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Help: trust issues with my RBF

Old 07-30-2008, 12:54 PM
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Question Help: trust issues with my RBF

My boyfriend and I have been together for 3 years, with a 5-month break in the middle while he was in rehab for morphine addiction (he's been clean for almost 2 years now). We wanted to give ourselves a second chance, and I saw he had changed and learned the value of honesty and integrity.

However, he still does things like not telling me that he opened a Facebook account. In his mind, this isn't lying, as I didn't ask about it. Of course, how would I know to ask? To be fair, he just opened it yesterday and only befriended his best friend. He hasn't set his status as "in a relationship," though that could be because he hasn't even set up his profile yet.

The Facebook example isn't a very good one, but there have been other instances when he has omitted telling me things. When I ask him about them, he says he forgot or didn't think it was important. I realize I could be making an issue out of nothing, but this is behavior he used to have before rehab and it scares me.

I don't know if I should be concerned about these things or not, and I know that constantly thinking and asking him about it will ruin our relationship. I want to trust him, and most of the time I do. But then little things like these come up, when I realize he omitted something and I get scared. It makes me feel that I'm wrong in giving him a second chance because he will never grow out of this behavior. Even if he isn't doing anything wrong, these thoughts are still in my head and they affect our relationship.

Part of me feels I should talk to him about it (and I have in the past). But chances are he will forget to tell me something one day, and I will find out, and I will feel this way again. So I'm not sure saying anything will help as a long-term solution. In fact, I feel it makes things worse in the short-term because it's like constantly poking at a fresh wound.

But I don't know how else to deal with it. I would really appreciate any suggestions.
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Old 07-30-2008, 01:05 PM
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Two of hearts..... repeat behaviors of anything resembling active addiction are always difficult.

On the Face Book part..... I am not so much a face book user.... but I do use Myspace. My guy has a myspace, but doesn't use it. He often wonders why he even has one. Now.... if it were me and he was up in my personal business... regarding lets say myspace... it would drive me bonkers. However, in my codie ways I can be all up in his business?? So that is when I stop and look at myself. The best advice I can give you is that you pay the most attention and give weight to how he is when he is with you and around you. This also helps with the snooping aspect of things..... ya know? I'm not saying that is what you are doing, but the FBI or Nancy Drew syndrome can get the best of us.

Trust is so hard to re-build. I know this..... we all know this.

Are you going to al-anon groups? Are you both doing the recovery with f2f ESH? This is what has helped my guy and myself SO much!
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Old 07-30-2008, 01:21 PM
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Ahhhh.. I try SO hard not to snoop! I don't like myself when I do, and I wasn't like this before.

Clearly, if I'm snooping, I don't trust him 100%. He knows this though, so I don't have a problem bringing stuff up. But it's not a solution, and in fact exacerbates the problem.

Honestly though, I only found out about his Facebook because I just befriended his best friend and, when I went to her profile, I saw that she had just become friends with him as well (Facebook has this tracking thingy that tells you what people have been up to on Facebook). I wasn't even snooping, but this thing just came to me all on its own.

The thing is, he has a Myspace account and, in his active addiction, he didn't want to befriend me on it even when we had been going out for almost a year (he did have "in a relationship" as his status though). When he finally befriended me, he put me at the bottom of his Top 8 friends! Only recently did he put me as his #1! (after 3 years of being together!). As he says it's "his space."

I hate when he does that, which is why the Facebook thing is bothering me so much. But regardless of this particular instance, he omits things, period. For example, he didn't tell me that he started smoking again. He knew I wouldn't approve (and I don't), but it's his decision. I don't control him. But what kills me is that he didn't tell me about it. THAT is the problem, and I have talked to him about it. As long as he tells me the truth and doesn't hide things from me, I can deal with the rest.

The problem is that I am 98% sure that he is not doing anything wrong, but when these things pop up it really makes me doubt everything.

As for Al-Anon, I've been to a couple of meetings but I haven't been consistent with it. I tend to deal with my codependence through my yoga practice, though I know I should probably go to meetings more often.

