There’s always a stage in a new relationship when you start to feel safer and more trusting of your new partner. At this time, your walls begin to come down and you’re more open to being vulnerable. This is typically the time when you look to share some of your fears and insecurities (e.g. being cheated on, being heavily criticized, being rejected, not being able to depend on someone, not being a priority in a relationship etc.). But how do you do this without scaring your new partner away?
It’s a vital conversation to have when growing your relationship, and it’s one that needs careful consideration. So here are some keys tips to help with sharing your fears and insecurities:
1) Pick the right setting
Make sure that when you’re looking to share some of your past insecurities that you do this in the right setting. Avoid crowds, public venues, places that you can’t escape easily (e.g. car) or time restrictions. Instead, pick a quite setting where you can talk in a calm and clear way, with plenty of time up your sleeve, where you have the opportunity to feel safe and supported.
2) Put away your technology
You tend to carry your phone everywhere you go. It has become a part of life for everyone. But when you’re wanting to have an important conversation about things that really matter, you have to put your phones, Ipads and computers away. There’s nothing worse than bringing up a major fear and then your partner gets distracted by an incoming text or email. So no technology please!
3) Avoid drinking too much
Talking about your past insecurities will take a lot of courage. It requires you to be vulnerable and open to your new partner. Some will decide the only way to do this is by getting drunk. Don’t go down this path, as you’ll lose your clarity and authenticity. Instead, have this conversation with a clear head and open heart.
4) Prepare what you want to say
Because this is likely the first time you’ve really opened up to your new partner, there’s no harm in doing some prep on what you want to say. Take some time to get clear about what your insecurities are and where they come from (e.g. struggle with trust as my last partner cheated on me and gambled away my money). Rehearse this to yourself so that it becomes more comfortable to say. You might also talk to a trusted friend about what you want to say and they can give you some feedback.
5) Express your needs to your partner
Before telling your partner about your fears, give them the heads up on what you want from them. For a conversation like this, you just want them to listen, empathise, get an understanding of where you’re coming from – but NO FIXING! Be clear that they don’t need to give you solutions or advice, but rather just understand your insecurities and be there for you.
John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship psychologist, as seen on the hit show Married At First Sight, and on Ch 9’s Today show, Today Extra and A Current Affair. He is a best-selling author, regularly appears on radio and in magazines, runs a private practice in Sydney, and is a sought after speaker. (www.johnaiken.com.au)