Mahtob in Jacksonville writes:
I have been dating this guy for several months now, and in the beginning I thought we were moving a bit too fast for our history. I’ve known him since he and my older sisters were in high school, and I know that he has had past relationships that were pretty rough. I, too, have had abusive relationships in the past and try to be very cautious when it comes down to dating.
He has already proposed to me, and at the time I turned him down since I wasn’t sure about what I really wanted. We’ve broken up twice but always seem to come back together for some reason. He’s not a bad person and shows me the utmost respect, but I just can’t let go of the feeling that there is more to him than what he tells me. My question is, am I passing over true love because of past heartbreaks, or do I have every reason to be cautious when giving out my heart for love?
I want to congratulate you not only for paying attention to your instincts, but also for being able to refuse the enchantment of “the ring.” So many people ignore their instincts and rush into accepting a heavy commitment simply because it is offered, and out of fear that the opportunity may not present again.
There seems to be something almost desperate in the way your boyfriend loves you, and in his need for speed in this relationship. While I don’t see him hiding some singular deep, dark secret or subversive master plan – there is something a bit off with the relationship the two of you share. There are many things he has not shared with you, but this seems to be aspects of his past and various issues that circle in his head that he would prefer for you not to know, so as to not taint your image or view of him.
Each of you has old wounds and fears because of past experiences, but it seems as if his insecurities can rule him at times – which isn’t the healthiest approach to a relationship. He has some inner demons that he works hard to control and tame, which definitely can be cause for caution. My second concern about this relationship is that you don’t exactly present as being head-over-heels in love with this guy. Yes, you love him, and part of you wants to help him – but you just can’t bring yourself to fully trust him. Your past experiences may have some influence, but your inability to completely trust this man with your heart and your life is more of a direct result from your intuition in the here-and-now.
There is a true bond between the two of you, and that is part of why you find your way back to each other after things have gone a bit south.
Overall, I don’t see this as the relationship that will carry you through your days. If any part of you at all wants to see exactly how far this relationship can go, I strongly want the two of you to go to counseling before any serious commitments are made. While this may not help to cement a future for the two of you as a couple, it would help him to come to terms with some things that he struggles with, and improve each of your chances for a healthy and successful relationship in the future.