Insecurities and commitment issues are causing problems in my relationship

I’ve been in a committed relationship for 1.5 years (he is 43—never married, I’m 36, never married) and we both have a few commitment fears.

I tend to check up (snoop) around my boyfriend’s stuff from time to time due to some insecurities (it’s too good to be true)—to convince myself he really is a great guy.

Sure enough, I found a text he sent a colleague saying is your friend single, I think she is hot and he got the girl’s number. I didn’t confront him, especially because things have been going so well lately. We are not married, and although committed should I take this as a sign of infidelity?

He hasn’t cheated yet but clearly intends to. Maybe he will just have a fling or maybe he will meet someone and break it off with me. I don’t know if I should drop him now or take the wait and see approach. I know it sounds pathetic to wait and see but just because someone is unfaithful, I don’t think it means they love you any less. I’m torn.

Response:

Individuals with commitment issues are often more likely to betray their partner’s trust in exactly the ways you describe—by seeking out extra-relational encounters and snooping on their partners (see Attachment Styles). People with insecure tendencies also tend to over- or under-react when they discover problems in their relationship. In your case, it sounds like you’re inclined to downplay the significance of what’s going on.

The best way to deal with commitment issues and insecurities is to behave counter to how you normally would. To create a more healthy and stable relationship it’s important to act exactly the opposite of how you normally would.

Think for a minute how someone else might deal with this situation? How would you recommend that someone else deal with the problem?

In most cases, the best way to address such issues is to talk about them in a non-confrontational way. Describe what you discovered and how it made you feel (i.e., hurt, sad, anxious). Don’t attack your partner; rather describe how you’re feeling (see talk about problems). If your partner doesn’t acknowledge your pain (after getting mad at you for snooping), that speaks volumes.

Relationships work best when partners can acknowledge and take responsibility for the harm their actions have caused each other. Practicing healthy communication skills when problems arise is critical to working through such issues. Ignoring problems or over-reacting (yelling and screaming) to them is a surefire way to do long-term damage to your relationship.

 anxious attachment | cheating boyfriend | dismissing attachment | snooping

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