What is ftf (face-to-face?) ESH?

Last edited by TwoOfHearts; 07-30-2008 at 01:32 PM. Reason: forgot to answer question.
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Old 07-30-2008, 01:46 PM
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f2f is face to face.....

I think ESH is experience, strength and hope.

Aaaaaaaah the myspace issues... how something like that can cause problems! My guy was so funny with his myspace.... we were friends, but I wasn't anywhere on his top..... i only left him comments, he never left me any.... it took him FINALLY changing his relationship status after I hounded him on it. And then the icing on the cake for him was when he wrote...... on the headline of his page....... "I DON'T USE MYSPACE
so stop bothering my girlfriend as to why I don't post on her page. It gets me in trouble." I just about died that he did that! LOL!!!!!! He actually had written more, but fortunately took it down... I was so humiliated! I took him off as my friends. But my friends would stalk and look at his page that was not private and just see my comments to him and the none to me from him and give me a hard time about it. It's SO SILLY!!! Well.... it's been about a year now..... and now I just think it's funny!

I too do yoga!!!!!! Hot yoga actually! It is 90 minutes of time for me and SO healing! But I've been doing al-anon as well... and it is also very helpful..... VERY helpful! I'm also reading "the four agreements" ..... it talks about not taking things personally. I can not tell you just how much that has helped me as well!

When we are taking the time to think about what they are up to..... it means we are focusing less on ourselves...... it's then that we need to more than ever put that focus back on us!!!
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Old 07-30-2008, 01:53 PM
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OH and check out this thread about the lying. My guy fell back into some lies very soon after getting out of rehab and my world crashed down on me for a few hours..... but with the ESH and my recovery tools.... I got myself back up again!

The lying is a hard one for us, but also a defense mechanism that they are used to doing! It's kind of like the mentality that it's better to ask for forgiveness rather than permission. Man..... that mentality drives me bonkers...... but I'm not taking it personally and realizing it's his issue..... not mine!!!!!

Here is the thread that *REALLY* helped me......... http://www.soberrecovery.com/forums/...ady-begun.html
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Old 07-30-2008, 02:08 PM
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Two,

My husband had a real he|| of a time with me when we first got together because I was carrying so much mistrust....from somebody else's actions!

Little things like the stuff you mention -- like not mentioning he got on a social networking site -- would send me into a tailspin. He could've gotten mad, and once or twice he did, but eventually we came to an agreement that I just needed a period of time to recover, and during that period he needed to be STUPIDLY honest with me, and I needed to give 200% to try to trust him.

So when he got a Facebook account, he told me, and when he ran into his ex-girlfriend at a work function, he told me, and when he drank too much while I was out of town, he told me.....even though he shouldn't have had to. He did it for me, to show me that he had nothing to hide.

Maybe you just need a Brutal Honesty period too. Would your BF be willing to go this extra mile, even though he "shouldn't have to" ? Does it bother you at all that his best friend is a woman? (and not you?)

Would you be able to not snoop for a while, just to prove to yourself that you're strong enough to survive anything that happens, and it ain't time to worry yet?

Have you read "Codependent No More" ? Good book there.
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Old 07-30-2008, 02:14 PM
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Give love..... the brutal honesty thing would be like a God send for me, but quite honestly, I do wonder if it would just make it even more crazy for me? It would be like ODing in codependency. I'm glad it worked for you though.

Maybe it's just that I've come to the realization I literally have no control over him???? He is by nature a secretive person.... he doesn't have ill intent about it, it's just that he tends to be more so on the private side. Which can also drive me into a tail spin as well. I learned that all dark comes to light.... and it does..... so that is what has helped me.
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Old 07-30-2008, 02:45 PM
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Thanks all for your advice! It all makes a lot of sense to me, and it is very much appreciated.

My hope is that, as you say, the lies by omission are just a force of habit and nothing to be worried about. But how do I know? It's really just taking a leap of faith.

