Reply To: New Diagnosis & constant dread of losing relationship

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Hi Craig,

Here’s a good inspirational video about dealing with self doubt and working with your limitations.

Some more tips from personal experience :

1) Most of my friends who tend to have outbursts are very quick to react , think and express what they feel or think.

I would encourage them to use these quick reactions/thinking positively by helping them to focus it on quickly thinking of solutions. They are actually much smarter than me, so I think if they spent less time yelling and more time working on solutions, there won’t be anything to yell about, right?

2) In times when you feel personally frustrated and accidentally act like an asshole around someone you really care about, like your girlfriend, take a moment to thank the person for being patient with you and maybe you need a break to sort out your thoughts/emotions. Drink some water or something.

After you have calmed down, maybe write a list of 5-10 minute things you can do to improve the relationship by building trust and showing appreciation.

1) Building trust – If she mention that you don’t do the things you say you do, is there a reason why you didn’t do it? Maybe you felt obligated to say yes because she’s your girlfriend but you may have overcommitted yourself (eg you’ve been working overtime and didn’t have time to do it) , so maybe try to analyze what kind of things you didn’t do, why and also whether you should say yes to those things again if she ask. If you have problems remembering things, maybe just do one thing at a time.

Do something that would make you a more reliable person within your time constraints, comfort zone, and limits. Eg if you are a more practical person, you can ask her if she would like some advice for some issue she is facing at work or other things. Or if you can’t resolve it, maybe you know someone who can help give advice or recommendations. Alternatively, if you do want to help her but don’t have the time, maybe you can ask her how you can finish something else quickly so that you can help her.

If she expects you to do romantic things but you’re not the romantic kind of guy, I guess it’s ok to show her that you care in your own way.

My guy friends are honestly bad with follow up kind of tasks so they would offer to do other things they actually do (eg carrying heavy stuff) or suggest how I can do it myself. Eg if I was looking for a place to rent in Melbourne but my friend has only lived in Brisbane, he would give some tips on what to look out for when renting a place so that I can check it when I search online.

Likewise, I have a very short attention span so I am more likely to do things on the spot that takes a few minutes, like helping my guy friends choose clothes, cooking, review their reports.

Have an honest chat about what both of you want to work towards in your relationship and what you can do. You don’t have to give a solution immediately, maybe just highlight some things and think about it in the next few weeks.

Some of my friends are not aware when they get too emotional, so I need to tell them firmly that it’s stressing me out and to ‘time out’. Maybe you can try to analyze your trigger point or trigger words that make you really upset and also inform your girlfriend to minimize using those words like ‘you never change’ because it seems like you are trying but things backfire on you somehow. You probably didn’t mean to hurt her and it hurts you when she says things like that, so maybe try to do something different about it. It’s also good to know the breaking point when you are burnt out from trying too hard and just need to relax.

2) Showing appreciation – If your girlfriend has arranged something for a date like picking a movie or dinner place, say something positive about it. Eg I really enjoyed the movie because …. / The dessert at this place is really nice, thanks for recommending it. You are really good at looking for great restaurants, I look forward to your recommendation next time. It’s really sincere when you say it in person and be specific without being too flowery (which most guys hate).

Or a simple ‘thank you for your time today although you are busy/tired’, treating her to something she would appreciate if she had a bad week. It doesn’t have to be expensive, maybe brunch at a café that plays nice music or a small picnic with fruits at a park. not sure if groupon coupons work in your area, but there are some discounts for activities online that you can join together whenever you’re free.

When you make your partner happy, I think you will naturally be happier as well and more confident about yourself and the relationship. Not sure what you get jealous about, but even if you’re not the best guy in the world, your partner chose you. Doesn’t that show how important you are? The fact that she is still with you shows that she still cares about you even if she gets pissed off. In case you need a reminder, ask her what she likes about you. Maybe you have some strengths you overlook.

The best relationships are able to stay strong despite all kinds of hurdles so don’t feel too bad when things are not going well. It takes time and effort to improve things, maybe start small every week. Do something that takes 5 min – 1 hour and build it up from there.

Spending more time thinking about how to improve the relationship would really help more than worrying about losing it. Whenever you get stressed, focus on the top 1-3 things you can do right now.