March 11, 2011 - submitted by Liv, Belgium

"Since 3 months I have got an amazing boyfriend. He is my first boyfriend and way more experienced than I am. About two weeks ago he asked me what I wanted. According to him I am not very open and I do not express my feelings well, also I am not very assertive and he wished I would open up more. I realize what he wants but I can't trust people within 3 months enough to really open up. I have had some bad experiences with that in the past. I told him this and he understands, I know he does. However, even thought I do not have to share my entire life immediately I find it very, very hard to let people in. Does anyone have tips, because I realize this is not good.
Thanks, Liv."

The Oracle replies:

I also find it hard to trust people. I like to think that trust has to be earned rather than expected. Unfortunately that has arisen from having my trust betrayed several times resulting in my cynical view. I don't tell everyone everything, I have a close circle of friends and only open up to the ones I completely trust. I am very open and honest but if someone does betray my trust I learn never to extend that trust to them again and these days don't allow the disappointment to linger too long. I am very good at keeping other people's secrets and being a confidant; I think gaining trust helps me open up but I have to remember that not everyone will necessarily have the same respect. What I am trying to tell you is that it IS hard to let people in but maybe after three months with someone who sounds very understanding and supportive it may be time to take a risk. As it's something you're not used to I just think it's a case of taking it slow. Take time to talk and don't rush. Start with something small and see how he reacts and you can build up to bigger things if you feel comfortable sharing. What you need to keep at the forefront of your mind is your boyfriend wasn't part of your past bad experiences so it's fair to see him as your first good experience. Don't feel pressure and go at your own pace but similarly don't use your past as an excuse not to move forward. Life doesn't always go the way we would like and I cannot guarantee that your trust will always be well placed. I do believe you will benefit from forming bonds of trust though. Ask yourself if he's ever given you a reason NOT to trust him and if not, that's a pretty good foundation to start giving it a go. Good luck. Over to you...

I understand that it's extremely difficult to trust people quickly. I know what you're going through. Everyone probably had the same experience at least once in their lives. However, the process of trust is different for everyone, and you should just take your time. There aren't any deadlines for trust in a relationship, so you shouldn't feel rushed. Just take the time in the world to get to know him well. No one should expect a complete trust within the first few months of a new relationship. Everyone should take their time. Take your time is the only advice I can give you. Sincerely, Hera.

It's hard to let people in if you're an introvert person, but sometimes you just have to. Don't let things of the past affect your future in this way. You won't have to share everything in an instant, but open up a bit, show progress, make sure he knows what you're feeling! And bit by bit it will grow. Nick.

You should get to feel more comfortable around your boyfriend, start off with little things. He might not want to know your whole life story just yet, and if he said that you don't have to tell him. You said that you don't like talking about the past, because of bad experiences. Talk about the future then. What your plans are (not as a couple necessarily) but just as different people. If he wants you to speak up more, and be more assertive then just try it out. If you are still at school, try to express your ideas more in class, and if not, just start talking to your friends in a different way. Tell them what you actually think, rather than staying silent but disagreeing. Also, if you find it hard telling people personal information, secrets, then all you can do is practice. Start with insignificant facts, the more you talk to people the easier it becomes. You just have to trust whoever you are talking to, if you're having trouble with that then maybe writing to them would work better for you, and once they know you will feel more at ease talking to them about it face to face. Merinda.

Maybe you should write down the things you want to let him know and than read it to him. In that way you can decide what you say to him and what you don't want to say (yet). At least try to think about the things you want him to know or should know and what you still want to keep for yourself. Koen.

Liv, a relationship is based on trust. You have to trust in him to accept who you are and not take it for granted. Remember to start off small; you favorite flower, color, or even take it a further step and share with him a very special moment you had with someone close to you. He wants to know who you are so he can do things you like. The more you share with him the closer you both will become. Good luck and enjoy every moment. Remember that some people come into our lives and quickly go. Others stay awhile, make footprints on our hearts and we are never, ever the same. Katheryn.

3 months isn't that long of a time so there is plenty of time to gain trust in him, and to open up. I'm sorry you have had bad experiences in the past. My advice about that is, you should figure out what you can do to leave those bad experiences in the past. It's usually not a good idea to let it affect your current relationship if it's making it harder on you. If you are having a lot of trouble with the past, I would suggest getting some sort of help even if that means having just one session with a counselor or talking to a person you can trust. I find it hard from personal experience to let bad experiences run your life. Not to get into my whole life story but something really bad happened to me as a child, it took me awhile to get over it and I still think about it from time to time, but I don't let it run my life and relationships.
If somehow you can't seem to open up or trust him down the road, I'd suggest taking time off from the relationship to work on yourself, and there's nothing wrong with that. I hope my advice helps in some way, and best of luck to you! Caitlin.

It's great that you found someone who understands where you're coming from. You will slowly open up as you spend more time together and feel more comfortable around him. In any case, don't feel obligated to reveal your life's secrets to anyone until you are ready. It isn't a bad thing to think twice about what you want to share about yourself with others. Sharing more intimate details about your life over time shows that you can trust each other, which will make your relationship together even stronger. Blake

Thank you so much for your replies - especially our regulars - here's hoping we'll see some new people getting involved in the coming weeks. All views welcome! See you next week.
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