Relationship insecurity: why are you with me?

Image by the awesome Stuart F Taylor

If I’m certain of anything about myself it’s this: I am a fucking nightmare. Anxiety means I am constantly examining every detail to see what might be right and wrong with my life. No – scratch that – every detail of what might be wrong. What’s right gets dumped on the ‘finished’ pile, and rarely given more time than a cursory ‘hooray’ before it’s time to move onto the next thing. Leaving my brain free to focus on unpaid bills, people I may have offended, and a mountain of relationship insecurity on the side.

Why are you with me?

Because I like you.

But why?

Because you’re… nice?

OK.

Hot?

OK.

Because you suck my dick like you’re hungry for it while I sit at the desk and code.

Better.

Because. Umm. Because of your tits.

Less good. What if I didn’t have them any more? What happens when they change as I age?

Because. Oh for fuck’s sake. 

And so it goes. An endless circle of navel-gazing prompted by the nagging, obsessive voice in my head. Try as I might to ignore it, I don’t think it’ll ever shut up.

I used to utterly hate it, because it ruined everything. It used to whisper “you’re no good. He’ll pick someone better. What’s so great about you? Nothing.”

So when I look at him and think ‘Christ, he’s amazing,’ I have to deal with the voice. When, with no specific detail I can put my finger on, a sudden or casual movement has me wanting to moan and sigh and bury my face in the warmth of his stomach. When I could list forever things that make him different and special and better… the voice pops up.

His hands, large and warm and strong when he grabs me. His accent and the turn of phrase when he calls me a particular kid of twat, at exactly the moment I need him to remind me of my twattery. His hot breath on the back of my neck in bed at night, combined with a finger or two slipped down the back of my knickers. The neat and precise way he seasons food in the kitchen. The sloppy way he tosses t-shirts and pants to one side before bedtime.

I could go on, and I do. Because that is what I do.

Relationship insecurity prompts a hell of a lot of guessing, imagining, and ‘what if’s. And, particularly in the middle of a heated argument, those intangibles suddenly grow larger and feel solid. Why are you with me if you’re angry? Why are you with me if I’ve done so much stuff wrong? Why are you with me if everything I do makes you cringe and grimace like you’re hearing nails down a blackboard?

I will turn things over a thousand times to examine each detail of how I feel, and ask, nudge, prompt and then guess at how he feels in return.

I know I’m not the only one who has this relationship insecurity. Who wakes up in the morning feeling like the victim of an elaborate prank. We must all, surely, have these moments.

But I’ve learned to like the voice now – to understand what’s good about it and what to ignore. When it asks the question “why is he with you?” I don’t know the answer. And maybe I don’t need to know beyond ‘nice tits’ and ‘blow jobs’ and the other things he says when he can’t articulate the real reasons.

Maybe the why doesn’t matter, just the fact that he is.

11 Comments

  • candysnatch says:

    Omg I relate to this so much I actually got teary! Brilliant article!

  • SpaceCaptainSmith says:

    We all do this – or at least, more of us do than we tend to admit. There can’t be many people who’ve never struggled with feelings of self-doubt and being an impostor, and wondered how anyone could love them.

    Honestly, humans are such bags of neuroses, sometimes I think it’s a miracle that anyone manages to make a stable relationship work at all.

  • You are definitely not the only one who does this. I can relate quite a bit to this.

  • Jillian Boyd says:

    I have these moments too. God, kinda feels good to read that I’m not alone. x

  • techreader says:

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. When the question is “why is he with you?” the only answer is sometimes “because he wants to be.” When we’re truly in love, we each see all the negatives about ourselves, but we each see only the beauty in our partners.

    I’m on the wrong side of 65, I’m chubby, and I’ve got no stamina. My wife tells me I’m handsome and perfect. She sees herself as old, fat, decrepit, disabled, and a drag on my existence. I tell her what I feel is the truth; she’s still astonishingly beautiful, amazingly sexy for being a senior citizen, and that I still find her hot and lovely.

    http://www.robertburns.org/works/97.shtml

    O wad some Power the giftie gie us
    To see oursels as ithers see us!
    It wad frae mony a blunder free us,
    An’ foolish notion:
    What airs in dress an’ gait wad lea’e us,
    An’ ev’n devotion!

  • The One says:

    I frequently woke up in the morning, feeling like the victim of an elaborate prank. More often, I felt like a man with a suit and clipboard would just walk up to me out of nowhere and tell me it was all a regrettable mistake, and my wonderful partner was actually supposed to be with someone else. This totally grabbed me by entrails I forgot I had. Thank you xxx

  • Wallace says:

    Anxiety sucks, I’ve felt the same and I sometimes wish I could call time-out on those frantic thoughts for at least a few hours a day.

    Love your writing and it’s a good way to clear the mind (even if it’s temporarily!)

  • Sarah says:

    I’ve been with someone anxiety and insecurities, sorry to say it was emotionally exhausting.

  • Bekah Rigby says:

    Maybe it’s because it’s late here right now, or, more likely, maybe you just wrote something absolutely brilliantly, but I’m over here all misty-eyed at this sentence: “What’s right gets dumped on the ‘finished’ pile, and rarely given more time than a cursory ‘hooray’ before it’s time to move onto the next thing.” It’s like you cracked open my skull and pulled out my foremost thought and put it in words.
    I *never* give myself credit for my accomplishments. Rather, I look at them as “well, duh, of course I did those things, because they had to be done, and if I can do them, then obviously they weren’t that much of an achievement, because I’m not special enough to do interesting things.”
    And of course this insecurity bleeds into my relationship with my hubby. I constantly question (mostly internally) why he’s with me, when he could be with someone who is “special” enough to have real “accomplishments.”
    Brilliant post, GOTN. It really spoke to me. Thanks for writing it.

    • Girl on the net says:

      Thank you Bekah! And yeah, the ‘never congratulating oneself’ thing is something I’m trying to work on. I actually have a day booked in my diary for next year which maps onto a low moment from this year, and it says ‘just stop and think about all the shit you’ve done between now and then’ so I don’t get too far away from it.

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