Marriage and Family Therapist
Julie Cohen is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist MFT and a Child Mental Health Specialist with a private practice in Los Angeles. Her areas of focus include: depression, anxiety, panic, post-traumatic stress, bipolar…
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Don't let your insecurities ruin your relationship
Posted in Anxiety by Julie Cohen on Aug 12, 2009

I was talking to a friend of mine tonight.  She told me that her sister was thinking of leaving her husband.  She said that he is very independent and that her sister is not.  In addition, her sister's husband likes to go out dancing and her sister does not.  She gets very insecure when he goes out dancing even though he has invited her to come many times.  Regardless of the amount of reassurance by him she never feels comforted. 

This is a good example of how one's own insecurities are causing stress in a relationship.  Because there is no evidence that her husband is doing anything that would harm the relationship, this issue really is not about the couple but the individual.  To create a healthier relationship her sister must find a way to challenge her insecurities and find a way to be comfortable in her own skin. 

For instance, if she is worried that her husband will cheat while out dancing and he has not done anything of concern, then she has to figure out what self-perception is driving her anxiety.  Let's say she believes she is not attractive or fun.  Then that is the belief that needs to be challenged and changed to a more realistic positive perspective.  The truth seems to be that her husband loves her but just likes to dance.  Acting on his desire to dance has nothing to do with her being attractive or fun.  A more positive self-image and peace of mind will begin to emerge when she is able to embrace this new perception. 

Therapy is a great place to work on issues related to self-esteem and insecurities.  Sometimes therapy acts as gym for the brain to help change negative self thoughts.  Growing new mental muscles or new ways to think about situations that otherwise find us stuck in old destructive patterns is crucial towards maintaining a healthy relationship. 

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Displaying comments 35-16 of 35
35
seems to me that she could go with him and just sit and watch. If he's a regular at the place in question, then she could observe how others react with him and make up her own mind. If nothing is happening, then it's just her. If something is, she needs to address it. Not yelling at him, but talk to him.

just my two cents
By cartmancakes  Jan 14, 2011
34
Perfectly stated! It makes one wonder why more folks do not come to places like this to learn something instead of whining and rejecting others recommendations like you offer here.
Is it possible that many insecure, jealous folks "love" their affliction and would not want it any other way?
By jimrich  Jan 13, 2011
33
I am in a relationship with a really good guy. We both have our issues and insecurities we deal with,but for the most part we have a very close and loving relationship. But unfortunatley I suffer from depression and I am going through a rough bout of it right now. I feel like my personality has changed. My insecurity cup is overflowing and any amount of self-esteem I had, is invisible. When my depression is at bay I can feel pretty good. I can feel confident and fun and you might not even be able to believe I have depression. It was during this time that I met my boyfriend. He loves when I am confident and self-assured. I know this attracts him to me. So we are going through a tough time right now since I am having a pretty bad bout of my depression. I am doubly insecure. I don't feel fun or self-assured. I am totally feeling the opposite of anything good right now. I am just very negative. So needless to say I think I am putting a lot of undue strain on our relationship. I feel sorry for my boyfriend. I can't stand to be around my self when I'm depressed, I can just imagine how he's feeling. I don't want to sabatoge my relationship with this guy. He tries so much to be supportive. He tells me he loves me all the time. Whenever I feel bad he does what he can in his power to try to change it. And he gets discouraged. He doesn't think he does enough or does anything good enough. And I think it is taking a toll on his own self-esteem. He tells me that my negativity is really hurting him. Does anyone have any advice for me? I don't know when my latest bout of depression will subside, hopefully when I get re-employed, (I lost my job, which triggered this latest bout, amongst other things.) The fact that my depression is putting a strain on our relationship doesn't make me feel confident about my depression subsiding any time soon. It is such a double-edged sword. I can't stand it anymore. I hate having depression. It ruins your life. Any words of advice or links to some literature for me or even for him would be so greatly apreciated.
By wenwilitgetbetter  Aug 26, 2009
32
Before your friend's sister leaves her husband, she should try to find if her insecurity is actually based on something real. She should talk herself into going to one (or more) of these outings, and tell her husband that she is willing to do this for him and for herself. She should tell him this just before him leaving home, and she should be ready to go with him... His reaction should give her a lot of reinforcement, either for her positive or negative feelings. If he looks like suddenly his plans are altered, his voice changed, asking her why, looking insecure (she should recognize it in him)... then, she'll get her reassurance that she should leave him. If he's suddenly happy, like really happy that he can do something so fun for him with the love of his life, then, perhaps, later she should think of an activity that she likes and that they can do together... Sometimes opposite people marry each other, and it works.
By LisaSimpson  Aug 24, 2009
31
Hi Doc-

