How To Fix Trust Issues In A Relationship

The problem with dealing with the majority of trust issues is that they stem from personal insecurity that predates the relationship. Past experiences can mold our character defensively in ways that can confuse our partners, and lead to distancing. In some cases, we may not even be aware that we are pushing our partners away in an effort to remain “in control” or protect ourselves from hurt.

It is this very human desire to remain in control that can ironically cause us to lose that which we strive to protect ourselves from losing. The greater the amount of force we exert in an effort to safeguard that which we love, the greater the propensity our partners will retaliate negatively (feeling suffocated or manipulated, taken for granted or degraded, for instance), because our security comes at our partner’s expense.

Here’s a list of typical behavior that leads to a deterioration of trust if not taken by the horns.

Dealing With Jealousy

trust issuesJealousy is often synonymous with lack of trust, but realistically speaking it isn’t always misguided. If your partner has a history of infidelity (whether it’s sexually or emotionally based) then jealousy is both understandable and reasonable considering their history. However, knowing their history and having faith in their ability to correct mistakes is a decision you either fully commit to or decide against. Projecting insecurity will work against the relationship, and probably even catalyze their tendency towards infidelity because jealousy will make the relationship less fulfilling.

Jealousy as the projection of past insecurity, where there is no objective basis for doubting our partners, is another beast entirely. Here it isn’t about deciding for or against an act of faith, it is about addressing a subconscious need.

If you’re dealing with a partner who is unconditionally and unreasonably jealous then a number of steps can be taken to attempt to iron out deep-seated insecurity.

  • Improving self esteem is directly correlated to a reduction in jealousy.
  • Being direct and honest about how their actions are making you feel (and not whether it’s a right or wrong issue, dropping the judgment makes communication far less imposing for all involved).
  • Enforce behavioral patterns that “teach” your partner to respect your boundaries. For instance, if they’re texting you every twenty minutes to know what you’re doing, make a point of answering occasionally, not all the time. There is a chance that they may react heatedly to this kind of opposition, but hopefully it will allow them to consciously detect the obsessive nature of their need.

If nothing seems to work, and you’re adamant about fixing this aspect of the relationship, then psychological or relationship counseling (which I am woefully inadequate to address) is your best bet. Not all partners are willing to accept that they have a problem, and will be fundamentally opposed to even consider the possibility that there’s anything abnormal about their concerns, at which point it’s really up to you to decide whether the relationship is sustainable.

Dealing With Possessiveness

Many trust issues share characteristics because the root causes are similar, which is why jealousy and possessiveness have so much in common. Jealousy is often an extension of possessiveness.

Once again the demon that needs to be exorcised is that of attempting to control the relationship. One way to handle a possessive partner is by attempting to convey how overbearing their actions are, but not solely by having a chit-chat (which doesn’t always work), but by actively asserting your right to live life according to your own personal wants and needs. Because regardless of how a possessive partner may feel, you do have needs that need to be fulfilled.

This doesn’t mean doing the exact opposite of what our possessive partner wants (just to get the point across), it just means making the amount of compromise you are willing to stomach more reasonable.

If your partner objects in strong terms to you sleeping at a long-lost, and now avowedly platonic ex’s house, it doesn’t necessarily make them possessive. And pulling the trust cord too tightly may understandably lead to injecting even more resentment, and an even greater amount of possessiveness (because now they may well have a logical reason to distrust you). Making a show of indulging in your needs must be carried out respectfully, or the entire shebang will backfire.

For the rest, curing over-possessiveness is similar to jealousy, where managing self-esteem and direct communication becomes of paramount importance.

Dealing With A Clingy Partner

Feeling suffocated is a typical relationship breaker. The problem with clingy partners, with this in mind, is that they don’t see how their pattern of behavior feeds their failures. The vicious cycle is as follows:

-> Are broken up with for whatever reason.

-> Find someone new and become clingy in an attempt not to lose them. Are broken up with again because of how suffocating they are.

-> Find someone new and become doubly clingy because they are doubly scared….

-> Rinse and repeat.

The key here is breaking this pattern by showing our partner, in practical terms, how it is the architect of their romantic failures.

