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June 17, 2015

Ask Me Anything: Woman Worries that Insecurities will Ruin Relationship. {Weekly Advice Column}

Woman_wearing_earring_in_front_of_mirror

Dear Elephants,

Welcome to this week’s Ask Me Anything, where no question is out of bounds! To submit questions for next week, please email me at [email protected].

I look forward to hearing from you!

~ Erica

 

 

 

Dear Erica,

I am 39 and just got out of a 19 year marriage. I am now seeing a guy who is almost “too good to be true” and I fear that I am sabotaging the relationship.

The reason my marriage didn’t work is because we had grown into two different people since we met 22 years ago. The guy I am with now is everything I had wished my marriage had been—but I can’t shake the thought of the other shoe dropping.

I tend to obsess about the future and whether or not we really are meant to be. Each time our relationship takes another step I over react or get insecure about something trivial. It is almost like I am testing him.

How can I live in the present and enjoy this happy relationship I am finally involved in without trying to ruin it?

~ The Other Shoe

Dear Other,

I think it’s normal for you to be nervous about the future with your “too good to be true” boyfriend after a failed 19 year marriage.

You don’t want to get hurt again, I get it.

The problem is—and I think you know this—we often manifest what we worry about simply by worrying about it. In other words, your fear of this relationship failing might itself be it’s undoing.

So how do you get yourself out of this mindset?

You answered your own question— “by living in the present.” To a great extent, we choose what we focus our energy on, and you need to make a choice to stay in the moment.

As the famous Lao Tzu quote says:

“If you are depressed you are living in the past.
If you are anxious you are living in the future.
If you are at peace you are living in the present.”

Practice mindfulness by paying attention to the details. How does your boyfriend’s voice sound? How does he smell? What are the things he does which make you laugh? Train yourself to become absorbed in what is happening now, and you won’t worry so much about what might happen later.

*

Dear Erica,

My best friend and I have been friends for about three years. Once we got to know each other, we just clicked, became inseparable.

Last year, she found a guy that absolutely loves her and treats her well. She fell into the new relationship and made her life 100 percent about him. I waited for her to come back around to me and her other friends. New relationship, I get it. We’ve all been there. She eventually did and everything went back to normal.I adore her boyfriend. I think they deserve each other.

I have nothing against him.

This year, she introduced me to my boyfriend. He is the absolute love of my life. My best friend says that she loves how happy I am with him. I have a work schedule that is completely opposite of both my boyfriend and my best friend. So spending time with either is extremely difficult. But somehow, I try to make it work.

Recently, she and I got into a little argument. Now, she’s asking me to choose either her or my boyfriend. How am I supposed to make that decision? That’s not fair to me. Why can’t I have them both?

They both mean the world to me.

I’m not sure if she’s just jealous of the attention I’m giving my fairly new relationship or what, but because I won’t make this decision, she has resorted to completely ignoring me until I choose her.

I’m not sure what to do.

~ Frustrated Friend

Dear Frustrated,

Just because someone gives you an ultimatum doesn’t mean you have to take it.

If I were you, I would calmly and compassionately explain to your friend, via letter or email (not text) that you love her and you want her in your life. Tell her your heart is big enough for both her and your boyfriend, and that you will work hard to honor both relationships.

If she maintains her stance that you must “choose” between her and your guy, simply say you’re sorry, but you can’t do that. Say that when she is ready to give you the space you need to have all the people you love in your life, you will be waiting.

Do not allow her to lure you into a conflict, but maintain a level headed and peaceful attitude. Remember that her childishness is coming from a place of insecurity, and that if you can be strong in your position she will have a chance to do better.

If she doesn’t rise to the challenge, just give her the opportunity to miss you. Hopefully when she realizes what she’s lost, she’ll be more willing to make your friendship work in a mutually satisfying way.

 

 

 

Author: Erica Leibrandt

Editor: Renée P.

Image: Wikipedia

 

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