The term “ghosting” refers to when someone you believe cares about or is at least interested in you, suddenly stops contacting you or responding to your efforts to reach out to them. It could be someone you’ve been on a few dates with, talked to everyday for the last couple of weeks through texting or even someone you considered to be a potential serious partner.
Ghosting can happen gradually, such as messages and phone calls becoming less and less frequent, or most commonly ghosting can happen suddenly with the person appearing to have simply dropped off the face of the Earth and vanished as the term implies.
Although the term may be new, ghosting itself is definitely not. People have been getting ghosted probably since the beginning of time, but with more people meeting and connecting online, it’s become easier to ghost other people, therefore, increasing the odds that you will get ghosted.
With more people meeting online and more people caring out a large part of their relationships online and through messaging, ghosting people today doesn’t have the same social consequences it used to have. If you ghost someone today, it’s less likely that you share a lot of the same friends and social connections, so disappearing on them doesn’t impact other parts of your world.
Being Ghosted Usually Isn’t About you
When have invested your time, energy and emotions into another person and then they suddenly drop out of your life, it can be very puzzling and even devastating, especially to those who already have self-esteem problems.
However, people tend to ghost other people because of their own emotional discomfort, lack of emotional intelligence and inability to communicate. They rarely think about how it will make the other person feel which is why ghosting can come off as a very selfish, cold and narcissistic act.
People often ghost when they don’t know how to say what they want so they just disappear because to them that is easier than having the conversation. Many times people get scared in a relationship so they leave or they may not think it is that serious so they don’t feel like they owe the other person anything, especially an explanation to why they are no longer interested. Definitely as I stated before, the online dating culture where we have less real life social connections, makes it easier to just stop communicating without giving any type of closure to the other person.
Men are notorious for ghosting, but it happens to us to. The more someone has been ghosted, the more likely they are to ghost someone in return. I’ve been ghosted a couple of times and it has always taken me by surprise because I thought the other person and I had a relationship where we would at least be friends, and then they were gone.
How Does it Feel To Be Ghosted?
If you have never been ghosted before, and I hope you never will be, I can tell you from my experience that it initially left me in shock and disbelief. I was angry because I felt like I had a great connection with someone. It was as if they had died, but they hadn’t. It was very painful and made me feel disrespected as if I wasn’t even good enough to have the conversation with. It made me feel disposable, especially the second time it happened. I feel like I could never just disappear on a person I supposedly cared about, so it made me question how could people do that to me? What was it about me that made me not worth even giving closure to? It felt like torture, being unsure of exactly what happened to both the relationship and the person. Of course you get over it and move on, but only after you gather yourself up off the floor.
Why Does Being Ghosted Hurt So Bad?
For some people, being ghosted may not hurt very much. They may be able to let go and move on easier than other people. They may understand that in this day and age, people tend to be less attached and see ghosting as a byproduct of dating.
For most people, being ghosting hurts. It feels disrespectful and creates questions and doubts about themselves and relationships.
Ghosting hurts because it’s a form of social rejection that triggers emotional pain. It hurts because it’s the ultimate silent treatment and in relationships, the silent treatment is considered emotional abuse. It hurts because it’s a passive-aggressive act that is psychologically and emotionally cruel. It hurts because we typically don’t see it common. It’s as if the rug were pulled from under our feet.
As I said in the beginning of this post, being ghosted has nothing to do with you. What it tells you is that the other person is too immature to have a mature healthy relationship and that they don’t know how to deal with their own emotions, or yours… or even worse, are too narcissistic, immature or selfish to care about your feelings. In any case, they are not someone you want to be in a relationship with. Do not allow being ghosted to make you question your worthiness or become jaded when it comes to relationships.It’s not about you, no matter how personal it may feel.
What I Learned From Dating Someone With Borderline Personality Disorder
Not too long ago I was madly in love with a beautiful, charismatic and outgoing woman. She was funny, sexy and seemed to be the center of attention wherever we went. She also had Borderline Personality Disorder.
When we first met, this was not something I picked up on right away. She appeared to be everything I was looking for in a girlfriend. She was extroverted, independent and most of all fun. Her laugh and smile were infectious. She was the opposite of my quiet, reserved and introverted self. She was what I thought I needed in my life. Someone different than the women I usually dated. Different from myself.