However, we are not ultimately responsible for the denial our partners may be rooted in, and we should not feel guilty should our efforts fail. All we can do is try to illustrate how their actions are projecting insecurity onto us, and consequently compromising the relationship. As sad as it is, not everyone is willing and able to take responsibility for their actions in a relationship, and there comes a point where holding onto hope risks dragging us down into the depths of insecurity along with them. Knowing that yet another rejection may well harm them is unfortunate, but so is allowing an insecure partner to dismantle our own resolve and well-being.

Once again, the same rules with handling jealousy apply here. The erection of boundaries (and enforcing them), managing self-esteem and good, old-fashioned communication.

Dealing With A Partner Who Continuously Seeks Validation

It is all too easy to forget about what makes us tick as individuals when we become embroiled in co-dependence. I’m sure we’ve all felt at some point that we seem to judges ourselves not from our own perspective, but from the lens of our partners’ judgment. To some extent it is part-and-parcel of emotional co-habitation.

Most people naturally have a system of internal checks and balances that will sound an introspective alarm if they detect that this kind of dependence exists (and they will consequently attempt to re-establish balance by re-acquainting themselves with their individuality). Some, however, are too far along the path of seeking external validation to have an individualistic reference point at all. There is simply no self left to relate with.

Unlike the other points in this article, it is not our partner’s actions that arouse suspicion and fear, it is the reaction to ours. However, for all intents and purposes the outcome is identical, because the root cause — once again — is the insecurity seeded by low self-esteem.

The battle here becomes one of re-acquainting our partner with their personal goals and standards of fulfillment, which may be vastly difference from our own. But how do we do that?

  • Redefine time spent alone more productively (take up new hobbies, be more socially active).
  • Increase the amount of “me” time, but provide a communication structure that makes sure that they don’t feel a new wave of insecurity because they equate more time apart as a sign of more emotional distance.

Rebuilding a sense of self is imperative not only for our partner’s long-term well-being, but for the relationship itself. But like all things relationships, trust issues can arise from scenarios where the sense of self we’re dealing with is grossly inflated, rather than lacking.

Caring Too Much Versus Arrogance

Most of the points that I’ve made so far are reflective of a person who may be jeopardizing the relationship, but are doing so unintentionally as a result of over-analyzing a little too much the variables involved.  It would be remiss of me to not mention that there are people out there who resort to manipulation in an effort to achieve the same end. But rather than wallow in their own doubts, they achieve this by making you insecure instead. How magnanimous of them!

At the end of the day over confidence is under confidence. I don’t mean to sound cryptic, but I really do mean to say that an inflated sense of self is a product of insecurity as well. So in the end, when we think our partners are equipped with an emotional set of figurative steel armor, it  usually ends up being made out of paper once it’s tested instead.

If you are constantly made to feel guilty or inadequate, chances are your knight in shining armor is actually very scared of what you might achieve if you regained a measure of self-worth. The only way to feel in control then, for them, is to bring you down low enough that you look up to them. But what happens if we peak through their veneer of arrogance? The house of cards crumbles just as quickly as it was built and they will abandon any pretense of being in control, because — let’s face it –they never were.


Image courtesy of David Castillo at

19 Comments How To Fix Trust Issues In A Relationship

  1. C.M.

    Hi James! I’m excited to read about your input and perspective. I need your help-and please keep writing your articles!
    My ex boyfriend and I dated on and off for about 9 years. Things were great…at first. ‘It’ was always off the charts-lots of chemistry.

    Let me say this…I would much rather hear blunt honesty, no matter what may be said, then to try and figure out ambiguous intentions.
    We used to work together in a place full of politics and slander. I made the mistake of not calling him one evening, that I was in a wedding (bridesmaid). The next day, he wouldn’t take my calls, etc. when I did finally talk to him, I explained that I was tired and had champagne, and just crashed. He was determined that I cheated on him. [Previous girlfriend cheated on him]. I was shocked, I’m just not that type of person who would do that to someone. I guess I felt the need to prove myself against his cold and disrespectful behavior, so I stayed with him. Fast forward a few years later, to a corporate event where he said I was flirting and doing other things with another guy. I felt that I was respected by those I worked with, and I was, until he slandered my character. Only a few believed him, but it hurt. There were often times where I couldn’t get ahold of him, or he was out drinking. He stayed at another girls house but ‘didn’t do anything.’ The more time went on, I chased him for approval, and he disrespected me like rubbish. I think he was paying me back for what his ex did to him.

