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Insecurity while dating a girl brings out the worst in me


bbogdanov
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3 hours ago, Batya33 said:
6 hours ago, Jibralta said:

I think she means that you react before you think.

Not really -

Oh, ok. Well, I think you (bbogdanov) react before you think.

4 hours ago, bbogdanov said:

Ah, I see. Does it mean that I'm like that in every situation or was it only about the living together and trust issues?

No, it definitely doesn't mean that you're like that in every situation. There are just certain situations that trigger you. I think living together triggered you, and perhaps trust issues trigger you as well.

4 hours ago, bbogdanov said:

I try to not act upon my feelings but it doesn't work every time. 

Right. It happens to all of us one time or another. When people get triggered like this, we temporarily lose our usual sense of perspective about whatever situation we are in. So, we typically overreact or underreact.

Sometimes, we realize that our reaction was inappropriate while the situation is happening. Sometimes we realize afterwards. And sometimes, we never realize it. Not being aware is the worst, because the reaction can't be changed. I'm sure you can think of a person (or people) who fit into one or more of these categories. 

4 hours ago, bbogdanov said:

It's a conscious effort and I may be not so good at it but there's a progress in our relationship so I guess I am doing more things right than wrong?

You can get better at it over time, if you remain aware and consistently make an effort to moderate your response. Therapy also helps. Eventually, the triggers can fade. 

Yes, it seems that now, you are doing more things right than wrong. 

4 hours ago, bbogdanov said:

Or she may be patient enough?

She may be patient, or she may not even be aware. Sometimes people have compatible personality traits, and share similar triggers. So, there's an automatic simpatico (that's not always healthy, by the way).

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17 hours ago, Batya33 said:

Not really - I mean that his feelings of security don't match the objective progression he sees - and this is either because he needs counseling and/or because beneath the surface what seems to be really isn't, or the progression hasn't been long enough yet since this is a new relationship.

Yeah, the mismatch between my insecurity and the progression I see is the problem here, I suppose. I guess I need counceling (I will arrange it) and I think if sufficient amount of time has passed, I may become more calm and collected.

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17 hours ago, Batya33 said:

Sorry.  There's no trying.  Just doing and not doing.  Either you choose to react, or react a certain way, or you don't.  For example when I feel myself getting frustrated with my son I already have an arsenal of tools in reaction choices -because I work on that in advance.  For me those tools include:  walking away/putting in headphones sometimes, washing my hands and noticing the bubbles, stretching out the fingers on my hand or placing them on a flat surface to redirect energy, telling my son "I am feeling frustrated and I cannot be with your right now if you continue to ____".  Sometimes I do 4-7-8 breathing. 

I was terrified last week as we drove through a blinding rain and hail storm.  But my son could see me sitting next to him in the back and I knew I had to stay calm for him.  I had to.  Not "trying" - I wanted to freak out, cry, shake, etc but he needed me to be his rock. So did my husband who was driving -he needed silence, calm, to focus.

  So I went to my arsenal of tools and chose 4-7-8 breathing and we held hands ,but calmly so he couldn't feel how terrified I was.  No trying because it was the moment where I had to show him I wasn't going to freak out and give in to the terrifying situation.  It worked.  It was really hard but it worked.  Because I had my arsenal of tools ready to choose a reaction.

 I don't give myself "well I tried not to yell/raise my voice but it just got too hard'.  Nope.  Doing or not doing.  But you have to have the tools/mantras ready in advance that you go to right away.

That's why I said that I was trying. I don't always have the strength or the tools to manage such situations. But I have the goodwill :D 

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13 hours ago, Jibralta said:

Oh, ok. Well, I think you (bbogdanov) react before you think.

No, it definitely doesn't mean that you're like that in every situation. There are just certain situations that trigger you. I think living together triggered you, and perhaps trust issues trigger you as well.

Right. It happens to all of us one time or another. When people get triggered like this, we temporarily lose our usual sense of perspective about whatever situation we are in. So, we typically overreact or underreact.

