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I’m insecure; he’s not helping

My boyfriend knows that my ex cheated on me, but he doesn’t understand my insecurity.

Work on your communication, says our elder – and focus on the present, not the past.

 

Q. Dear EWC

I am emailing you today to ask for advice on my on-and-off relationship. We have been together for two years and it has been rough. Between him not leaving an ex, to him hiding his phone and never letting me look through it, and him texting and seeing his ex after lying to me about it. I am very insecure about being in relationships because my first one ended when I found out he cheated on me with one of my close friends; someone who we hung out with all the time. My current boyfriend knows that I was cheated on and understands that I am insecure, but does not seem to make an effort to help me get out of my head when we get into situations where I start having panic attacks. Our arguments always start out with me coming to him with an issue about him doing something shady, he gets loud and in my face about how it is just about me being insecure and uses that to his advantage, then gets defensive about how it is his business what he does and how I have no right looking through his phone. I feel like he is no longer putting in effort into this relationship and I am stuck about what to do next. Please help me in what steps I should do next.

 

A. Elder Here4U replies

Possibly your boyfriend feels that he is being made to pay for your past boyfriend’s mistakes.

Possibly you are expecting too much from him. I doubt that he understands or knows how to handle problems dealing with one’s insecurity. When you approach him about your feelings of insecurity, he may feel helpless and that he is letting you down, as he probably is at a loss as to what to tell you. I believe this causes him to become defensive and to react angrily. 

I also believe that men and women communicate differently and have different areas of interest when it comes to communication. Whereas most girls could probably go on for hours about their feelings of insecurity, most guys want to devote very little time to this subject matter. I also believe that when a male is approached about a problem his first and main response is to fix the problem. Yet how can he, when he doesn’t know how?

Because your problem does not fully have to do with him as much of it has to with your past, possibly he is not the person you should always be turning to. When you are experiencing insecurity you may want to turn to a close girlfriend, especially when you are aware that much of it is stemming from what your ex-boyfriend did to you. I believe this could help in getting your feelings out without causing more arguments with your boyfriend. 

I am not trying to suggest that you discuss your personal problems with a third party as those should be kept only between the two of you. However, it seems to me that this problem is more about you and your feelings than it is about him. When you are having a personal problem that is just between the two of you, then he should be the only one who you discuss it with.

It sounds as if most of your arguments begin with you approaching him with something that he has done that you feel is shady. He probably has realized by now that whenever you want to talk with him it is going to be about something to do with him that you are displeased with. He may feel as if it is an attack which could already have him on the defensive and maybe even becoming angry before you have even begun to talk. You probably interpret his behavior as him not wanting to put the effort into your relationship.      

I believe that it would be helpful if you two worked on having better and more productive conversations together. I would suggest that you try to have talks when you both are feeling relaxed and calm. I also think it will be beneficial if you both will agree to stay in the present and not bring up things from the past. I have always believed listening to be a key to good communication. I would suggest that you avoid making the other feel like they are being attacked and if one of you begins to feel angry, take a break.  

I believe that communication is the key to a healthy and happy relationship. I am not a professional in this area; however there are many resources available to you. You could go to: Relationships and Communication. It is at:

https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/relationships-and-communication

You could also go to: Managing Conflict in Relationships: Communication Tips. It is at:

https://www.verywellmind.com/managing-conflict-in-relationships-communication-tips-3144967

I believe that all relationships change over time. When most people first meet, they are on their best behavior as they want to impress the other. With time, each becomes more comfortable and they are able to let their walls down and be more of themselves. Then both become aware of the other’s flaws and this is a time for each to decide if they can accept the other as they are. It is a time that one decides what is important and what is not and which issues they are willing to compromise over. You may want to consider if the issues with his phone are worth compromising over.

I hope that this has been helpful to you. If in the future you would like advice, please feel free to write again.

I wish you improved communication and trust in your partner.

 

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