    Before our break up (about three years ago) he acted like he couldn’t wait to get rid of me. (I learned later that he had been seeing other girls, etc., behind my back, but narrowed it down to one girl when we broke up).

    Before our break up, he was ignoring me, was rude and disrespectful when I finally was able to communicate with him, etc. I’m guessing he probably just wanted me to go away without him having to deal with the act of breaking up with me. Funny thing…he was upset at the way we communicated. Everything he accused me of, he did, or had been doing. He told me that he was upset that we were never final and that he was sorry for wasting my time, but that I didn’t waste his time. When I asked what that meant, he just said ‘nothing, you just didn’t waste my time.’ He broke up with me over the phone. It was ‘my fault’ because I asked what was going on. He sounded so excited and happy to get rid of me, then said he didn’t feel good and had to go. My intuition said he was just excited to be done with me so he could be with her.

    I told him that he wasn’t who he appeared to be and to never contact me again.

    Recently (after about 3 years), he emails to say that the ending has weighed heavily on his mind, and that he wishes he would’ve done things differently. He said his father passed away a year and a half ago, and that it reminded him of my loss (my father passing about four years ago)- what the what? I believe he stated that so I would email him back. He also said that he hopes that I don’t have hard feelings and hopes that I’m doing well. He didn’t ask how I was doing, etc. He sent pictures of his cats that he took in when we were together, because he thought I would like seeing them again. He said that I come up in his thoughts and prayers often. He said he’s sure I moved on with other relationships, etc., but that the way things ended really bothered him and that life was short. Since he mentioned no questions, intentions, concerns or wants, I felt that his email was for his relief of guilt from the past. Either he was testing waters, needed an ego boost, just broke up with someone, or he’s serious with someone and can’t have cheating ‘on his record.’ After I didn’t respond to him, he apologized for all that he did, within two days. It took me at least two weeks to respond to him. I didn’t know what to say. His emails actually made me upset. I was to the point where I didn’t think of him much, and was doing really well.

    I told him not to worry about it, that it wouldn’t do any good, and that I forgave him. I told him that he was my world. I said that I was sorry for everything too. I also stated that I was unsure if he was reaching out or getting something off of his chest, and that I was deeply sorry to hear of his loss.

    Then, I responded to his email with the cat pictures and mentioned how much older they looked, then asked if there was anything I could do to help with the loss of his dad. He replied ‘no, but thank you and thanks for your kind words maybe we can catch up sometime.’

    My email had been tampered with by an employee at a retail store where my computer was being fixed. I let him know once I found out. A few emails had been sent to him by this person, pretending to be me. Nothing mean, just conversation, etc. The apology letter that I received from the employee said she just wanted to know what it was like to be pretty and talk to a guy. She had never been on a date, and suffered with esteem problems. I felt bad for her.

    I don’t know if he didn’t respond because of the email thing, or because he obtained a response from me, and that’s all he wanted.
    He really hurt me, and I don’t trust his words or unstated intentions. I can’t help but feel it’s self serving of him, and he just wanted to see if he still had some control. I don’t want him to think that I’m pining for him. I know that I didn’t deserve any of what he did to me. I felt like he tried to open things back up for his convenience as well. In the past, I would have been all over it and asked to see him. I think he expected that. This time, I wrote two emails, which I wish I wouldn’t have now. I tried to do the ‘right’ thing, but didn’t acknowledge my own feelings to him either. There’s no point to make him feel guilty, all is said and done. However, I wish I didn’t appear like such a doormat. I think he wanted to feed his ego, and maybe get his closure at my expense.
    What should I do, if anything? What do you thing he was trying to do?

    Also, he put me in financial straits. I’m still working my way out of it. I’m sure that he doesn’t even know the extent of damage either-and I was there for him, always. It’s sickening just to think about.

    Thank you for reading. I would really appreciate your advice.


    1. James Nelmondo

      Hey C.M, thanks for the kind words!

      I think that most likely there isn’t a single line of reasoning behind what he’s trying to accomplish. Emotions wax and wane, and so obviously do our experiences in life giving the past a perpetually different context. It’s likely that events in his life (at that time) lined up in a way to make him genuinely regret aspects of your old relationship (despite the charades, we continue to have feelings for those we’ve loved IMO).

