Insecure Love

Dear Neil:  I am involved with a woman who repeatedly demands that I tell (and show) her that I love her many times a day—day in and day out.  She also demands that I tell her how beautiful she looks, gets angry if I decide to spend time with my friends, accuses me of abandoning her if I have to work late and gets extremely emotional and threatened if I resist her demands.  She continuously tells me that she thinks I’m hot and that every woman wants me—and she has accused me many times of being unfaithful.  She’s been like this since the day we met.

I am not ready to settle down and commit to one woman yet.  I am feeling suffocated and smothered by her, and I’m thinking of breaking up with her, but I fear that she’d completely fall apart and never recover.  What is this called?

At The End Of My Rope

Dear At The End Of My Rope:  It’s called insecure love.  Insecure love is defined by:

  • The unrealistic pursuit of a glamorous, illusive love object, one who keeps you perpetually up in the air or treats you as if you aren’t very wanted or valued
  •  The goose bumps of nervous arousal you feel in the presence of—or just thinking about—your beloved.
  •  Obsessive preoccupation with romantic infatuation, to the exclusion of work, school, family, friends.
  •  The belief that all your happiness—indeed your whole life—is wrapped up in whether this one person returns your affections.
  •  The wish to live on an island in emotional isolation with your partner, with neither of you having emotional ties or even much contact with anyone else.
  •  The sensation of having “fallen in love at first sight”.
  •  The continual demands for conformation of love.  That confirmation, never satisfied, makes you plead for evermore evidence of the devotion you feel is your due.
  •  The agony and ecstasy of roller-coaster mood swings as your partner fails to meet your consistent affection or avoids that ultimate commitment.
  •  The feeling that your passion is all the more intense when you are least sure it is being reciprocated.

Some related experiences and emotions of insecure love:

  •  The insane jealousy that rages within you regardless of whether your partner is actually unfaithful.
  •  The agonizing, cataclysmic and often vindictive break-up.
  •  The depressed aftermath, when you feel empty and devastated as if the core of your being has been taken away.

Romantic anxiety consists of uncertainty and fear, a sense that you are never on sure ground with your lover.  People who are anxiously attached in a romantic involvement have a strong desire to feel that their love is reciprocated and their relationship will be secure.

If you’re going to leave this woman anyway, leave her now.  If you wish to keep the relationship with her, learn to reassure her that you do value and care about her, and that you are not going to leave or abandon her.   Learn to reassure her—I’m not Exaggerating—at least ten times more than you think she needs.  When she feels more secure with you, her needs for reassurance will lessen.

Source:  If This Is Love, Why Do I Feel So Insecure? by Carl Hindy, Conrad Schwatz and Archie Brodsky (Faucett Press)

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