Insecurity in Marriage - Part 2
Lindsey returned to see her marriage counselor after trying her new strategy of asking for reassurance when she experienced jealous feelings or felt insecure.
This new strategy certainly helped with her relationship. Her partner was very supportive and affectionate. She knew he loved her but she had to admit it did not quell her fear and anxiety. She still worried she would be abandoned yet again. She expressed this fear to her therapist who seemed to be expecting it.
"Of course you are still worried. You care about this man a great deal. Losing someone you love is always a part of loving someone. They are just different sides of the same coin. The truth is this relationship will end."
Lindsey could feel her breath change as those words began to sink in. "I can't lose this man. I love him more than anyone I have ever been with. I feel like I might become suicidal if he ever leaves me."
Her therapist kindly reassured her, "All relationships end. Whether it be by death, divorce, or dementia. No relationship is permanent. You could be the first one to go, but if you out live him...The relationship will end. Some people say relationships never end. They believe relationships continue even after death. I guess it depends on your spiritual orientation. But regardless of what you believe, your relationship here on earth will end."
"I just don't know how I would handle it."
"Does anyone? It's a risk in any meaningful relationship. When a relationship ends with someone you care about, it will hurt. The more you care, the more it will hurt. There is no avoiding it. It's just different sides of the same coins. But what is the alternative, not having a relationship? Going through life detached from love and other people?"
"So are you saying I will never get rid of this feeling?"
"Not entirely. "
"Well that sucks," said Lindsey with clear disappointment.
"Just because relationships end doesn't mean you can't enjoy them while they exist. You can spend your whole life worrying about what if - or you can appreciate what you have."
"I do appreciate what I have."
"Good. When you are feeling jealous, stop and appreciate what you have. You feel jealous because you fear what you might lose. Turn the coin over. Jealousy and appreciation are different sides of the same coin.
"Oh...I never thought of jealousy that way. I thought I was just being crazy."
"No, jealousy is just fearing the future. Appreciation is living in the moment. Sometimes we all get ahead of ourselves and worry about the future. It's a problem for most of humanity."
Lindsey was relieved. She wasn't crazy. She just loved her partner and worried about the future. She could accept that. She didn't like it, but she could accept it.
"Appreciation is a practice. It's a spiritual discipline for some people. A very popular idea now is a gratitude journal."
"So I just have to train myself to appreciate my relationship rather than fear it might end."
"So basically I will have this problem until I make it go away."
Her therapist laughed and laughed. "Lindsey, this is never going away. Worrying about the future will come up again and again. With practice, you will get better at redirecting your mind but it will never go away completely. We all have something to deal with. Jealousy, worrying...that just happens to be yours. Don't sweat it. There are worse things you could be dealing with."
Lindsey couldn't help but be a bit annoyed by her therapist's nonchalant attitude. This was really a struggle. She felt he should have been able to do something or say something to make it better. Instead, he basically told her she had to work at it.