      The grief relating to his father’s death probably reminded him of how few people genuinely care about him, and reminded him that you were/are one of those people. Hence his reaching out. Or — call me jaded and cynical — perhaps the death of his father gave him a way of seeking affection and attention. There’s really no way of knowing.

      The “maybe we can catch up sometime” makes me think he was trying to derive some attention to make himself feel better, because it really does ring like something he is telling himself rather than you. This is just a hunch however. In that sense, he probably was trying to feed his ego. But that doesn’t necessarily mean he has no feelings towards you, just that whatever loneliness was consuming him has probably been temporarily dispelled.

      Again, I really do thing this isn’t just about using you, dealing with emotions stemming from old relationships is complex and multifaceted. If he is willing to break chains in order to “get something” from you, it means he values you — even if the motivation and means are fundamentally selfish. What should you do? I’m not sure. You do have something of a reason to call, he did offer something of a half-assed catch-up opportunity. But you know the risks. Should he turn it down for whatever reason it may mean more pain, and jeopardize whatever closure you’ve found.

      What would I do? I’d put it behind me and keeping moving. If someone respects my feelings and wants to right wrongs, then they should be transparent, because to be anything else is to cause more pain. I simply won’t partake in games of bait and switch. It’s either a catch-up coffee or it isn’t, not a “maybe”. But err, that really is just me, and you wouldn’t be the first to call me a little too willing to burn bridges.

  2. C.M.

    Hi James,

    I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you making this situation more clear to me. Thinking over your other articles about the ex’s communication and whether it is filled with emotion and or is distant, it was tough to decipher.

    It makes me wonder if he was trying to switch gears, to place the ball (responsibility) in my court so that if I don’t keep in contact with him, it would be my fault this time and not his?

    Do you believe it would be a good idea to send an email that says; “Please tell me what you were seeking by sending your emails, as I didn’t see any inquiries or intentions. The ambiguity makes way for addled feelings, and allows me to feel humiliated.”- or something of the sort?

    I want to know and for him to tell me, and not run for fear of ‘too much drama.’ Which, my idea may be ‘too much drama.’ He may just respond and say, (or, I imagine him to-he’s said it before) that the end just bothered him and it is natural for one to think about what could have been. If so, then I won’t respond back to him as it shows no effort.

    Thank you much,


    1. James Nelmondo

      Hey again,

      From what I gather, he tends to like to end his messages in commas rather than full stops. I.E

      it is natural for one to think about what could have been

      As if somehow feelings and lives cannot be altered after the fact, and….

      maybe we can catch up sometime.

      Same deal. A comma, it begs clarification. Is it a yes, or is it a no? I can understand the frustration given the variables involved, and not knowing what his intentions are. However, at the same time these messages also demonstrate a fundamental unwillingness to consider your half of the emotional equation IMO. I don’t know him, and thus I can’t begin to judge him, but on the face of things it seems to me as if so far, the record shows that he isn’t showing much effort if reconciliation is his goal. IF, it is his goal.

      I say this because you asked what I believe, and I’ll take that at face value as long as you consider it food for thought, and nothing more.

      I’d say you could force clarity by sending him that message. But forcing clarity is an absolute, it’s an attitude, it means taking a non-answer as a “no”. If he fails to reply, that IS an answer. If he avoids the question, that too is an answer. If you’re willing to paint a grey area in black and white I’d say go for it (assuming the pain of further confusion doesn’t outweigh the pain of not knowing either way). Otherwise is just goes on and on. Reconciliation is hard work, agreeing to be honest via text should be a relatively easy first step (compared to what comes later). It shouldn’t require you to constantly initiate and seek clarity.

      You’ve mentioned finding a modicum of peace before this entire debacle resurfaced, so at some level you know that you don’t need to risk it. I, personally, wouldn’t send it. I think you’ve been clear enough regarding your intentions as is. Certainly accommodating and accessible enough to warrant him taking another step should he have the motivation to.

      Having said that I can see why you’d feel the need to send it, and hedge your bets. The payoff may be worth the risk.