The thing is that I grew up in a very open and honest environment, and he is the only person who has ever hidden stuff from me intentionally. So, naturally, I want him to be open and honest with me the way things have always been with the rest of the people in my life. My parents used to tell me they didn't care if I told them I had just killed someone, as long as I told them so they could help me...

So, it's very hard for me to deal with lies and omissions. Perhaps the Brotal Honesty method is what we need. I think he would be ok with it, as he understands that I don't trust him 100% and the whole purpose of us giving ourselves a second chance is trying to rebuild the lost trust.

To answer your questions, I haven't read "Codependent No More," and I would be able to not snoop, but I don't know that I would be able to stop worrying (and that's the issue). As for his best friend, yeah... I'm jealous, but she is his best friend only after me.

How does one do "ESH"?
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Old 07-30-2008, 04:14 PM
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ESH.... is given and received by others sharing their experience, strength, and hope.

My experience I shared with you is relating to being on the other end of lies and how I cope with it. My strength comes from not taking it personally...... and my hope is that all things will happen as they are meant to!!!!!

Hope for me often comes in hindsight.... hope is much like faith to me. I suppose??? Idk... hope is a scary thing for me... it's kind of like potential if you will? And then I think of expectations just being future resentments..... so yeah... hope is best served for me in hindsight.

That would be great if the 200% honesty can work for you guys! I build this home and the rear the boys in honesty....... I tell them the say thing your parents told you. My guy is well aware of this, which is one of the reasons why recovery became such importance. When my children do something not very nice or tell a lie..... I immediately ask them about what their bodily sensations are giving off. Energy is our platform and I ask that they look at what they are feeling and portraying of themselves to themselves and others. It is the core of my teachings as a mother. HONESTY ... there is so much power in honesty.
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Old 07-31-2008, 08:54 AM
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Thanks for explaining ESH to me!

I'm working on my codie habits... I don't know if I did so well yesterday, but I am happy with the outcome so far.

When I found the Facebook thing, it was about 10 minutes after I got to work. My first thought was to leave work early so I could talk to him as soon as possible because I couldn't stand the knot of fear in my stomach. But after reading your thread, I decided that I needed to take care of me first and I can't just leave work because my RABF (is this right? "Recovering Addict Boyfriend"?) didn't tell me something. (Now that I'm writing about it, I realize how ridiculous that sounds!).

So I stuck around, and then got home about 6:30 pm and he wasn't there. He went to see the new Batman movie, which I had expressly said I wanted to watch with him. He left me a note saying he had a hard day and needed to unwind, so I thought "better a movie than getting high." So... I talked myself out of making it a big deal.

By the time he got home, I was really frustrated because it was around 8:00 pm, and I needed to go to a friend's fare well party at 9:00 pm (he couldn't come because he is on parole, and his curfew is 9:00 pm), which meant no time for a real talk. But I started the conversation anyway. I had told him I wanted to have a "check-in" conversation once a week so that we could talk about how we feel, how things are going, and if there is anything we can do to help each other (even if it's getting out of the way). So I told him we hadn't had one this week yet, and I told him (again) that it really drives me crazy when I find out he hasn't told me about something because it makes me doubt everything else that comes out of his mouth. Then I asked him if there was anything I should know, and he told me about the Facebook account.

He got all defensive though, and started trying to turn it around on me. "It's censorship, I should be able to do whatever I want, I don't need to answer to you" and, my favorite, "do you think you're prefect? I'm working on it, don't you feel you have to work on your own things too?" HA! I wasn't falling for it. Of course I have a lot of room for improvement, but I wasn't the one who's bad habits hurt other people and the trust that those people had in him. I didn't say this to make him feel guilty, but merely to point out the facts. So he acknowledged that, unlike him, I never lied or hid anything from him in the past, so there is no reason for me to tell him every single thing I do; he can trust me.

He keeps giving me this crap about how they tell him that he needs to be selfish in his recovery. I'm not saying that's not right, and I wouldn't want him to start pleasing everyone but himself... it would lead him to relapse. But he also needs to learn to live with other people and have intimate relationships. That requires being unselfish in a lot of ways.

