Dear Maura: Partner suffers from insecurity

Solve your life dilemmas with expert advice from Maura O’Neill
Lots of reassurance can ease anxiety

Lots of reassurance can ease anxiety

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.

Mam will be sad if I go abroad for a year

Dear Maura: My boyfriend wants to go to Australia for a year. I’m very close to my mam and she would be upset if I go, but I really want to and it’s only for a year. What do you think she’d say? I’d worry about her every day if I did go and she wasn’t happy. That would be no good as I wouldn’t enjoy myself. She’s very quiet and doesn’t go out much. She’s 56 and likes to stay close to home. I’m 24 and ready to travel after the past two years. My older sister thinks I should go and says she’ll keep an eye on mam. But it’s not that simple. Answer: I was delighted when I got to the part about your sister because I thought, yes, you have some support. You are not on your own. This should help you to make up your mind. You have other family to keep your mam company. She is only 56 and should be getting out more. Even if she likes a quiet life, she should have a friend to meet for coffee — something for herself — to let you be you. I agree that you need to know she is happy before you go. Talk to her, explain how at 24 you really want to see some of the world. Love won’t hold you back.

Email your problems to Dr Angela Brokmann Maura O’Neill All pictures are posed by models

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