  3. C.M.

    Hey James,

    Awesome feedback, thank you. I truly feel that he won’t find happiness until he knows what he wants, puts forth the effort, and removes his ambiguous ways. However, I could be very wrong.
    Absolutely- I don’t feel as though he is considering my emotional perspective on the matter. All along, as he kept telling me, I felt it was me who was unable to communicate effectively, or understand his output. I’m not saying that I’m good with communication, or interpretation, but I try to get better at it. It’s nice to know that my confusion is warranted.
    So true- I’ve known him to ‘tell the truth’ with omissions. IMO that’s still lying, and disrespectful, and too many mind games.

    Is there anything that I could say so that I don’t look like such a pansy? With all that he did, and my making it that easy to dismiss, he’s certainly not going to respect me any more. However, I don’t do games (at least I hope not) and I can’t hold onto the hurt and anger. I feel that what he did is a reflection of him, and not me (in essence).

    I can’t help but feel that he did this, in part, to get what he wanted (me to tell him not to worry about it so it wasn’t on his conscience any longer), and to keep me wondering, so that I would pursue. Why do you feel that he waited almost three years after the ending to contact me?

    I appreciate your input, and telling me what you believe. It’s great to get an objective view. I promise that I won’t take it more than food for thought.

    Thank you!

    1. James Nelmondo

      Is there anything that I could say so that I don’t look like such a pansy?

      I don’t want to sound cliché, but risking being open and facing what might be extremely painful is the exact opposite of that. Which is what the majority of this whole conversation is about. I wouldn’t worry about appearing weak or needy, do it for yourself, not as a way of gaining validation from him. Go ahead and ask. If you ask your concerns pointedly, regardless of what the reaction may be, you get the answers you need (though not necessarily the ones you may want).

      Secondly, you mentioned him being rude and distant the first time around when you tried to communicate, and that you kind of hated yourself for it. Well guess what, despite that, here he is again. In the long run he will remember that you tried, and cared enough to try, even if in the short term he get’s his ego boost and feels free to explore his “multitude” of options. Attempting to use people is short term relief that leads to long term regret.

      Additionally, if all it takes is you demonstrating that you care to push him away then — well — yea… It doesn’t really bode well, but again, that too is an answer that you will want to know, regardless of how painful it is.

      Why do you feel that he waited almost three years after the ending to contact me?

      The grass is rarely ever greener. Perhaps he is/was stuck in a drought and believes you to be a source of comfort now that he’s stuck in an emotional vacuum. Perhaps he’s genuinely regretful and time has brought a measure of clarity. I don’t know. What I do know is that the idea that we move on entirely is often a myth. If we love someone enough we carry it with us, and it can still hurt — regardless of how much time has passed.

  4. C.M.

    I’m thinking only of the superficial aspect and what I look like. You’re right, what matters is that I try, or tried. My mind has been on the fence all day about whether or not to email him. I don’t know if I will be content unless I do. Do you have any suggestions on what to say to him? For some reason, I’m nervous.
    Your advice and all of your time is really appreciated. Thank you.

    1. James Nelmondo

      I personally don’t like dealing with texts or emails, given how easy it is to hide intention by being faceless. I’d probably take him up on his catch up offer and see how he reacts.

      If that’s a bit too much I’d just go with telling him how you feel, rather than attempting to snag an answer out of him. If he is half-way interested it should give him enough confidence to open up as well. If not, then at the very least you’ve got it out there and you’re done playing games and tearing yourself up with anxiety.

  5. C.M.

    Very true! Thinking back, and the way he treated me, I do feel that I was accommodating and did nothing that would keep him from from contacting me. If I decide to say anything, it will be how I feel (just like you said) and let it go. If I hear from him then I do, and I’ll go from there. If not, or his message is still confusing, then I’m just going to drop it.
    You really helped me clear out the confusion. Thank you. I feel much better about the situation. I’ll let you know if anything happens.
    Thanks much!

  6. C.M.

    I hope you keep on writing your articles! I can’t wait for the next one! Well, I ended up letting him know how I felt and here’s what I got… Please let me know what you think. It’s pretty much the same thing.

