I am not really sure where to begin. I need some advice on my relationship with my mate. I have been with him for around 2 years now and it seems that every time I want to go out with one of my best friends or do something else besides be with him he says I don't care or that we don't have the same spark that we used too. How do I explain to him that I still love him just as much as I did a few months back? We have had this conversation over and over again but nothing seems to get any better.
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What you have on your paws is an insecure mate. Insecure people need constant validation and get nervous when they are not in control of the world around them, including people who are close to them. Papabear doesn’t know enough about him to understand why he is so unsure of himself, but there are still things you can do to alleviate this without knowing the cause: a one-two-three punch approach.
Punch 1: Pardon if the comparison is a little insulting, but just like a dog with separation anxiety issues that tears up the couch and claws the door whenever you leave the house, you need to wean your guy off the habit of being upset whenever you do something without him. The way to do this is to start small and work you way up. It would be impractical for him to manacle the two of you together so you were always by his side, so I assuming he is okay with your going out to run a brief errand. Start with this, making your errands a little longer and more complex (one store then graduating to a couple stores, the post office, etc.) Then, once he is more used to that, have one or two friends over to your place. Make sure he is comfortable with your friends. Next, the two of you go out with your friends, finishing off with the shopping approach where you go out briefly with your friends by yourself, then go on longer outings. Even though you’re doing this by yourself sometimes, make sure to mix it up with times that both you and he go out together. But make sure you have a “Me Day” once in a while.
Punch 2: Use positive reinforcement. Whenever he does not get upset when you go out by yourself, reward him with a small treat, whether that is some food, or spending a little quality time with him, or giving him a big smooch, make sure he is rewarded for good behavior. When he behaves badly, do not punish him, but neither should you reward him. Ignore his hissy fits. This is how positive reinforcement works.
Punch 3: Do what you can to beef up his self-esteem. Compliment him when he does something well, thank him profusely when he does something kind for you, encourage him when he strives to do something new. Be supportive of his personal and professional goals.
Yeah, I gotta chuckle a little in that this is a bit like training your dog, but the psychology is the same. Just don’t give him dog bones for rewards :-P
Another thing you can help him with is understanding that relationships change with time. This doesn’t mean they get worse; they just change and evolve. Yes, as he noted, the honeymoon period may be over, but if he wants to be in a relationship that lasts more than a year, he’s going to have to recognize that this is typical of any relationship. You can’t honeymoon your entire life; it’s impractical and, let’s face it, exhausting. But! you can grow together, evolve together, help each other become better people, which is something we should all strive to do. People change, but love endures.
If his poor behavior continues after all this, the problem might be a bit more serious than we realize, and it could be that something in his past really needs to be examined with help from a professional counselor.
Either way, with a bit of work on both your parts, you can certainly get through this :-)
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