Dear Positive Way: My girlfriend and I have been together for 4 months. We both love each other a great deal, but we’ve been arguing a lot lately. The basic problem that I see is we both suffer from lack of understanding each other, since we rushed into this..and the other problem is that we both suffer from insecurity. She doesn’t show emotion a lot and I do. We both feed off of each other, when she doesn’t show me a lot, I get insecure, feel stressed out. Then I make verbal comments about leaving the relationship which upsets her. She’s not much of a communicator, and I am. Is there a sure way to cope with this insecurity problem so we both feel at ease? Signed Dave age 26
Dear Dave: Thank your for your email. It is very difficult to have a good secure relationship when both people feed off each other and one doesn’t show a lot of emotion. Here are some things I would like for you to consider.
1. When there is a lot of arguing going on in a relationship it usually means that both people are not feeling validated or understood. Anything can trigger an argument because the real issues are not being discussed. It is time to get to the real issues.
2. Set an appointment time with your girlfriend where there will be no interruptions. No phone calls, no radio or TV in the background and no one else around. Let her know how you are feeling in the relationship. Speak for yourself and don’t accuse her of not being emotional. Just talk about
how you feel and what you would like to happen so you can both feel better being together. After you have talked and shared your feelings allow your girlfriend to do the same. Just listen to her and don’t try to defend yourself or make excuses. Truly listen and try to see things from her eyes, standing in her shoes. Validate her by repeating back to her what you think you hear her say and ask her if that is correct. Say something like this “You know, I can see why you would feel that way under the circumstances.” This is a validating statement. There are a couple of articles I would like for you to read before you have this meeting. Please read Expressing and Owning Your Feelings and read the Four Warning Signs . There is information in many of our articles on our web site that I think you will find helpful.
3. Dave, we usually pick mates that cannot fulfill our emotional needs. We need to fill our own emotional needs by working on our own self-esteem and self-acceptance. Once you are able to accept and love yourself it is easier to accept and love others. Please check out our articles on Self-esteem .
4. Communication skills have to be learned. They do not come automatically to most people. There are some great tips and techniques on our web site and in our book that will teach you and your girlfriend how to communicate better. Let her learn on her own. Don’t push her or make her feel inadequate because she is not emotional or a good communicator. She has learned from her past and is doing the best she can with the knowledge she has at the time. With new knowledge you both can become better communicators.
Dave, once you become secure with yourself it will be easier to be secure with someone else. This takes time. Don’t beat yourself up for sliding back to the old ways. Take baby steps. Work on validating your girlfriend and ask her to do the same for you. The best teacher is the one who walks their talk. Be an example of a good communicator and validate her and your girlfriend will learn from your example.
Please understand you have free will. This advice is given only in the realm of personal growth and self-help. This is not to be considered a substitute for therapy or professional counseling. We wish you well.