Sometimes, we realize that our reaction was inappropriate while the situation is happening. Sometimes we realize afterwards. And sometimes, we never realize it. Not being aware is the worst, because the reaction can't be changed. I'm sure you can think of a person (or people) who fit into one or more of these categories. 

You can get better at it over time, if you remain aware and consistently make an effort to moderate your response. Therapy also helps. Eventually, the triggers can fade. 

Yes, it seems that now, you are doing more things right than wrong. 

She may be patient, or she may not even be aware. Sometimes people have compatible personality traits, and share similar triggers. So, there's an automatic simpatico (that's not always healthy, by the way).

Thanks! Very insightful! Usually I don't have trust issues but that thing with the ex made me be on my guard for a while. I do have instances of overreacting sometimes... Therapy will definitely be of help to me.

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Some update.

We spent another weekend together after which she left for the province to get together with her family for several days. We had another "exes" discussion because she told me that her ex had texted her to arrange something about the summer vacation and that she felt guilty and frightened. I told her that it was not a problem for me and that I didn't want her to feel guilty because she was not the one to reach out and I was not some beast to be feared of. She said that I'd put the fear of God into her and she was scared lest some of her exes text her out of the blue... I did my best to calm her down because I didn't want her to feel bad. Her opinion on the topic of communicating with exes turned out to be depending on the frequency, though. When we spoke about it a month ago, we agreed that a contact with an ex was not appropriate but it seems that she is not totally against it if it doesn’t happen frequently. She said that she couldn’t guarantee that some of her exes won’t reach out several months from now (not that I’ve ever expected such thing??) but she wouldn’t ever text first. So if somebody reached out and asked how she was doing, for example, she would politely have some chit-chat because she could “control” the conversation (so it doesn’t become inappropriate) and because she was not such a person who can ignore people. I don’t know how important that is but…

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She is telling you she will continue to communicate with exes. 

When you say you're fine with it, be sure you actually ARE fine with it. Don't say you are but then end up stewing and fretting privately or be overcome with anxiety over it.

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33 minutes ago, boltnrun said:

She is telling you she will continue to communicate with exes. 

When you say you're fine with it, be sure you actually ARE fine with it. Don't say you are but then end up stewing and fretting privately or be overcome with anxiety over it.

I agree.  Her reaction - fear of god and the like -

seems unhealthy and over the top if it's a genuine reaction.  

Edited by Batya33
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25 minutes ago, bbogdanov said:

So if somebody reached out and asked how she was doing, for example, she would politely have some chit-chat because she could “control” the conversation (so it doesn’t become inappropriate) and because she was not such a person who can ignore people. I don’t know how important that is but…

I don't think that's unreasonable, as we have no control over what other people do. Also, the ex is not necessarily going to be inappropriate. But if an ex does try to become inappropriate, I think she's reassuring you that she won't allow it.

Do you have an issue with random exes calling her in the future? I don't see how she could stop it from happening unless she send out a broadcast email lol.

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2 hours ago, boltnrun said:

She is telling you she will continue to communicate with exes. 

When you say you're fine with it, be sure you actually ARE fine with it. Don't say you are but then end up stewing and fretting privately or be overcome with anxiety over it.

I only said that I was fine with it the first time we discussed it a month ago (when she explained the whole situation to me after her ex had called late in the evening). I wanted to be fine with it or I was fooling myself and the very next day I told her that I was actually not OK to which she replied that she also thought that contact with exes was not appropriate once she was in a relationship.

So I am not fine with it and I made it clear - I don’t feel comfortable with exes texting her no matter how often or how meaningful.

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2 minutes ago, bbogdanov said:

I only said that I was fine with it the first time we discussed it a month ago (when she explained the whole situation to me after her ex had called late in the evening). I wanted to be fine with it or I was fooling myself and the very next day I told her that I was actually not OK to which she replied that she also thought that contact with exes was not appropriate once she was in a relationship.

So I am not fine with it and I made it clear - I don’t feel comfortable with exes texting her no matter how often or how meaningful.

Ok, but she clearly said she intends to continue.

