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How can I trust someone who doesn't trust me?

The question

I thought I finally found my soul mate.

My girlfriends have always told me I'm beautiful, bright, wonderful, etc., but truthfully I've never felt that way about myself. I've had lots of boyfriends, but they usually turn out to just want me as "eye candy" and are not really interested in me as a person.

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Then I finally met a guy I thought was perfect. He's not the greatest looker, but what a human being. He's become a successful actor and I'm very proud of him, and probably unfortunately, can't stop bragging about him to everyone.

A while back he told me that he was going to be cut from the series and while devastating to him personally, I was certain that with his ability he'd find another gig soon.

It turns out he wasn't cut, and now I've learned that he lied to me about that being a likelihood. Why would he do that? Was he testing me in some kind of way? How can I ever trust someone who doesn't trust me?

The answer

Madam: If he was indeed testing you, I think I may have an inkling why.

There are many things you could have chosen to say to describe your boyfriend to me:

"He's talented." "He makes me laugh." "I find his conversation hypnotizing." "His lovemaking skills cause my eyes to roll back into my head and all my little problems to seem insignificant as I pant and moan and build towards an earth-shattering -"

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Well, you get the idea. Instead you say: "He's not the greatest looker, but … he's become a successful actor, and I'm very proud of him, and … can't stop bragging about him."

Imagine me as an actor delivering the following line with ultra-deadpan, dry-as-dust drollery: Be still my beating heart.

Now, if you are indeed the "eye candy" you suggest you are, can you understand why he might be feeling a little insecure about your relationship - because you seem to be a) out of his league; b) mostly into him because of his career?

Obviously you wouldn't be the first woman in the history of humanity who was into a guy because of his career success.

It may be retrograde of me to say so, but it's hardwired into our hunter-gatherer DNA. Ten thousand years of evolution does not wash away that quickly. Naturally, you want to know that your man is the type of guy to return from the hunt with a big, juicy carcass slung over his shoulder - or at the very least something furry and tasty on the end of a stick.

But even the greatest hunter-gatherer might go through a slump, might return with nothing but a shrug and a forced smile.

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We want to know our mates will stand by us until we snap out of our slump.

Okay, I'll drop the hunter-gatherer metaphor here, and say simply: Acting is a very insecure profession. One day, you're on top of the world, raking it in - in the words of Run-DMC (in reference to rapping, not acting, but it applies to all forms of fame) - it's all "signing autographs, tears and laughs/champagne, caviar, and bubble baths."

Next thing you know you piss off one of the writers, your character falls down an elevator shaft, and you're back out on the street.

So if indeed your boyfriend was "testing" his shiny new eye-candy girlfriend, don't be too hard on him.

Besides, you passed the test. You not only didn't dump him, you stood by him and supported him.

You're a keeper!

Basically, what I'd do about your situation is: not much. So he's a little insecure, he threw you a little test, and you passed. Life goes on. If you do believe he's your "soul mate," as you say, I wouldn't get too het up about this situation. Doesn't seem like too big a deal to me.

(I have an actor friend whose new girlfriend shouted out his character's name during sex. Now that's a "damage control" situation.)

We all test each other, in one way or another, wittingly or unwittingly. My spectacular lack of success when I met my wife, Pam, was a form of test, in a way.

At least I knew she wasn't after my money. Ever since then, whatever happens, I know she likes me for me. It is relaxing knowledge.

You should insist on honesty, though. And help him become more of a "keeper," by helping him over his insecurities.

Maybe say something along the lines of: "You need to relax, believe in yourself, and be yourself with me - the best possible version of yourself, but still yourself - and I will stick with you. But in return you have to show me the respect I deserve by being honest and upfront with me at all times. No more little games."

If he agrees to your terms, you're good to go, I think. As long as he promises to "keep the drama in front of the camera," as they say in the television business, I predict a good character arc for both of you, and many season renewals for your relationship.

David Eddie is the author of Chump Change and Housebroken: Confessions of a Stay-at-Home Dad. Damage Control, the book, was released in March.

I've made a huge mistake: Have you created any damage that needs controlling? Send your dilemmas to, and include your hometown and a daytime contact number so we can follow up with any queries.

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