7 Ways To Let Go Of Insecurity In Your Relationship

Today

I have felt unworthy of love for a lot of my life. A common question that replayed in my head during my high school years was:

Why would anyone be interested in me?”

My relationship insecurity made me see problems where they didn’t exist, turning what could have been a successful relationship into a short-lived, dismal failure. Know the feeling?

If so, here are 7 ways on how to stop feeling insecure:

1. Stop thinking it is all about you.

A self-centered worldview will have you chasing boogeymen where they don’t exist. If your partner doesn’t feel like going out, don’t assume it is because of you when they just as easily could have had a really bad day at work that drained their energy.

Stop psycho-analyzing every word choice your partner makes and be more present in the moment so you can notice the message behind their tone, physical presence, and posture. Obsessing with hidden meanings is a sure-fire way to miss the point.

Don’t berate your partner for being too quiet, or continuously ask, “What are you thinking?” during every lapse of conversation. An overwhelming urge to fill every second of silence with needless words is a habit of an insecure person. Take your partner’s hand, breathe in, breathe out, and enjoy the silence together. Who says you can’t enjoy simply being with each other without words?

2. Stop psyching yourself out.

Your thoughts could be your relationship’s best friend or worst enemy. The quality of your thoughts has a direct effect on the quality of your relationship.

Have you ever found thinking negative thoughts like, “I know they’ll get sick of me someday,” or, “How could they love me?” These thoughts have little to do with realitybut a lot to do with fear.  In other words, the problem you are concerned with doesn’t exist—you invented it!

Any time you find yourself feeling insecure about your relationship, tell yourself, “The thing I’m worried about only exists in my head. I have full control.”

3. Stop lugging around all that baggage.

Ever been in a relationship so terrible that you would love to just wish it all away so you never have to think about it again? Join the club. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a person who doesn’t have a bit of baggage because this love thing is an unpredictable (and sometimes rocky) ride.

A little baggage is totally okay, but you need to lighten your load before jumping into any new relationship. Let go of any left-over hurtful feelings that might be lingering and realize that your new relationship is a new opportunity to put all of that behind you.

The lovely thing about life: you can re-start as many times as you need to!

4. Stop seeing things in black and white.

How do you react when someone blames you for something that you don’t think is your fault? Survey says: you get defensive.

Likewise, confronting your partner over a problemno matter how obvious it may be to youwill most likely cause them to become defensive. This usually leads to a knock-down, drag-out fight that is the opposite of productive because you’re both too busy trying to prove you’re right to resolve your conflict.

If you have a problem, don’t immediately point the finger, but instead approach your partner with compassion and understanding. Be comfortable in the fact that neither of you is fully “right” or “wrong.” The true answer lies somewhere in the middle.

5. Stop feeling paranoid over nothing.

Let’s face it: we all talk to people of the opposite sex. Just because a boy and girl (or boy and boy, or girl and girl) are friends doesn’t mean there is more to the story.

Avoid the temptation to snoop your partner’s phone, Facebook messages, or email account. While this could temporarily calm your nerves when you see nothing afoul, it is also a behavior that could quickly become addictive, not to mention damaging for relationship trust when they find out Big Brother is watching.

6. Stop putting off uncomfortable conversations.

While conflict is stressful for your relationship in the short-term, it will build the strength of your relationship in the long-term.

Facing your problems without fear will help you grow closer to your partner. Never mince words with each other and you will develop trust so strong that you can tell your partner anything that is on your mind.

7. Stop being dependent on anyone but yourself.

Having someone to hug, kiss, cuddle, make love to, and share your life with is nothing short of wonderful. But before you march off into the sunset in search of love, you need to learn to love yourself.

Just like you shouldn’t invite a friend to your home while it’s a disorganized wreck, you shouldn’t invite a partner into your life while it is in disarray. Take care if your inner-house before you invite anyone else to it.

If you let go of insecurity, you can expect the side-effects of reduced stress and increased relationship satisfaction.

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How Your Smartphone is Ruining Your Relationship

Today

Nothing kills romance faster than pulling out a smartphone, and now, research confirms it. Being attached to your phone seems to sabotage your attachment with your loved one.

Plenty of research has been done on how cell phones affect relationships. Some suggests that they’re a positive influence—that being in easy, intimate touch with a partner through calling and texting makes people happier and more secure in their relationships. Other research reveals the dark side of cell phones. Real-life interactions are dulled when a person feels the urge to check their phone, and the distraction a phone affords one partner doesn’t make the other person feel good.

But smartphones are far more invasive and demanding of our time, connecting us to the world in vastly more ways than the flip phones of yore. A team of researchers thought that smartphones might be making relationships worse, so they wrangled 170 college kids who were in committed relationships to see what role their phones were playing.

