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Losing confidence in myself and us(10 Posts)
Have been dating my boyfriend for around 8 months. Everything has been pretty good and seemed to get better all the time. Except we have never discussed the direction of our relationship other than that we are enjoying ourselves. We both have kids and our relationship is exclusive. I know I have some issues with my confidence but I work so hard on them to not put them onto another person and tackle things by myself but right now I feel needy and insecure.
I have quite a difficult turbulent past as a child and teenager and recently opened up a little bit to him. Something came up in the media that was a relevant traumatic experience to mine and when he brought up the media coverage, I explained my experience of it. He went so very quiet and didn't know what to say that I ended up apologising for telling him in the first place and that it's all in the past and I am ok now. It was very awkward and I felt uncomfortable for having put him in the position he seemed to feel uncomfortable. We haven't discussed it again and I can't imagine we ever will.
I think this reaction of his opened up an anxious wound inside me that has panicked about how I feel about me, how he might feel and how others view me. A few days later I asked him where he saw our relationship going. This was also during a relevant conversation not out of the blue. He responded that he hadn't really thought about it and that he was just happy how things are. I couldn't really get much more information about this because it was a bit of a closed door in my mind.
After this I have suffered a further crisis of confidence about whether he finds me attractive any more. Firstly I will say I look and weigh slightly less if not exactly the same as I did 8 months ago when we first met. I had noticed that I give him compliments regularly but they are rarely returned or initiated. He also has been very keen to try to get me motivated into exercise and will make comments about food that I eat, like food choices or portion sizes. His response to me was that he wouldn't have sex with me if he didn't fancy me but this did not feel very complimentary exactly.
I get the feeling from him that emotions are a bit annoying and I am doing classic needy behaviour which is an irritating turn off. He doesn't know how to deal with them sometimes and would rather they went away which seems to make matters worse. Something along the line has triggered me from strong independent woman who tries to battle these things and not let them win into feeling confused and doubtful. Am I just needy and need to get a grip. Or is this man just not as invested in me as I imagined?
I think you're being very needy. 8 months is no time at all.
Things were obviously going well until you started asking questions. If you need to ask them though as it's part of you, then maybe you're not suited.
I'd be looking no further ahead than the next date, after such a short length of time.
Thanks. I didn't have them before but I seem to have them now. I didn't feel any need to ask him any questions because I felt the same way. I have felt a slight shift in him pulling away emotionally and it's unbalanced me.
He has always been keen to push our relationship on and he was the one to pursue me and gave me the impression he was serious about us, meeting kids and family. I think I can see and feel now that he wants to have a lot of freedom and Im nervous to push him away
A lot of men are keen to accelerate things in the early days because it gives them the sexual access they crave. When they realise that the kind of emotional intimacy they sought comes with an expectation they will care for their partner, they quickly get cold feet.
Does this sound like your boyfriend?
I think you need to adopt a light, confident and breezy approach OP. He comes over as someone who isn't as invested in the relationship as you are and if you feel as invalidated as you do by his withdrawal, then you are going to end up very hurt and very upset with your self confidence in tatters.
And you don't deserve that. At all.
There seems to be a real problem at the heart of things with him, from what you describe and its great that you have the insight to understand what it is when you say you've gone from being a strong, independent woman to being this emotional, needy, person you barely recognise.
Its classic stuff OP and all part of the social construct that asserts we are only complete when we have a man in tow.
Read Why Men Prefer Bitches, it explains it all far better than I can.
You seem to see everything in terms of what is wrong with you! Nothing is wrong, you are simply who you are. You shouldn't have to worry so much about how you are perceived by your partner and I don't think it bodes well for the future. Find someone who really cares about you warts and all.
He sounds horrible. Showing emotions does not equate to neediness, it makes you a human being. You open up to him about a traumatic event from your life and he ignores it? He sounds emotionally stunted and hugely lacking in empathy. Also monitoring what you eat, not paying you or returning compliments and making you feel confused and doubtful are red flags.
A partner should bring out the best in you not reduce you from a once confident woman to someone who feels needy and unattractive (which I'm sure you're not!).
I would say that being with an emotionally shut off person with little or no empathy will not lead you too a happy place OP and I think you have worked that out for yourself haven't you? A partner should give you confidence. Not erode it.
I know that my DP's response to me if I had told him about something traumatic from my past would have been huge sympathy, empathy, hugs,
maybe tears as he's a total softy and total support and understanding. Not silence.
I am still feeling confused but thank you for your support.
The traumatic event was confusing because he wanted to watch something and I said I didn't want to watch it then explained why as it was too close to home. I don't like feeling that's vulnerable and I didn't know how I would like him to react. If I asked him he would say it troubled him deeply on my behalf but he didn't show that to me at the time and I felt lost.
I have looked back and I don't think I am generally I otherwise needy, I'm independent. I know I have some emotional needs and possibly triggers that he just doesn't understand. Will he ever? I have done a little bit of withdrawal and he's in tune enough to keep asking me if I am ok, what is wrong but I don't know what to say or how to explain it.
Up until recently he was giving me confidence, but I already had it anyway. I think mine is quite fragile though and easily rocked.
If I asked him about the food monitoring he would just say he cares about me and wants me to be healthy. That would be his response
I think he is showing very clearly how he copes with "heavy" stuff, I think you're feeling confused because you're seeing clearly that his way of coping makes you feel dismissed/invalidated.
If it makes you feel any better... I have an awful background too and have had to tell my current partner about certain aspects of it. It is an incredibly awkward thing to do ime. I never know how much to reveal when, feel acutely sorry for the person I am telling because of how dreadfully upsetting it can be for the listener, etc.
As a general rule I try to put it off as much as possible. In your situation, with the film being suggested that would trigger you, I would have done the same no matter how early in the rs. You have to be who you are, to own your history and not be ashamed of it. He needs to fit in, or (and I mean this kindly), fuck off.
I told my partner that I was a CSA survivor when we had known each other only a couple of weeks. I had to because he made an off colour, black humour sort of remark and I was massively triggered by it and just had to say "sorry you can't say that around me because xyz". He was absolutely mortified, he went white as a sheet but to his credit did not swerve away. In a clumsy way he explained that he had other female friends who had experienced CSA and he loves and supports them (this was his way of attempting to say he did not think I was a freak and that he empathised with me) and that he was sorry to have said something so insensitive when he barely knew me.
That's the kind of response (even if clumsy) that a survivor generally needs to hear imo. And that was when we weren't even really dating yet, he was a lay I found on Tinder, at the time! Has since blossomed into something much more !!
Even now (have
shagged dated him for about 18 months and we made things official 6-7 months ago) if I have to reveal a detail to him about my history, while he may respond awkwardly at times, it's never in a way that feels dismissive or ignoring. And he tries to make up for it if he has been really awkward (bless him)
The body image stuff, the lack of compliments and so on, that's not how it's meant to be. Your bf should think you're gorgeous, and while he needn't tell you in words, you should be able to feel his approval of you seeping out of his every pore! It's not meant to feel anything different from that.
I don't think this guy is really for you. Everyone has needs and a history and sensitivities. You can find another man who is OK with you and the unique mix of qualities (and past experiences) that make you you.
It's not meant to be this hard!
Keep seeing him if you really want to, but I'd dial it RIGHT back and give lots of space for you to be you and him to be him.
Sending you love OP, it's not easy being a survivor and navigating all this.
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