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I have been with my new boyfriend for about 4 months now and things have been great, I love him so much and he has been so good to me. The only problem is me... I have jealousy issues, ie. He still talks to his ex, he knows that I feel uncomfortable about it but he says that I have nothing to worry about he's not attracted to her or has any feelings towards her anymore. Another factor is that he says that I dont express my emotions enough, I do agree with him but I find that I have a difficult time with this. My family is so closed and no one hardly communicates... its always a joke to them, so I guess I really haven`t been used to showing my emotions for all these years. I dont think that I have hugged my mom in years and she has not showed any need to give me one. My parents were leaving to go away for a week and my dad gave me a hug then my mom kind of changed the topic and avoided giving me a hug, and this is the 2nd time that she has done this.

I feel like I also have developed an anxiety to social situations... I`m not comfortable around new people and my mind freezes up and I have nothing to talk about. I hate feeling like this and wish that I could be comfortable in my own skin... it also doesn`t help that I had an a$$hole of an ex boyfriend for 4 years before this!!

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Start by trusting him that nothing is going on with his ex, unless he gives you reason not to trust him. Plenty of people innocently stay in touch with their exes.

Secondly, talk to him about your family and let him know that you heard what he said and want to work on being a warmer/more affectionate person so if he can take the lead a bit (by inititating hugs/kisses/deeper conversations) that you'll be happy to reciprocate.

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I understand, and I can appreciate not loving the contact with the ex. You're not wrong for these feelings. He's placing you in a no-win; if you pressure him to ditch the ex, he'll resent you, and if you keep silent, it feels like you're giving tacit approval. Well, presumably you trust the guy or you wouldn't be with him, so remaining silent is your least of the evils.


As for your social anxieties and such, these aren't carved in stone. I've shared your concerns and I needed to find ways to change my focus so it wouldn't derail my relationships. The problem with drilling into insecurity is that it puts a warped and one-sided perspective on every detail of our lives. It becomes a 'proof seeking' way of relating. It makes everything about me; who loves me, how they show it and how everything affects me. Loved ones grow weary. Fearful people are no picnic to love.


I decided to make my relationships--with everyone from coworkers to friends, family and community--about focusing on what I'm giving rather than what I'm getting. In social situations I started playing stupid and cheerful. The nicer and more smiley I became the less I found I needed to say--it's amazing how grinning like an idiot puts people right at ease. They make less demands on you because they relax and don't need to cheer you. I find ways to be silently useful, like helping prep food, walking trays around the room, doing dishes, pouring drinks. You might think this magnifies your social role, but rather it calms you and lets you feel invisible as you find little 'side' purposes out of the spotlight. It turns out to be fun, and hosts love you.


In the larger scheme, I found ways to enforce new thinking. I started meditating. I started to ID positive traits in others that I wanted to emulate. I started viewing slights as accidental rather than a signal of disregard. I became generous rather than defensively warding off abandonment. I stopped attention-seeking and became invisible. I kept my focus like a tunnel until my new habits took hold and my thinking followed.


When I let go of my need to be validated and dropped my expectations of other people, I enjoyed some new confidence. It was liberating. I stopped taking the temperature of my relationships all the time. Loving others well is a reflection of how you view yourself. So when you're insecure, work backwards. Give yourself a bigger mission than seeking proof of love. Teach yourself your own capacity to love, whether others are capable of giving it back, or not. The rewards will prove themselves in ways you can only imagine--and they are gifts you can give to your Self.

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