What should you do after the one you love has been hurt by another relationship?
It's amazing to me how all the "nice guys" seem to get the short end of the stick while the jerks walk away with their girls! You definitely seem like a nice guy. I am a 27 year old single woman, and I've been through lots of relationship stuff. Here is my advice to you:
- Take care of yourself. Always strive to be the best you can be and to make your life a good one for YOU. Happy people are attractive and make good partners.
- Hope for everything, but EXPECT NOTHING. Don't put your life on hold waiting for her to see what you want her to. Show her what you want her to see in a gentle, consistent way, and at the same time remember you may get nothing in return.
- Don't stop caring. You know you can't anyway, so why try? There is nothing wrong with truly caring about someone. And if you really do care about HER, and not just what you want from her (love in return), you will be sure to keep in mind what her needs, wants, and limits may be, even if it is not what you want. She will respect you for meeting her where she is, and that can go a long way.
- You cannot take away someone else's unhappiness or pain. She has to find peace in her own way and in her own time. But a consistent, loving, caring friend like you can be a source of strength and comfort for her all the while. If nothing else, she will respect, admire, and trust you. Those are GREAT foundations for a loving relationship, if and when she is ready to see you have been standing there waiting for her all along.
I have been in a similar situation recently. I met a guy during the break up of a physically abusive relationship (her hitting him) and although we initially started out in a relationship, he stopped calling, started seeing other people and was an out and out bad person.
Now the weird bit is that as much as my head told me and my friends told me to walk away, my instinct and one very good friend told me to hang in there, but not to exclusively wait for him. So I dated other guys, went out all the same but worked staying mates with the first guy.
A little while back he admitted to the good friend that he was completely besotted with me but felt that he wasn't ready for a relationship and that he would rather keep me at arm's length than risk hurting me. I accepted this, talked to him and agreed when he was ready he would come back. Which he has and it is great.
So the moral of the story - always trust your instincts but don't be trapped by them.
You should not give up. Let the person know that you care about them and that you would never hurt them the way that guy did. Trust me if the person really likes you will be able to know. It's just going to take some time for the person to be able to trust anyone again.
I was really interested in this question as soon as I saw it. About a month ago, I was dating a nice, attractive guy who said that he really cared about me. At the very beginning of our relationship, I asked only one thing of him, and that was to never use me or hurt me like everyone else has. Our relationship was by far the happiest one I have ever had, because he was a loving person. We hugged, held hands, kissed in the hallway between classes, just normal touchy feely couple stuff. I had never had a significant other that had actually loved me, and he led me to believe that he was in love with yours truely. But I was wrong. You see, I'm in my freshman year, he, in his senior year. This sort of bothered me at the beginning, and for a while, I thought 'what the are you doing, idiot?!' but we settled into our natural spots. About a week and a half after we started to date, he called me, saying that his father found a note that I had written, saying my age and other personal info. We talked, and agreed that we both had a deep respect for his father, and so agreed to remain just as mates. However, about two days later, he began to date one of my mates that is six months younger than me...I was crushed, and called him that night, saying he was a liar and a coward who never had any feelings for anyone other than himself...and for the first time, I heard him cry. Through strangled breaths and hiccoughs, he explained to me that his exgirlfriend had said she loved him, and then 'stabbed him in the back.' I responded, quite angrily, that still gave him no right to treat me in that way. I worried about him, still. There were rumours going round school that I will not put here. I felt a small bit of honour, because he had never let anyone as emotionally close as he had with me. For weeks, I was depressed, and sort of died inside. Slowly, though, I'm helping him pick up the pieces of his heart, though that heart will never belong to me. I have moved on, and realize that relationships can leave terrible scars...but a new love can heal them.
To expand on the other answers:
Everyone has scars, fears and hopes. Sometimes the answer is not to "get over" a loss, but to get through it. Understand that many times, we bring past hurts and fears into a new relationship, without ever coming to grips with what hurt us in the first place. Chances are, if your love was cheated on (or abused, etc.), that fear will be present in the new relationship. One has to relearn a new set of expectations so that old fear can be removed from the new relationship.
Best thing you can do is give your lover time, space and honesty! Be supportive without fixing the problem, for it's not your problem and if your lover doesn't heal him/herself, then the wound festers and creates conflicts. Part of your lover's heart wants to trust and part is scared to death! Guess which one wins out more often?
Recognizing fear is part of dismissing it. Though it is hard, your lover can overcome the expectations set from previous relationships, but it is a soul-searching, humbling and scary process. DO NOT(!) buffer your lover from his/her emotional fears, but make him/her confront the fears and pains and negative expectations. Better yet, do not become intimately involved until those fear issues are not an issue. From a female standpoint, sex is the great equalizer and if the sex is good, we'll overlook our own fears and doubts because we equate sex with love.
If you cannot give your lover: support without fixing the problem yourself, reasons to trust you, actions not words, patience and time, your trust and honest emotional responses, then you are better off fixing your fears and trying the relationship at another time.
Not Very Easy To Do...
I'm thinking about something that a lover once told me. They said that if your past relationship nearly killed you, then you shouldn't be so quick to jump in another one. Perhaps, you should wait. That would probably be the best thing to do, because you could do the slightest thing to remind them of that certain person.
You are a nice guy.. Do realize that many women who have come out of recent relationships (unhealthy ones especially) also usually have codependency issues, and really just wish that they had better boundaries and self esteem than they really do have. Do not be a crutch, but be a friend, and be patient. She might become different in a big way after sex or kissing, even, so take it really slow. Be yourself, but do not become codependent to her own trust issues also. A healthy relationship involves a lot of trust, and sometimes it is better to be friends first, so that both people can really feel comfortable with each other, later on in life. Don't call her sensitive, if she sticks up for herself. Be willing to take accountability for your own actions and words, if they are ever hurtful- even if it is unintentional. Abused women hate being told they are just being over sensitive. Also, don't revictimize her by drudging up her past (which she has survived and overcome and clearly moved on to better things now) and throwing it in her face. Abused women need relationships where both partners are equals and work hard at treating the other person with respect and dignity. She might also need to hear how beautiful and smart and logical she is on a regular basis. These are really great positive words for a woman who is deprogramming from an abusive situation to hear. =)
Try to get over it and move on.