In the study, published in the journal Psychology of Popular Media Culture, the college lovebirds were asked to report on their own smartphone use: how dependent they felt on their device, and how much it would bother them to go without it for a day. They then answered similar questions about their own partner’s smartphone dependency.

It didn’t matter much how much a person used their device, but how much a person needed their device did. People who were more dependent on their smartphones reported being less certain about their partnerships. People who felt that their partners were overly dependent on their devices said they were less satisfied in their relationship.

In other words, people get jealous of their partner’s smartphone. “I’m more likely to think my relationship is doomed the more I believe my partner needs that thing,” explains Matthew Lapierre, assistant professor in the department of communication at the University of Arizona, who authored the study with his former undergraduate student Meleah Lewis. “It’s not use; it’s the psychological relationship to that device.”

The researchers are now doing a followup experiment to try to understand the causal mechanisms behind their findings and to see whether or not smartphone dependency affects other areas of life, like academic performance, and whether factors like self-esteem predict a person’s smartphone obsession.

“Smartphones are fundamentally different from previous technologies, so their effect is much more powerful,” Lapierre says. “I don’t want to say it’s uniformly negative, but it definitely hints in that direction.”

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4 Typical Solvable Relationship Problems

Today

Any seasoned counselor will tell you that even the happiest couples have problems. In fact, Dr. John Gottman, famous marriage researcher and author of The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, has identified four of the most typical areas of solvable marital conflict: technology, work stress, money, and housework.

While something such as housework may seem like no big deal, there is emotional importance attached to these tasks that deepens our bond when they are accomplished. When these tasks are not accomplished, partners no longer feel like a safe haven for each other in the chaos of life—rather they make life for each other feel even more chaotic.

Here are four solutions to the most common relationship problems.

Disconnecting from distractions

Cultivating emotional connection and intimacy in the age of our attention economy has become a difficult task for couples. Take a moment and ask yourself: how much time do you think couples spend or should spent talking with each other?

In a research study on young couples in Los Angeles, the average amount of time partners engaged in face-to-face conversation was 35 minutes… a week! Even worse, the majority of these precious minutes were spent discussing errands—who takes out the garbage, who takes the kids to school, or what needs to be picked up at the grocery store—instead of the relationship. This mindset of relationship-comes-second leaves couples feeling lonely.

While communication issues have many causes, a common culprit in today’s world is the seemingly endless number of notifications from our digital devices. They have become a distraction from the real connection right in front of us.

Solution: If your lover is complaining that you’re more focused on your phone than your relationship, that’s an issue you need to take seriously, even if you don’t agree. The fastest solution is to sit down together and create a tech agreement.

This could be an agreement that both partners will not text, check email, or update their social profiles during specific times of the day or particular events, such as date night, mealtime, or when either of you needs to talk. It’s vital that this agreement feels fair to both of you.

Bringing work stress home

Many couples never think to discuss how they de-stress after work, but the way we handle—or don’t handle—work stress at the end of the day can cause unnecessary conflict.

Take, for example, Steve and Ashley:

Steve has a deadline for a big project and knows he’ll be up late. When he gets home from work, he feels angry because Ashley has moved his well organized notes from the previous day into a big pile. Ashley, who has a micromanaging boss, gets frustrated when she opens up the fridge to find leftover pizza and nothing else. “Where is the food? You promised you’d go to the grocery store. What’s wrong with you?”

The real question they should be asking each other is “What’s going wrong between us?” The truth is they are bringing their work stress home and allowing it to sabotage their relationship.

Solution: Discuss your end-of-the-day routine with each other. Dr. John Gottman calls this a ritual of connection.

One of the amazing things about relationships is that our attachment bond with our partner gives them the power to co-regulate our emotions. This means when we leave our baseline state and are upset or sad, our partner has a keen ability to bring us back to baseline. On the flip side of the coin are couples who only intensify the already upset feelings, making it feel worse for both partners.

To develop co-regulation, I’ve had to figure out what distresses me. As a result, I ended up developing a soothing ritual: when I get home after a long day I hug my partner until I relax (2 to 4 minute hug). Usually by the second minute, my body relaxes and I let out a big sigh.

By this point, I’m ready to connect. After I’m feeling calm, we come together to complain to each other about our day. During this time we each get to complain about the difficulties that occurred, while the other is understanding and supportive. This is formally known as the Stress-Reducing Conversation.

Scheduling formal whining sessions can prevent the spillover of everyday stress into your relationship.

One of the fastest ways to relax is to enlist your partner, but don’t be afraid to decompress by yourself before connecting with each other. Go for a run, meditate, or watch funny cat videos—whatever feels right to you. Then, when you’re ready, find your partner for your end-of-the-day ritual of connection.

Money

One of the most common areas of conflicts in marriage is about money, how to spend it, and how to save for the things that truly matter. Whether your bank account is full or you’re just getting by, you are bound to have conflict over money since money is so symbolic of our emotional needs. Balancing the emotional realities of money can be work for any couple since our feelings about money are so personal.

