Before starting this, I should state that by no means do I think this a cure-all for any situation; it’s just some of the conclusions that I’ve come to through my individual experiences, which I will try my best in laying out for you.
The insecurity that I face in relationships isn’t at an average acceptable level, and that might be caused through a combination of things. OCD is always making me overthink situations, and a few wounds I’ve managed to acquire through two long term relationships haunt me, But at least I’m aware it’s something that continually has to be kept in check.
To get a bit of backstory on the situations that led me to my current semi-healthy state, I must explain quickly how my first two relationships played out.
The first was a total trainwreck, I was 18 years old and had never had a girlfriend, and I believe the desire and fantasy of having one is what led me to not making decisions based on how I was feeling daily, which was terrible. From the very start, I wasn’t comfortable with this girl, she had dated a few people I knew, but I ignored the negativity those thoughts spawned so I could indulge in the form of attention I hadn’t received before.
We started by hanging out as friends for a few months, and then a week before I moved to New York for a summer she suggested we make it official, I agreed. Then just as unexpected things go, on my first weekend in New York, I was blindsided by a call from a friend of mine who saw her out at a club dancing with a guy who was not me. She didn’t answer my calls that day, and I was all but certain as to what happened.
When she finally did call, there were plenty of excuses for what happened on her end, and rather than just calling it off right there, we continued talking for two more months until It got so toxic I had to step away. I was never going to be satisfied with anything she told me, and I was never going to be satisfied with myself, I felt like less of a person, and I’m sure anyone who’s been cheated on shares a similar sentiment.
The second relationship was the total opposite, the girl and I were remarkably similar, same interests, same goals, same humor, and she never gave me any reason to worry about what had previously happened to me. But getting cheated on isn’t the only way you can be brought down in a relationship. This relationship is when I realized how demoralizing nitpicking and codependency could be.
It’s bizarre when one day everything switches from being perfect to all of a sudden getting shamed and put down every time you go an extra week without getting a haircut, have a wrinkle in your shirt, take a wrong exit off the highway. Living life on thin ice is extremely stressful. It makes you feel uncomfortable and scared to make any decision. Then it’s made even worse when anytime you try to make space for yourself, and you’re guilted into not doing so; that way, your significant other doesn’t have to sit at home alone and feel as if you’re trying to pull away.
When this vicious cycle continues for two years, and then you finally decided to escape from it, you come out with the timidity of a cat who’s been living on the street all its life, and it takes a while to get back to a state of comfort. Also, with this second relationship, I want to say that toward the end, I was phoning it in not acting as a caring boyfriend should which probably only amplified the problems that were already there. Some of the blame does come down on me, but that wasn’t enough to make splitting up not necessary, the damage had been done.
Upon coming out of these two relationships, I was forced to analyze past pitfalls I’d stumbled into. The goal was to make sure my head was screwed on tight enough to avoid previous mistakes, while also being present and aware of what was needed from me as a partner. The significant rules I made for staying sane and avoiding insecurities are as follows.
A top-three rule in relationships for me is don’t ask questions you don’t want the answer to, things like how many people have you been with before me. All these questions do is plant a seed in your brain that sprouts into an invasive thought process. And the answers don’t matter as long as the past is the past. But when the past is constantly being rubbed in your face, like it may be while dating someone who’s dated friends of yours, that might be a detail that eats at you, and being involved with anyone who fits that criteria probably isn’t a great idea.
Minor red flags that I’ve encountered recently are much less severe, but they were enough to make me realize me and a person had different values and wouldn’t mesh well. One girl informed me that in her past, her and a group of friends would experiment with a bunch of recreational drugs which would then toss them into a whole slew of sloppy shenanigans, and hearing these stories made me uncomfortable. Therefore, I kindly ended our sprouting relationship, and there was no spilled milk over the issue, I was relieved.
The point of this rule is that it’s not too much to expect you won’t have to settle in a relationship, and it’s best not to get involved with someone who’s character is possibly going to disturb you at a later time when a clean break might not be so easily accessible. It’s best not to waste anyone’s time.
As an aspiring screenwriter, I suppose I’m what you can call a creative, and I think the thing that all creatives share is that they are dying when they can’t create. I’m fully aware that if I don’t have a few days a week or a few hours a day to hunker down and write, an entirely different type of insecurity forms. It has nothing to do with me feeling inadequate to my partner but inadequate to myself. If I’m not doing what I think I’m supposed to, then it causes me to become resentful and not act as present as one should in a relationship. Making sure I maintain an output I’m happy with is a crucial part of remaining secure in a relationship.
This rule is the final and most important part of not becoming insecure in a relationship. It also takes the longest to master, and requires tying together the two previous points. Part of being insecure is not having a whole lot of self-esteem, and for overcoming feelings of insecurity, I think self-esteem is a crucial component.
A friend of mine’s father once told me that “anything that can happen will” and while it seems a bit doom and gloom, it’s very comforting to me, it helps me realize that you can’t control what another person does, and you have to go with the flow. The only thing you can control is your reaction to things, and no matter what happens, try to smile because it happened, not cry because it’s over. As long as you’ve avoided red flags, and you’re still able to focus on yourself in a relationship, then there should be no overarching worries that you face on a daily basis, just joy.
And when the days do come where for no reason you’re feeling like not enough or like your partner might be pulling away, just think of how much you have going for yourself, and how dope or cool you are, and that if something isn’t working out, remember that some relationships aren’t meant to be. There is someone out there who will appreciate you the way you imagine is right. Having a fatalistic attitude towards relationships is a terrible mistake, and it’s best to appreciate them for whatever they are in the moments where you’re most happy, as long as you do this insecurity should have a hard time creeping in.
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