Social Question

mostlyclueless's avatar

Why am I so insecure and what can I do about it?

Asked by mostlyclueless (696 points ) September 5th, 2011

I have been dating my boyfriend for 4 months. We have had a few conversations about the future and both want this to be a serious, possibly permanent, relationship. The other day the possibility of moving in together in a few months came up.

He is very loving and affectionate. We spend a lot of time together. Everything is going well.

But I am still irrationally insecure. The more invested I get in the relationship, the more afraid I am that it will just end out of the blue.

What is wrong with me and how can I fix it?

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16 Answers

CWOTUS's avatar

First of all, try to avoid questions that start out like “What is wrong with…?” and “Why can’t I / we / you…?” They have a negative focus. All you’ll end up with is a list of “things that are wrong” and “reasons why a thing can’t be done”. You don’t get solutions that way, just long (endless) bitch sessions. Avoid that.

Try reframing the question: “What are some of my best qualities, and how can I build on them?” and “How can I / we / you… ?”

Ask him this one: “Why do you love me?” and just listen to his answers. Bask in them. Revel and glory in them. Then return the favor to him.

Everyone has insecurities and self-doubts. Everyone rational, that is. That makes you no different from anyone else who has a brain and a realistic approach to life. But you’re focusing on “what is wrong” with yourself rather than improving the things that are obviously pretty good, else what is this great guy doing with you? He’s not stupid, is he? So he must see something great in you that you’re overlooking or not paying enough attention to. Get his opinion on that.

smilingheart1's avatar

@mostlyclueless, I am wondering about the roots of your insecurity – are you a “too good to be true person?” By that I mean are you concerned that if you allow yourself to be vulnerable that you may get hurt? Relaxing into a love relationship takes a lot of faith. But really life is all about taking the risks involved in forming authentic, trusting relationships and to not let one’s self enter a deep relationship when you want to is to “die” a little each day in fear, doubt and misgivings and eventually chase the other person away.

Another possible root is that you were raised insecurely and are having a hard time seeing your value which is much!

Only you can get in touch with the true root of your hesitancy, but I pray you will.

tom_g's avatar

@CWOTUS has a good point about the negative thought patterns.

Additionally, you might want to re-phrase this question for yourself and remove the “boyfriend” from the equation. You might find that the work of building some sense of security about who you are is something that you might want to approach without the burden of a boyfriend. Relationships are a ton easier if you have already done much of the self-confidence work alone.

tom_g's avatar

Also, you might want to investigate your attachment to permanence. Nothing is permanent, and some of our greatest suffering occurs around this fact.

digitalimpression's avatar

That’s difficult for me to empathize with because I dated my wife for a good 2 years before we got married. There’s no reason to rush anything.

Jude's avatar

Nothing to add. Just wanted to say @CWOTUS GA!

Londongirl's avatar

I do have insecurity issue too with guys after letting down so many times and opening my heart to trust and then they just let you down.

Yes, you do need to know him better before getting too serious, if you feel he’s trustworthy, then go ahead. Goodluck.

Coloma's avatar

It very well might end, out of the blue or otherwise.

Very, very, few relationships last “forever.”

You must beleive in YOURSELF enough to know that you will be just fine if the relationship ends.

You might not be happy, but, each of us MUST have the mental and emotional fortitude to overcome sadness and loss in this life.

Feeling sad is one thing, being completely incapacitated and distraught to the point of non-functioning is not “love”, it is addiction.

Learn to live in the now, not some projected and uncertain future.

If things are going well NOW, don’t borrow trouble and know that there are MANY good matches out there for each of us.

Drop the “soul mate” bullshit…we CREATE our loving relationships, one day and one minute at a time.

Kardamom's avatar

Four months of dating seems like an awfully short time to be moving in with someone. Why the rush? Even if you like him or even think that you love him, 4 months is really not enough time to know whether he is the one and even if he thinks that you are the one for him, if that’s true, then he should be perfectly content to wait for a good long while before you move in together. Don’t be swayed by the argument about it being easier or cheaper. Just don’t buy that load of crap. You should get to know someone for at least 2 years, before you even think about moving in together. That way, you get to know how they will be when they are not around you constantly. You need to know that the other person is a secure and stable person and able to live apart from you without becoming desperate or needy, while at the same time still considering you to be his comitted girlfriend. Neither you or he should ever force things. You can and should give yourselves some sort of a time period, but if he balks at the 2 years (that I am suggesting) then there’s something wrong. He might be a little too needy or desperate.

The other thing about waiting 2 years is that you get to see him through a bunch of holidays and see how he interacts with his family, and how he treats you during those somewhat stressful occasions when a bunch of relatives gather. And you will see a variety of situations arise in 2 years, that you won’t be able to experience in just 4 short months. 2 years gives you a chance for your hot feelings of lust and passion to turn into something more real and lasting. If you still have the hots and warm fuzzies too, after 2 years, then things will probably be OK, but if you force yourselves into a quick situation (living together) at this point, then you are not really getting the whole picture of how each of you really are and what you really want for the future. If he can’t give you 2 years, then he is not likely going to be able to give you a lifetime.

