Acknowledging vs hiding insecurities
Nouryia has a thread, Not sure I like to be a secondary, that brings up the question of acknowledging insecurities or not, which is something that I have also struggled with. In my relationship with my boyfriend, which has been going on for about 8 mo (the first 2 or so as an LDR) I have vented mine a bunch of times, and he has always been really good about it, accepted the feelings and made me feel better without it causing a problem between us. Still, even though it hasnít caused a problem, I worry that it could if I keep doing it, plus I think it could just get tiresome to have to deal with. Yet they keep coming back, so I wonder if there is a legitimate trigger.
(below is Nouryia's thread, and thanks for the inspiration
So today to deal with them, I started writing a letter about them. Its really a theoretical letter, since in general Iíve found that writing to my boyfriend is a bad idea now that we do not have an LDR; he often doesnít respond, because he prefers to deal with things in person, but the lack of response makes me feel bad. But writing is a good way for me to work things out, and to vent at times that I canít actually see him, and in fact writing it has made me feel a bit better. Anyway, I thought I would post my theoretical letter, to see how others would feel about whether or not to communicating such insecurities, and whether these seem like a couple issue or just my issue or both.
For more context, both my boyfriend and I are married (10-20 yrs) with children, and those relationships are accepted as primary. I know not everyone likes the terms, but there is a recognized hierarchy, particularly for him. He ďlostĒ a child due to divorce in his first marriage, and could not deal with it happening again, so if a choice were needed there is no doubt what it would be. The amount we see each other varies, and has declined in the last month or so, although we were probably overdoing it at first. We average one evening each week where we go out for about 2 hrs, and perhaps 2 other nights when we see each other less, often just 20 mins, sometimes an hour. This is all in the transition between work and home time. Maybe every 2 weeks or so we manage a few extra hours for intimate time.
Gosh, I am wordy; sorry. And the letter is long too. Just one final thought Ė I notice that I definitely cycle through the feelings in the letter, that whether I feel there is a problem varies quite a lot. And I wonder whether the variability correlates with hormones. Iíve started keeping track, but havenít done it long enough yet. But I wondered if other women find their insecurities and hormonal cycles are in sync.
so here's the actual letter
Itís just one of those tripped up days. Insecurities and discomfort are rampant.
We have such different styles of relating, love. Or at least that is my impression. I want to be much more open that you do. Although now I wonder, have I actually said much about the things I wish you would be open about? Some of that is the past, and you would say that it isnít relevant anyway.
But the past is relevant in that it shapes our expectations as well as showing our likely patterns. You have never liked to talk about expectations, and this has often been hard for me. Fundamentally, I think that we have different expectations and you would prefer to not acknowledge that.
Here is my past in a nutshell. In my life I have loved (romantically) at most 6 or 7 people, including you. Most of them also loved me. When I love someone, it generally lasts for a long time. I do not think I have ever had a short term passionate fling in which my feelings simply faded out. (As far as I can tell, this is much more your norm.) I have been dumped at least a few times, both by those I love and those with whom it never got that far. Relationships with people who loved me back have always lasted for multiple years; I donít think they ever ended due to lack of feelings there, and I am in touch to some degree with most former lovers.
In other words, even though for many people relationships burn out quickly after their initial phase, this has not been my experience, so it is not what I am likely to expect at the start of a new relationship. And it makes me uncomfortable at times that this may be your default, particularly if I feel that you donít want me to know it. It ties to the old questions of it all being just a game for you.
I do know that you donít feel like youíre in a default pattern now, and you have said that this throws you off balance a bit. And perhaps you donít even know what you want now. But I wish you could explain what you think you want, as best as you know it.
I know that we will never have as much time together as I would like, and I know that we will always be more hidden than I would like. It is likely that this will always trouble me; I am prepared to have to deal with it.
But given that it is you who will put the constraints on this relationship, it seems to me it would be helpful for you to state what they are Ė how much time you are prepared to give.
But that is probably not really what I want to know, is it? What I want to know is that I can count on you, to feel that I will not be perpetually disappointed, always having to downgrade and pare back. Because it feels like we have been cutting back on time, and you donít acknowledge it or say why unless I ask.
And maybe you just want no expectations at all, just a recognition of love through messages and short communications, and relatively spontaneous meetings when it seems to fit with both of our lives. Take each moment as it comes, enjoy it, donít plan, donít worry about what doesnít happen. I have never done it this way, and I donít know if I can. Especially since I am able and willing to plan, this could make me feel like I have no power, no standing, like I am totally dependent on your whim. Like I get crumbs. I am afraid of this possibility Ė I think I would frequently feel like a fool. Not when with you, of course; then I would feel that you love me, but it would be hard to maintain confidence in between. I could feel used, or like the relationship is unbalanced
Another fear is that you are just trying to whittle back and back, giving less until it is just not enough for me and I call it off, so it will be me who ends it rather than you.
Yet to accuse or suspect you of less and less can seem crazy, which is why I can be loath to bring this up, can wonder if the problem is just all in me. (And sometimes I think it is just me; there are long stretches where I am rarely troubled. And maybe I just need to talk more about relationships and you just live them.) After all, we text several times daily, and sometimes far more often, and you constantly say you love me, far more in fact than most others have. It is hard to discount the sense of love and enjoyment in our time together. You do actually make an effort to be available pretty regularly for brief connections, 20 mins or so together. It is just the longer periods that have become less possible, and that feel more constrained. And the times that are supposed to be best for you still end up being constrained, or being vulnerable to outside events. I know I am not the number 1 priority, but still at times it seems important to at least feel like a priority for that little bit of time, to have a little piece that is mine.
I'm just going to repeat some advice someone gave in another thread.
What about writing the letter and then giving it to your boyfriend when you're together in person? Then you get the benefit of communicating through your letter, and then since you've got him there, the issues will get dealt with right away, in person.
Thank you both; they're all reasonable suggestions. I do definitely try to bring all of these issues up, although given its limits I also want to be sure to not use all our time together on dealing with them. We did actually discuss some of it last night and I'm feeling better, which is generally what happens. And then I feel silly for flaking out about it, until the insecurities resurface, at which point I try not to flake out again but don't always succeed. Sometimes it seems like a switch gets tripped, and once I start through the cycle it's hard to disrupt it; it just needs to run its course.
Part of the issue is that my boyfriend has less capacity to plan than I do, and I am very much a planner. I find routine and knowing what to expect reassuring, and he really tries to accommodate me on this, but sometimes it isn't feasible. He tries to not make plans that he might not be able to keep, so I don't get hurt, and sometimes this means that there's a lot of uncertainty, and sometime they just get broken anyway. But I think we're both making an effort to adapt here.
I did actually think of passing on the letter, but I'm not wild about the formality of that within a conversation. Plus writing is often so useful for me in hashing out my thoughts that I don't necessarily need the letter as a tool once I've written it; I can probably say it in far fewer words. And since I came back and looked at the letter and cringed, both at the screaming insecurities and at the stuffiness of it I'm glad I didn't use it. I may yet pass on a few excerpts that might be useful, but the whole thing would be a bit much.
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