Ask George: What Should I do If I Want a Long-term Relationship But Can’t Let My Guard Down?


Relationship Expert: George James

Hello – my name is Jamyra and I have a question for you and need some advice… I been in a relationship for a couple months now and me and my boyfriend have our days. I have a trust issue. I guess my wrong choice in men in the past led me to that… but my trust issue is with him being real close with his ex. I don’t understand that. I don’t know how to feel because I always been hurt from being cheated on. Then he asked me why am I with him if I don’t trust him? I told him before I been hurt too many times… I want a long term relationship but don’t know how to let my guard down completely and I need some advice.

Dear Jamyra,

Trusting someone can be difficult, especially if you have experienced betrayal and trust issues in the past. At the same time, your boyfriend isn’t making it easy for you to trust him.

I have a few questions and thoughts about your situation. How long have you known your boyfriend? The time spent together can allow you the opportunity to really get to know someone, which can help you trust him. If you recently met, spending quality time and seeing each other in different settings can help the trust process.

My next question is does your boyfriend invite you to hang out with his ex? Someone being close to an ex and spending time with an ex can make most people suspicious. If you are invited, spend time as a group and there’s open conversation, you might not need to worry. If it’s done in secrecy and not an open interaction then there could be reason for concern.

The hard part for you will be allowing yourself to be vulnerable. Being vulnerable is essential to trusting someone. At the same time, when someone hurts us, one of the first things we do is shut down and stop being vulnerable. The more you do not trust him, the more distant you will feel. No matter what, he is responsible for his actions. If he is cheating or being inappropriate with his ex, he has to own up to that.

After working with hundreds of couples, I continue to realize that distance, secrecy and lack of vulnerability open the door for problems. If you are willing to give the relationship a shot, give him a chance, give him the benefit of the doubt. At the same time make sure you tell him what you need from him to feel safe. It’s important that you tell him what will help you. It could be spending time together, honest conversations or limited interactions with his ex. Whatever it is, let him know and be vulnerable by telling him why you need that from him.


George James, Jr., is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist helping couples improve the quality of their relationship, reconcile conflicts and overcome intense situations such as affairs, parenting struggles and loss of a loved one. You can find out more about George at

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1 Comment

  1. You need to be really precise here, so something like “Change my calendar on 10th November. When you accept reality instead of avoiding it, you eliminate an enormous amount of tension and worry that is being felt by both you and your boyfriend. One of the signs that your ex boyfriend is still in love with you is if he often contacts you.

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