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My husband's insecurity is ruining our relationship

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Hi Mark I have been married for 25 years. The insecurities started right in the beginning and are still there. My husband has now put tape recorders in my car and purse and put a GPS on my car thinking I may be cheating. I have never done anything in our marriage to make him think I have. He is so needy - I have never been a very affectionate person and have gotten less as his problem has progressed. He blames me, saying that it's because I don't show my love to him and he always feels distant. I'm losing love for him and don't want my marriage to end but don't know what to do anymore. We have gone to marriage counseling but got nowhere because it's a way bigger problem than I think they can deal with. Please help me!

This question was submitted by 'stancins'

mark tyrrell

Mark says...

Hello Stancins,

It sounds like a classic vicious cycle. Your husband feels needy and therefore seeks to control you as a clumsy way to try to secure your love. He frets and worries, maybe tortures himslef that you don't care for him or may go with someone else. His insecurity leads him to such overcontrolling behaviour that he is bugging your car!

Insecurity leads to control-freakery which tends always to be a sure fire way to diminish love in the person being over-monitrored. This in turn leads him to believe that his suspicions were right all along and so he becomes more needy which distances you even further and so the cycle continues. Until something changes.

Of course some people are naturally more physically affectionate than others. He needs to remember that there are differences and some people are less tactile, or emotionally expressive than others and maybe you can remind him that it's not your natural 'style' to be really affectionate.

But in the meantime you might try to make efforts with him in the sense of suggesting you and your husband spend more time together and so on. You need to remind him that you have needs too. You have a need for a sense of independence which his over monitoring Stasi-like snooping on you is totally undermining.

Suggest you spend more time just the two of you but that he must stop invading your privacy. He also needs of course to work on himself and become more self confident and emotionally secure. When people are that insecure they feel as if, were the relationship to end, they would be totally bereft, even 'finished'.

In fact the truly secure people are those who feel they would be sad if something ended but still able to continue in life and still able, after awhile, to have a good life. When you feel you have everything to lose then you cling to it more. This is why we use the term clingy. He needs to know that it's not just having a relationship that counts but having a good relationship. And of course a good relationship meets the needs of both people.

He needs to learn to use his imagination constructively not to frighten and demoralise himself. Imagination is a tool and should not be a tyranny. I suggest your husband take the 10 Steps to Overcoming Insecurity in Relationships course so that he can grow stronger, feel better about himself and understand his own and your needs much more clearly.

Tell him you don't want the marriage to end but you need things to change and so does he because he's clearly not happy. Chronic relationship insecurity amounts to a kind of phobia of being left or of losing love. Phobias can be cured so that real love (not possessiveness based on mistrust, suspicion or despair) has a chance to grow and flourish.

All my best,


watch icon Published by Mark Tyrrell - November 27th, 2013 in

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