But I digress. The point of the story is that, as much as I wanted to stay and talk things out, I couldn't forgo going to one of my best friend's fare well party. I had to put myself first because my self-esteem would have taken a severe blow if I stopped doing the things I love doing out of fear, out of walking on eggshells.

Since we couldn't fully talk during that short time, I told him that I wasn't attacking him. That neither of us should take what the other says personally, but take it as constructive criticism or even just sharing our feelings; it doesn't mean we need to do anything about it. So he was OK with that. We haven't set a time for our conversation yet, but I've asked it to be before the end of the week and he agreed.

What I don't understand is why, when they are supposed to go to meetings and learn how to share their feelings and experiences without taking it personally or giving advice, they can't do that at home. I would love an explanation for that!

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Old 07-31-2008, 10:05 AM
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I'm a recovering addict, and will try to explain the "selfish" part of recovery.

I'm like you....was raised in a totally honest environment, STILL don't like to lie. When I first got into recovery, I had just relapsed and my dad had paid some bounced checks to keep me out of jail...but I paid him back very fast, once I got my job back. He did this because he has loaned me money before, and I have always paid him back fast.

At the ripe old age of 46, I felt like I was being treated like a child sometimes. Dad would want me to "check in" with him if I was late from work, or going somewhere with a friend. I do this, to this day, first because it's common courtesy and the way I was raised, but also because I put him through hell and don't want him worrying that I'm out there smoking crack.

I've never used the "being selfish" excuse (my opinion, only) to get out of accountability for myself. If dad or someone else has a problem with me, and it's because of my past behaviors, it's up to me to make things right. Yes, at times I've told dad "I'm going out...I don't know when I'll be back, but I won't use and I'll be careful" and that, to me, is being courteous but also keeping a little independence. I didn't do this at first, though....I had a good bit of recovery under my belt and had proven to be trustworthy.

My friend was a meth addict and put her granny through hell. She gets mad when granny gets worried about her, or says something about "you're not doing dope, are you?" I told her that's what we get for our past actions....deal with it.

Although his addiction has added some problems, maybe it's also just part of who he is and who you are? If anyone is not honest with me or omits things I think are important, I feel threatened and they don't even have to be an addict...it's just because that is something very important to me.

Don't know if this made sense or helped, but I hope it did.

Hugs and prayers!

Amy
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Old 07-31-2008, 10:30 AM
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Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying it's bad or wrong to talk about things at home... I'm just saying that both of you will most likely have a hard time relating to the other's situation.
Thanks for the explanation, Awake. Honestly, I do understand what you are saying. However, I see a lot of value in trying to understand where people are coming from. Sometimes, I can just imagine what it would be like in their shoes. But a lot of the times, because I haven't been through what they have been through (as you said), I cannot. The trick, for me, is talking about those things so we can both understand where the other is coming from. It doesn't mean we change for the other person (sometimes we do, sometimes we don't, depending on the situation). But it's just sharing, understanding. Compassion, as a form of love, is very important to me. That's where my need to understand the other person comes from. I feel that, knowing that, we can look at his/her boundaries and my boundaries, and figure out a way to make them fit together. I can't do that if the person doesn't open up. Does that make sense?

Question for you... What kind of help are you getting for you? Are you in recovery?
The help I get for me. Good question! I practice yoga (not just the poses, but try to follow the whole lifestyle), meditate, come to SR, talk to my friends. I've been to a couple of Alanon meetings, but it's hard to make the time for everything. So my helping myself involves thinking about my needs, my wants, my priorities and my boundaries, and seeing how they fit with other people's. Sometimes they do, and most of the time they don't. So that's when prioritizing comes in: some things are more important that others.

Although his addiction has added some problems, maybe it's also just part of who he is and who you are? If anyone is not honest with me or omits things I think are important, I feel threatened and they don't even have to be an addict...it's just because that is something very important to me.