In The Beginning
Things with us started off fast and intense. We went from getting to know each other, to being intimate, falling in love and living together in just a few weeks. She went out of her way to shower me with love and attention. It made me feel special, especially in comparison to my last relationship where I often felt neglected. She made me feel like no other woman had ever made me feel before or since.
What I didn’t realize was that part of what I was experiencing is what is called love bombing. Love bombing is when someone tries to influence a person with demonstrations of love and affection. They usually do this by going overboard with efforts of love and admiration. It’s a way to quickly leap frog over the getting to know you, courting stage in a relationship and get to the “I love you” stage and it worked.
I had never fallen for someone so intensely so fast, which is why I think I didn’t see some of the red flags I should have or, as a therapist, realize what I was getting into. Love and beauty have a way of blinding us.
As a mental health counselor, I have a habit, good or bad, of always analyzing people and a month into our relationship I started thinking that she might have bipolar disorder. I started recognizing that she had some mood instability and for some reason, that’s where my mind took me, but after awhile I dismissed that altogether because she simply didn’t meet the criteria. Still, I knew there was something I needed to pay close attention to, I just wasn’t sure what it was.
Inappropriate and Intense Anger
I remember the first fight we had, it was over something very trivial and should have just been a conversation, but instead she EXPLODED! I mean her eyes narrowed, face turned red, nostrils flared. She got so angry so quickly that it scared me and I feared for my safety. What shocked me the most was that the intensity of her anger was way out of proportion to the situation.
I don’t like to fight, I don’t like to argue. When I realized how volatile that situation became over something so small, I should have left and never looked back. That was actually my plan, but later that evening she came back and apologized. We made up. I loved her after all and maybe part of my “you can fix her” thinking kicked in and I actually began to feel sorry for her.
I knew she come from a pretty traumatic childhood, that she went through periods of her life where she felt abandoned and I felt that her blow up was a test to see if she could push me away and I would abandon her too. I decided to prove her wrong and to stay and make it work out. I had the rescuer syndrome going on full strength.
Frantic Efforts to Avoid Real or Imagined Abandonment
After that first explosion, many more followed. She began accusing me of wanting or looking at other women. Out of the blue her entire mood would change and I wouldn’t know why until she was ready to blow up at me for looking at someone I usually had no clue who she was talking about.
I got accused of looking at random women all the time like our waitress, some woman across the street that I never even noticed in the first place or another across the room simply because she was there. As beautiful as she was, she was very insecure.
It got so bad that at one point I found myself walking around with my head down just so I wouldn’t accidentally appear to be looking at another women, but even that didn’t work.
So many dates and even a Valentines Day were ruined by her accusing me of looking at other women and her explosive, increasing inappropriate anger.
And yet there were times when she begged me to never leave her. When I told her this wasn’t working for me and I wanted to break up, she simply replied “no” and then clung to me like a frightened child.
Uncontrollable Anger and Physical Violence
As her angry explosions became increasingly unpredictable (yet predictable), she began to get physically violent. It started with her getting so angry that she would slap me and on at least two occasions she punched me in the face with a closed fist, all the time I was trying to calm her down to keep her from getting even more angry and out of control, which only made things worse.
At the same time, I noticed that she was also getting into conflicts with other people when we went out. Men, women, it didn’t matter. It was as if she had two sides to her; this sweet, outgoing, social butterfly that everyone loved and this angry bitch that everyone hated. Still, the most intense anger and rage were reserved for me.
It got so bad that whenever we went out, no matter how happy we were in the beginning of the evening, there was a 90% chance that by the time the night was over, we’d be fighting over something. I started thinking that she was allergic to having a good day. It was like, the more I tried for us to have a great day, the more I did for her, the more intense her anger would be when she decided it was time to ruin our good time.
She could literally pick a fight out of thin air which made it so much more unpredictable. It was literally, as the cliché goes, like walking on eggshells.
