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What do I do about my partner's insecurities?

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Hi Mark,

My question is regarding my partner of two years. He has been married twice. He is 54 and I am 43. He has expressed that he still has, from time to time, feelings of insecurity and low self-esteem. In the past, he has gone to seek counselling for this.

We are at a stage where we may be looking to rent together. However, a recent disagreement where I was open about how I am feeling overwhelmed by him and not being given space (which is important to me) was taken personally by him and, rather than listening, he walked away from me. The moving in will be put on hold. He has six children who are all adults and I have two teenage children still living with me (15 and 16 years old).

His low self-esteem has been the cause of our disagreements in the past. However, this time I am still angry that the very thing he loves about me – my openness and honesty – was the very thing that made him walk out on me in the middle of the heated discussion.

I am definitely more masculine energy orientated, if that makes sense, although I love how he has the ability to soften me, calm me, and let me express my emotions safely. He is very intuitive, caring, giving, and sensitive. We both work in a field where we train and mentor youth and marginalized people.

My question is: what do I do with this? I have forwarded your program to him or will that also be looked upon as a criticism rather than a form of assistance? I am beginning to lose my attractiveness to him because I feel he is not strong and secure.

This question was submitted by 'Claudine'

mark tyrrell

Mark says...

Hi Claudine and thanks for writing in.

This sounds like a balancing act. He feels, by the sounds of it, that you are trying to improve him (which, in a way, you are, of course), but has bent the meaning of that to feel you don't love him or don't find him attractive. So it's a double bind – you want to help him, but in so doing, he feels more insecure, criticized, or attacked, even. His insecurity impacts you, which you communicate, which makes him more insecure.

You don't say specifically what he is insecure about. Insecurity doesn't seem to be quenched by reassurance, which makes it all the more frustrating.

Insecure people need to reassure themselves so the reassurance is sustainable. Always depending on reassurance from you is like drinking salt water when he's thirsty; it might just feel better in the short term, but the insecurity soon comes back again. I suggest you tell him you really want to live with him, be with him, and that you love him, if you do, but that he needs to sort this out so you can both be happy in the relationship.

Ask him what he wants from you and how he thinks you can help him.

He can use the '10 Steps to Overcome Insecurity in Relationships' program or any other solution-focussed program to help him become more emotionally secure. But I think you might have to suggest that it's only because you care so much about this relationship that you want him to give it a go. Ultimately, his emotional security needs to come from him and he needs to offer you support and strength and use his intuition, rather than imagination, when it comes to the things he's been insecure about, so that some more balance can come to your relationship.

I really hope he can sort this out and that your relationship can flourish.

All my best,


watch icon Published by Mark Tyrrell - May 22nd, 2015 in

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