Dear Dr. Archer,
I'm a 21 year old male, and most of my life I've been insecure about trusting people. I was pretty much abandoned and left on my own for the most part by my mom when I was around 6 years old.
When I was 7 my dad gained sole custody of me. Even then there were signs that were beginning to show -- I wouldn't even open up to my own dad.
This continued to be a problem until I was 13 when I started to warm up to people, thanks to a close family member, although I still held back from the majority of people. When I was 14 that family member died, and I closed up once again, ravaging every relationship I've been in during the next three years.
Luckily I met someone who stuck with me regardless of my problems, and has stuck with me to this very day. In fact, we're married. For the past year and a half I've had nightmares stemming from insecurity with not being good enough and trust, especially with my wife, who for no real reason has ever given me suspicion not to trust her.
These nightmares continue to trend around her having an affair, and for the past month I've been having these nightmares nightly. They're bad and they continue to get worse. What can I do? Thank you for your time.
Marrying your best friend who stands up for you and is there through good times and bad is priceless. Not trusting her, when there is no clear reason not to, puts that happy, secure life in jeopardy, so you are very smart to reach out for help.
Despite your troubled childhood, it sounds like you were doing well and on the right path to success and happiness. Dreams can be the mind's way of letting you know that something is not right. It's possible that there's something to these nightmares which are becoming more frequent and unsettling.
You must discuss this with your wife, Michael, and get everything out in the open. Tell her about the dreams, the frequency and how you are afraid because of your past and difficulty with trust. Listen to her response carefully and see if it sounds and FEELS true.
Above all, Michael, honest communication between you and your wife should be paramount, especially when your past is considered. Something is going on, and the last thing you want to do is close it up like you've done before.
Make this a priority. Don't accuse your wife of anything, rather tell her that you want her to help you sort out the meaning. Be kind and non-judgmental when you talk. Use these dreams as an opportunity to learn more about yourself and your wife.
Ask her point blank if she's happy and if you're meeting her needs. Ask her what she would change and what you should change. Make this a learning experience for you both. Good luck!