I remember one day we went to the beach, swam in the ocean and I painted her toe nails while laying on a beach blanket. Afterwards we went to the pier and had lunch before driving back home, changing and going to a jazz club. Later that night we stopped on our way home to get something to eat and she started yelling at me (out of the blue) because I hadn’t unfriended her best-friend that she accused of wanting me. The same best friend I knew before I knew her. The same best-friend that had introduced us.
I was so hurt and disappointed that we had such a great day ruined in five minutes by some random thought that came into her head.
I totally ignored and even enabled her substance abuse issues. When we met I knew she smoked, but I didn’t realized she was also a binge drinker and probably an alcoholic.
It seemed ass if she had to constantly be smoking or drinking in order to be marginally happy. She didn’t just drank to get buzzed, she drank to get white girl wasted as they say.
So many weekend nights she drank until she passed out or until she started flirting with everyone or lashing out on everyone with me of course as her favorite target.
One valentines day she drank a whole bottle of wine by her self at dinner and then another at the movie theater and then passed out before the movie even started.
She would promise to stop drinking, but she never did and to be honest, I was usually the one buying her drinks because I knew one or two drinks made her happy, but by the time she got to her fourth drink, she was a loaded gun ready to go off.
It wasn’t uncommon for her to go from happy to infuriated within minutes.
Idealization and Devaluation
Some days she would tell me that I was the best man ever and I would feel like a prince and by the end of the night, she would be enraged over something minor and yelling at me “you’re just like every other man” or telling me how I was the worst person ever.
At first I was really confused. I was either the best man she’d ever been with or the worst man she’d ever been with, but I couldn’t be both. It was starting to give me an identity complex.
I did noticed a pattern however. If she started telling me how I was the love of her life, the best thing that ever happened to her, blah, blah, blah, I needed to hold on tight because by the end of the day, the other shoe was going to drop.
Whenever she started inflating my ego, she would create a fight by the end of the day and tear me back down to scum under her shoes. I remember one night when not too many hours earlier I had been her moon and stars, she yelled at me that she hated and resented me. That really took me aback. In all my life I had never had someone tell me that they resented me. I didn’t even know how to take it, but I never forgot how much it hurt .
Those words were probably the biggest factor in causing me to start emotionally withdrawing and re-evaluating our relationship. Sure this was after we were about three years into this roller-coaster ride, but what can I say, I was in love.
By this time I had known she had borderline personality disorder for over two years. The signs were all there. I even had her take an assessment and she scored perfectly and even agreed with me that she thought she had borderline personality disorder, but she didn’t want to go to therapy.
In The End
My friends, people who knew me and knew us often asked me why did I stay. They didn’t know why I put up with the chaos, the anger, the numerous precarious situations she had put me in.
The answer is love. I really did love her. Being a mental health professional didn’t help. I thought I could help her overcome her issues, helping people is my job. And she really was and is an awesome person. If she was a totally horrible person of course I would have left a long time ago.
Would I have done anything different knowing what I know now? Of course I would. I would have chosen to just be her friend and to keep a safe distance so that I wouldn’t get caught up in the chaos.
I learned a lot through this tumultuous relationship, but mostly about myself. I learned that I was more codependent than I ever realized. I learned that I had a sort of six sense and sort of a curse for spotting people with issues and trying to fix them. I also learned what it was like to be in love with a beautiful woman, to have some of the most fun I’ve ever had in my life, to be adventurous, to feel like I couldn’t live without a person and then learn to live without them.
When it comes to relationships, what we believe about relationships and how they should be plays a major role in how we perceive and behave in them.
We all have preexisting beliefs about how we think relationships should ideally form. Some of those ideals can be very rigid, to the point that they keep us from entering and appreciating otherwise great people because they do not fit into our idealized image.
For example, many people look for that “special someone”, but that “special someone” has to almost perfectly fit into their preexisting beliefs. Maybe he has to be exactly six feett, six inches tall, or she has to have perfect blonde hair or has never been intimate with anyone else.
Even the ideal about the way we meet that “special someone” can influence us.
In college, there were many people I knew who expected to meet their “ideal partner” in school and most didn’t. Many tried hard to make relationships that weren’t compatible work, simply because of their beliefs. Many others left college disappointed, thinking that they will never find true love if it didn’t happen the way they thought it should have, in college so many relationships they entered after school they did so half heartedly and didn’t make much effort in sustaining them, at least initially.
