How to share insecurities with your partner.
I asked my boyfriend (of two months) if his ex ever calls and asks him to reconcile. I admitted that it may have been somewhat dumb. He got upset. He said I asked him that already and it seems like I don’t trust him. He also said that if she does he will tell me. Since then he’s been quite distant. I am trying to be patient but if he wants this relationship, he should just accept my apology, forgive me and move on. It’s been two days now and it hurts to be this strained. What do I do?
I know it seems to you like this is a drastic overreaction on his part and that he should just get over it and “move on.” I mean jeeez it was just a question. But for a man the question you asked (more than once) is like a knife to the heart.
I get why you asked it. A lot of women have the urge to question the strength of a new relationship. There are a lot of songs about how wonderful and carefree falling in love with someone is but hardly anyone talks about the sheer terror it can cause a person to open their heart to someone new.
It tests every ounce of self-esteem you have. Am I really worthy of all this love and attention? Do they really love me for me? It’s easy to project past hurts and doubts on the other person. It’s hard to stifle all of this insecurity and charge ahead with full confidence and truly believe, “Yes! I am worthy of this love! Yes! I can trust in this love.”
So you let a little itty tiny bit of your insecurity (that really has nothing to do with him) leak out into a “dumb” question that doubts his affection and his loyalty to you. What’s the big deal?
Your big fat mistake
You showed doubt. You showed that you didn’t trust him. Trust is one of the main ways a man feels love. Take that away and it hurts.
He’s been working hard over the last few months to earn your trust by listening to you, taking you out on dates, putting your needs ahead of his, etc. He is frustrated because he didn't do anything wrong to deserve you taking that trust away. By doubting him, you’ve made him feel unjustly persecuted and unloved.
Think about your own insecurities. Do you honestly think he is so strong that he doesn’t feel them too? His heart is just as vulnerable as yours. He has every right to his experience; he has every right to react. His heart has been bruised and it will take some time for things to come back to normal.
The 3 part "cover your own ass" formula that will make things better
You can help smooth things over faster by initiating a simple 3-part formula that will build trust again and make him feel successful.
1. Ignore. Ignore the pissy part of him and the cold shoulder. The longer you give it attention, the longer it will be around.
2. Ask. Ask him for small things like carrying a heavy bag, reaching something that is too high for you, opening a jar, etc. Show him you need him and give him opportunities to succeed.
3. Appreciate. Consciously appreciate everything he does for you. Say, “Thank you!” “That was such a big help,” and give lots of grateful smiles. When you turn to him for help, when you show him you need him and when you acknowledge him for being there for you, he feels trusted and loved. This will heal his hurt and he'll come around faster.
A better way to deal with insecurities
You know it was a dumb question. You know it was a mistake. But I don’t want you to feel trapped like you don’t have an outlet for this very natural insecurity. Once you acknowledge and honor the part of yourself that is afraid of falling in love and getting hurt, you can be more conscious of it and more caring with it.
When you are conscious of it, you can include your partner in a way that supports both of you individually and the relationship itself.
You can say something like:
"Would it be alright if I share some of my fears with you? You don’t have to say anything. Just hold me and listen. That would comfort me a lot. I just want that part of me that’s scared to be in a relationship to be heard for a while and then we can put her away. Would you be available for that?”
Now you're turning to him for help. Now you're showing him you need him. Now you're putting your vulnerable self into his hands and trusting him to be gentle.
But you are also free to share your doubts, your fears and your insecurities without him having a defensive reaction. Sharing these feelings with him bonds you closer to him. Listening to you and supporting you bonds him to you. Now we’ve got a system that works!
Now I want to hear from you!
Here is a simple and effective 3 part exercise you can do right now that will help grow and strengthen your relationship.
1. Name one insecurity, doubt or fear that you have about your relationship?
2. Now investigate it. Is it actually about your current partner or are you projecting a fear onto them? Is it really about an ex boyfriend? Or maybe your dad? Look deep.
3. Adapt the script above to fit your language and situation and bring it to your partner.
Did you learn anything about yourself? Did it add intimacy? Did you feel a more honest connection? Let me know in the comments.
