If you are a regular reader of my blogs, you’ll know this. Historically, me and relationships are total train wrecks. I’ve spent nearly seven years in the land of single and dating, mostly never quite getting to full on relationship status, Occasionally they got a title, yet with no actual commitment. So trust in relationships, has been difficult for me.

But here’s the thing, I’ve met someone. We’re eight months in now and he’s pretty awesome tbh. Yet I’m finding myself prepping for the end before it’s even really begun.

I mean, can I really trust my own judgement now when its lead me so far astray in the past? Have I gotten so used to goodbyes that I’m expecting this one to end the same way? Am I self-sabotaging, not giving this one a chance because is it another train wreck waiting to happen?

When I believe that everything will eventually end, how do I get to thinking that this one won’t?

I’ve gotten so used to relationships not lasting that I can’t get out of the mindset that they go any other way. Which means I’m struggling to be really vulnerable. Or let my guard down. Allow all those emotions in. Because I have that ever present feeling that once I do, it won’t work out. I’m fucking uncomfortable to be honest. I don’t know how to navigate this new terrain. A relationship with intention! Who knew they were a real thing?

I’m not fearful of the end as such, because to me an end is kind of inevitable

I’m fearful of the pain that comes with letting myself trust in this one feeling different, and then being proven wrong in doing so.

I think in part, this is a fallout from seven years dating. It’s all felt so casual and throwaway. Unintentional and uncommitted. Emotional vulnerability was hard to find, and I ended up feeling like just another thing that could be discarded without any further thought. Nothing felt real or trustworthy. There were no relationships where I felt really comfortable and safe. Even the ones that lasted longer than a few months, they always had that air of not fully committed. Which in the end, they weren’t. I was always on guard and ready for the goodbye, which has been a guaranteed outcome to date.

And in a way, they were easier. The norm of being on the defence, never quite letting someone in the whole way. Closed off, safe from emotional harm. Expecting the worst, prepared for the future. It’s sad to write it, but it’s the truth of what dating has been for me. And there was also a reassurance to the certainty of an end.

All of that, makes it infinitely harder to do what feels like a ‘proper relationship’ after dating for a long time

To go from those types of relationships for years on end, to something that has intentions, I can’t seem to get to trusting that it won’t just be another repeat in disguise.

Dating feels as if it’s created a lot of trauma, stuff I didn’t realize was there until I’ve been faced with an anomaly to what has been a casual relationship norm. So I’ve really struggled in the first few months of this present relationship, and it wasn’t anything to do with the person I was in a relationship with. Although, for a time I did think otherwise.

I created weird little situations to worry about

They’re probably cheating. They don’t care that much, anyway. Give it time, they’ll un-commit. That action means they’re falling out of love. This ones means they’re getting tired of me. They’d given me no reason to have these thoughts, but the thoughts existed regardless. As if they were engrained in my psyche.

And then I started setting such an unattainably high bar, because I think I needed to see that they wouldn’t buckle at the first hurdles. Basically, I think I was self-sabotaging and looking for reasons to remain prepared for the end of the relationship.

It’s difficult to process all those feelings, and detach what is real, to what is a past impression of a struggle that’s hard to let go

Yet I realize, it’s about me. How my past is being carried into my present, and I am struggling to let go of it. How the trust is hard to build because I don’t feel able to trust or rely on anyone romantically. Because everyone will eventually turn out to be bad or uncommit. No exceptions. There is zero point in really committing from my side, when it’s all going to end anyway. But how can anyone create a relationship with me if I’m always on guard, prepping for the end, and creating situations to battle?

In truth, I know they can’t.

So how do I stop fighting and start enjoying a relationship for what it is?

Honestly, I don’t really know.

Maybe I’m broken and unfixable? Actually, scrap that, I definitely AM broken and that’s okay, but possibly there IS a fix. I’m certainly aware that my ability to do healthy relationships is a work in progress. I’m bringing the drama, when I despise drama. Creating chaos, when what I have is peace. Fighting a battle, when the other side hasn’t raged war upon me. I can see the problem, and in Taylor Swift’s words, ‘Hi, I’m the problem, it’s me!’. I just haven’t worked out the solution. (Aside from ending the relationship myself, speeding up the process, and creating some control).

We knew one another before we became romantically involved, and he tells me he isn’t going anywhere

And I mean we were friends for more than a year before this started – just friends, no benefits other than a solid guy and a great friendship – so he knows me pretty well. I know him pretty darn well, too. But he didn’t know this side of me. I didn’t know this side existed, either. This is a whole new emotional unbalance I’ve not had to face. And lucky for him, he’s step by step along for the journey.

So how do I believe someone will stay, when I believe deep down that everything will eventually end and rather abruptly at that? How do I believe it, despite the barriers I’m creating daily for him to overcome? How do I let go of the past, and not let it taint my present relationship? Can I really trust this relationship?

I don’t want to be proven right, but I can’t seem to settle into any other way of thinking.

It’s weird that something good can trigger such bad emotions

However I’m beginning to recognise that he is not the cause of my feelings, and being in what can only be considered a good relationship, has been weirdly a very triggering experience to all the last seven years and beyond of shitty emotions being brought to the surface.

It has also made me realize much more about myself than is comfortable. Maybe it might just go that way sometimes when you finally feel you can be safe in something but conversely long ago lost the ability to actually feel safe?

I thought I’d become truly self-aware when I was embracing singledom, and I had. Or at least it was when I learned how to do it

But in all honesty, self-awareness is much easier when you’re thinking of just you. Being self-aware when in a relationship is very different. Someone else is involved. And you have to hold yourself accountable for not just how you feel, but how you are making someone else feel in the process of figuring your shit out.

It’s a test of humility, too. Because when you’re self-assessing just for you, by yourself, you’re the mirror. That’s not so bad. It’s private, at least. Only you know the shit you’re figuring your way through. When it’s with a partner in tow, they are another reflection staring back at you, and it feels infinitely more bare.

Trust is hard, especially post long term singledom

Really fucking hard. They’ve done nothing to deserve the lack of it, but everyone else has impacted that ability to do so without an intense amount of analysis and uncomfortableness.

Though I’m realizing that trust in a relationship might never be totally comfortable. It’s closely linked with hope. And you hope they don’t break it. You hope that something can be better, and won’t be another cause of hurt and pain. So I suppose I have to trust in hope, and maybe hope will lead me to trust.

And in the process, I’ll try a little harder not to not self-sabotage because I’m uncomfortable with both. Stop prepping for the end before a thing has really taken shape. Halt creating a battle where one doesn’t need to exist. Hope, that I can let go of the past and stop letting it affect my present relationship. An end might be inevitable one day, but I can do my best not to be the reason for it, because I’ve never let go of preparing for it.

Do you struggle to trust in relationships? How do you overcome the uncomfortableness?

By Amy Roullier
By Amy Roullier

Amy is the Founder and Editor of The Authentic Optimist. She talks all things life. From the highs to the lows, to all those messy bits in-between. She is a writer, rambler, lover of carbs (her true soulmate) and she is especially passionate about dispelling myths about women in their 30s. Amy lives in Lincolnshire with her two greyhounds.

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