We have been married for nearly 36 years. We take very seriously meeting the needs of the other person. One of my male needs is recreational companionship which my wife lovingly participates in whether she can dance or not.
By dwlhollis  Aug 21, 2009
30
Her being dependent is a major problem that will continue to ruin her relationships. Feeling insecure about yourself needs to be addressed immediately. That being said...going to clubs without your partner is not a good idea. No matter how good your intentions are, most likely every other person there alone is looking for something which usually is someone. Alcohol reduces inhibitions and you do things you wouldn't normally ever do. He likes to go to clubs to dance so she must address her insecurities and go with him. Whether she learns to dance, just relax and dance, or just enjoy watching( which certainly will be entertaning), she should go. They married each other and need to find things they both enjoy.
A married person going to clubs to dance without their spouse on a regularly is a doomed relationship. You can take this to the bank.
By sharon203  Aug 20, 2009
29
I agree with AnneD and Bixby. I've been married 27 years and we don't have to do everything together, but we know where to draw the line and going dancing without the other spouse is very, very unwise. Ms. Cohen you missed the mark on this one.
By TeeBee5  Aug 19, 2009
28
oh! and another thing, my overriding feeling when i'm at a club is "thank goodness i'm just here for fun and not for the meat-market"
By emmiR  Aug 19, 2009
27
i feel i am in a very loving and equal relationship with my husband, i also love dancing, i always have, i dance at parties, in clubs, at home on the coffee table with my little boys, whenever i get the opportunity, my hubby, however, suddenly develops a dodgy knee when i start tapping my feet. i dont let that stop me from doing something i love, sometimes he will come with me to a club, sometimes he will stay at home and watch sport, i dont dance because i am looking for an opportunity to cheat, and a simple "youre barking up the wrong tree, mate" usually deals with any unwelcome advances. if my hubby said he wanted to leave me because he didnt want to go dancing and i didnt want to watch mythbusters, i would be looking very hard at the relationship for something else that was wrong, something serious.
By emmiR  Aug 19, 2009
26
My relationship insecurities oddly have not been about person I was with, but rather some other outside circumstance I was insecure over and hoping they would provide some support.
By Wendyhi  Aug 18, 2009
25
This article is focusing on the wrong issue. It's blaming the wife and calling her "insecure" because she is afraid that if her husband goes out dancing, he will cheat. She is correct in her fear. If anyone should be pointed the finger at, it's the husband.

A man in a relationship, whether married, living together out of wedlock, or not living together, should NOT be going out dancing if his partner does not dance. Dancing involves going to clubs, with many women there, often outnumbering men 3 to 1. Dancing involves close body contact, moves that often mimic sexual acts, especially the way that some women dance nowadays, which frankly, is disgusting.

The women at clubs are not demure; they're not ladies. Most of them are wearing low cut tops, showing their phoney boobs and anything else they can muster to exhibit. They throw themselves at men. They touch the men they don't even know. They caress them. They flirt with them. They offer free sex. For a man in a relationship to put himself in that type of tempting situation is not acceptable. Sooner or later he will be rubbing bodies with some other woman, kissing, making out, and having sex with her.

I am sick and tired of seeing articles like these that paint the woman who is in her full rights to be worried and to tell the man "NO, you are NOT going to be going dancing with other women if you want to be with me. Make a CHOICE!" in a bad light.

Bottom line: the man is the one who needs therapy, the writer of this article needs to get a reality check and remove the distorted eyeglasses she is wearing and the friend's sister needs to take dance lessons!
By AnneD  Aug 18, 2009
24
capnhardass...did she really cheat?
I've been married almost 21 years. We do things seperately sometimes...It's good for the relationship. Doing things seperately a LOT= not good for it. (ex: He goes fishing, I go to the race. I go to the fair, he goes to an auction). Not common everyday things. We also do those things together. Depends what mood we are in and how much space/time we need and what kind of week we've had. We also DO NOT HOUND EACH OTHER TO KNOW WHERE WE ARE AT 100% OF THE TIME. Trust is a powerful thing. Sometimes I go shopping alone or he stops and looks at cars at the lot or at his mothers for a surprise visit.
By Bixby  Aug 18, 2009
23
i believe a dedicated spouse should conduct themselves in a manner thats reassuring to their partner. my ex thought we were together too much, she needed space. i prefer a close partnership where two are inseperable. what she needed space for was to cheat. at any rate a dependant and independant couple dont do well together.
By capnhardass  Aug 18, 2009
22
I would have to say there is a line to be drawn here. Dancing is usually a couples, dating or flirting activity. If he's going out dancing without his wife he's either gay or cheating or considering it.

