For a lot of grumpy girlfriends, there are times in their relationships when they feel completely confident, secure, and relaxed. Perhaps after spending a lot of time with their partner, after their partner has said specific words to them, or while cuddling in bed before going to sleep. Sadly, this “cure” doesn’t last very long, but we can still learn something from it.
If you can identify the situation or circumstance in which you feel zero jealousy, anxiety, or fear in your relationship, you can learn a couple of things from it. You can see where your insecurities lie, what circumstantial things mean that the relationship is going well, and what you think your partner is or isn’t thinking in these situations.
Let’s take a look at some examples:
When we are physically touching
I had a client who felt completely safe, secure, and non-grumpy whenever she had physical contact with her partner. Whether they were cuddling on the couch, hugging, or just laying next to each other (bodies touching) before going to sleep.
She believed that it was the physical contact itself that provided her with that security. This in and of itself wasn’t a problem as long as they were touching each other. It was nice to just be able to touch and then feel completely safe.
But it did become a problem the remaining like… 16 hours per day when they weren’t touching.
So what we explored was why physical touch felt so safe to her and it turned out that she made physical touch mean that her partner wasn’t thinking about anyone else. Her partner was there with her, wanted to be there with her, and was not fantasizing about other women.
These thoughts were the source of her safety. Not the physical touch itself. Because as I pointed out to her, she has no way of knowing what her partner is or isn’t thinking in those moments. But she was capable of generating safety and security in her body simply by thinking about these things.
It also shed some light on the fact that a major insecurity for her was her partner thinking about others or wanting to be with others. And her brain had just made up that it wasn’t true as long as they were physically touching.
Once we understand what circumstantial thing we are giving credit to for our safety and security, we can start coaching on adjusting the thoughts, when we think them, and what they mean.
After having sex
This was a huge source of relaxation and confidence for me personally, and thus also a big source of insecurity. I was jealous, anxious, and insecure all the time and was constantly imagining worst-case scenarios. But then magically after having sex I was totally relaxed and fine about everything. Things that had freaked me out and made me scared and jealous 2 hours earlier were not a big deal at all and I didn’t even care.
This became a problem for two reasons:
- The effect of “post-sex confidence” did not last very long. Already the next day I was back to freaking out about things and worrying and being anxious and jealous.
- I obviously spent more time in my relationship not having sex than actually having sex. This means that all the time I wasn’t having sex, it was a source of anxiety. Anxiety that turned into pressure. And as someone with responsive desire rather than spontaneous desire, it didn’t exactly increase the amount of sex that I wanted to have.
So why did sex magically make me less anxious and jealous?
Well, the same reason my client felt less anxious when physically touching her partner. Because of what I was thinking and what I made it mean.
The anxious thoughts like “my partner wants to have sex with someone else”, “my partner wants more sex than he is getting” (ugh), “my partner is seeking out other outlets for his sexuality” etc. were silenced after we had sex. Then I believed thoughts like “we’re fine”, “our relationship is good”, and “partnered sex and solo sex are both valid and important in relationships” and felt perfectly fine about it.
None of this was a reflection of what my partner was actually thinking and feeling (which he often pointed out to me), but that doesn’t matter.
Your thoughts create your feelings, so whether you’re feeling anxious and jealous or relaxed and confident, you are creating that with your own thoughts.
When I look really hot
This situation, just like the others above, is not a guaranteed cure for anxiety and jealousy. You can feel extra anxious when you’re hugging your partner or after sex, or when you’re really smokin’ hot. It all depends on what you’re thinking.
But I’m sure that for a lot of girlfriends, myself included, the levels of insecurity and jealousy will be impacted by how they feel about themselves at that moment.
If you look uuhhhhhh-mazing and you’re out with friends and you’re having a really good time, and perhaps you’re even getting some attention from other people, you might feel zero jealousy or insecurity about what your partner is or isn’t doing. Because you’re living your best life.
But the flip side of that is on any other day when your hair is greasy and you have zits on your face and you don’t feel like getting out of bed… well… then the insecurities and the jealousy become even more intense.
Once again — it’s not the objective circumstance of how you look that makes you secure or insecure, confident or jealous. It’s what you are or aren’t thinking in that circumstance that creates how you feel.
What thoughts are you thinking when you think you look good?
“My partner is attracted to me”, “other people find me attractive”, “I will be totally fine if my partner leaves me”, “I’m a catch”, “I can have a good time on my own”… thoughts like that will for sure make you feel confident if you believe them.
But when you don’t feel so hot you might then think thoughts like…
“Ew, my partner must find me so unattractive”, “my partner is looking at other girls that are prettier than me”, “I catfished my partner by pretending to be attractive” and other crappy thoughts that for sure fuel your jealousy and insecurity.
My point with all of this is that I want you to see that yes, you are generating your own insecurities with your thoughts. But also that you are generating your confidence, security, and relaxation with your own thoughts. It’s not the circumstances in those situations that “make you feel that way.”
I’m a big fan of finding situations where you are already capable of doing the thing you want to do and then repurposing those skills to serve you in more situations than one. If you can own that you are the one generating your own confidence in these situations, you can learn how to apply those same beliefs even when the thing (touch, sex, hot looks) isn’t happening.
It’s not as easy to think and believe the thoughts separate from the circumstance, but it’s absolutely possible. Because it was never the circumstance that created the feeling, to begin with.
Your partner can cuddle you and think of someone else.
Your partner can have sex with you and then go want to have sex with someone else.
Your partner can think you’re hot and still not want to be with you.
These rules we make up that feel soothing and safe are just created by our own imagination. Which isn’t a problem! Keep doing it. Just take responsibility for it and understand that you are in charge of the rules you create and believe. You get to create safety and security in any situation you want.
Listen to this podcast episode to learn more about repurposing skills: