I am in my mid thirties and very wary of trusting and getting close to anyone. I am so used to bottling up my emotions that I find it hard to open up.
I’ve always kept quiet about my troubled home life with my difficult parent. Partly because I am ashamed of it, and partly because if friends get on with their parents, they will find it hard to understand and think it must be my fault.
Until about ten years ago I was sort of comfortable about it. I could be the life and soul of a party, but intimate confessions were out. The most I ever said was “I am not that close to my parents” or “I couldn’t wait to leave home” but that was about it.
I was particularly wary about boyfriends. There were plenty around, but most didn’t last for more than a few weeks, especially when they were obviously keen. It made me feel under pressure to give more of myself in all sorts of ways and I couldn’t face being vulnerable.
But now I have met someone who I believe understands me. I feel relaxed in his company. He makes me laugh, has a strong sense of self but is also very caring. He’s broken one barrier in that we have been together for six months. We have had sex too. We are very compatible but I am still quite shy and find myself trying to stay in control, because I don’t dare let go. Part of me wants to tell him more about my rotten childhood but I don’t want to give him something he could use against me – I am that untrusting – or that would put him off.
But nor do I want to be trapped or haunted by my past and blocked from having a fulfilled life.
It’s not easy to trust someone when your parents have let you down. Staying in control is a form of self-protection that can help prevent you from getting hurt. But it can also be a barrier to intimacy.
If you genuinely want to get close to your boyfriend, you have to let go and surrender yourself to your emotions and feelings. It doesn’t, though, have to happen all at once. Try talking more intimately first. You can test your boyfriend’s reaction by telling him selected stories of some of your experiences at home. Choose your time carefully. Avoid the subject even if you have geared yourself up if he has had a bad day, or not feeling well.
If you feel relief rather than regret about what you have told him, this should help you let your guard down sexually. Of course it’s scary and you are bound to feel anxious, but it sounds as if you at the gateway of having a contented happy life with someone who really cares about you and whom you can trust.
Do take it one small step at a time so it doesn’t feel overwhelming.
Do come onto our forum via the website and share your experiences.