Most of these people subscribed to what is called a destiny belief when it comes to relationships, meaning that they thought people were either meant for each other or not. I too believe in this to some extent, but some people believe in this so much that they believe little to no work has to be done in a relationship because if it were destined to happen, then it would magically just work.
People who have been in successful long term relationships and marriages can tell you that successful relationships take work. They don’t just magically happen. It takes compromising, understanding, negotiating, letting go, determination, love and a host of other tools to make a relationship work.
Most people who understand this and are in happy, long term relationships believe more in a growth belief where relationships have to be cultivated and developed through mutual experiences, which may include conflict. They understand that not everything is always going to be perfect, but even then there are opportunities to communicate, learn and grow with their partner, in their relationship and within themselves.
People who believe more in the destiny belief generally go out of their way to make a good impression during the initial stages of a relationship, and are constantly on the look out for signs that this person may not be “the one” so that they can move on to someone else. This sensitivity to signs that a relationship may not work out very early on can be helpful, but it can also be very detrimental as they often quickly rule out potentially great partners over the smallest of perceived slights or flaws.
For instance, a woman whose ideal mate is always well-kempt, is in a new, promising relationship with someone who is “perfect” so far, notices one day that he has dirty finger nails, may see that as a sign that he is not the man for her and may end the relationship. They belief it is one “perfect” person out there for them and will reject any other partners that are even slightly flawed.
On the other hand, people who believe in growth belief place less emphasize on initial interactions and feelings, but want to develop understanding and closeness overtime to see how compatible they are with an individual. Even when faced with flaws, they will continue to see if they can live with those flaws as the relationship evolves through challenges, difficulties and resolutions.
For example, an argument might break up a couple if both of the individuals are heavily vested in destiny belief, while if both individuals are heavily vested in growth belief, the same argument can help them grow closer.
Both growth belief and destiny belief are viewed on a scale. People can be either high or low on that scale and I am not saying either belief is better. I for one used to be very high on the destiny belief scale, but as I have grown and had different experiences, I am much higher on the growth belief scale with a little destiny belief still in my heart.
I definitely believe in destiny and that some people and relationships are meant to be for one reason or another, but I also believe that without the willingness to work at and grow in a relationship, it most likely will not work. I do not go into a relationship thinking that this person is “perfect” and I don’t have to do anything to make our relationship successful. I go into a relationship thinking, this person seems worth investing my time and energy in (flaws and all)and if it’s destined, we will work out.
How do you feel when it comes to relationships? Are you more on the destiny side or the growth side, and if so, how high or low are you on those scales?
I don’t really like talking to other peoples kids about sex although as a counselor in a high school it’s something that inevitably happens.
I wrote earlier about talking to preteens about sex, but I’m finding that many teens have never had the “sex talk” with their parents beyond their parents threatening to kick them out or disown them if they ever got pregnant (although I’ve never known a parent to actually follow through with either threat).
However, because many teens don’t feel like they can talk to their parents about sex, they are getting their information from some very unreliable sources which usually leaves them unprepared mentally and emotionally for the complexities of sexual activity and vulnerable to sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy and even abuse.
Last Monday I was counseling a young teenage girl who had just turned 15. She admitted to me nearly a year ago that she not only was having sex, but had been with several partners, most of them not even her boyfriends but guys she was friends with or guys she just liked.
Well now she has a new boyfriend who is a virgin, and although they have been together for a several weeks (which is forever for teenagers), they are thinking about having sex.
Let’s call her Trisha and her boyfriend Zac.
Because Zac is a virgin and apparently has a better relationship with his parents, he told them about him and Trisha’s plans to have sex. Zac’s mom was a little upset, but realistic and instead of scorning her son, she talked to him about sex and protection, a very good call. What she did next however, I’m not so sure how I feel about, but I understand it.
After talking with her son about sex, she then talked to Trisha about sex, assuming that she too was a virgin. She even went as far as to say she would get Trisha birth control, which made Trisha very uncomfortable.
Parents, do you really want someone else talking to your teen about sex and birth control, especially a parent that you do not know?
