What Your Blow-Ups Say About Your Relationships

Q:

Dear Dr. Darcy:

I am in love with a man my family does not think is good for me. We get along great for about 10 days and then have a blow-up. He likes to communicate daily plans ahead of time, and [because I juggle a variety of responsibilities], I cannot predict my schedule.

 

My ex-husband used to need to know where I was to the point [of requiring me to call] when I left, calling [when I arrived at my] destination, calling when [I’d] leave each place, and finally, calling when I arrived home.

 This man is good as gold to me 99% of the time. He is very hurt by the rejection of my family, and their exclusion of him. I don't think it will ever change. During our last blow out he called me a [bitch], [whore], and finally, c--t. I know I can't allow him to call me names like that. This happened 4 days ago. I miss him terribly, and I know he's miserable too… I know he didn't mean it. What can we do with this relationship?

A:

Not to be a stickler for accuracy, but I just did the math: If you have a blow-up every 10 days, it means you’re in conflict roughly 30% of the time – which means he is not ‘good as gold’ to you 99% of the time – at best it’s 60% of the time. Nonetheless, I don’t take issue with the amount of conflict in your relationship. I take issue with the fact that the two of you don’t know how to resolve your conflict appropriately. Basically, you need to learn how to have a fight. That’s your first problem.

Your second problem is that you never worked through your baggage from your insecure and controlling ex-husband (who, btw, sounds like my worst nightmare, though I suppose that’s irrelevant). Consequently, you’re responding to your current partner’s desire to have a predictable social life as though he’s trying to control you. I’m sure it’s rubbing up against the same nerve that the ex left raw in you. What adds to the problem is that you’re not directly telling him that you feel controlled and that you hate feeling that way. Instead, you’ve taken on a myriad of personal and professional responsibilities that make it seem as though you can’t commit to a schedule, when in reality it’s that you won’t.

 When we don’t work through the wounds of our past relationships, our current or future partners invariably wind up burdened with those debts. I think you were hoping to pick a better partner and bypass that work, and as you can see it doesn’t work like that.

You need to grab your ovaries and have an open and honest conversation with this guy. Make sure you speak at a time when you’re both calm. Tell him about your history of feeling controlled by what’s-his-name and that you’re particularly sensitive to feeling that way again – even if he’s not intending to make you feel that way.

PS: He needs to learn how to fight fair and what constitutes below-the-belt behaviors. I don’t think you two are going to be able to bypass couples counseling unless you take a course that teaches you relationship skills. My course will be available at the end of next month. Email me if you’d like to go on the waitlist: Darcy@AskDrDarcy.com

PPS:

Want to learn how to communicate with your partner when you’re heated? Click here and get a step-by-step guide!  

 

Gender and Orientation: Female, Heterosexual.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This 1 tip will change the way you see your partner... Forever.

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Question:

Hi Dr. Darcy, 

What's the difference between giving up on someone and accepting them for who they are?

 Answer:

Fabulous question. I always tell my clients (and anyone who will listen) to think of their partner as a great dress at the Barney’s Sample Sale. Examine the person before committing. Make sure you can live with your partner’s imperfections. Both your partner and the dress should be taken as-is; not in the hope that either will transform into a different version at some future point.

 A funny thing happens when you accept your partner for who they are: They feel good enough. They feel valued. Their self-esteem rises.

 Ask your friends whether they’d want to be in a relationship if the stipulation was that they had to develop into a different version of themselves. Most people with a nice amount of self-worth would prefer to be passed over under those circumstances.

 Here’s the thing: When you ‘give up,’ you’re not giving up on your partner. You’re giving up on your fantasy of who you’d like your partner to be.  And it boils down to whether or not what you like about your partner outweighs what you don’t like. In the old days, we used to make 2 lists and see which is longer. Might be worth a try.

 Gender and Orientation: Female, Heterosexual.

 

 

 

 

 

Jealousy: Relationship Poison

Q:

Hi Dr. Darcy, 

I have a great looking partner and I love her so much but I keep screwing up our relationship. I get jealous, whether she’s with her girlfriends or when some guy talks to her. She says she just likes talking to people and there is nothing to it. I actually believe she’s truly very loyal but it still makes me feel awful. I start to panic and I think she is either going to go off with some guy or she prefers her girlfriends to me. Stupid, I know, but that’s what I feel. I’m so insecure. It affects our relationship and it’s the source of many fights.

 A:

I think we’re in agreement that the problem is yours, not your girlfriend’s.

I’m going to try to appeal to your logic here: You feel jealous because you fear you’ll lose your girlfriend to a third party. Yet the way you’re responding to your feelings is going to repel her because there’s nothing sexy about it.

Humans universally find confidence to be sexy. We’re attracted to self-esteem and to people who appear to be complete with or without a partner. Every time you confront your girlfriend with jealousy, you’re letting her know that you’re insecure as fuck. That you don’t think you’re good enough to hold her attention. It’s healthy chick repellent. Only broken ones will tolerate it.

You’re trying to fix an internal problem by controlling something on the outside and it’s never going to work. To solve your issue, you need to work on yourself - on the things that happened in your life that caused you to have trust issues. That’s the only path through this.

Bottom line: If she’s going to cheat, you can’t build a fence tall enough to stop her. If you try to control her you’ll just continue making both of you miserable. It’s like having anxiety over terrorism: If there’s nothing you can do to stop it, there’s no point in focusing on it.

But I get it: You can’t control what you focus on. That’s why I’m telling you to go into therapy and sort out those old wounds that you’re trying to heal by controlling your girlfriend. I’ve linked here to the type of therapy I think you’ll benefit most from (it’s called EMDR therapy). And let me know how you’re doing in a few months.

Gender and Orientation: Male, Straight.

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