Solution: Most arguments about money are not actually about money. So, go beneath the dollar value to understand what money means to each of you. Before budgeting take time to have a constructive conversation about money and discuss any financial gridlock issues. After that, take time to prioritize your spending and then lay out an action plan for financial freedom.

Housework

When couples don’t do their agreed-upon share of the housework, issues in all aspects of the relationship may be impacted. One partner is left feeling disrespected and unsupported, which leads to resentment and ultimately a less satisfying relationship.

Often men are labeled the “slacker” around the house. From the men I’ve talked to in heterosexual relationships, they are not intentionally trying to be rude, they just don’t understand why housework is such a big deal to their partner. A man may agree that it’s unfair for his partner to work a second shift when she gets home, but many of them were raised in homes where their father did no housework, even if the mother worked, and old ways die hard.

British sociologist Ann Oakley documented that men tend to overestimate the amount of housework they do. Sometimes the man feels he should be applauded for his “help” but insteads finds himself being asked to do more, which makes him defensive and likely to do less.

Solution: Have a conversation about housework and split up chores so it feels fair to both partners. Create a list to determine who should do what. Use this list talk about how things are currently handled and how you would like them to be handled. Some items to include: car care, child care, finances, food, house cleaning, and house projects. For a detailed list, check out The Seven Principles That Make Marriage Work.

According to Dr. John Gottman, “Women find a man’s willingness to do housework extremely erotic.” When the man does his share to maintain the home, both partners report a more fulfilling sex life than in marriages where the wife believes her husband is not doing his share. How’s that for motivation to get off the couch?

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The Most Common Relationship Problem

Today

“Jake doesn’t talk to me, and he doesn’t let me know what he’s thinking.”
“He doesn’t answer my texts.”
“I can’t trust him. Sometimes I catch him in lies.”

   “I feel like he doesn’t care about me.”

   “Kala is always asking me a thousand questions.”
“She doesn’t trust me — she’s always looking at my phone, asking me where I’m going.”

   “She is always telling me what I should do, giving me advice I don’t want or need.”
   “I feel like she is always trying to control me.”

You’ve undoubtedly heard this kind of talk from friends — maybe you’ve experienced it yourself. Though there are variations on the theme, in my years of doing couple therapy this is probably the most common problem couples present with.

Kala feels that Jake never steps up. He rarely initiates things — ideas of things to do on the weekend, even sex. She is always playing offense — trying to get him to open up and talk to her, to show more interest in her, to let her know what is going on inside him. She sends him a text, but he takes forever to respond, and she’s seen texts on his phone to other women. She feels like he is always hiding or shutting down, and that she is doing the heavy lifting in the relationship.

From his side, Jake feels that Kala is always coming at him — questions about his day, where’s he’s going, what he’s thinking. He doesn’t answer the texts, because he is busy at work; those texts from women are from work colleagues, and they’re about work, although she doesn’t believe him. When he does initiate something — something to do on the weekend, even sex — she more often than not shoots it down or criticizes or over-reacts. He’s learned it’s better to keep his mouth shut. He’s feeling micromanaged and mommied.

Where this conversation now goes in my office is toward a stacking of evidence, each partner working to make his or her case. They argue over the words in the texts and what they mean; who was or was not avoiding sex; who always feels ignored or attacked; who is too sensitive, who is blowing things out of proportion; whose reality is right.

It goes nowhere.

Where the partners differ is in their needs for closeness and space. What they have in common is anxiety.

What’s Going On

This is the well-known approach/distance, pursue/avoid, neglect/intrusion pattern. Kala gets anxious when those close to her go too far away. She may have past experiences with guys who cheated on her, had affairs, or suddenly left, or she maybe (and likely) experienced loss and neglect in her childhood, creating an emotional wound.

Jake, on the other hand, may have had bad experiences with women who were too intrusive, or, like Kala, maybe he developed his own emotional wounds as a child and became sensitive to criticism and control. While anecdotally this seems to be a more common female/male split — women desiring more connection, men sensitive to control — this can obviously flip with the man being the one needing closeness, and seeking sex and time together, and the woman needing space.

But it is the pattern that is the problem: When she begins to get anxious because of their lack of connection, she goes on offense. This triggers his anxiety, which he handles by retreating, ducking and weaving, or shutting down, only increasing her anxiety and offense, creating a downward spiral. When they do try to talk about it, it turns into a power struggle with each digging in, trying to get the other to change. We can easily imagine that this will eventually become a self-fulfilling prophecy: he will get fed up and leave or have an affair, confirming in her mind what she suspected and feared all along.

The Way Out

The way out of this deadly dynamic is to break the pattern, and that means stopping the standoff and meeting in the middle.