 

3 hours ago, bbogdanov said:

if somebody reached out and asked how she was doing, for example, she would politely have some chit-chat because she could “control” the conversation (so it doesn’t become inappropriate) and because she was not such a person who can ignore people.

So she doesn't want to ignore people but she's ok with doing something she knows you're not comfortable with. Essentially, she's choosing being nice to an ex over being nice to you.

What's your next step?

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2 hours ago, Batya33 said:

I agree.  Her reaction - fear of god and the like -

seems unhealthy and over the top if it's a genuine reaction.  

I found that “fear of god” thing in the idioms dictionary while trying to translate it :D so take it with a grain of salt. The meaning was that I have instilled a sense of fear in her about the possibility of an ex texting her because of my opinion on the topic. But I can’t really take responsibility for this thing. 

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2 hours ago, Jibralta said:

I don't think that's unreasonable, as we have no control over what other people do. Also, the ex is not necessarily going to be inappropriate. But if an ex does try to become inappropriate, I think she's reassuring you that she won't allow it.

Do you have an issue with random exes calling her in the future? I don't see how she could stop it from happening unless she send out a broadcast email lol.

Sure we have no control over it. She said the same thing to which I agreed, of course. I am not comfortable with an ex texting her no matter how appropriate or not it is. I trust her that she won’t allow “bad” behaviour from the other party but I prefer not having contact at all.

I do have an issue with random exes calling her in the future. Like a bf of hers from a long time ago who’s married and has children but still contacts her every other year or so to tell her that she’s the love of his life, for example… The thing with the broadcast email was exactly what she said (the only difference was that it was about FB, not email) sarcastically but there are many other options. Like just ignoring the message, deleting it or politely explaining the situation and asking the other person to not text her. She did the latter with that particular ex but still said that she is not sure that he won’t contact her couple of months from now nevertheless…

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5 minutes ago, bbogdanov said:

I found that “fear of god” thing in the idioms dictionary while trying to translate it :D so take it with a grain of salt. The meaning was that I have instilled a sense of fear in her about the possibility of an ex texting her because of my opinion on the topic. But I can’t really take responsibility for this thing. 

....What it means is that you came across as overly forceful and threatening to her in your stance on ex's. It's particularly ugly on your end because no, she cannot control who reaches out to her and what they say. She can only control how she responds and what she is telling you about that is that her response will be like a healthy normal person - civil and polite.

Yet something about her leaves you feeling insecure and anxious. So I will ask you again - why do you persist in forcing a relationship with the kind of a person who unleashes your worst anxieties and insecurities by just being themselves. What about this feels healthy to you?

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43 minutes ago, boltnrun said:

Ok, but she clearly said she intends to continue.

 

So she doesn't want to ignore people but she's ok with doing something she knows you're not comfortable with. Essentially, she's choosing being nice to an ex over being nice to you.

What's your next step?

Can this situation be really analyzed like that - that she’s choosing being nice to an ex over being nice with me? I mean - I want to be comfortable (which excludes any contact with an ex) but at the same time I want her to be comfortable too. If she is the type of person that can’t ignore people (exes included), then am I not making her trample her principles and be something that she isn’t? This is a situation that I don’t really know how to manage so my next step will not be anything particular. I guess I will continue as usual not taking it into consideration for now because it was the 3rd time we discussed it and she seemed annoyed. I was not comfortable raising the question again but it keeps reappearing from time to time and every time there’s some additional information, yet I still don’t feel like it’s been resolved…

She said that she needed some time dealing with it but I still don’t know exactly what her intention is. I didn’t get definitive answer.

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4 minutes ago, bbogdanov said:

If she is the type of person that can’t ignore people (exes included), then am I not making her trample her principles and be something that she isn’t?

It makes more sense to have a relationship with someone who's on the same page as you regarding communication with exes.

That was the point I was trying to make.

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47 minutes ago, DancingFool said:

....What it means is that you came across as overly forceful and threatening to her in your stance on ex's. It's particularly ugly on your end because no, she cannot control who reaches out to her and what they say. She can only control how she responds and what she is telling you about that is that her response will be like a healthy normal person - civil and polite.

