Relationship Connection: My fear of rejection has pushed my fiancé away

Couple after quarrel in home interior | Photo by JackF /iStock/ Getty Images Plus, St. George News

Question

I dated on and off throughout my early 20’s, but I never seemed to meet a guy who would stick around. I had become okay with never finding someone and I went on with my life not really looking for anything meaningful. Then, I met my fiancé. The first time we met we talked all night. There was no going back after that.

As in all relationships, we had our “honeymoon phase”. This was so great and I was really beginning to think I had found the man I had never known I needed. However, as the relationship progressed, I started letting my mind get the better of me.

I somehow got it in my head that he was way out of my league. I couldn’t understand why this man who was so wonderful and handsome would choose me over all the other options he could have. I started to convince myself that there was no way he wasn’t looking for somebody better than me.

Unfortunately, this led to accusations that he wasn’t into our relationship as much as I was. I was constantly on alert because I felt like it was only a matter of time before he would move on like everybody else had done in my past. I started to say things that pushed him away. Eventually, this is exactly what happened. He admitted that he created a dating profile and wasn’t sure he wanted to keep dating me. He said that he didn’t know if he loved me anymore.

I can see that I had been so wrapped up in my fear of him looking elsewhere that I completely gave up on nurturing our relationship. I had pushed him away and made my worst fear come true.

We’ve had an honest talk about what each of us was feeling and we decided that we both wanted to fix our relationship if it isn’t too late.

Is there anyway this can be salvaged? Can our love be nurtured back to life? I appreciate any input you may have.

Answer

Your relationship doesn’t have to automatically end just because you made these mistakes. There is work to do, obviously, but if you are both willing to stay with it, it’s likely you can build a strong relationship.

First, the fact that you are willing to step up and take an honest look at how you contributed to the disconnection in your relationship is an important first step in repairing things. You had your own insecurities and shame that told you there was no way he could possibly love you. The rejections of the past felt like a life sentence for you, so you couldn’t imagine any other outcome for this relationship.

Even though you recognize this as a problem that caused this crisis, it’s not enough to recognize it. I encourage you to continue getting help for this insecurity so it doesn’t hijack your thinking and damage your relationship. If you continue to believe this, it won’t matter how loving and reassuring he is toward you. You have a responsibility to eliminate any intimacy-blocking beliefs that make it impossible for you to receive the love he’s freely giving you. Most people find it helpful to work with a professional counselor who can help identify and change these shame-based beliefs about one’s worthiness to receive love.

Please be aware that any insecurity you had about his ability to love you before this meltdown will now be heightened by the fact that you’ve now given him an actual reason to leave you. This additional vulnerability will threaten to sabotage your relationship if you can’t accept his choice to try again. Be gentle on yourself when you feel that additional emotional turbulence.

Remember, he chose you the first time and he’s willing to choose you again; even after your insecurities overwhelmed both of you. You will be tempted to believe things about him that could set in motion unhealthy behaviors. Do your work to challenge these beliefs while remembering that there is nothing wrong with asking for occasional reassurance instead of guessing what he’s thinking.

You are nervous about starting your marriage with this messy situation firmly planted in your relationship story. Please know that messy relationships can, with lots of work and patience, produce strong relationships.

Intimate relationships expose our blind spots and vulnerabilities. It’s not until we give ourselves to another person and rely on them completely that we see more clearly our shortcomings. It’s precisely in these moments that we can choose to do the individual and relationship work to build a relationship that will last, or make excuses and give up.

You and your fiancé have discovered your vulnerability of not trusting he wants to be with you. Your willingness to own and explore this discovery creates conditions that reinforce the strength and integrity of the relationship. This isn’t the first and won’t be the last discovery you make in this relationship. If you’re both willing to do the work to build on these discoveries, this relationship has beautiful potential.

Stay connected!

Geoff Steurer is a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice in St. George, Utah. He specializes in working with couples in all stages of their relationships. The opinions stated in this article are his and not those of St. George News.