If you think that he can give you the 2 years, and then you will indeed move in together, you can always start going to couples counseling right now. This is not to solve problems that you don’t have, this is to learn more about each other right now, and see what you are in for and you can learn what kinds of things to expect in the future. You can get secular counseling or counseling through your place of worship. But they ask you all kinds of questions about all sorts of situations and scenarious that you may not have even thought about or discussed yet. Like Who will be the breadwinner? and How will the money and the chores be divided up? and _What happens if we get pregnant? and How will we decide who’s friends and relatives can come over to our home and under what circumstances, how long can they stay, how much help are we comfortable taking from them? and Will it be OK for either one of us to spend time outside of the home, away from our partner, with friends or relatives? These are the questions that need to be asked and answered before moving in together. And spending 2 years asking and answering these questions should not be a problem or a hardship if you guys are going to spend a life time together.

Londongirl's avatar

@Kardamom I honestly do not agree with you about people need 2 years to get to know other people. I mean sometimes you need a few month to get know someone well it depends on how well you connect with them and how much you share time and information in order to get to know each other. The time frame cannot determine how much you know the person.

6rant6's avatar

It seems perfectly normal to me that the more there seems to be in the relationship, the more concern you have about losing it. Doesn’t that make sense?

I know that sometimes people run from relationships when they get to that point. That seems dysfunctional to me. But as long as you are trying to make it work, I think worrying about losing is sane. Not worrying is either naive or worse.

marinelife's avatar

Insecurity to the level that you are talking about can have a serious impact on your life and relationships.

To get to the root of it and help yourself forward, you really need to work with a therapist.

If that is not possible for you, you can help yourself by working with the book Self Parenting.

mostlyclueless's avatar

Thanks for the advice. You have all given me a lot to think about. I guess I do have a lot of irrational insecurity in general, and it is being amplified by being in this close relationship with someone I respect and value so much.

@Coloma, never said anything about soulmates. I think this relationship is a great fit and I would be sad to lose it, that’s all.

@Kardamom, we aren’t planning to move in together right now, but we had a conversation about whether it was something we both wanted to consider. I think a lot of the issues you raise are important but can just as easily be worked out while living together, rather than before. What do you think?

@marinelife, you are probably right. I had some counseling a little while ago and it wasn’t as helpful as I had hoped, and after we had worked through a specific issue the therapist said she thought our work was finished, so I haven’t gone back.

marinelife's avatar

@mostlyclueless Sounds like you have not found the right therapist. It can take a while.

Earthgirl's avatar

I think that as CWOTUS says “everyone has their iinsecurites and self doubts”. Yes you can have all the therapy in the world and still have these feelings. You just learn to talk back to them.
I may misunderstand the root cause or degree of insecurity that you are talking about mostlyclueless but it seems to me that what you are experiencing is natural and part of just being human. Depending on what kind of experiences you have had in life you may be more or less prone to trust your good luck. It is common to feel a little scared that when things are going well disaster may be just around the bend.
You are trusting and risking, investing your self, your feelings, exposing your vulnerabilities to another person. So far it is all going very well and you are happy together. But all around you you see relationships that seemed to be strong falling apart, people separating. It IS rational to wonder if what you two have now will last. But you need to do just that, to risk being hurt in order to have a true intimate relationship with anyone, whether romantic or merely friends. Trust builds over time and that should lesson your feeling of insecurity.
You ask, what is wrong with you. Without knowing you well it is hard to tell if you are just feeling insecure because your feelings for him are becoming more serious and you are afraid of being hurt or if you sense in yourself a need that is so strong that you would be devastated if it doesn’t work out. You need to remind yourself that no matter what happens, whether it becomes permanent or not, it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. Enjoy this time and try not to worry about the future just yet. Take things slow and build trust. Don’t become too dependent on this one relationship. Stay in touch with other friends and pursue meaningful goals in other areas of your life. Good luck! I hope things work out for you.

wundayatta's avatar

What has your history with relationships been? Have you had things blow up on you? What about your parents’ relationship? Or other close relatives’ relationships? Do you have good models for successful relationships do you think? Or is this new territory for you?

I can so totally identify with you story. I have been in many relationships where I was convinced my partner was going to leave me sooner or later; most recently I felt this way with my wife. I would always wonder what they saw in me. On paper, I felt I was attractive, but in person, I felt I was a fraud, or that the things I valued in me were not the things other people valued.

It didn’t help that my first lover, who I thought would be my last, dumped me after one and a half years when I graduated from college. It was cowardly and devastating of her to do it that way. It didn’t help that I never even felt like my parents were behind me. It didn’t help that they kicked me out of the house. Made me feel kind of worthless.

So I would feel insecure. They would feel like I put them on a pedestal. They would think I couldn’t see who they really are. It was a pretty vicious cycle.

I think there are a lot of reasons why you could be insecure. We’d need to ask a lot of questions to really get at it. I think that the advice others have given you is really good for some things. It may not help if you have different issues.

In general, the only way to be secure is to know you will be all right, no matter what happens. Love is a process. Sometimes you need to love a lot of people before you find one that really fits you in the way you need. Be patient with yourself. It’s ok to be insecure. Just work on it and work on being the person you want to be. Getting feedback from others is a good first step in that process.

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