I’ve been dating a man I feel connected to. We have a lot of fun and he has said he sees a future with me. The problem is that the other night I caught him on Tinder. He denied it at first and then said it was just a game he played to see who might be interested in him but he would never act on it. I don’t believe him. He says I have no reason to distrust him. My last boyfriend cheated on me and I have had trust issues ever since. I thought my new guy was different. Is it me?
It’s not your fault that this man uses the attention of other women to give himself an ego boost. It’s not your fault for wondering if you should trust him. However, you are responsible for your own heartbreak if you stay with him and he cheats on you. After all, you caught him fishing and when confronted, he lied to you. Of course, it’s possible that he will change. Here’s how you will know if that might happen (“might” means there is no guarantee). The experience prompts the two of you to have a conversation in which you both state that you will devote yourselves exclusively to each other. If you have assumed commitment because you text every day or are sexual partners or you date (or all three), then you have lied to yourself. No matter what activities you engage in with a partner, never assume exclusivity unless both of you have made a verbal commitment. Another positive sign: if he investigates why he is driven to use online dating as an ego boost. Somewhere in his personal history there’s unresolved heartbreak. The pain has been buried for so long that it’s soaked with denial. If he can wake up and heal that wound, his capacity for love will mature. But you can’t be his nurse. This is work he needs to do with a neutral person, like a psychologist or spiritual director.
You have work to do, too. I understand how difficult it can be to trust someone with your heart. But when an adult proclaims he or she has trust issues, what they really mean is that they refuse to grow up. It’s normal for children or teenagers to struggle with trust because they are learning how to care for themselves emotionally. Adults are still learning, too, but we have the capacity, tools and resources to work past the obstacles to trust. Like this: If we are honest with ourselves, and if we insist on honest communication from other adults, we lay the groundwork for trust. In addition, we must have quiet time for reflection or meditation on a regular basis so that we build a relationship with our internal life. That allows us to hear, understand and respond to our intuition. The combination of honesty and employed intuition contribute to the establishment of trust. Yes, that means you have work to do. I know you want a relationship but don’t cheat yourself out of a healthy intimacy with yourself.
My boss says things that feel like a put-down. I don’t feel like I can say anything back because I need this job. I’m in high school and I’m saving for college. One of my friends said you have good ideas about dealing with stuff.
When your boss says something mean, respond calmly and truthfully in your own mind. For example, if he says, “You forget everything.” Hear the comment, question if it’s true and respond to yourself: “I remember lots of things. I am sometimes forgetful, but so is my boss.” Keep the inner dialogue going. In other words, be the boss of you.