Well if you don’t talk to your teen about sex, someone else will and they may not have the best information and probably won’t have the same opinions, views or values as you do.
I was concerned because I felt like this was something Trisha should be talking about with her parents, not Zac’s, yet Trisha feels like she can’t talk to her parents about sex because they hold both her and her older sisters to such high standards and even threatened to kick them out if they ever found out they were having sex. By the way, according to Trisha, they are all already having sex.
Because of this fear of not only disappointing her parents, but also of getting kicked out, Trisha doesn’t feel safe talking to her parents about sex at all and has just been getting her information about sex from her friends and sisters, who are all also high school teenagers.
I encouraged Trisha to sit down and talk to her parents, at least her mom about sex.
She wants to get on birth control, but doesn’t think she can talk to her parents about that and definitely doesn’t want to get birth control from Zac’s mom. I even offered to have a family session with her and her mom and/or dad to help facilitate “the talk”, but she’s too scared to even discuss sex with her parents and let them know that she is thinking about sex, let alone already having it.
I know from past experience, because of this fear of talking to her parents about sex, she leaves herself vulnerable.
She’s more likely not to use any protection consistently or properly and to hide everything from her parents, including if she ever feels violated, if she ever thinks she may have a sexually transmitted disease, if she ever gets raped or if she even gets pregnant.
One girl I knew hid her pregnancy from her parents all the way up until she went into labor and had a child at 15. Her parents had never had the “sex talk” with her and it was only then did her parents find out that their daughter was no longer a virgin.
I definitely don’t want that to happen to Trisha and so if she is afraid to have the sex talk with her parents, I feel like it is my responsibility to at least give her valid information about sex, protection and to point her in the right direction for other information and questions she may have.
We talked about condoms, the importance of putting them on correctly and using them each and every time from the beginning to the end. We also talked about birth control for her, but I strongly encouraged her to have the conversation with her parents. I also had the school nurse talk to her and gave her several pamphlets for her and her boyfriend about sex.
She had lots of questions and lots of the information she had was so invalid that she was sure to end up pregnant before graduating from high school, such as standing up right after having sex is a foolproof way to avoid getting pregnant because gravity will prevent the sperm from swimming up.
Another thing I did was encourage her to wait. I talked to her about how sex can change relationships, sometimes for the worst and how there are other things they can do besides having sex, such as holding hands, kissing, hugging, talking, going for walks, out on dates, etc.
All the while I also kept encouraging her, trying to give her the strength to have this conversation with at least one of her parents. I don’t think a 15 year old should be engaging in intercourse, but she’s already been doing it since she was 14 so we have to be realistic.
Many parents feel like having the “sex talk” will encourage their teens to have sex, but teens are going to be curious about sex and may engage in sex regardless. It’s just a matter of how informed or ill-informed they will be.
Lot’s of parents feel betrayed and hurt when they find out their teenager is having sex, almost as if they just found out their teen was using drugs.
Remember that consensual sex between teenagers is not a crime and your teen is more likely to get pregnant or worse if they feel like they can’t talk to you because you will get mad or upset. It’s important that parents put their emotions aside and consider their teens’ choices and emotions.
I encourage parents to talk to their teens about sex, about being safe and healthy. They can also allow their teen to talk to their doctor about being sexually active and the physical responsibilities that come along with that, if they don’t feel comfortable or knowledgable enough to do it.
It’s important that your teen feels like they can trust you and that you guys have an open relationship where they can talk to you about everything, just remember that even with that, your teen probably won’t tell you every single thing.
The teen years are about trying to discover their own independence and breaking away from their parents some, so accept that there may still be things your teen won’t tell you, but make sure that they know that you will be there for them if they need you.
While I definitely prefer not to be the one having the sex talk with your teen, I’d much rather do that now than to be talking to them about how to get a pregnancy test, being good parents while trying to stay in school or about visiting a free clinic to get tested for a STD, three conversations I actually have way more often.
Working with teenage girls, there’s a lot of things I worry about because the teenage years are so perplexing, especially with teenage girls who are often searching for a sense of belonging to the point that they are willing to starve themselves, cut themselves out of pain and shame, sleep with boys just to feel wanted, and sadly, even attempt to take their own lives when they feel as if they don’t and will never belong.
