that you can handle it. If it does become long term, you will be able to celebrate and embrace her companionship. If it does not work out you will be able to live through the disappointment to enjoy another day. Disappointment is not the end of the world.
The two of you can nurture your relationship by encouraging open and honest communication with each other.
You are not trying to control each other, you are talking together to try to better understand each other. It is that simple. If you are talking to each other in an attempt by one or the other of you to control the other person, it is probably time to go back to the drawing board and start dating other people.
You can nurture your relationship with each other by understanding and encouraging each other to pursue your personal goals and dreams. You had some personal dreams long before you met this woman, just as she did. The odds are good that your personal goals are not similar to hers.
That is all right. Your goal is to encourage her, just as her goal is to encourage you. When you do that, when you build a mutual support society within your times together your personal adventures become simply a lot more fun. At no time should your personal goals suppress hers. If they do, or if her goals are pushing yours under the carpet, then it is time to end this relationship.
Finally, you are more likely to nurture this relationship by learning what it is that you like about yourself when you are spending time with your new friend. That is what it is all about, isn’t it? Both of you engage each other so that each of you can build on those moments of self-esteem that enhance your solitude in togetherness with each other. It is nothing but encouraging.
Jacklin Andrews is a family counsellor from Saskatchewan. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.