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Feeling "safe" in a relationship(15 Posts)
I don't know if this will make sense to anyone but here goes. One of the things that attracted me to my now DH was that I instinctively always felt safe with him. (This may sound weird, I genuinely don't know if this is the same for other people and their partners.) Something happened recently and now this feeling has gone. When he puts his arms around me to give me a hug I no longer have that 'everything will be all right' feeling, there's a very, very tiny part of me that is almost on edge. Since I worked out what was different, I notice it.
I'm not really sure what I'm asking here, just opinions really. Is it an important part of a relationship, fundamental, something that isn't really on most people's radar? What can I do about it?
Why are you on edge when you hug OP? What happened?
If you're saying that, when your partner gives you a hug, you feel specifically 'unsafe' then that might indicate you've lost trust in them, they've let you down in some way, failed to protect you from harm, or that you just don't like them very much. So whatever the 'something happened' was, it's obviously changed things quite a lot.
I completely understand someone making you feel safe. My dh makes me feel the same-when I met him, he still does but in a different way.
Has anything changed to stop him making you feel safe? Not just whether something has happened between you two, but also is it that you no longer need someone to make you feel safe?
When I met dh I had been single for about 6 months from an abusive relationship and was still living with my x as couldn't sell the house. This meant that dh had to built my trust and it took almost a year before I'd even go out on a date... After this point he made me feel very safe and I completely relate to feeling safe in their arms. A few years on I no longer feel the same level of safeness, but this is more about me getting myself together after my x and nothing to do with our relationship.
No, not that I feel 'unsafe', just not safe like before.
What happened was a bit stupid. We were having an argument over childcare and I walked away (my standard response when there is an argument, which I know doesn't help at all) and gone into the bathroom and shut the door. He followed and opened the door a bit more forcefully than he intended I think (and it's very light on the hinges) so it slammed back into the wall, just missing me. I know it wasn't deliberate, he couldn't have known I was standing there but (mainly to do with my past, nothing to do with him) I was very scared.
Interesting what you say Fozzie because that and a couple of other things, coming all at once, pushed me a bit over the edge, I was panicky etc etc and have ended up going for counselling.
I'm sorry but I think you do feel unsafe, or at least badly rattled. I'm not sure why you think he didn't know you were behind the bathroom door... (reminds me of the Pistorius shooting case).... or why you're making excuses like 'not deliberate' or 'light on its hinges' but having a door slammed at you was obviously very upsetting. It's not a bit stupid... it was unpleasant.
But if he knows about your past then he knows that this would have alarmed you? That is more than unpleasant! It makes thoughts enter my head such as tactics for making you instantly agree with him, to shut you up, to keep you in your place.
I suppose it all depends on how he reacted after he saw you were scared. Please tell me he apologised instantly & stopped arguing & made sure you were alright?
Going back to your OP, feeling safe in a relationship is paramount & yes its fundamental. Absolutely.
I'm not making excuses, but I've accidentally slammed the door open before on a couple of occasions when I've misjudged it (generally early in the morning!) so it is easily done. I think he didn't know I was behind the door because he can't see through a solid door and there was actually no reason for me to be standing there. It was morning so I was clearly going for a shower which is the other side of the room. He also looked very shocked (that he'd slammed the door or that I was scared?). He did stop arguing immediately.
He does know about the past, but he's never mentioned it (nor have I) since we first got together. He doesn't know, for example, that I sometimes have nightmares about it still and go through phases when I'm extra jumpy at things.
You need to find a way between you to resolve disagreements without resorting to arguments and without you disappearing off into bathrooms. I think this veto on mentioning the past in unhealthy & he needs to understand about the post-traumatic stress reaction you have in order to avoid upsetting you in future. For your part, you have to find a way to communicate assertively and confidently.
I agree, anyone can open a door quickly when they don't mean to, have done it myself many times and banged it on the wall, not in anger, just because I can be a bit clumsy...
I think it's worth thinking about his reaction directly afterwards, did he know he'd upset you and therefore give you a massive hug and an apology, and is this more importantly a one off. Particularly as he's aware of your past.
Assuming its both of these things, I think you need to remember your new partner is nothing to do with your past.
If not or your instinct telling you something different then you need to broach this with him and be more open about your past. Then he can know what has upset you and why.
I agree with the previous post that it sounds like you both need to learn to resolve things by talking, I understand why you leave the room, but it won't help your relationship in the long term if you can't learn to resolve things between you.
He did, I think, realise I was scared, but he turned and walked away, put his shoes on. Stopped by the door as if he was about to say something, but thought better of it/ didnt know what to say and left for work. I did apologise in the evening when he came home from work.
I know that he has nothing to do with my past, and in actual fact it was a bit of a non-event that due to circumstances I over-reacted to, so he might even have forgotten about it. I don't know. It's embarrassing, entirely my own fault and not something i want to discuss.
I know I need to work on things and how to resolve things by talking. That's one of the topics that is being addressed in the counselling, but it isn't happening overnight, I panic and have to escape as soon as there is a hint of an argument.
It's not your fault at all! Freezing is entirely justified due to the way you've been treated before. I've frozen a number of times myself and spent the first year of our relationship apologising for minor things like dropping things.
Sounds like he doesn't know how to deal with the situation from fear of upsetting you. Counselling sounds like the best way forward but as you said this will take time.
Don't beat yourself up over it, it's normal.
Does he at least attend some of the counselling sessions? I'm worried that you're sort of keeping yourself in this box, hoping to emerge all fixed and better... never having to trouble him with the details. In a healthy relationship he's part of the solution, surely?
Cogito No, he doesn't know about it.
I find it a bit strange that he hasn't apologised. Even though he didn't mean to slam the door open, he still did it and frightened you. Shouldn't he apologise? I would.
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