Have a relationship question for Geoff to answer? Submit to:

Email: geoff@lovingmarriage.com

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14 Comments

  • comments February 1, 2017 at 12:46 pm

    That’s a lot of drama for them not even being married or anything. My advice would be to cut and run for the guy. The women has some neuroses and likely much deeper psychological baggage. If they wanna attempt to salvage it get couples therapy asap, but even then…

    • lmh1990 February 1, 2017 at 3:06 pm

      This just so happens to be my relationship and although I agree on the couples counseling part of your comment, I don’t think your other remarks were necessary.
      You only know one side of the story which is how I wanted it, because these are my issues that I am working through and I think that says alot. We may not be married but I’m fairly certain that there’s not a capacity of drama for each step in a relationship. It’s all about if the two people are willing to be honest and upfront about there being a problem and agreeing to fix/work on it, and as I stated that is what we decided, so your “he should run” remark was a little off base.
      I may be a little neurotic but I am working on that; however I really don’t appreciate the fact that you felt it appropriate to say anything about my psychological health when you dont even know me beyond the information provided. Leave the diagnosis to the professionals, and maybe next time pause and think about what you’re commenting because honestly your words were not helpful and that’s sort of a waste of the time you took to say anything.

      • Sapphire February 1, 2017 at 5:49 pm

        Or, maybe you should listen to your instincts. Half of marriages don’t last and a lot that do aren’t happy ones. Men love porn and lose a lot of their manners and consideration after marriage. It can be hard to put up with sometimes. Is he really your best friend and super happy to be with you? Talk is cheap and actions speak louder than words and time changes people and makes them complacent. I remember being all misty-eyed at my husband’s attention years ago. Now he rarely notices anything about me or what I do for him and resents anything I need him to do even though he professes to love me. Give it time to see where this is going. You may be smarter than you think. And most men can’t stand “working” on their relationship. They just want to have fun or run.

        • comments February 1, 2017 at 7:13 pm

          You are dead on about the friendship aspect. After a time the romance and newness will fizzle out, intimacy will become less desired and frequent. This is just how the mind is programmed and is natural. Being able to be a friend of your partner is a must–at least if it is to last for a long time.

    • lexieskye February 1, 2017 at 5:47 pm

      How does ones fear of rejection imply that they have “other psychological baggage”? I feel that your comment was completely rude and unnecessary. Maybe couples counseling is what they need. But to run from someone that has problems with insecurity (which most people have) just furthers their belief that they aren’t or won’t be good enough for someone. But hey! Way to go! You have furthered my disgust in the human race! Go you!

      • comments February 1, 2017 at 6:28 pm

        Well, I been married 3 times. My first wife had serious mental issues that I only found out about after we were married for some time. So I have experienced, studied and know the warning signs. I could write my own relationship column, even, lol

        • comments February 1, 2017 at 6:35 pm

          Also after reading the original question again I can tell that she is self-sabotaging and at the same time sabotaging her relationship as if subconsciously she doesn’t want it to work out, so in this case my opinion is that professional help is a must.

  • ladybugavenger February 1, 2017 at 5:03 pm

    YaY! I’m so excited that a person that wrote in is commenting!

    Bob is right on point ☝️ girl, you do have some deep issues and that’s ok, cuz, your man does too….

    I’m so excited! Have a great day!

    • comments February 1, 2017 at 6:22 pm

      I was so excited when I saw that too. I remember u asked about it one time. Now we got a definitive answer to your question! lol. I think I hit the nail on the head w/ my response. And maybe, just maybe, if both of them want this relationship bad enough, and with the help of serious counseling, they can put together for the long haul.

      For lmh1990, I’d suggest to get individual therapy as well as couples therapy to work on your inferiority issues. If all that doesn’t work you can always try and get pregnant in an attempt to “lock in” the relationship, although I’d not recommend that route–at all. good luck

  • ladybugavenger February 1, 2017 at 5:32 pm

    Seriously tho, you shouldn’t put too much effort into this relationship. If he’s the right one for you, you would not doubt it and you wouldn’t have to write a letter. Like Elsa says, let it go.
    you’re better than this!

    “You is smart, you is kind, you is important”

  • lmh1990 February 1, 2017 at 7:28 pm

    Thank you all of you. I appreciate all of the kind words and advice. I know it may seem crazy but yes he is truly my best friend and I think now that I’ve finally admitted to myself and him that I had those feelings and we were honest about how we got lazy with our relstionship and got resentful, that it truly is worth the time to see where it goes.

  • ladybugavenger February 2, 2017 at 7:15 pm

    Just remember Imh we don’t comment on relationship’s because we are judgmental, no, we comment because we have failed at one time or another and you can learn frombour mistakes.

    Bob, however, is an over achiever lol….his first wife taught him a lot and his 2nd and 3rd wife too! I believe he’s a relationship expert and has earned the title ?

  • Sapphire February 3, 2017 at 2:23 pm

    The best lesson on marriage I ever saw was a very elderly couple at the hospital shuffling down the hall with their arms around each other… you hold each other up and don’t knock each other down.

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