Don't know if this made sense or helped, but I hope it did.
Thanks to you too, Impurrfect! I definitely think his addiction and mine are part of who we are. We were meant to go through this, and I am grateful for it because it forces us to really think about our goals, our needs, our boundaries. Most people just let life live them, instead of the other way around. I am immensely grateful that I have to go through this because it forces me to be present and be conscious of my decisions every step of the way.

I also feel that I was meant to go through this with him because we complement each other so well, in good and bad ways. This forces us to take inventory all the time, and call each other out on our respective issues/faults as well as our positive traits.

Recovery is a tough path to follow, but it's very rewarding and I wouldn't have it any other way. I wouldn't be the person I am without it.

As for other people lying, I'm with you on that. I have to stop taking it personally, because I tend to feel that they don't tell me the truth because they fear some sort of consequences from me. But this also means I need to stop imposing consequences, and start detaching.

I don't know how to trust people fully again once they lied to me though. That's what I'm trying to figure out with my RABF. I think trust and honesty are intricately connected to faith, and are therefore very important to have in my life in order to feel living is worth everything we go through.
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Old 07-31-2008, 11:21 AM
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TwoofHearts,

Wishing you luck with this. I know that I have developed a real aversion to lying, and could no longer be with someone who lied because of it. I can say with complete honesty that I'd rather live alone. And I can also honestly say that I would quickly lose my affection, respect, and connection with someone who was deceptive...I know this about myself. So I'm afraid I can't offer you much help in "not taking it personally." It IS personal to me, and not something I am willing to live with; life's too short, and there are too many fine potential partners out there to stick with one who won't be open. Hoping you find the right path for YOU.

GL
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Old 07-31-2008, 12:26 PM
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Thanks GiveLove!

I cannot live with someone who is deceptive either. In my view, the omissions I've been having to deal with are remnants of his past habits. My hope is that he will learn that there is no reason to not tell the absolute truth, or to fear what I might say about it. So I'm giving him some time to do that.

As for the not taking it personal part, what I meant was that I need to remind myself that he doesn't lie to me because of me or something that I do/did. He lies because it's a habit, he lies out of fear or denial. So I shouldn't take it as something that is directed solely at me. It's just the way addicts are, and something they need to unlearn in recovery.

So far, he hasn't lied to me about anything... Just omissions, and they haven't been important ones. We'll see how it goes, but I have a very clear boundary on that and I'm not willing to compromise on it.

What I need to do is think of a deadline or milestones to measure progress, but I don't know what's realistic.
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Old 07-31-2008, 02:07 PM
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Originally Posted by TwoOfHearts View Post

However, he still does things like not telling me that he opened a Facebook account. In his mind, this isn't lying, as I didn't ask about it. Of course, how would I know to ask? To be fair, he just opened it yesterday and only befriended his best friend. He hasn't set his status as "in a relationship," though that could be because he hasn't even set up his profile yet.

I don't know if I should be concerned about these things or not, and I know that constantly thinking and asking him about it will ruin our relationship. I want to trust him, and most of the time I do. But then little things like these come up, when I realize he omitted something and I get scared. It makes me feel that I'm wrong in giving him a second chance because he will never grow out of this behavior. Even if he isn't doing anything wrong, these thoughts are still in my head and they affect our relationship.

Part of me feels I should talk to him about it (and I have in the past). But chances are he will forget to tell me something one day, and I will find out, and I will feel this way again. So I'm not sure saying anything will help as a long-term solution. In fact, I feel it makes things worse in the short-term because it's like constantly poking at a fresh wound.
I know how you feel. I let my ABF borrow my gas card. We have recently broken up and are trying to work things out, to make a long story short he relapsed and stole some checks and money from me. Since then he has been through detox but couldn't get into a program because he doesn't have health insurance and he couldn't get into a holding because they were all full. So he shows up on my door step because he has no where else to go. I drove him back to the train station, but changed my mind at the last minute. I set a lot of ground rules for him if he was going to stay @ my house. The last thing I asked was "do I need to know anything else? Did u take anything else?" His response was NO.

