Ask Alyssa: Year 2, Edition 2

"I’m in a relationship but struggling with insecurities about my boyfriend’s ex.  I compare myself to her, wonder if I’m making a better girlfriend than she was, and can’t stand to see her presence on his social media.  Any advice?"

Ask any girl who is in a relationship and I'm sure she knows exactly how you feel.  Whether it's their ex, their girl friends, or girls in general, we fall into comparison all too often.  In fact, we compare ourselves to other girls if we're in a relationship or not.  It doesn't help to know our faults but see everyone else's highlight reel at the scroll of our fingertips.  

To start, let's take a look at your relationship.  How were you pursued?  I think every girl, as a result of growing up on fairy tales and chick flicks, has this deep rooted desire to be pursued with a sincere determination.  While we should not expect a happily ever after, you should know that you are worth fighting for.  You deserve a guy who makes it clear that he wants YOU and not just ANYBODY.   That being said, do you feel that you were pursued sincerely or just the next best thing to cross his path?  I ask this because unless this deep rooted desire has been fulfilled (in a healthy, realistic way!), a seed of insecurity is planted.  If this is where your insecurity is stemming from, because the way your boyfriend acts towards other women makes you feel less than special, get out.  You deserve the security and simplicity of knowing you are treasured.

But like I said, every girl feels this way at one time or another.  That means even the healthiest of relationships deal with insecurities; after all we're just human.  So what's the healthiest way to go about dealing with this?  I think it starts by figuring out what you can control and what you cannot.  Feelings are experiences that happen to us, they are out of our control (for the most part).  You are NOT wrong or crazy for feeling this way because I'm sure if you could stop it, you would.  Therefore, it is extremely important that you communicate how you feel to your boyfriend.  I recommend knowing what you want to get across and planning what to say before doing so to avoid any defensiveness or arguing.  If it matters to you, I hope it matters to him too.  Once you've created an open dialogue regarding this, it's time to control what you can.  It is your responsibility to nip these thoughts and insecurities when they arise.  Recognize your triggers.  Based on the way you posed your question, it sounds like social media plays a crucial role in this when it doesn't have to.  If you are friends with or follow their ex it's time to hit the unfriend or unfollow button.  Not out of hatred or cattiness but if nothing else out of respect for your boyfriend.  Give yourself a battle plan for when your fingers take the lead in making their way to the ex's social media pages.  An example of a plan would be clicking to a puppy account or positive quotes instead.  

Lastly, unless your boyfriend has given you reason to be insecure, it is important to recognize that it is nobody's job but your own to give you the confidence you need to have peace and joy.  This is true whether you're single, dating or married.  When insecurities arise, know it is normal but you are better than that; so nip it.  

 

"I met a guy three weeks ago who asked for my number after expressing interest in taking me out on a date.  We’ve been texting ever since but he has yet to actually ask to take me out and I’m really confused about his intentions, what should I do?"

This gray area of relationships is all too familiar.  If I had to take my best guess as to why this occurs, I’d say that it’s the difference between men and women that leads to such a miscommunication.  Girls are typically reading into every conversation and interaction while guys are typically more laid back.  Neither is right or wrong, but the difference may cause harm in the process.  The way to fix a miscommunication or lack thereof, is to communicate.  If you want this guy to man up and initiate, you have to communicate that.  I don’t mean in a demanding, rude way.  I mean by prompting him to state his intentions and take the lead by asking questions.  “When you asked for my number you mentioned something about dinner, were you still planning on asking?” I’m a firm believer in men and women being completely equally but serving different roles in a relationship.  Men are natural leaders and protectors and women are worth the pursuit; it’s stamped in our biology.  However, to play games of assuming one or the other should be doing this or that is how the gray area is created.  We’re in this together; guys and girls.  Guys have not been taught how to pursue a girl with clarity.  Many of them don’t even know that we’re talking with our friends in the late hours of the night wondering where we stand with him.  Ask.  Figure out what you want to get across, how to do so without being misinterpreted to avoid defensiveness, and ask.  If you’re afraid of being “crazy” or “psycho” I’m telling you right now that if you put yourself out there and demand respect and sincerity, I’m sure he’s never met a girl like that.  One that has the confidence to know what she deserves, the humility to not expect perfection and the patience to allow for him to evolve.  If he confuses your high standards for high-maintenance then he has missed his chance for that date, you’ll spend the time trying to get to know somebody else better.  I hope that helps… communicate!