1. He’s had a string of terrible relationships that will inform how he acts with you
Duh, but there’s more. It’s very likely he’s been burned before and it was traumatic enough that he’s wary of being hurt again. If that history has been established, keep it in mind moving forward. If he’s acting irrationally, it certainly isn’t your fault, but keep in mind that (within reason) it isn’t entirely his fault either. Understanding his side of the situation (and why he’s doing things that could initially be perceived as hurtful) will be very helpful moving forward.
2. Those past relationships aren’t necessarily romantic
Someone with trust issues might not have a big, flashing horrible relationship to point at. While a partner with a habit of cheating or emotional abuse is certainly a possibility, keep in mind that an absent parent or even a problematic friend could be the root cause. It could even be a combination. Maybe (and very unfortunately) he’s the kind of person that lets people walk all over him, so he’s had a revolving door of troubling relationships.
3. He might have trouble committing
In the early stages of the relationship, before you’re even really aware of his trust issues, he might find it tough to be in a relationship because he likes you a lot and is afraid to invest in a relationship he assumes is just going to hurt him. It might take some time and slow progress, but he’ll likely come around.
Just be aware that, on the flip-side, not every guy that doesn’t want to commit to a relationship with you has trust issues. Some of them just aren’t ready to settle down. Trust your instincts, and don’t wait around for just anyone.
4. He’s going to be emotionally guarded
Even typical relationship milestones like saying “I love you” might come hard to him, because again, the less he invests, the less he can get hurt. Keep that in mind when you’re pressing him to open up to you, and also that moments when he does share with you are huge milestones for him. If communication is a serious issue for you though, it’s certainly worth speaking about with him and exploring other options.
5. He could be irrationally paranoid and ask tons of questions
He might really grill you when you go out, or don’t answer his texts for hours, or any other thing that could make him feel insecure. He’s not doing it because he thinks you’re horrible, but because he expects that behavior and he expects to get betrayed. Frankly, it’s something he needs to get over. If he isn’t actively trying to work through it, it’s going to put a strain on your relationship.
6. He might be clingy
For similar reasons, he might think it’s a great idea to always spend time with you since that way, you can’t go off and cheat on him. This might sound great to anyone who really likes to dive into a relationship, but it’s certainly a nightmare for everyone else. Boundaries have to be made, and they need to be made early on.
7. No matter how great of a person you are, you’re going to have to “earn” his trust.
With those last two points in mind, it may sometimes feel like you’re the one who abandoned him in the first place. It might take him some time to really warm up and trust you. You’ll have to use your gut here and determine when, but at a certain point, if he still can’t trust you, you both need to take a long look at the relationship.
8. None of this is personal
As tough as it might be to remember in the moment, the baggage people bring into relationships go beyond each of you as individuals. Do your best not to take things personally. But at the same time, remember that just because he’s got some deep-seated hangups, that’s also not a free pass.