The quote you included in last week's column really resonated with me, "Advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer but wish we didn't." (Erica Jong). I think the logic in that quote is so spot on, it could be deemed scary. At least it scares me, and I think if we all looked at ourselves for a minute with that realization in mind we might be hit with a heavy wall of reality.
Anyway, that's what happened to me last Friday after reading your column.
As much as we don't want to ever admit it, love is the center and ultimate goal in each person's life. We crave love so deeply that we surrender often our dignity in the name of keeping harmony and feeling loved.
So I'm with this guy. I use the word with because it's more accurate than calling it dating or seeing each other. We have an established home life, we have loads of fun and have the same friends. He's generally, and we're generally, vibrating at the same chord.
One thing is lacking though. I don't trust him, and I know my lack of trust is not paranoia, or nerves, or fear of loss. I don't trust him because he doesn't trust himself and, well, it terrifies me. I know he's not faithful all the time ... help.
I need you to tell me the things I already know. I need your advice.
– I'm addicted to my blinders
This does seem like the recurring tragegy of human nature, past, present, and future. Movies are made around this struggle and books dissect it, but mostly it drives most sane people like us nuts.
Thank you for being humble enough to realize you have the answer to your problem. Not many people have that self-awareness.
It's a volatile problem, and the scarist part of it, in it's essence, is that you are powerless ... zero control. You have control to end your situation or relationship, but you have no influence in getting the real problem fixed. It's out of your hands, given that you are a loving, engaging, gentle, and honorable partner yourself.
Here's the tough reality though, without trust your world is being held together by a string, a really really weak string that's on it's way out.
Here's a little ancedote for you – I have a beautiful, smart, funny, interesting, and kind friend who is literally loved by everyone. She's attractive to men, loved by parents, and a selfless friend. Translation she would be the world's best girlfriend or wife. You know what though? She's almost chronically alone. She's had four real relationships with guys who seemed to be great, with nine out of 10 "he's great to be with" boxes checked. Yet, they could not be trusted.
Her heart has been broken far too many times, she stayed in those flawed relationships far too long and she's still healing. Many people give her a hard time, ask her out on dates, and crave her attention but she's closed off.
Moral of the story? Her distance is completely normal. She realizes now she needed a little more self respect, and less fear of loss. She needed to own her own happiness and not let it be a function of someone else's affection. She'll be OK but she's bruised and her scars are still fresh.
What I'd say is this – try not to let another day go by without serious a self-evaluation. Your man will continue to assume his flaws, it's his work to do, not yours. News Flash: We can't change people, people can only change themselves. Maybe you standing up for that honor and giving the relationship space will allow him that needed stimulus to evolve.
Easier said than done, especially if you are generally happy. I'd challenge you to be selfish for a bit. You sound very selfless.
Without trust there is nothing. What you think is strong has no foundation. And often standing on your own two feet for a while is one of the most stable positions you can be in. You sound to strong to take on and own someone else's weaknesses.
I can't help but wonder maybe he is just the right guy for you, with a little work, on his own. That's for him to take on. Also you know the age old saying, "We don't know what we have till it's gone."
Give him a reality check, it's the most loving thing you could do. That's real love.