    He said that he hopes I’m doing well as I come up in his thoughts often. He wishes things didn’t end so full of contention. It weighs on his heart. We went through some hard times together. Then he goes on to say that he wishes he could just talk to his dad and that there are so many things he would have done differently. Then the reason he sent the pictures of the cats-he thought I would enjoy seeing them again. To my question asking if there was anything I could do to help with the loss of his dad, he says -there really isn’t anything you can do but thank you for the offer. Then he said life is short and the way it ended bothered me, I’m sure you’ve moved on with new relationships etc but I still didn’t want hard feelings. Then, it’s human nature to remember the good times and diminish the bad and wonder what could have been. Then, losing my dad made me think about your loss too. Then-so, that is why.

    I still don’t get it?
    Thank you!

    1. James Nelmondo

      Ouch, well that’s frustrating. Clearly there are a lot of mixed messages here, from bringing up you relationship status indirectly to wondering what could have been. At the same time though he does offer some rationale that transcends the desire to reconcile, namely that of being grief-stricken in a more general sense. In all probability it’s a little of both.

      You’re right, nothing’s really changed. Given the response, I do get the impression you asked for clarification rather than telling him how you feel. Nothing wrong with that of course, and who am I to judge, it’s just that he seems to answering a series of questions that allow him to skirt around the edges of a yes/no type answer. Given how he seems to be rooted in multi-faceted grief, I can see why doing so would be difficult, because it might force him in a corner.

      It boils down to either upping the ante again, or giving him the space to figure it out (and risk him drifting away). Sorry to sound like Captain Obvious, but I can’t see an easy way of interpreting this one C.M!

  7. C.M.

    Thank you! I told him that the ambiguity made it hard to respond as I was afraid of getting hurt again. You’re right, I choked. I just gotta tell myself that if I want to know, screw my pride, I have to go for it.

    I always felt as if I was the one who was more serious about the relationship, and in the end he was upset we were never final. I don’t believe there’s a need to throw his words back at him, but I still want to respect decisions made (or this is my excuse for a safety net). However, he opened it up-in a way-to override that.

    If his dad passed away a year and a half ago, I’m wondering if the reason he’s reaching out now is due to a drought- since he didn’t reach out earlier than this. I guess I just don’t know what to do.

    I remember him saying that all of his ex girlfriends chased after him after it was over. I didn’t do that, well, not the last time we broke up anyway.

    I don’t want to make him feel obligated or like he doesn’t meet expectations, etc. I just need to tell him that I still miss him and love him, and for whatever his reasons are for contacting me, hope he is able to do so without apprehension.

    By the same token, I told him (previously) that he was my world, that I forgave him-and no worries-and I didn’t know if he was reaching out or getting stuff off of his chest-and received no response.

    Well, I’ve learned that being made a fool is only perception and is temporary. Sorry for all the back and forth indecisiveness. Thank you much! Wish me luck! I’ll let you know what happens.

    Have you thought about writing a book-or two!? I really think you should

    1. James Nelmondo

      I think that deep inside many people think that “the world is a small place” and eventually fate may intervene in bringing long lost loves together. The truth, of course, is that this can happen (we all know a couple that reunited by chance years later), but usually doesn’t, and the loss of his father MAY have reminded him of this principle. That things can end irrevocably without recourse. That without risking exposure he risks losing it all, for whatever reason. Perhaps because you fall for someone else, for instance.

      Now, granted, I am not a psychologist, I say this as an average Joe because I recognize this in myself. With this in mind, keeping a baseline of contact would make sense in terms of comforting for him. But ultimately it will take more than fate, and it isn’t really your prerogative here to do the dirty work. There’s a good chance he may well be weighing the costs of rejection and hope — as you are.

      all of his ex girlfriends chased after him after it was over

      Again, another reason why he’s probably never realized how raw the feeling of reaching a point of no return might actually be (until now).

      Thanks for the compliments once again, I love writing but wouldn’t know where to start. A book is far too generic to deal with relationships IMO, since the context and personal history vary so greatly, and are immensely important!

      Best of luck!

  8. C.M.

    That’s true, I didn’t think of that. When I was devastated ‘The End’ consumed me, but I had to get to a place where I could function again. Since then I believe I tried to block it out of my mind.
    I totally agree, I too feel that it isn’t my place to do the dirty work, and I guess maybe I am. Maybe I should wait a bit longer for him to be done with his analysis. However, then I risk drifting, but so does he. Should I want peace of mind, I think I need to tell him how I feel (this time I will :).