This search for belonging, often sends teenage girls into unhealthy relationships that further damage their self-esteem and often expose them to other damaging factors such as unprotected sex, drugs, alcohol and violence.
During the teenage years, young people are trying to come into their own and often rebel against their parents and other adults, which is why they often chose friends and relationships that their parents disapprove of, including dating older men.
I hate when I am working with a teenage girl and she tells me she is dating an older man, usually because I know that this relationship, while to her may be idyllic and dreamy, is more often a disaster waiting to happen on so many levels.
Recently a client of mine who is 17, started dating a 23 year old man, and while the age difference isn’t drastic, one has to think, what would a 23 year old man who could date anyone 18 and up, want with a 17 year old high school student? Did someone say sex? Of course they had a lot of that, often unprotected, but luckily she never got pregnant although she hasn’t gotten tested for any sexually transmitted diseases. I told her when she initially talked about him pursuing her, his reason was that there aren’t any girls 21 and up that were “cool”, that there just wasn’t something right about a man who should be on the verge of finishing college, dating someone who’s in high school.
I told her that had to say something about his motives, personality, etc., but of course she didn’t see this as a red flag, but was instead flattered that someone who could date anyone his age or older, chose to date her. After several months of bliss and sex, he started treating her badly and her moods were very erratic, varied by however they were doing at the moment. If they were good, she was happy, going to class, doing good. If he was ignoring her, she was depressed, missing class, consumed with anxiety.
Eventually he left her for a woman his own age and that should have been the end of it, but now she is talking about dating his OLDER brother who is married with a kid, but text messaged her one night at 3Am, “I think you are so sexy, and I’ve been fantasizing about you”, from his wive’s phone nonetheless. Once again, all bad signs, but she’s an emotional, hormonal, vulnerable, teenager trying to belong so she see’s this as another challenge.
Why Do Teenage Girls Date Older Men?
Some of the reasons include genuine chemistry. Chemistry doesn’t know have rigid age boundaries so there is a chance that there are genuine feelings there. Another reason includes greater financial and physical independence, which for a young teenage girl looking for independence, an escape from her family or surroundings, is very appealing. Also, older men are considered more mature and experienced in all aspects of life which is attractive to a young girl, especially one looking to escape her life.
The thing is, teenager girls often don’t realize just how unequal the relationship with an older man usually is. Usually the older man has more power simply from the fact that he is older, and they usually have more money and resources than the teenager or her friends. This takes her out of being equal, especially when it comes to making decisions, and because he is older, she will often get dictated to and assume that he is right or knows best. Also, because he will typically have more money than her and her peers, it will be easy for him to impress her by doing simple things such as taking her to the movies, a fastfood restaurant, picking her up from school or buying her a t-shirt or shoes.
Having an older boyfriend also becomes a status symbol, a way for the teenage girl to say that she is already grown-up and part of the adult world. She is no longer a child like her peers. Because of this, it may make it easier for her to start neglecting things like her peers and school work. After all, why should she worry about passing a chemistry test when her boyfriend is worried about paying his rent or losing his job. School and friends may start seeming childish in comparison to her boyfriend’s problems.
Teenage girls also often date older men to rebel against their parents, and the more the parents fight against it, the more likely the boyfriend is seen as an allie and will help begin to alienate her from her parents, under-minding their decisions and further breaking apart her support system, while strengthening his hold and isolating her.
Consequences of Dating Older Men
There are not only psychological risks involved with dating an older man and trying to fit into an adult world precociously, there are also dangers of being exposed to drugs, alcohol, abuse, and an increase rate of sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy. Young teenage girls who contract sexually transmitted diseases often get them from older boyfriends. Older men usually have had more sexual experience that often include risky sexual behaviors. The young teenage girl is not likely to question his sexual behavior or health status, and even if she did, she is likely to take his word for it instead of asking him to go get tested with her.
Teenage girls who date older men are more likely to get pregnant than teenage girls who date same age males for several reasons:
Older men seem to expect the teenage girl to take responsibility for contraceptive and often will use none if not asked.
Teenage girls today are less likely to use birth control compared to women in the past.