1. Both need to understand what each is sensitive to. She needs sensitivity to his feeling of control, criticism, need for space, and he to her need for more connection, interaction, and intimacy.

2. Both need to redefine the problem. He needs to stop thinking that he is being controlled or mommied, but rather say to himself that she is anxious. She needs to see that it is not that he doesn’t care, but that he, too, gets anxious when she goes on offense. Each needs to stop feeling like a victim or martyr, stop feeling trapped, and realize that the best thing they can do is to let the other know what they need.

3. He needs to step up. Rather than shutting down, he needs to be proactive. This means initiating ideas, even though he fears she will shoot him down. It means reaching out to her — texting her or giving her a quick call during the day — telling her about his day, what he did, who he talked to, what is going on in his head — before she asks. He has to step outside his comfort zone, approach his anxiety, go against the grain and habits, and do it because he cares about their relationship.

4. She needs to step down. This is the way to give him space to step up and stop turning into a turtle; it also gives him more of the space that he needs. And when he says what he thinks or initiates something, she needs to resist overreacting, arguing, or sounding critical. This will make it safer over time for him to take more such risks. This does not mean she now has to become the doormat and agree with whatever he says, just that she needs to not pounce on it or shoot it down as a first response. She, too, has to go against her grain and resist the urge to go on offense when she begins to feel anxious.

5. They both need to think outside the box and come up with alternate ways of each getting what each needs — and to stop confusing means and ends. Are there things he can do to reassure and stay connected with her besides having sex more often or responding to her text within 30 seconds? She needs to think about this and tell him. Likewise, are there ways he can get some of the space he needs besides her just leaving him alone? He needs to think about it and let her know.

6. They need to have an honest conversation about their individual visions of the relationship, their expectations, and their needs. This is about determining how compatible they really are, as well as what needs to change to tweak the relationship so both are satisfied. This ends the power struggle and resentment. If it’s too hard to talk about, they can write it down, share it, then discuss. If that is too hard, they need to seek outside help and support.

7. They need to come up with a plan for concrete behaviors that each is willing to adopt to break the pattern. Then they put their heads down and do it, without keeping score or having high, unrealistic expectations. They have to try it for a few weeks, and then circle back and fine-tune.

It’s about changing the emotional climate, ending the power struggle and resentment, and healing emotional wounds by stepping outside your comfort zones. Are you ready to do it?

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DIY: Throw a crazy onesie party

Today

If you tend to feel slightly melancholic around important dates like birthdays and anniversaries, we know of a way that will make you feel amazing. What can it be? An awesome onesie party!

When you’re feeling down, you need something fun to do. Something that will make time fly by, something that will activate your creativity, and keep you busy.

So, this time, we have a whole lot of tips and tricks that will help you to throw an awesome onesie party. Whether it’s your birthday, your friend’s or your partner’s, or a simple feel-good party, these will be helpful.

DIY Onesie party:

* Onesie time!

You need to prepare your favorite onesie, and make sure every guest shows up in theirs. You know, it won’t be a onesie party if your guests aren’t wearing their own onesies! Also, tell people that cute pajamas are also allowed if they don’t own a onesie. This part is also handy – you get to know who still doesn’t have a onesie so you can buy them one for their birthday or for Christmas.

* Don’t forget about the food

No party can be good without good snacks. We recommend the classics in this case – crisps, pizza, popcorn, cupcakes… Go wild, but make sure you have several different snacks at any given moment so that everyone can enjoy themselves. If you’re uncertain about what your guests love, just ask them to bring their favorite snacks with them.

* Decorate!

For a onesie party, you’ll want to pull off the old-fashioned slumber-party kind of vibe. So, pull out all the blankets, cushions, and pillows you can find, and arrange a chilling area around the couch. If you want to go the extra mile, make a pillow fort – your guests will love it for sure!

* Be ready to shake things up a bit

We love letting things flow naturally at a party. We adore seeing the crowd getting its own vibe, and conversations developing spontaneously. But, sometimes, your guests might need a little push. That’s why it’s smart to have some activities in mind, things that can bring life to the party. A game of Truth or Dare is an excellent choice, as so is Pictionary. If you’re out of ideas, you can always turn to Netflix. However, if you really want to bring people together at your slumber party, pull out your Twister – there’s nothing like playing this game in a onesie!

* The next morning

A real host knows that a slumber party doesn’t end after midnight, but after breakfast the next day. So, make a bagel bar for your guests. Prepare a load of bagels and a wide selection of different toppings so that everyone can make their own favorite breakfast. Consider getting cream cheese, tomato slices, some cucumber, hummus, nut butter, and lettuce. Don’t forget to prepare fresh orange juice, and your slumber party will be a success from A to Z.

In the end, we think that you can never be too old for a sleepover onesie party with your friends. Go wild, have fun, and don’t forget to take pics!

 

 

 

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