Do you want to know my biggest relationship fear? Well, my biggest fear in interpersonal relationships is being in the way. If anything terrifies me, it is the thought of being unwanted, in the way, or annoying. I would rather Eric scream at me (which he does not) than calmly admit he has no use for me.
Like many issues we deal with in our adulthoods, this fear goes way back to my earliest years. I was always the youngest everywhere I went. I was the one following the big kids around begging them to let me play. At my grandma’s house, I was the youngest cousin and I desperately wanted to be included in whatever the other children were playing. As you can imagine, school aged boys did not have much in common with a preschool girl, so I was typically left to play by myself (or to bother my grandma ~smile~). Grandma and I became very close over the years, probably because I would not go away.
Many days, I would walk into the kitchen (where she was typically working) and sob, “They don’t love me!” She tried to reassure me that they did, but I did not buy it. So, I would spend most of my time with her. Even though I was underfoot at times, she did not treat me like a nuisance. I trusted her because she never made me feel like I was in her way.
She Will Not Move Out!
That little girl never quite grew up – and, as an adult, I still occasionally struggle with this fear. I try very, very hard not to overstay my welcome or be in someone’s way. Because of this hypersensitivity, I am tempted to avoid situations which could be extremely positive. I push away from groups or individuals when I get even the slightest inclination I am not welcome (whether real or perceived). Truthfully, I know I am typically welcome, but that four-year-old inside me still wants to protect her heart.
This hiccup in my life is especially evident in my marriage. Eric has many wonderful qualities, but he is not a natural-born nurturer. He does not pick up on my need for reassurance unless I specifically ask for it; and, though he does not mind putting me at ease occasionally, if I were to constantly ask, “Do you still love me? Am I in your way? Am I getting on your nerves?” it would annoy him greatly! It is not often that I approach him for this reassurance; yet, once in a blue moon, I need to know that he is still happy with me – happy that he chose me. If I allowed this fear to take over, it could wreck my marriage. He would feel like he could never give enough to keep my heart at peace.
What is Weighing on Your Heart?
What about you? What is your biggest relationship fear? Is this fear wearing down the intimacy between you and your special someone?
Relationships thrive when there is trust. When we entertain fearful thoughts such as, “Is he going to get tired of me?” “Is she looking at other men?” “Is he going to be sweet until we get married and then turn into a monster?” “Is she going to hurt me like my last girlfriend?” we weaken our foundation.
Our fears may be rooted in something real. When I was a little girl, some people I admired treated me like I was an aggravation, so my fear of being in the way is not all in my head. It comes from my experience. However, if I allow those memories to color every relationship I have from here to eternity, I am going to damage or destroy them all. At some point, I have to step back and look at the facts and choose to move forward in faith trusting that God will see me through all my hurts – past and present.
If your last boyfriend broke your heart, back up for a moment and consider your new boyfriend. Does this man exhibit the same character traits? Does he follow similar patterns? Has he given you any reason to believe he is going to take you down the same road? If not, commit your fears to the Lord and ask Him to heal you and give you the strength to keep moving ahead.
Does this girl remind you of women from your past who played games and manipulated your good nature? Does she disrespect you and flirt with other men just to see you react? If not, maybe your fears are misplaced. It is understandable why you struggle; but, if you automatically expect her to let you down, you will give her the impression that you do not trust her – and, eventually, your self-fulfilling prophecy will come true.
Are You Accidentally Accusing Your Boyfriend or Girlfriend?
We feel helpless when the one we love does not trust us – and it is especially frustrating when we have done nothing to cause it. When we give in to our fears, our questions, actions, and paranoia display this flashing sign in our partner’s faces: I do not trust you! Having their loyalties and motives constantly questioned will wear anyone down. Relationships cannot grow and blossom in a suffocating environment.
This Halloween, stare your fears in the face. Write them down. Separate your rational fears from your irrational fears. Shred your irrational fears and add your legitimate fears to your prayer list. Ask God for victory over the anxieties which threaten to destroy your relationship.
Are your fears causing a rift between you and your sweetheart?