#120 History of betrayal plagues woman
DEAR ABBY: I'm 41 and a single mom. My marriage lasted 19 years, during which my husband cheated on me three times that I know of. I have dated a few men since the divorce. I caught each of them lying to me, cheating on me - or both.
I am now seeing a man who seems to be an honest family man. However, I can't bring myself to trust him. We have been seeing each other for a year. and I care about him deeply. But I do not trust him, and the truth is I don’t trust anyone—not even my own mother.
I'm not sure I know how to trust, Abby, and I am destroying my relationship with this man because of it. He has evening meetings and occasionally needs to travel on business, and I am making us both miserable. I do feel he’s an honest, God-fearing family man. but when it comes to our relationship, I'm unable to trust. Please tell me what to do. —DESPERATE IN ARIZONA
DEAR DESPERATE: Your reasons for not trusting men seemed understandable when I read that your husband had cheated multiple times, and that you had the same rotten luck with men after the divorce.
Then I got to the line about your mother. If you don't trust her, then how far back do your trust issues go? And, is it possible that you have turned your insecurity into a self-fulfilling prophesy?
If you want to salvage this relationship, recognize that you have a problem that won’t go away without counseling to help you understand where your trust problems originated. Wouldn’t it be interesting if they had less to do with the men in your life than with your mother?
You'll never know until you look further—so before you chase this man away, explain that you realize you have been unfair to him and ask him to give you patience and some time to fix this problem. He must care for you very much to have stuck it out this long. —Abby
Hi Desperate: It's so great that you wrote. Experience tells me that your present relationship, and all previous relationships, were doomed before the start. Why? Because you've been unaware that your integrity has been out. You've been unconsciously attracting men whose integrity is also out so that you can see you in them.
People who have yet to acknowledge life's perpetrations (those who don't have even one person with whom they have come clean about everything) always always attract partners who are also out-integrity. There are no exceptions to this phenomenon.
Once you've restored your integrity you'll discover that you have not been a safe space for men to tell the truth around you.
Let's begin with the fact that you've been bringing your addiction to deceit (withholding thoughts) and to blaming into each relationship without forewarning each partner of your addiction—you've been presenting yourself as whole and complete—this is deceitful. Deceit automatically creates disrespect.
Your narrative reveals that you are blaming your partners for cheating on you, this is irresponsible. It further reveals that you have a misunderstanding about responsibility, of being cause. You've yet to acknowledge that it was you who started the deceit and sneakiness, that you have been using your sophisticated extremely subtle (mostly non verbal) leadership-communication skills to manipulate each to cheat on you. How do we know this is true? A person who is whole and complete, having acknowledged life's perpetrations, simply can't hang out for long with someone who withholds. All of your partners brought an equal number of withholds in to their relationship with you. In a relationship in which just one person is committed to open, honest, and spontaneous communication, zero thoughts withheld, their partner has no choice but to open up, or to agree to an arm's length relationship. A person who operates from impeccable integrity can tell in a nano-second when another is withholding some thought, when they are incomplete. It's in his/her eyes. The withheld thought doesn't have to be that you cheated on your final exam—though that would be a biggie—it could be something as simple as withholding the thought that you think the oral sex hasn't been all that exciting.
I usually can't tell what a person is hiding from me, only that they are hiding something, that they aren't being open with me; there's a slight uncomfortable aversion to looking me in the eyes for any length of time. I might add that this is the way most relationships begin, each of us withholding our thoughts of choice until we co-create an agreement to be open and honest with each other.
You've been dragging around your incomplete relationship with your mother into each conversation for most of your adult life. You have been out-integrity. Your aura reveals that something is wrong, that you are incomplete. You are not exuding the confidence, the clarity, the joy and happiness that comes from being whole and complete, from being in-integrity. Your integrity has set life up for you to attract men who also are incomplete so that they can mirror you for you. When you withhold even one thought from another the thought gets in the way of clarity and experiencing what's so. You haven't been clear and sharp enough to tell when someone is deceiving, lying, or withholding thoughts from you. Conversely, men who withhold thoughts from, say, their parents, cannot not see on your face that you are withholding thoughts from them. You couldn't tell that your previous partners were deceiving you because the pattern of deceit you brought into the relationship served as a barrier to communication.
It's possibly not too late for your present relationship, however, both you and he will have to acknowledge several withholds, and, most importantly, you'll both have to do individual counseling and then counseling together. Remember, he has been as deceitful with you as you have with him, you both have an equal number of thoughts you have been hiding from each other.
BTW: Prisons are full of “God-fearing” people.
Re: “...who seems to be an honest family man.” Your use of the word "seems" is correct. He is no more what he seems to be than are you. You're beginning to notice that your karma keeps reminding you that you need to handle (complete) one or more incompletes before you're ready for your #10. I'd recommend that you ask a parent or close friend for feedback about your choices in the future but I'm guessing that you wouldn't, such has been your addiction to blaming.
Re: “...I don’t trust anyone.” This I can get. You can't even trust yourself to select an honest partner. Welcome to reality. It's both irresponsible and unethical to trust anyone. It's a manipulative setup on your part; all you get to do is make them wrong when they do what people do which is to tell the truth and honor agreements as long as it works for them to do so. There's only one place for someone you've placed on a pedestal to go.
What works is communication which is different than talking. Communication has beginnings, middles, and ends. Never begin a new topic until all concerned are complete about the last topic, that it is mutually satisfying. When you're with a possible partner you'll notice that you'll have collected a lot of successful experiences of them keeping the simple day-to-day agreements, more importantly, of not blaming you when miscommunications take place. That's a good sign that you are making clear agreements and that you're worthy of their respect, and, that you have created space for them to operate from responsibility, from cause.
Re: “I'm unable to trust.” This is an unconscious decision for the reply to not work. It's not in present-time. It's dragging the past into the now and future. A conscious person, one intent on have the reply work favorably, would have written, “I have been unable to trust.”
With Aloha, Gabby
PS. Here's four free communication processes in support of communication mastery—The Clearing House.
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