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How do I know the difference between gut instinct and paranoia?

Tagged as: Troubled relationships, Trust issues<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (31 March 2015) 6 Answers - (Newest, 31 March 2015)
A female United States age 36-40, anonymous writes:

Hi all.

This question has two parts.

Should you ever ask your BF if he finds another woman attractive and if he would ever fvck her? I asked my BF tonight if he would fvck this other woman we both know and he said not while he was with me. Then I said but would you if you weren't with me? He said it was none of my business! Which means YES, right??? Why would he say THAT?

Now that he practically admitted that, is she a threat to me now? Or do guys just want to bang mostly every attractive woman they know?

And also, what is the difference between gut instinct and paranoia? I have a hard time trusting him because my last boyfriend cheated on me.

For example, he was supposed to see me today. Today is our usual day together and he had to work. He was gone all day and said his work took longer than he thought. I ,of course, get pissed at him right away because my mind automatically jumps to he ditched me to screw someone else! That is where it always goes whenever he is late, can't make it etc. I jump to this conclusion and we get into a big fight. I accuse him of cheating, demand proof of where he was. He swears he wasn't. And gets upset that I am angry with him. But WHY DON'T I BELIEVE HIM???

Can I chalk it up to PMS? To my being cheated on before?

I don't know if my gut is telling me something or I am blowing it all out of proportion? I am having a real hard time knowing the difference.

I do know for sure that I won't be able to withstand this relationship much longer with the toll of stress, paranoia, worry that is mounting on me. It is giving me a sick feeling. I am shutting myself off from him. I have convinced myself he is cheating and I want nothing to do with him. But he reels me back in. Tells me I am wrong. Have a vivid imagination. Is he right???I have these constant images in my mind of him and this other woman in bed. That he is doing her now. Behind my back. It is crippling me. I am not sure why. I mean he has admitted to finding her attractive in the past and would not answer if he would sleep with her. Just said none of my business.

I just don't know why it is so hard for me to TRUST him!

I have been with him 2 years. And on and off I have had concerns but not like this. Lately it seems to be eating away at me so much more. How can I go on this way???

If your gut tells you he is cheating, is your gut right? Or could it be from past experience that you are afraid of getting hurt again and are looking for red flags where there aren't any?

I wonder if I need some sort of professional help.

I wish someone could help me.

Do I need to make a decision to leave? Do I need to lighten up?

I am just very lost here.

View related questions: cheated on me

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A female reader, Tisha-1 United States + , writes (31 March 2015):

Tisha-1 agony auntHow old is the boyfriend? Assuming he's your age, then presumably he's had prior relationships. How did those end?

Sorry to hear your last boyfriend cheated on you. So, is it a wise or healthy choice to punish the current boyfriend because of the transgressions of the prior one? You'll be looking for a new boyfriend soon enough if you keep up interrogations and suspicions like you do.

Unless, you have another reason for worry. Did this guy cheat on his last wife/girlfriend? Then perhaps you have a pattern developing.

And yes, I do think professional help is in order. You set him up to fail on that question you asked. And you've decided that you are his mind police. That he has to account for thoughts he might idly have.... Or that he needs to be kept in check by accusations and surveillance.

Not a healthy relationship at all, from your standpoint.

Do go get some help.

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (31 March 2015):

Honeypie agony auntSo you have been in this 2 YEAR long relationship waiting for the other shoe to drop (for him to cheat)? That is NOT healthy, nor is it FAIR on him.

So you were cheated on in your last relationship, OK that SUCKS, but that doesn't mean that you now can't trust ANY guy you date. And it doesn't mean that you now have the "RIGHT" to make accusations of cheating. YOUR current BF is NOT your ex. He should NOT be punished for your ex's cheating and bad behavior. That is like saying because your ex was an alcoholic your current BF can't have a beer or two with friend at the pub, no HE has to drink soda or water!! It's unfair. And ridiculous.

You ASKED him the question, not because you really wanted to HEAR the TRUTH, but because you wanted him to sooth your insecurities and tell you no. HAD he told you no, you wouldn't have believed him. HAD he told you yes, sure - you would have gone into a hissy fit. What you did was ask him a question where NO MATTER the answer HE can't win or give you what you really want. It's akin to the "does my ass look big in these pants" question. If he says no, he MUST be lying if he says yes, then he is a jerk...

He told you it was none of your business, BECAUSE he KNOWS how you act/think. And my guess is he also think it doesn't matter SINCE he is with you.

You are DESTROYING the relationship with your attitude and insecurities.

If you don't trust him WHY are you with him?

If you constantly think he MUST be cheating on me, why are you with him?

Maybe professional help CAN help you. BUT you need to also take some responsibility for your OWN behavior. And you NEED to have some kind of self control. My guess is you have some obsessive compulsive thoughts issues and THAT can be toned down and you CAN learn to be IN control. But I'm NOT a doctor/counselor. WHY not TRY a therapist?

As for the gut versus paranoia - MANY people have VERY well developed "gut instincts" some don't because (like you) they LET their imagination take over.

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A female reader, So_Very_Confused United States +, writes (31 March 2015):

So_Very_Confused agony auntyou need to lighten up and you need professional help.

I think your mind is messing with you

NEVER ask a question you don't want an answer to.

When my mother would ask me questions that were NONE of her business (as was a divorced 30 yr old woman who owned her own home and was raising two children) I would say (on the advice of a very good therapist) "do you really want me to answer that?"

she usually said "never mind"

"it's none of your business" means just that... it means "it does not matter as it would not happen if we were a couple and since we are a couple your insanity is a moot point"

I am betting you have very low self esteem.... a good therapist can help with that.

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A female reader, malvern United Kingdom +, writes (31 March 2015):

malvern agony auntI think you're building up a whole story in your head here. You seem to want to convince yourself that your partner is cheating on you. Why? He's going to get very fed up of you if you keep going on at him like this and eventually you will drive him away. Just because your last boyfriend cheated on you doesn't mean to say that every man you meet will do the same.

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A male reader, Garbo United States + , writes (31 March 2015):

Garbo agony auntI think your post breaks down into two questions: (1) Can you trust your BF given that he did not admit explicitly that he would sleep with a certain woman outside of your relationship and (2) are you needlessly paranoid over your trust in your BF.

I think you BF gave you a clear answer to the real part of your question which is that he would not sleep with another woman even if he finds her attractive because he is with you. He also refused to answer a hypothetical as to would he sleep with her if he wasn't with her and he didn't do that because that portion of the question is not real so why bother answering imaginary things.

As for your second question, you do appear to be needlessly paranoid over this BF and lot of that paranoia could be fueled by your past experience. Perhaps you plunged into this relationship too soon after being hurt by your Ex, but you in the end, you can't treat your BF as though he is guilty until proven innocent.

In other words, you can't go around and set up traps for him in order to generate evidence that, there, he is ready to cheat on you just so that you can satisfy your inner impulse of mistrust. His refusal to answer to an imaginary question is not evidence that he is or will cheat on you.

Nor is an admission that some woman looks good, an evidence that he will cheat on you because there are lot of good looking women around but that does not mean that the guy will drop you and chase her. Most guys are sane afte rall and understand the difference between the urges good looks produce and practical good that their situation requires. You are his practical good and his situation is that he is with you, committed. You need to accept that fact and stop clinging on imaginary stuff that feeds your insecurity.

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A female reader, Aunty BimBim Australia + , writes (31 March 2015):

Aunty BimBim agony auntHe said he would not cheat on you ... why wasn't that enough? Why did you push for an answer you KNEW was going to upset you?

Maybe your suggestion that you need professional help is the way to go.

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