Ask Andrew – I am full of self-loathing
I read your book Learn to Love Yourself Enough and found it very useful in dealing with my insecurities and self esteem issues. I am 43 and never lasted longer than 1.5years in a relationship. I met a wonderful man last year (after 7 years and a few casual flings) and due to my new awareness of my issues really gave 110% to relax and enjoy. I even saw a counsellor once a week to keep my feelings in check. However as soon as I fell in love I started to become clingy and needy.
In the end he said it was too much and finished with me. We continue to have a great relationship as friends and he has said apart from my insecurity and need for constant reassurance, he considered me an ideal partner.
I now am full of self loathing for messing up something so special and then blame him for not standing by me and helping me. If he truly loved me should he not have supported me and tried to help me overcome my fears?
Should I ask for another chance or do I need to be single for another 7 years!
Loathing is a very strong word. It must be really horrible to be inside your skin at the moment. However, I wonder if it would help to think of yourself in a different light: ‘I find it hard to trust other people – as I expect to get hurt – but I’m making real progress towards understanding myself and changing.’
With this mindset, you can view everything slightly differently. Of course, you can ask for a second chance – especially if you own up to your problems, commit to changing and explain how he could help you. I always think it is better to start this conversation with an apology. For example: I’m sorry that I became clingy and needy. Next imagine, the impact on the other person. It must have been really overwhelming / exhausting / frustrating for you. Finally, explain why it won’t happen again. I’m learning a lot about myself (or whatever) and if I start to do cling again – please remind me of this commitment to change.
Next we come onto your question, ‘If he truly loved me, wouldn’t he have helped me overcome my fears?’ I’m afraid a lot of people who don’t expect to be loved – because they only had conditional love from their parents – set tests for their beloved. Almost as if they have to proof their love. (But don’t explain what they’re asking for, so often it is a secret test.) Personally, I don’t see love as an exam we have to keep sitting with a pass or fail at the end. Secondly, however much someone loves us, they can’t sort our stuff. He’s your partner not your therapist! Part of the job description of partner is to pick us up when we fall not to carry us through life. Ultimately, over-coming your fears is YOUR job not his.
I would suggest ready ‘Resolve your difference’ and ‘Help your partner say yes’ as they explain better communication. If the relationship with your ex is truly over – please read ‘Heal and Move’ as there’s no reason why you should wait seven years to find love again!