Yet something about her leaves you feeling insecure and anxious. So I will ask you again - why do you persist in forcing a relationship with the kind of a person who unleashes your worst anxieties and insecurities by just being themselves. What about this feels healthy to you?

Do I have to change my stance then if I don’t feel OK with her texting an ex? I didn’t want to force anything, it’s her perception after all which is valid, of course. Never have I said that she has to control who is texting her, it’s out of question. But to me - the healthy and normal thing is to not have exes in your life in the first place.

It doesn’t feel healthy when such problems arise but I like a lot of other things about her that make me want to explore this relationship. Maybe good things outweigh bad ones and the single thing left that bothers me is that with the exes. So I am not in a hurry to end things because of it.

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5 minutes ago, boltnrun said:

It makes more sense to have a relationship with someone who's on the same page as you regarding communication with exes.

That was the point I was trying to make.

I see! Totally true! I wish she was on the same page as me… The only option then seems to be ending things but I don’t want to make rash decisions. I guess I can give it some time and see how I feel?

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So she is supposed to tell every person who contacts her who she went on dates with no matter when that they must never contact her again because she is dating someone for a few months who is not comfortable with it. Or you just want her to block the person so they can’t contact  her again ?

What if she has to see this person on vacation or at events of mutual friends.  Won’t it be awkward for everyone if she takes such a strong stance against HIM contacting HER ? what if this person is a good professional contact for her - you want her to erase any such opportunity by blocking the person ? 

I agree with dancing fool - a fear reaction is not normal. She’s fearful because it’s walking on eggshells. She now has to worry about an ex contacting her and let’s say she doesn’t see it but you happen to then accuse her of breaking her promise.  

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3 hours ago, bbogdanov said:

Like just ignoring the message, deleting it or politely explaining the situation and asking the other person to not text her.

I can see doing that if the ex is hitting on her. To me, that would fall into the 'inappropriate' category. But I wouldn't ignore a friendly "How are you?" That's just rude and disrespectful to a perfectly nice person.

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7 minutes ago, Jibralta said:

I can see doing that if the ex is hitting on her. To me, that would fall into the 'inappropriate' category. But I wouldn't ignore a friendly "How are you?" That's just rude and disrespectful to a perfectly nice person.

I agree.  It's bizarre to respond with "do not contact me" in that instance - 

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This reminds me.  I've been in touch on and off with a guy I dated over 15 years ago.  We dated for a few months.  I've set him up with a few of my friends over the years.  We're Facebook and Linkedin friends too.  He has been mostly single despite not wanting to be and he never once hit on me or flirted with me. 

Almost a year ago he finally met someone.  She seems great (what I read via fb).  I messaged him the other day because he's now connected with one of my cousins who does the exact same athletic activity he does -it's a bit atypical.  I sent him a link to an interesting article about the activity.  He knows I'm married and have a son.  He responded to thank me and we chatted a bit online, impersonally about random stuff. In those handful of messages he must have mentioned "my girlfriend" 3-4 times - mostly out of context. 

So I figured either she was sitting near him and very insecure or he thought she might see the messages. It was ridiculous.  We're all in our 50s, he knows I'm married, we've been in touch on and off for many years - and it was as if he was chatting with a single woman hitting on him and wanting to hit her over the head with "my girlfriend/my girlfriend/my girlfriend."  

If your girlfriend treats these people similarly -leaping to a conclusion that she'd better shut the contact down ASAP because someone messaged her "how's life treating you" or a random impersonal article - especially if she and the ex know people in common he'll think she was taken in by some bizarre cult or is in some incredibly suffocating/possessive relationship with a short-tempered guy.  In my cases I brushed it aside - no biggie - but yes it's weird for adults to treat each other that way.

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2 hours ago, bbogdanov said:

Do I have to change my stance then if I don’t feel OK with her texting an ex? I didn’t want to force anything, it’s her perception after all which is valid, of course. Never have I said that she has to control who is texting her, it’s out of question. But to me - the healthy and normal thing is to not have exes in your life in the first place.