Dancing is a physical, public activity that many people simply cannot do. If for example, he was surfing and asked her to go, knowing she can't swim, no one would say she should surf with him. Many people have too much social anxiety to go dancing in a club. He most likely asks her knowing she won't say yes, thereby freeing him up to cheat.

If he really cared about the situation and wanted her to be with him when he danced, he would find a compromise. He could have suggested a quiet bar with a small dance floor so he could dance and she could watch.

And, I can guarantee you the sister is only getting a part of the story. I know my STBX did such awful things I was often embarassed to spell them out. However I might have told my own sister part of the story to see how she reacted and then maybe told her more depending on that.

If I were this woman's sister I would be probing a bit and letting her know I support her no matter what. Also, my therapist has told me many times you don't HAVE to have a reason to leave someone. It can be because you don't like the color of their socks. You never have to stay in an unhappy relationship.

I know I stayed and stayed and stayed. Now I've been abused , cheated on, my kids are messed up, etc. If she wants to leave, don't question it. Let her know you love her no matter what and she always has a place to go.

Just my two cents...
By zenara  Aug 18, 2009
21
this sounds like i may have.. My boyfriend is great but he likes to go out alot with his friends and do different things in different places. Its like when he is not with me i hate it, but we cant be together all the time, can we?
i insecuity is the fact i am a single parent and my boyfriend doesn have children so we have different things happening in life, i always think why would he want to stay with me, a sinlge parent who is tied up????? what do i do?
By wood123  Aug 17, 2009
20
My husband and I have a healthy relationship. If he wants to go out with just his friends, that is fine with me, and vice versa. Dancing seems to be another issue though as I have read from other peoples posts on here. In a relationship where both people are completely secure, they are still able to and motivated to be their own person. If you have to change yourself to succeed in a relationship, and give up the things that you enjoy that arent hurting anyone - I would see that as an unhealthy relationship. Dancing is more of an intimate hobby...and I know that my husband would rather be at the club with me, even if he wasnt dancing, making sure that no slimy guys were hitting on me and going out of bounds! Even if I were to dance with another man while he was there, he would be happy that I was enjoying myself and accepting the fact that he stinks at dancing! But, going dancing alone is a questionable thing... Is this man 100% into women? Perhaps he has another streak in him that he may need to come out of the closet about? I know of NO men who are heterosexual who enjoy just going dancing with other men... Regardless, people in relationships should be able to maintain the self they were while devoted to another. We still have to be our own person outside of the relationship, and if your significant other commends you for that - I would say the relationship is quite healthy! If your significant other makes you feel like you are doing something wrong by still being your own person and doing your own thing while in a relationship with them - well then, they are just too needy and insecure to trust which = real love. They have their own issue to work on aside from the relationship obviously and should do such...
By Spinnella  Aug 16, 2009
19
Don't know how things are today, but when I used to go out dancing, I danced with a partner and NOT alone. He IS someone's dance partner. He's not going out there that often just standing around.

Different bait for different fish: Fish snap at bait that shines or giggles in a way that's attractive to that fish. When that man extends his hand to request a dance, that's bait...He keeps going..the bait works.

Now she needs to skin em fry em and serve em up (kidding, just a little humor added)
By HopefulBRLA  Aug 16, 2009
18
Let's remember they're "married", and they're not just "dating", and I highly doubt my husband would just feel so secure if I wanted to go dancing without him.
By painstrainsmybrain  Aug 15, 2009
17
I'm probably not going to be very popular when I tell you my opinion, but I don't care about popularity.

I think going out dancing at a club is pushing it. No wonder she feels insecure. You don't say he is, but if he loves dancing so much and he's into ballroom or "real" dancing, not just gyrating up on some other woman, I doubt she'd feel so insecure. Hogwash.
By painstrainsmybrain  Aug 15, 2009
16
I was once and not to long ago recently involved with a guy who was quite insecure, I mean I know everyone has some kind of insecurity but some have it worst than others and worry way more about it than others and yet that was the way my ex was with me, thinking that maybe I would may cheat on him like his ex's did and just being negative overall sometimes, I can tell you from experience that I vowed to myself not to endure that same situation again. Because of my ex he made me feel not ever good enough for him thinking I would be like the others in his life. I just felt like he didn't give me a fair shot. It drained me out emotionally and mentally. I feel sorry for my EX in some ways because if he doesn't OPEN his eyes to this issue he won't ever be to have a healthy relationship without insecurity coming in the way

If your insecure deal with them before you deal with anyone because if you don't it can and will get worst at at time gets by and you can lose someone and a relationship , let alone yourself like that being so insecure.
By ariesc8942  Aug 15, 2009

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