    Thank you for ‘listening’ via words and for your luck wish! I need it!

    You’re welcome! I think it would be nice for you to get paid for all of your time, and for all of the work that you do.

  9. LovemyNarc

    Read loads of your articles in last few days obsessively lol – good stuff! You know what you’re talking about and you give valuable insights in your comment replies. Thank you for that. Clarity and understanding “why” really helps a lot (tears were rolling down my face some days like the tear tap was broken lol But halfway reading through your great explanations made me stop crying and feel like I have control over my own life ! So cudos to you for producing stuff that stops women crying :)
    I’ve never asked a question before publicly – this is my first time but let me try to be concise.
    The guy who dated me on & off for over 3 years made weird type of contact yesterday: he mustve seen I blocked him on social nedia & panicked and created a new profile and contacted me from there pretending to be his own new GF, asking questions. Only I recognised his speech pattern ( I know my guy’s everything! Been with him for over 3 years and he was the Apple of my eye (I try to be cool around him but always ended up staring at him with pure love lol)
    My reply was “insert ny guy’s name” ? Never heard of him. My ex the narcissist didn’t need to be asked twice to elaborate just to hook me into a conversation.
    I got mad because of the horrible way he’s treated me during last break up ( we had over ten in 2 years, each time worse. But both missed each other and hurt like hell and after a month or two apart always fell back together, stronger)
    I wrote him that I knew it was him and why hide behind imaginary GF and deliberately try to upset me by getting me jealous – not cool.
    That he’s had too many chances and I was done with him and not to contact me again because of how he was cruel during breakup and names he called me and told me he felt nothing for me and never wanted to speak to nevagaib then disappeared.

    He immediately blocked me but later unblocked me (I can tell on that app I have)

    I didn’t mean it I just wanted him to openly contact me as himself & say sorry for how he behaved. I found the pretend GF asking questions route disrespectful & manipulative : aimed at upsetting me while hiding behind the mask wherehe can feign ignorance of the whole scenario.

    I then checked on a dating site where his profile was deactivated for the last 6 weeks while we were broken up and its reactivated again. That broke my heart and I wrote to him on that fake profile how much he hurt me and that I saw his true colours and was never coming back. I burnt all the bridges. As I was writing last msg he (or “she”) came online saw msgs and blocked me seconds later.

    I called that number but they didn’t pick up.

    I don’t get what he wanted to achieve by doing this: fake new GF contacting me then reacting the way he did, going on a dating site (he didn’t go for last six weeks so if he misses me & wants me back, why chat to other women? We broke up because I’d that exact reason many times before! He knows if I find out which I always do, I wont come back !

    Or is it possible there was a new GF contacting me? (I felt it was him. The way he was switching between profiles matched timewise)

    If he cares why can’t he call and say sorry for how he treated me?

    There were several silent calls from withheld number – what does he want? Me to chase him? Won’t happen.
    Why contact me now?
    Because I blocked all his other numbers and profiles?
    Have you ever come across men faking having a new GF and why?
    I still love him & want him back but I want him to respect me.
    His sister has been in contact with me the whole time but he doesn’t know.
    He has a lovely family and they were kind to me the few times he took me to his house. I love them all.
    What does he want & did I scare him off for good?
    Thank you in advance
    Your opinion matters to me

    1. James Nelmondo

      Hey there, thanks for the kind words!

      I can’t say that I’ve personally met men who create fake girlfriends in order to extract information (if it is him — although why he’d have a girlfriend and reactivate his dating profile should ring alarm bells in the best of cases), though as far as I’m concerned it seems like just-another-way of alleviating pain albeit egotistically (because the way in which he attempts to fill the void hurts you). Speaking of pain, I do feel that — reading the entirety of your comment — it is pain that is causing much of the push and pull, yours included.

      It’s a vicious cycle, if you block his numbers (just on example), your intention and the result rarely ever match. I get that it is a way for you to push him to take responsibility and demonstrate a pebble of commitment, but at the same time he might take it the wrong way. If he feels that you are legitimately done it creates a barrier to honest communication, because he may feel that reaching out will only end in further rejection and pain. And given the pain he may already be in, it may be too much to handle. Hence the ridiculous manipulation; it is a safer way to feel the waters without risking direct rejection. So in a sense, you are both feeding each other’s pain (his mind games and manipulation on one side, and your efforts to protect yourself and get him to step up on the other).

