I was having a conversation with my best friend over cocktails about trust in a relationship and I told her, ‘I think I’ll always be like this. It doesn’t matter who I’m with, I will feel mental. I will think they’re going to cheat.’
And she said to me, ‘You’re wrong because even if you are, even if you feel that way, not every man will respond the same. You will find someone who will reassure you and support you, not encourage your crazy, not make you feel worse.’
And I realized she was right. It’s difficult to change your mindset once it’s created, once your experiences and heartbreak have led you to believe that all men will cheat and lie and manipulate. It’s almost impossible to just switch off that voice inside your head that tells you everything good ends badly, that even the most loyal of men hold a darker side.
But the secret is to find someone who will reassure you, who will try to understand your insecurities and help you get to a place where you feel safe.
Because it’s all very well for a man to call you crazy and push your worries to one side. It’s easy for them to lash out and get defensive and shut you out when you ask them a simple question to quiet the screaming voice in your head. It’s easy for them to be offended when you ask about that girl at work or why they’re best friend on Snapchat is that girl they swore was purely platonic.
It doesn’t enter their heads that when you ask who they’re texting or ask where they are, it is because you’ve tried for days to just ignore that horrible sickening feeling inside your stomach, for you to rationalize your irrational thoughts and talk through it countless times with your female friends but you still can’t relax, you still believe something isn’t right, you are still so certain that your world is about to fall apart.
And you hate it more than them, you curse yourself for not being able to overcome your thoughts and anxiety by yourself and so when they look at you as if you have lost your mind, when they get angry, call you ‘mental’ and tell you that your feelings are ‘unfounded,’ you feel more crazy. You feel as if everything you’ve ever felt or thought is wrong and you should just keep your mouth shut but that doesn’t stop the questions, the worry, the fear.
Because you’ve been here before, been told it’s not true, you are just ‘insecure’ and ‘paranoid’ when in fact you were right. You know men are able to create this illusion of a perfect relationship when they’re secretly texting some girl when you turn over to sleep at night.
But the thing is, men don’t realize that by taping your mouth shut, invalidating your fears and just plain calling you crazy, makes it worse. Makes you doubt them more, makes you feel more anxious.
When really all you need is reassurance, validation, love. Someone to sit down with you and hold you and ask you why you believe that, what got you here and promise you that they would never hurt you like that. You need someone who will tell you where they are – no you don’t need to know every second of every day but a question sometimes just needs an answer, not an attack. They should gently explain a friendship with a girl, invite you to meet them and if necessary, let you look at their phone- not all of the time, you understand privacy but only on those days you feel so insecure, so full of anxiety you can’t breathe, those days it just needs to be warranted.
You need someone who calms the storm inside your head, who will take your hand and hold it against their chest. Who is willing to battle your demons with you, Who will never call you crazy. Who will be understanding and reassuring.
Because you know it’s difficult, loving you, listening to your fears. You are aware that the thoughts running through your head don’t make sense but you just need them to listen to you and love you and support you.
Someone who doesn’t get mad or defensive or make you feel like a complete lunatic when really all you are is afraid.