Fast forward a week and I get my mobil bill (mind you he had my card for 2 weeks while he had relapsed. He did return it when I kicked him out before he went to detox) and it is over $500! I was pissed. He came home from job hunting and claimed he had forgotten about it. I really though he was lying @ first, but when I sat down and looked at the charges, everything he said was true. But in that moment...it drove me crazy because he wasn't telling me what was going on.

One of the conditions is that he has to be open and honest with me...and he has been. He told me he had cravings yesterday and that he wanted to get high, but he called a few people from his meetings and went to a meeting. He really is trying to change his ways and he is including me in the process this time around, which is what I asked.

I understand how you feel, but maybe if you explain it to him in such a way that he understands why you feel the way you do, maybe he will let you in. I hope so. Hugs to you.
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Old 07-31-2008, 02:43 PM
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Thank you all for your wisdom! It all sounds true, though there are some things that I admit I don't want to think about.

your needs are not getting met in this relationship. what you want and what he's giving are not matching up. it sounds like (and again this is just me blabbling on here) there's more distance between you than you'd like, more people between you than you'd like.....and somewhere inside you sense that you are not his top priority........

let's say that how he is TODAY is how he is in five years....still remote, still not fully revealing EVERYTHING to you.....is that ok? does that WORK for you? is this good enough?
I do sense I am not his top priority, but in a sense that is OK because his top priority is his recovery. I don't want to be a controlling girlfriend, and if the things that happened hadn't happened, I don't think I would want to know about every single step he takes, every single person he talks to, every place he goes to, etc. But those things DID happen, and that's what makes it difficult for me to separate my boyfriend from his addiction (if I understood correctly).

In 5 years, I hope to have rebuilt our trust so that I don't have the need to know everything. But if I don't see things heading in that direction in 1 or 2 years, him working with me to achieve that goal... No, that's not good enough for me, it doesn't work for me, and I'll know he is not the person for me because he doesn't care enough to make a true effort.

One last question... If you separate the addiction from boyfriend, do you find it easier understand and have compassion for him?
I know my boyfriend is this person who was caged by his addiction, and his actions as an addict didn't match who he really is. I have a lot of compassion for him, but I also have to take care not to go overboard and have more compassion for him than for myself. That's where the boundaries come in. I'm not sure exactly what you meant with separating the addiction from the person though, so I don't know if I'm answering your question.

One of the conditions is that he has to be open and honest with me...and he has been. He told me he had cravings yesterday and that he wanted to get high, but he called a few people from his meetings and went to a meeting. He really is trying to change his ways and he is including me in the process this time around, which is what I asked.

I understand how you feel, but maybe if you explain it to him in such a way that he understands why you feel the way you do, maybe he will let you in. I hope so. Hugs to you.
One of those boundaries is complete honesty, at least during this time in which we are trying to rebuild trust. I hope that, eventually, honesty will still be a priority, but full disclosure won't be necessary.

I have explained to him how I feel in pieces, and he does understand where I am coming from and sees why I ask the things I ask of him. But every time I try to get him to sit down and talk openly and honestly, he either gets defensive or starts finding things to do (like cleaning, rearranging the apartment, complaining about how cluttered everything is, washing the dishes). He says he had a hard day and is very stressed out, etc, etc. I see it for what it is, and it doesn't allow me to ever fully have that conversation. This is why, yesterday, when I expressed I wanted to create a space to talk openly, I told him I was tired of walking on eggshells because he "will get stressed out." I said very clearly that that's not what I want out of our relationship, and that I need 100% of his attention because I don't feel he is really listening/sharing otherwise. He agreed to having that chat, so hopefully that's what happens.

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Old 07-31-2008, 02:52 PM
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Alaia,

That's great that your ABF has agreed to work things out that way with you. You seem very strong, and you inspire me to keep my boundaries as well.

My RABF is on parole, so he can't screw up in terms of relapsing, etc. So what I'm on the lookout for are signs of him returning to his old mental and emotional patterns. It's is a bit more complicated, but.. he knows he is on probation with me. One screw up, and we're done. I've given him too many chances, and I need to hold myself accountable too.
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