      Given the way this cycle works, it will only get worse before it gets better, or, unless both decide to drop the act. The longer the games go on, the higher the walls needed to protect ourselves from pain become.

      Right, so having said that I also agree that while it may easy to say all this, dealing with it is understandably hard. You can’t force him to be honest, and may rightly feel it is no longer your job to be direct, and risk emotionally, again. As you say, this is a way to know whether or not he respects you — and I agree. The point is though, there’s nothing you can really do to make this happen, but I do think that dropping the resentment would help (again, I’m not judging and I’m certainly not saying it isn’t warranted, but if you want to reconcile, there needs to be some sort of amnesty or communication becomes impossible).

      What I’m trying to say is that this downward spiral of fear and resentment needs to stop, because unless it does, it will just feed on itself until the distance between you is too large. I’m not saying you should proclaim unconditional love and risk further scars, but I would let him know in a direct way that if he wants to talk you are more than happy to oblige, and leave it at that. Easier said than done? Check. Nevertheless…

      It sounds to me as if he is playing games, because he may be fearful of what being direct and subsequently rejected might do to him, but — as they say — if you don’t want play, stop playing. These poorly veiled games of his are designed to get a reaction out of you, and they have been successful in their own way. Bad press is better than no press!

  10. LovemyNarc

    Just to add, we are no teens, in our midthirties both said we are each others first true love. That keeps breaking : I get jealous suspecting he talks to other women, and breakvuo with him. Then we both avoid each other and pine. It goes in cycles and I wanna breakvtgw cycle. When we are together it’s amazing! We still feel the honeymoon spark after all this time. Why does he say rejecting things he doesn’t mean? Then suffers without me (he told me every time after we got back together)
    Did he try to reconcile? Test waters? Play some stupid game with me?
    I don’t understand. Why can’t he just apologize and ask to Start again ? is it Ego in the way ?

  11. C.M.

    Hi James,
    It’s me again. Well, here goes… through another I found out that the reason he did not ask questions or state intentions was to avoid communication with me/get me to pursue. He just wanted to say he was sorry and move on, so he no longer had to feel bad about what he did to me if I didn’t follow along. He included his father’s passing to get me to respond. He knew that I would probably say ‘don’t worry about it,’ for his apology. I feel used, hurt and disrespected, but I am not surprised that was his intention all along. I guess when he stated ‘maybe we should catch up sometime,’ he was trying to get me to take the bait and pursue him for sake of his ego-maybe for non-committal sex too- (at the ending he was upset that we were never final-we broke up and got back together a few times). I don’t know if he is with someone or not. I guess he stated to this other person that if he can treat me like that and cheat on me, and I still responded to him with ‘no worries’ that he isn’t the arse after all. I should have followed my gut and completely ignored his email to begin with. I did find out that one of my girl friends, sent him a letter with her ‘piece of mind’ right after we broke up. I was unaware of this. I guess she told him all about himself. I appreciate her sticking up for me, but I wish she wouldn’t have done it. I would love to hear your input. This is a pisser!
    Thank you!

    1. James Nelmondo

      Hey C.M

      Ouch. Sorry to hear about the mess. Regardless of how egotistic his actions may be, it seems clear that he continues to feel that you are an accessible source of comfort (whether that’s an emotional safety blanket, casual sex, or whatever else). There is one positive to this though, and that is that you remain firmly in control of all this.

      At the end of the day it doesn’t really matter what he wants, but whether or not you are prepared to give, and under what conditions. I’d say you did the right thing by unconditionally forgiving though, not for his sake, but for yours. If nothing else, it gives him fewer cards to play and whittles away his reasons for contacting you outside of reconciling. So, if he wants to work his way towards using you in a moment of weakness for personal gain he’s left with very few credible avenues now, isn’t he?

      As painful as the situation is, at least you know the long and short of it, rather than continue to daydream about a future together that might not exist. Again, it sucks, but you are holding all the keys and are in control of all the variables. He wants all these freebies from you, but how is he going to get them? And if can’t, what then? That’s when you get the clearer picture — third-party gossip aside.

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