Question for Betty.

My boyfriend broke up with me before Christmas.  We were dating for over 2 years, and he's broken up with me before.  This time it really hurt me and he assured me that we'd never be getting back together so I prepared myself for that. Well now we have been hanging out and he now seems sure that he wants to be with me.  When we were apart, he was with other girls and I'm not sure I can accept that.  I really don't know that I want to be with him because I don't want to be hurt again.  It seems like I am too hurt to ever open myself up to him again.  What do I do?

Betty's Answer.

Thank you for your thoughtful relationship question.  Just as you are doing, I strongly recommend that you continue to explore your own feelings which reflect uncertainty about your previous boyfriend and his seemingly contradicting verbal and non-verbal communications with you.  These feelings are yours and they are valid.  Some other questions to ask yourself include how consistent has your previous boyfriend been in the past with you and with others?  What have the communication patterns been between the two of you?

An approach of sharing with your previous boyfriend of exactly how you feel is a good place to start.  As simple as saying, "I'm confused . . . help me understand. . . I feel uncertain about how to be with you based on . . . " will allow you to be transparent about your own feelings, and hopefully will open up a conversation in which your previous boyfriend may be able to verbalize his thoughts and feelings.  If he is not able to do this, you might consider seeking counseling support for the two of you to communicate through this situation.

Healthy relationships are based on honest communication which builds trust.  Sometimes it is difficult to communicate our feelings to another, but still necessary and respectful for any type of relationship to move forward.  And, lastly, remember we can't change another person, we can only be responsible for our own thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.