Q: I have been a notorious failure in relationships most of my life, always building a wall or finding someone who is emotionally unavailable. However, this past year I have been through some serious trauma with the death of a close family member and a few friends leaving me behind during this difficult time. This created major trust issues and multiple insecurities.
For the past few months, I have been seeing a new guy, who is great. He claims to not want to have a label or be in a "relationship," but his actions say otherwise. He goes out of his way to do little things for me to show that he appreciates me and I don't feel as if he is out trying to find someone better. We have been bickering lately because I am beginning to think that it is only a matter of time before he walks out on me, too.
I know that I feel this way because I have experienced so much loss lately that I am now sort of just expecting it. If some people who were in my life for years can just give up on someone at their weakest moment, how can I not be afraid that this guy will do the same? He tells me that he isn't going anywhere, but these days, my gut trusts no one.
I don't know what to do to fix this. I truly want things to work with him, as he is the only thing that has made me happy, but I don't know how to relax and shut my mouth to prevent pushing him away...???
– Abandoned, Massachusetts
A: You've had a rough go of it, Abandoned, and you have every reason to fear that the other shoe will drop -- and smack you in the face.
There's nothing I can say to convince you that this guy won't leave -- and really, I don't know what he's going to do. But I will tell you that you have to have faith that no matter what happens, you can take care of yourself. If you know that, there's less to fear.
I want you to spend some real energy working to find a new community of friends -- and maybe reach out to those old friends to figure out what happened. Then I want you to ask your boyfriend for the one thing that he can do to make you feel more secure. It's time for him to say the words. "I am your boyfriend and we're in a relationship." If he can't do that, you're just not going to feel safe. He doesn't have to promise you his entire future, but you need to know that you both have similar, hopeful intentions.
Readers? Should she be in a relationship? What's up with the friends? What does she need to feel safe right now? Discuss.
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Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.