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Brenna_o's avatar

How do I become comfortable with relationships again?

Asked by Brenna_o (1754points) January 3rd, 2010

I have had three bad relationships in the past 4 years. First used me, second forced me, third cheated on me.. I was just wondering what you would do to overcome all the bad stuff that has happened in the past? I now like somebody, and he likes me aswell but I am having a hard time excepting that he likes me. Also he says he would never hurt me like the others how can I come to believe him?

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28 Answers

john65pennington's avatar

Before i made a move with this new person, i would ask his friends what they think of him. his friends will tell you the truth. if he does not want to give you the names of his friends, this should tell you something from the beginning. hope it works out.john

phillis's avatar

When I was having problem after problem like this, I had to face the fact that I had crap taste in men, and that it was indeed MY fault I was going through this kind of misery. I got so SICK of being unappreciated and not loved as much as I loved them, that it drove me to explore what the problem really was.

Here’s a huge hint for you: If you are loving them with every fiber in your being, and it’s never enough for them to appreciate you and love you back equally, then you don’t belong in that relationship. It’s a mismatch.

TLRobinson's avatar

@phillis-wow! You’re never too old or young for that sage wisdom.

phillis's avatar

Thank you! How I gained that insight is a lot more embarrasing than the point I am now. Humility at it’s finest :)

gailcalled's avatar

@Brenna_o: Your profile says that you are sixteen. Three bad relationships over the past four years is a lot for someone so young. Perhaps it is time to start examining your needs and choices before finding yet another guy. “First used me, second forced me, third cheated on me” is another way of saying that you allowed this to happen each time.

As a mother of a daughter, I would advise you strongly to do some self-examination before looking for a partner. Find a therapist or counselor and do some work on yourself.

TLRobinson's avatar

@phillis- I love a good story; do tell! You’re secret is safe here.

gailcalled's avatar

Remember that we are trying to help 16 year old Brenna. How about chatting privately?^^

broncosgirl's avatar

First, love yourself. You need to learn that you are a wonderful, funny, great person who deserves the best. You have to believe that! These people obviously weren’t appreciative of the wonderful woman you are. Unfortunately, we often get our hearts broken when we are young (or any time really), but it is the way we learn what we want out of a partner and what we are willing to give to a partner. You have lots of time to learn these things, you are young :) Best of luck to you, we have all been in a position where we have lost trust in others…but you will get in back I am sure :)

skillcapes7's avatar

Plain and simple, be there when he needs you so that he can value you in every little way, but most importantly – learn from your mistakes.

phillis's avatar

Small type all that?! I’m not sure I can! I had poor self-esteem. I chose men who mirrored that. Thier treatment of me was in direct correlation to how I felt about myself. Growing up abused, I was comfortable with being abused, even though I knew it was wrong, intellectually. I had to learn boundaries and appropriate responses, which I hadn’t learned when I was a child. basically, I was a complete wreck (but don’t tell anyone. This is private stuff. Hehehe!)

It took me YEARS to crawl out of it…...about 20 years! Introspection was always accompanied by self-loathing, making progress excrutiatingly slow, because I hadn’t ever known that loving one’s self existed, either.That really sucked, and ate up most of that 20 years. In the end, I had to give up the one thing for which I gave oscar-worthy performances – playing the victim. Man! I could whine with the best of them.

This meant that, not only did I have to be willing to say goodbye to anything and everything that was familiar (even if it WAS disturbingly negative), I had to go on blind faith that this bullshit story of happiness actually existed. Since I’ve never been able to buy into the whole Pollyanna outlook, I viewed it as more of an experiment. I was prepared for tha answer to go either way, but I was determined to find out the truth, one way or the other. Does love really exist, or does it not? The answer is either YES or NO.

It wasn’t until much later that I was introduced to the idea of loving yourself. That has been a great adventure, and an empowering, and (dare I say it) cosmic experience. There ya have it.

TLRobinson's avatar

@gailcalled- and she can’t learn from someones experience, their “story”? That’s the best kind of help

gailcalled's avatar

@TLRobinson: Theraputically, I would disagree. It is best to deal with one’s own story when you are in emotional turmoil.

It is similar to “Let me tell you about MY operation.” Interesting perhaps but not right now.

TLRobinson's avatar

Thanks @Phillis- that helped me and hopefully Brenna!

wundayatta's avatar

Building trust is one of the most complex human activities there is. It can only be done in small steps, taking one risk at a time, each a little more risky than the one before. Do not suddenly throw your trust at this young man. I know that the feelings of love can be overwhelming, and under their power, you may want to go all out. Your love can not lead you wrong, right?

Well you’ve learned that is not the case three times over now. Love is impulsive, but it is not wise. Love does not always lead you to the “one.” Often love is hormones and excitement and lust. In fact, love is like a drug, chemically speaking, and it does cloud your judgment.

How can you keep your judgment, yet feel what you feel? Well, your experience will help you here. You already know how three guys have seduced you. You should know some of the signs that something is wrong. But the best thing to do is to go slow. Spend a lot of time with your suitor. Come to know his past. Watch how he deals with his present. Is he kind to people? Does he have a temper? Does he plan or is he impulsive? Does he think about the future, or only the now?

