Dear Maura: Partner suffers from insecurity
Dear Maura: My partner’s insecurity is ruining our relationship. He’s always on the alert to defend himself, to let me know that he’s as good as me. He has a great job, good pay and has everything to be thankful for. Still, I can’t get through to him that he just needs to relax and take all that on board. He gets anxious at times, even visiting my family in case they judge him. I think he’s a bit shy as well, but he’d never admit to this. I want to stay with him because underneath all the defensive stuff there’s a good man. I’d love him to talk to someone because I think if a counsellor got to the root of these feelings that he’s not good enough, he’d be a new person. But if I suggest this, he’ll immediately say that there’s nothing wrong with him. And off he’ll go on one of his rants. If he’d admit that there are things he should talk about then we’re halfway there. He could chat to me about them. Keeping everything buried means he’s never going to get past these insecurities. It makes life difficult for both of us. Answer: You can see your boyfriend’s potential, but he is not able to access it on any level. I picked up on his anxiety particularly and also his lack of confidence, all of which are affecting his behaviour and attitude. It’s such a pity as he has so much to be grateful for but unfortunately, coming from your point of view, that’s all in the shadows and makes no difference to him. The pressure of pretending is also taking a toll. Try to see if you could encourage him to talk to someone. Or maybe as you suggest, help him to talk to you. Could his family and childhood have influenced this? In the meantime, praise him and help him to see how wonderful he is and how lucky he is, not least of all, to have you.