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3/9/2016 10:12:18 PM
Ok so how do you deal with a situation like this? My bf told me he has nightmares about me leaving him because he is a loser and has a low paying job and I told him not to worry about that, then I shared my fear that he will dump me because I am getting older and may not be able to maintain my looks enough to keep his interest. I told him my fears just so he would know that he was not alone. Anyway he got mad at me for stating that fact and told me how much he hates my insecurity and that I need to get over it - I mentioned it once to him. That was it. After that he felt the need to insult me saying I thought i was smarter than everybody and that I think I am some sort of "superior being" etc etc. this was very hurtful to me because I have a really low self esteem. I hate myself and think I am ugly and not good enough. I also suffer from untreated depression. I was in an abusive marriage prior to this relationship and was told constantly how worthless, ugly, lazy, and stupid I was. After years of this sort of treatment, you start to believe it. I went through some counseling to try to resolve the self haterd and suicidal thoughts that it caused and it helped enough to make me realize that the way I was being treated was wrong and that I needed to leave that marriage before I lost all of my sanity. I had a lot of trust issues and tried hard to shelter my feelings and did not enter this relationship lightly. This guy gets way too defensive and runs his mouth unfiltered an awful lot if he feels the least bit slighted by anything. Right now we are not speaking to each other because according to him my low self esteem is "ripping this relationship apart" according to him. Just because I acknowledged I have insecurities too. I was not even arguing or making any demands. Just making a statement....
4/25/2015 3:16:47 PM
Hello, dear Lauren. I`ve experienced insecurities with my guy, however I`m not sure whether he wants a committed relationship. Now he`s away but when we meet again he wants to get intimate with me. The thing is I`d like to know whether he prefers friendship with benefits or a committed relationship. He`s never told me about it clearly. How can I ask him about it not hurting his feelings and let him know I keep trusting him? Thank you for your help in advance.
11/20/2014 12:25:52 PM
Lezio, So glad you're loving videos!! I'm touched that it's helping you have more faith in your relationship. That's music to my ears. In response to your question, you need to get clear on what your partner is capable of giving you, working with a compassionate understanding of how he is different from you. Check out my blog on communication - http://www.marsvenus.com/blog/lauren-gray/3-easy-ways-to-immediately-improve-communication-with-your-partner.
11/13/2014 9:10:19 PM
Hi Lauren! I really love your advices and your video made me smile so many times that it really encouraged me to have more faith in my relationship. However, there is a issue I'm not quite sure whether it's a problem of mine or not. Well, I only see my boyfriend during the weekends. Sometimes we see each other during the week, but it's not often, what means the only way of communicating with him is through text and calls. The thing is, he's not too much into that, or that's how it seems. I brought that subject to him, asked him if he liked to keep in touch with me and he said yes. However, I often notice how he doesn't care about keeping conversations up or even say small cute things like a good morning/night text every once in a while - and when I do, it's like he gets annoyed. He said I can text him as many times as I want, I can call him as many times as I want, but I hate it that whenever I do any of these, things simply don't grow. It's almost like I'm talking to myself. I don't know what to do, since talking didn't help and I don't wanna bring up this subject over and over again. But it makes me feel less loved for sure, and consequentily insecure. What advice could you give me on this? Thank you....
7/17/2014 6:07:12 AM
Hello Lauren, My biggest insecurity right now has to do with abandonment fears I have from my childhood. My brother passed away when I young, and since then it seems that anyone I have opened up to, and trusted has died, or moved away and disappeared. My new boyfriend is currently under a tremendous amount of stress, which seems as though the Universe decided to dump on him all at once immediately after we fell for each other. Now he has been in his man cave dealing with this stress longer than we have been in the actual relationship. Communication has virtually stopped. On top of that, we are long distance (only a few hours, and he actually works in my city regularly), and scheduling time together is difficult (especially now that things are in the air for him). I think I am doing quite well with giving him his space while he is in his cave, but I really want to reach out and ask if he can possibly text/call me randomly, even if it is just to say "I am thinking about you", or maybe tentatively schedule something with me so that I have something to look forward too. For the most part I am doing just fine without it, and my gut says "It can wait", but geez, to have someone "check out" for so long after opening yourself up, breaking down walls and saying "I love you" is pretty painful when I let myself feel it. I want him to know that I trust him, and I'm doing that by giving him space, but my needs are not being met in anyway right now. I guess I'm just afraid of pushing him further away if I ask to have these needs met when I feel like he doesn't have the emotional or mental capacity to engage in the relationship. His tanks are empty, and whatever fuel he does get has to be donated to his mom right now. Yup, just answered my own question. Leave him be, his tank needs to go to his mom, and he needs me to fill up my own tank....