You must watch what he does. How does he spend his time? How does he relate to his family? Does he tell others about you, or does he hide you? Does he tell you what he plans to do, or does he seem to be hiding things? How open is he? How good is he at communicating?

Go slowly. Resist the urge to jump into a new relationship with both feet. Watch. In this way, you can slowly feel like you know him, and slowly build trust. Trust is a two way street, and he should be interested in finding out about you just as you are interested in him. If he appears not to care—watch out.

Finally, know that time heals all wounds. As you grow in age and experience, you will be able to reflect and learn more from your experience. This new relationship may not go anywhere. Don’t worry. Eventually you will figure it out, and find a man who fits well with you. So be patient. You don’t have to do this all at once.

phillis's avatar

Listening to others, viewing/judging thier responses, and applying tha familiar parts to your own stories is what makes group dynamics a preferred form of therapy for all age groups. You don’t drop a testicular cancer patient in the middle of an AA meeting, for instance, because there is no common bond.

phillis's avatar

@TLRobinson No problem! You can’t expect somebody else to always be the first to open up. People are afraid. Opening up about my own not-so-pretty insides has done a lot for other folks, so to me, it’s worth it. Plus, it makes those monsters in the closet not look nearly so big and bad when you fling open the door on them! Life is too short to live cowering in fear. It takes up too much time.

Thank you, gailcalled :)

Brenna_o's avatar

I dont get how I can love myself when I feel like total crap.. I dont know why I do but I just do. I feel like I wont find a guy that will love me for me.

phillis's avatar

Not liking the things you do is totally different than not liking yourself, Brenna. That’s two different things. You are not the sum of your mistakes. There are many facets that make up Brenna. It’s why we are all unique. If you choose not to separate those two, you run the risk of staying miserable forever.

gailcalled's avatar

@Brenna_o: Start by reminding yourself that having a guy love or want to have sex with you is not the definition of who you are. You begin discovering, with help, why you feel like crap at 16. I cannot imagine, at that age, unraveling all that by myself. Ditch the idea of a boyfriend until you have more understanding of how you got to be you.

Did you have a traumatic childhood? What is your relationship with mother, dad, siblings like?

A therapist can help you to understand why you feel like “total crap,” since you said that you “don’t know why you feel that way.” Those are powerful statements and not good for your emotional growth and health.

As phillis has so wisely told us, we all take that journey by a slightly different path. Sometimes the wheels get stuck in the ruts.

Brenna_o's avatar

@gailcalled My childhood was somewhat traumatic. (all though I have heard of worse childhoods) My mother decided that she wanted to do foster care, so I was introduced to children beeing beaten and abused at about 6yrs old. My parents both grew very fond of two kids inparticular and they set out to adopt them. I didnt understand why my parents would want to take another mothers kids away from her because I was soo young. I saw it as she was being mean to her.
Also I dod not understand why only some kids got beat and I was totally fine except the occasional smack on the butt. I never got bruised but they did. This totally broke my heart at only 6yrs old but I kept it too myself.
Once we got attached to them and were going to adopt their mother had another kid and my mom decided that she could not handle 7 kids. So long story short we did not adopt them, then when they left my heart was broken yet again because we had them for 2½ years.
Then at 8yrs old my Mom and Dad told me she was pregnant and we would get a new brother or sister soon. Then she mis carried and we were all devastated… Then she soon got pregnant again and I now have a little brother..
It was pretty traumatic for me…
I think I feel like total crap cause of everything Ive been through, but Im not totally sure about it. I dont even know where to find the path that will tell me who I am. Ive searched but all roads have came to dead ends. I dont get how all these women in society find themselves and get rich, have kids, get fancy houses, and the works. What am I doing wrong? Or does everyone go through this?

gailcalled's avatar

Your childhood sounds very traumatic. Don’t compare it to others. Deal with your problems; they are serious. Find someone trained whom you can talk with. Therapist, Social Worker, School Counsellor, Paster, Minister, Rabbi, etc.

You are thinking about the right issues but going around in circles. Happiness does not necessarily equate with wealth, society, kids, and fancy houses. Misery exists everywhere.

One of my favorite poets, Mary Oliver, said in The Summer Day:

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?”

phillis's avatar

How willing are you to talk to someone in real life about this, Brenna?

Brenna_o's avatar

I dont really wanna talk face to face with someone about it. I dont wanna be told I gotta take all these meds then find out10yrs later I lost 10yrs of my life to stupid meds and pointless conversation with a stranger…

gailcalled's avatar

Therapists do not prescribe meds for issues of traumatic childhood. (They legally have to send you to a Psychiatrist for an RX.)

If you start out by assuming that therapy is “a pointless conversation with a stranger,” then you are right back where you started.

You have gotten a lot of sensible advice from people w. experience w. emotional pain.

Your solutions have not worked; ignore us if you please, but don’t ask the question again.

That answer ^^ sounds very uninformed.

Brenna_o's avatar

What I dont see is what therapy would do? Wouldnt the person just tell me close to the same thing you guys have said??

gailcalled's avatar

The therapist LISTENS TO YOU. You spell out the issues of your life. It takes time; it takes a therapist you trust. I’m signing off now. Good luck.

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