Your Call: Trust Issues That Are 20 Years Old

Dear Em & Lo,

I dated a guy 20 years ago for about 8 months and he recently found me online. We broke up originally because of me, I was 19 and really thought that I was in love with the guy I cheated on him with. I had a child with the guy I cheated with.

Here I am 20 years on, we both have been married and divorced, and I never thought our paths would ever cross again and we have now been dating now for 4 months and it’s unbelievable. I honestly don’t know why I ever let him go, he’s a great guy, and, I won’t lie, the sex is beyond and above what I remember (WOW).

My thing is, I know he doesn’t trust me and I can totally understand that, but I am truly in love with this guy. I kind of feel like my feelings for him never disappeared. He doesn’t believe that when I tell him because he asks me all the time how can I love him so much, but should I be worried? I know trust is everything but he’s told me that he isn’t 100% with me yet, and I would do anything for this guy, and I mean anything… Do I wait? Do I say no way and let it go? I’m not the same person I was 20 years ago….

— The One Who Got Away

What should The One Who Got Away do? Can this relationship be saved, or are trust issues that are 20 years in the making too much to get beyond? Leave your advice in the comments section below.


  1. OMG – I learned my lesson NEVER go back, only bad things can happen! Shut the door, lock it, build a brick wall!

  2. ^^ Come to think of it, as I said in the “virgins” posts, there’s no way I’d “buy the cow” UNLESS I got a little taste of the milk up front!

    Mmmm…. milk…

  3. “observer” that was a pretty mean post. If this couple made love in the past or the present, HE did the same thing, at the same speed which SHE did. How does that make HER “Easy?”

    There is NOTHING I HATE as much as the STUPID, PATRIARCHAL, MISOGYNIST bullshit “analogy” “He won’t buy the cow if he can get the milk for free.” Those who use this “analogy” ASSume that women “give” sex and men “take.” They also assume that, for women, sex is only a Commodity, a means of getting “other things” from a man. Not a means of mutual enjoyment. (I also suspect that people who use this analogy either do not know how to enjoy sex, and/or do not have much of it themselves. Otherwise, why get SO upset when other people are obviously having sex and enjoying it?)

    observer, NEWS FLASH, HEALTHY women enjoy sex as much as healthy men do. In good sex, BOTH partners “Give” and “Take” at the same time. Some refer to it as SHARING. (Is this even part of your lexicon? Or do you only speak in outdated, ridiculous, woman hating cliches?) YOU can’t understand this, so you call this woman “easy.”

    Time for a re-education, observer. It might actually benefit you, when make your “observations” of other women’s actions more realistic and may result in your own life being a little richer. And, your relationships with your chosen partners can only improve.

    I call of for a FULL MORATORIUM on the “Cow, milk, farmer, free” analogy for sex. It;s outdated, it’s misogynist, it’s….stupid. It isn’t even a good analogy. Can we do that?

  4. Girl, back off! you are courting trouble for yourself. This world has 3billion male spicies, why would you circulate around one, all in the name of love and great sex.
    This guy is setting you up revenge


    GO0T MILK!

  6. Hey girl,

    First of all, I know exactly how you feel. Relationship are tough. But I say live for the moment, because life doesn’t last forever. If things feel good right now, ENJOY them. Don’t worry about the past or the future. The only thing that matters is now. If you as much as think that there’s a CHANCE things are gonna work out with this guy, then its worth a shot. The little voice inside you is always right, and you should trust it. Sh*t happens in life, and we just have to take it as it comes, but that doesn’t mean you should stop living because you’re afraid something bad’s gonna happen. New Love (whether its’ an old love rehashed or not) feels AMAZING. There’s nothing like it in the world. These things don’t last forever, but when it happens,


    That’s the best advice I can give you.

    Good luck with everything. 🙂

  7. This must be really hard for you. I have been in a situation where my guy is younger and I kept pushing him away. There is one issue where we were really havings some problem and I start talking to someone else. Although nothing happened between me and the other person he cannot get past me cheating on him. He feels that I am still looking for that older person to be with. He found himself in a similiar situation. We made up but he still have difficulty trusting me. I am now very humble in the situation. Sometimes he throws it back in my face and at times I wonder why am i even trying. I realize I can’t fix things. So I jst be myself now, listen more to him. Hope this make sense because trust issues are really sticky and messy.

  8. well i can relat i’ve been with my husband since i was 16 and even if i never cheated on him he has always had a mistrust just
    because he felt inscure about the terms in which we started, bascilly we both lied since the beginning over time i showed him that could trust me and that i loved him so much that i would never hurt him but you must ask yourself is it what you truly want cause onlying time and great care he will trust you again but time will come test are you ready for that?

