Insecure

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

I’ve been with my husband for two years (we married in Dec 08)but since we met I’ve been so insecure about our relationship.

He has 2 children with an ex girlfriend (only 1 of them is bio his) and, although I know its wrong, I really struggle with his contact with his ex. I can’t stand them being friends and I’ve made him ban her from contacting him unless its about the kids. When we first got together she would constantly bombard him with phone calls and compete with me for his attention and although he didn’t seem to mind it drove me mad. Also, their relationship was a short fling which had ended until she got in touch saying she was pregnant so he did the honorable thing and stayed with her trying to make it work – it turned out the first baby wasn’t his (I think she knew that all along but used it to get him back) but instead of leaving he stayed and had another baby with her to try and make up for the first one not being his!!! This drives me mad – a) that she lied to him and b) that he was stupid enough to let her get away with it and c) the impact it has on our life now.

I check my husbands phone and emails all the time (again – another sympton of my trust problems!) and never find anything untoward. Until this week when I checked his messages and found that he’d contacted another ex girlfriend on a social networking site just to say “hello”. She has subsequently asked him to do some work for her on her house. He had accepted this paid work and said he’d pop round to do a quote and have a cup of tea and a “catch up”. All very innocent but he also called her honey and put kisses at the end of his mail. He has told me that he’s going to be doing some work for an ex but I never realised how “friendly” it all was until I saw the messages.

I feel like I’m going out of mind. I obsess about all this stuff all the time and can’t concentrate on my work. I swing from being totally outraged and angry that he is doing this to me, to being totally outraged with myself for being so silly. I constantly feel like he’s hiding things from me and I can’t decide if he’s in the wrong and is a very good at smooth-talking his way out of things, or whether I’m just nuts!!! I’ve been cheated on a lot in the past and I definatley find it hard to trust anyone. Is it my trust issues, or am I just being made a fool of yet again???

Please help. I don’t know where to turn.

A: You are very much in danger of creating the very thing you fear the most. Trust is a gift we give someone we love. It’s not something he should need to prove to you time and time and time again. Your constant suspicion and controlling behavior is going to get old very, very fast.

You do not have the right to lay down the rules for your husband’s relationships. You both very much do have the right to ask each other to operate as a team. He will need to talk with the mother of his child at times. The three of you adults need to figure out how you will share time with the child and how you will exchange important information. It is also appropriate for the two of you to decide together how you both will handle contact with prior relationships and new friendships. This is part of the work of becoming a committed couple.

I’m sorry you were hurt so badly by someone in the past. It would be a shame to let that person “win” by coloring every relationship you ever have. Please consider getting some therapy for yourself to resolve your pain. You and your husband might also benefit from some short-term marital therapy and coaching to help you learn to work as a strong and mutually supportive team.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 14 Mar 2009

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2009). Insecure. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 25, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2009/03/14/insecure/