It doesn’t feel healthy when such problems arise but I like a lot of other things about her that make me want to explore this relationship. Maybe good things outweigh bad ones and the single thing left that bothers me is that with the exes. So I am not in a hurry to end things because of it.

You don't have to change your stance, but you need to seek partners to date who actually share your stance without having to be intimidated into it.

I think a bigger concern for you should be the very fact that she felt intimidated by your tone, demeanor, or whatever and now feels anxious about approaching this topic or being honest with you about whatever comes up with whatever ex. You should be concerned about how you are coming across because that's a you problem, not a her problem.

Above aside, you don't date a person's good few qualities that you like. A large part of relationships is how YOU feel in it and whether the dynamic brings out the best in you or not. You know you met a good match because you feel safe and secure, because you get each other easily and without these kinds of dramatic talks. This situation is literally the opposite of that or so it seems from what you are posting.

 

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8 hours ago, Batya33 said:

So she is supposed to tell every person who contacts her who she went on dates with no matter when that they must never contact her again because she is dating someone for a few months who is not comfortable with it. Or you just want her to block the person so they can’t contact  her again ?

What if she has to see this person on vacation or at events of mutual friends.  Won’t it be awkward for everyone if she takes such a strong stance against HIM contacting HER ? what if this person is a good professional contact for her - you want her to erase any such opportunity by blocking the person ? 

I agree with dancing fool - a fear reaction is not normal. She’s fearful because it’s walking on eggshells. She now has to worry about an ex contacting her and let’s say she doesn’t see it but you happen to then accuse her of breaking her promise.  

She is not supposed to do anything. I'd like that she doesn't maintain communication with exes which includes not only her initiating a conversation (which she said she won't do, of course) but also chit-chat and "politely" answering if somebody reaches out. No need for blocking. She keeps her ex in her friends list on FB and I have no problem with that. But let's not fool ourselves, an ex rarely appears out of the blue months or years later just to see how things are going.

Seeing an ex in person in such circumstances is not a problem for me and in that case she is not supposed to ignore or avoid him, of course. It's what I would do if I were to meet an ex of mine by chance - I would greet her and exchange couple of words about how life's going and that's it. It happens and it's completely normal. But purposely being in a friends group with an ex or keeping a conversation (no matter who initiated it) is not OK for me. There isn't a bad blood between me and any of my exes, I hope they are fine and doing well, I wish them all the best and that's it. I have enough friends to have small talk with and I like to keep the past where it belongs. I remember having a new girlfriend in the past when an ex of mine texted me but I outright ignored her message. It may seem rude to some of you but I like to give all of my energy and attention to the person I am with and I feel a sense of duty, past is past.

I didn't mean to make her walk on eggshells. I wanted to declare my boundaries (however stiff they may be) about exes, what I could tolerate and what I couldn't. I tried to understand it and be more flexible but it just didn't work for me. And I won't accuse her for being contacted by an ex. She is not responsible for such thing and I don't expect such a promise. Or any other promise. After all - I decide if I am OK with the situation or not. If I don't feel comfortable that way, I am free to end things because she is not obliged to make such big compromises if she won't be comfortable with them, too. That reminds me of the idea some of you shared recently (which is the most logical thing, of course) - that it might better if both people were on the same page...

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8 hours ago, Jibralta said:

I can see doing that if the ex is hitting on her. To me, that would fall into the 'inappropriate' category. But I wouldn't ignore a friendly "How are you?" That's just rude and disrespectful to a perfectly nice person.

I guess hitting on rarely starts right away, it may begin with a "friendly" "How are you?". I tend to think that it's usually strange if somebody textes you out of the blue months or years down the road with the sudden urge to check how you are doing. Especially if it's a man and especially if I rely on my experience (I've seen some "friendly" conversations escalate heavily...). And especially taking into account how she confessed that her most recent ex had contacted her sending some funny picture but otherwise they hadn't been in contact for more than a year at the time. Which couple of minutes later turned out to be a lie and he had texted her several weeks earlier to ask her about her summer vacation plans. And I'm 100% sure that it's still not the whole truth... 

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