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How do I stop relationship insecurity from my last relationship spoiling my new one?

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About seven months ago, my boyfriend of eight months broke up with me because he was having doubts and he didn't really feel like he loved me. I was devastated because I was completely in love with him.

We came back to school after spending the summer apart and he claimed he had made a huge mistake. I still loved him, but I didn't want to give in. Eventually, I caved because I wanted those old feelings back, but my heart just couldn't come back from that break and I ended it again.

During this period of seeing him, I also started seeing this guy who was going through the same thing with his former girlfriend, who had been cheating on him. We both eventually ended up ending things with them and finding each other.

I went through a really tough time, questioning whether or not I chose the right guy, but I came to find that I really did care about this new guy and I couldn't keep running back to my ex just because I felt lonely. This new guy and I have gotten pretty serious and we've expressed that we do love each other. He is so sweet and he does so much for me.

But I can't help but feel insecure about us all the time. I always over-think and I have come to realize that it's all in my head. I used to get mad at him, but he's done nothing wrong! But I need to know how to relax and just be with him, because I've never dealt with this before and I really want this to work.

I don't want my insecurity to drive him away. What do I do?

This question was submitted by 'Ruth'

mark tyrrell

Mark says...

Hello Ruth and thank you for writing in.

I think you are spot on when you write that you just need to feel relaxed when you're with your current boyfriend. Being on anxious high alert prevents you being spontaneous and will also have your imagination on full force, imagining reasons for why he said this or did or didn't do that.

It sounds like both of you, because of your similar experiences, will be sensitive to one another. But basically, the shock of what happened before – you feeling everything was fine, then suddenly your ex-boyfriend walking away – has taught you to instinctively associate being in a relationship as an insecure, fragile, and maybe hopeless experience.

I suggest you really think about how your new boyfriend is different from your ex. Treating new people as if they are just like previous people is a shortcut to pain. Write down all the ways the two men are different and all the ways this relationship is different to the last one. And reflect on those differences, simply by reading and thinking about that list every day for a while. Practice physically relaxing when you imagine being together so that you train yourself to be calm with him in reality.

There are no guarantees in any relationship, but learning to relax with the feeling that whatever happens, you'll be okay will help you feel more secure in yourself and your relationship. We do have a whole program to help people overcome insecurity in relationships, but give it a while just to see whether you can relax and be yourself in this relationship more naturally.

All my best,


watch icon Published by Mark Tyrrell - July 20th, 2015 in

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