  9. If he’s worth having and keeping than he’s worth fighting for. No relationship s perfect hll that’s because no human is perfect. Remember no sin is greater than thy other. If trust is an issue than that is what I feel you both should work on. My opinion…you two should seek therapy seperately to go deeper than the eyes can see. It’s hard for me to trust due to some insecurity issues and because I have been cheated on but that’s something I have to work on and not put off on him as though he’s done something wrong. Bu in your cade you did something wrong, no I wont tell you to jump over fire or jump off a building to prove you love him and you’re sorry. But try being honest and showing him you’re not lieing every once in a while if need be. But if he was willing to take you back then he shouldnt make you go through to much to be with him. Look it honestly takes time…you will never find anyone perfect so stop looking for it. Dont set your standards so high becuause you wouldnt want anyone to do it to you. Love him for who is and take your time, never expect him to do as you will because he isnt you.

  10. Trust is one of the most important things in a relationship. It is a gift I never recieved in my twenty year marriage. I deserve trust, I know that, it’s just some people lack the ability to trust easily.
    If he trusts you enough to be with you after twenty years that says alot, yet without trust there are always negative feelings in a relationship. Yet romantic feelings and phisical compatability are positive things, and may be the basis of good things in the future.

  11. I think the issue may not be so much that he can’t trust you for your past transgression, but his confusion/concern over why you so easily give him your love now. 20 years have passed, and it may surprise this guy when you claim your feelings are as though none of this time has intervened… You’ve both had two decades of experiences shaping who you are now; you are “new” people in a way. His question of why you love him so much after only 8 months of dating him when a teen, a 20-year interval without contact, and 4 months of reunion dating, is a legitimate one. Please honestly assess it.
    Humans are complex creatures, and our many facets are not all revealed at once; it takes time to learn who someone is. How much of your feelings are for who he is, vs. who you think/feel/imagine/want him to be? Why do you love him? Is it a healthy love that you feel? This would be important for you to know, to make sure you’re not setting yourself up for a huge hurt.

    I’d suggest you tone your emotional passion down a bit–yet keep indulging the other passions as you and he see fit, if you are able to enjoy it while also detaching a bit. Try to maintain your sense of identity separate from him, and be sure he treats you like a friend as well as a lover as you both patiently explore your relationship. If you let him see your love is not given away easily, he’ll feel your love is more special to receive. If he can’t understand why you’re giving it to him in particular, he’ll end up rejecting it.

  12. I have experienced this myself in my marriage. I stayed when my husband was unfaithful with me. this has been 8 yrs now and I do not trust very well, because it is always in the back of my mind. the problem with most men in surveys say they don’t forget these things either. they will say they don’t remember but they do.
    it will nag at him for a long time that is why he istelling you it is not 100 % yet. It may never be because my husband never loved me like that for a few years like this untill we were married 2 years. His wife from his first marriage cheated on him. He had to make sure he could trust me.
    then after we were married22 yrs my husband cheated on me. I don’t trust him and it is on my all the time.
    I suggest to you to tell him “it is best that we back off and let the situation rest. Because we should not have even started back up. I don’t know how to make a way for you to know I can be trusted with you.” walk away and sit back and breathe lady…try and realize it should never had began again at all.
    try and find someone else to date but do not rush the relationship , just date and enjoy ones company first before you jump the sack…I wish you the best in life.

  13. ^^ Ditto Dave W. Maybe it has nothing to do with 20 years ago. Maybe he’s just taking it slow now. Maybe this is just his way of letting you know that you’re freaking him out a little after only 4 months of dating.

    Slow down sister. Things are good, you say? Just relax and let them be good.

  14. It sounds to me like she needs to dial it back a bit. Right now she seems like a hard core addict saying, “Where has this been all my life? It’s the answer to all my problems!” No, it’s not. Not like I know through experience or anything, but I’d say there are also more mundane things that go into making a relationship work. She says she understands; she needs to show it by giving him the time to regain trust.

  15. A comment more so than a suggestion: I married my childhood sweetie, and we’ve recently separated, after more than 20 years married. He always was jealous, in spite of having NO reason to feel so. I loved him, and tried to stop his insecurities, figguring that after bieng married for “x” amount of years he’d stop feeling so insecure. Not so, unfortunately. During the 20+ years he continued to accuse me of “wanting” other “BOYS”!!!!!! It would be nice for you if your situation ended better than mine. As I said before, we’re recently separated, for this reason, as well as +++booze-abuse on his part. 🙁

  16. I agree with SS, especially considering you guys have only been back together for 4 months. It’s way too early to throw in towel.

  17. Of course you wait! Sheesh, it sounds amazing right now, and amazing that you still have the same chemistry you used to. Although you’ve both no doubt done a lot of growing in the last 20 years, it may be that, for him, he’s still remembering the 19 year old you, and remembering those hurts. Nothing but time, love and devotion will cure that. I’d stick with him, and never give him any reason not to trust you…you may have to go above and beyond in that department until he’s secure. Sounds like it will be worth it.

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