5/29/2014 6:16:12 PM
Your three steps are so helpful! This is what i have bene searching the site for, how to deal with the 'hes angry/upset help!' situation! I posted a thread about my situation, its a bit lengthy for here but if you have the time to have a read your thoughts would be very helpful to me! its titled, 'Help! I don't know how to react to his anger" I made a crucial mistake earlier today before i read this, in doing something i had previously asked him to do myself and then telling him so, i told him i was doing it so he did not need to see me before he is ready (yes, hes that angry/upset :/) but in truth i should have still asked him to do it! and now he has asked me to remind him to do something he needs to do! will still use the appreciate step after (if he remembers) as the thing i am reminding him about is half for me, half for him. If you/your father could do/point me in the direction of further advice on how to handle arguments and how to move on after them? I feel a lot of people would find that very useful!! Keep up your fantastic work! x...
4/12/2014 4:49:00 AM
I also think this advice is really good. we must not mistake asking a question because "we feel unsecure" and asking a question to corner him because "we already know" or "feel" something is fishy. So, thank you Lauren for your advice and more importantly for me for understanding better how this "little things", which seems innocent for us, are received on the other end. However, I would still have a question. I'm okay to ask him as you said when I'm about to talk to him. But how do you deal with the fear of being cheated on? this also comes from insecurity, but we cannot just "talk to him",since the basic of cheating is lying. How do you solve this? because, for me, just talking calms me down for like 5 minutes. but the fear comes back running as soon as a girl looks at him... do you have another magic trick ;)?...
4/9/2014 11:52:42 AM
Hi Randij, So glad to hear you're on the mend and that you enjoyed the blog. Also, I'm so happy you'll be doing the exercise. It's pretty magic. Sometimes the insights come in layers, peel back one layer, find another. Great work!
4/7/2014 3:33:21 PM
Dear Lauren, I loved this video blog because I faced this issue just this week and it caused HUGE problems between me and my boyfriend. I have some insecurities from my past experiences. Although he's been very understanding through many of my insecure moments, he said he felt very accused by the statements and/or questions I had on a particular issue and day. Additionally, he was going through some hurts of his own. This was a perfect recipe for hurtful words and moments during the week that followed. And your advice is right, done over and over, it can be a death sentence to an otherwise wonderful relationship. We are on the mend now but a lot could have been left unsaid and I am working thru the exercise you recommended. Thanks! Randij...
4/7/2014 11:38:44 AM
Kennahsmom, I think you're coming into your therapy with a great point of view. You'll never have the relationship of your dreams until you feel you deserve the relationship of your dreams. I hope you get clarity and the support you need from your session. Best of luck!
4/7/2014 11:36:39 AM
Dal, I also believe in and honor intuition. In Nicki's case, she knew it was a dumb question because it didn't come from a place of intuition, but from a place of fear. Actually doing the 3 part exercise I provide can help clarify where you're coming from before you take action: is it intuition? are you coming from a place of clarity? or are you coming from a place of fear and insecurity? When you take the time to self-reflect, it helps connect you deeper to your intuition and can help you create even greater clarity than jumping to a conclusion based on a past hurt/experience. ...
4/7/2014 7:52:21 AM
Dear Lauren, Thank you so much for talking to us about insecurities. My current issue is that I believe I'm in love with 2 men. Ugh! I have been divorced for 7 years now and am a full-time single mom. My girls father lives in another state. My girls are 16 & 12. Both wonderful girls!!! My old boyfriend...we dated a year, he works off-shore and I would see him once a month for a few days or a week. Anyway, he is everything that I want in a partner. But, he's not ready. We have been really good friends since. He is someone that I can confide in. He is honest with me. We usually don't talk about people we are dating because it hurts me. I don't want to hear it. A different old boyfriend came onto the scene right after the first old bf and I broke up and it's been rocky. I love him dearly, but I struggle with my feelings for my old boy friend. "friend." I keep wondering what if he and I get together and I'm not available for him when he's finally "ready." ugh...this is sooo getting in the way of things. My problem is that I'm 17 years older that the current guy I'm seeing. Things are not the typical way of dating that I want, but we are working on getting there. I am going to a therapist in 2 days to see if I can get some clarity and stop sabotaging this current relationship I'm in. Haha...to get back on track - insecurity...I think it's that I don't think I'm good enough...Melissa...