An older man may actually not care if he gets the younger girl pregnant or may do so on purpose for control.
One study done by the California Center for Health reports that the average age of the fathers who got a 12 year old pregnant was 19.7, and a 13 year old pregnant was 17.2.
What To Do If Your Teenage Daughter Is Dating An Older Man
First of all, don’t freak out. Doing so may just push your daughter further into his arms. Try to talk to your daughter, express your concerns. Let her know that you only have her best interests at heart. She may still rebel and insist on seeing him, so don’t be afraid to lay down and enforce rules while she is still under 18, living in your house and going to school. Most of these relationships usually fizzle out if the teenager is allowed to come into her own in a healthy way, but often not before she is scarred in someway. A lucky few end up in marriage, which is often proceeded by a child and continues with multiple children, poverty, physical and substance abuse.
Try talking to the boyfriend. Let him know that if he really cares about her, he will abide by your wishes since you only have her best interest in mind and he should too if he cares about her. Depending on the age of your daughter and the age of the man, it may be appropriate to get law enforcement involved. Most of the teenage girls I work with who are dating older men are seeking something they feel like they aren’t getting from home, and while it may seem impossible to please your ever changing and complex teenager, try to talk with her, listen to and understand her. Otherwise, she will search for and find someone or something else to attach herself too.
Trust is an essential part of every relationship (romantic, family, business, friends, etc.). Trust defines interactions in relationships by building bonds and strengthening intimacy. Without trust, no relationship can truly grow to it’s full potential.
But what happens when that trust is betrayed?
Not everyone values trust as much as they should. Because trust at times is easily given, especially at first, it at times is also easily taken for granted. When trust is loss, the relationship suffers and sometimes fails.
When the trust is loss, it can be very hard, if not impossible to earn back. Whether trust can be restored or not depends on how much damage was done. Often the betrayed person just wants to end the relationship because of the pain and that is understandable.
However, many marriages have survived affairs and many relationships have survived betrayals.
If someone wants to work on rebuilding trust in the person that betrayed them, there are some things that they can do:
Let the anger out– let the person that betrayed you know that you are hurting. It’s okay to let them know how you feel and you should. Often times the betrayed person feels rejected and is afraid to show anger towards the other person, but they end up just holding it in and letting it consume them, preventing any type of healing or rebuilding of trust to truly happen.
Make up your mind to let it to, and then let it go– once you have let out your anger, let it go. That doesn’t mean blind forgiveness, but forgiving the person that betrayed you will free you up and set you free. If the person that betrayed you apologizes and you forgive them, then never bring up the incident over and over again. Don’t hold it over the person. Acknowledge that it happened. Acknowledge how you feel, but don’t beat them over the head with it if you hope to move on. Forgiveness is as much for you as it is for the other person.
Know that will can never go back to the way they were before the betrayal– sadly, things have changed. The betrayal has done it’s damage. Things will never go back to the way they were before. Things will get better, but never the same. You may never trust the person the same again, but you can develop a type of mature trust and maybe not the naive trust you may have had before. I once counseled a woman who’s husband had had multiple affairs with multiple women, and surprisingly (through counseling) they managed to save their marriage and are still happily married today, but she couldn’t talk about her marriage and the affairs without crying, even years later, despite forgiving her husband and moving on.
Be willing to ask others for help– you will need your support system to get through this. You can’t and don’t have to do it alone. know that you can ask for help when needed, even if it’s from the person that betrayed you. Let them know what you need from them. Often times we are too embarrassed about being the betrayal to ask for help because we don’t want others to judge us for forgiving the other person. If that’s the case, talking to a counselor may be the best source of support. There you will have someone who will listen to you without judgement and give you the support needed.
Practice Trusting– people can’t earn back our trust without the opportunity to do so. This doesn’t mean you give the person “tests” to pass or fail, but practice giving them opportunities to show you that they deserve your trust. Sometimes people will say, “I forgive you”, yet cling to the other person as if they are trying to control their every move and thought. This isn’t forgiveness, trust or love. It’s fear.
Part of loving and trusting includes opening yourself up to potential pain and betrayal. It doesn’t mean it has to devour you and ruin your life.