Insecurities in Dating
I have a lot of thoughts on insecurities. It wasn't really something I thought about previously, but after they caused many issues in my last relationship, I've spent a lot of time thinking about this.
Disclaimer: I am not a therapist or professional in this field. These are just my thoughts based on my own experience.
If you prefer to watch a video instead of reading, check out the Youtube video.
Aren't Insecurities Normal?
I do think having some level of insecurity is normal, but I think it can sometimes go too far. I think there is a difference between being insecure about a couple of things vs being an insecure person. I would say that an insecure person is likely to be insecure about multiple different things across many different aspects of their life. I think that an insecure person is also more likely to let their insecurities get in the way of things. I think it's important to be aware of your insecurities and during any kind of conflict ask yourself whether the other party really did something wrong? or did they just trigger your insecurity. (now if they triggered it on purpose then I would categorize that as doing something wrong).
Insecurities In Dating
Some of the common trends that I've seen are:
- Education: A lot of men seem to want to be more educated than the woman they are dating. This could mean the level of education (like masters vs bachelors) or it could mean the rank of the school. Some men don't want to date a woman who went to a "better" school than they did. In theory, this could happen the other way around (women wanting to be more educated than the man), but I've never heard of that happening, and I've seen many women complaining of this issue.
- Finances: A lot of men also want to make more money than the woman they are dating. I think some of this comes from the whole "the man is supposed to be the provider" mindset. I talked about this a little bit in one of my Youtube videos about gender roles, but a lot of men feel that if they are not needed financially then they don't provide value to the relationship. Some also simply see it as a competition which is strange to me. A common misconception on this topic is that men are only insecure about finances if they don't have money. This is not true. I have had this same issue with men who have high-paying jobs including some who even made more than me (but they were afraid of me making more in the future).
- Friends of the Opposite Sex: My personal belief is that this comes from an insecurity or fear of being cheated on which I don't think is completely invalid. However, I think that sometimes it can be taken too far. My personal opinion is that you can't stop anyone from cheating if that's what they want to do, so telling someone what they can and can't do is probably not going to accomplish anything besides making them upset with you. I do think that having a conversation about boundaries is appropriate especially if said friend is a former sexual or romantic partner. I'll talk more about this in the next section.
Opposite Sex Friends
I specifically mention opposite sex friends because this issue seems to mainly show up in heterosexual relationships. Can you imagine telling a bi-sexual woman that she can't have female friends or male friends? Clearly this makes no sense which to me further illustrates that putting a gender restriction on friends doesn't make sense in general. A lot of people actually believe that it's impossible for straight women and straight men to be friends. They use the logic that the man is always going to want to have sex with the woman, so it must not be a true friendship.
First of all, I don't believe that a straight man is by default going to want to have sex with any woman he is friends with (even if given the opportunity). Second of all, even if he does, I don't see why that is an issue. I believe a true friendship is one where the two people would be friends even if they knew for a fact that sex was not an option. One person wanting to have sex with the other doesn't invalidate the friendship. Even if they actually have had sex in the past, I would still say that doesn't invalidate the friendship. Some people enjoy sex and would prefer to have it with someone they know and trust (a friend) vs someone that they don't know as well (like a tinder match). I don't think there is anything wrong with this and I don't think it means that the two friends would continue to have sex while one or both of them is in a relationship.
I think some people don't understand the benefit of opposite sex friendships. Their argument is "why can't you get that from your (fe)male friends?" My question is even if I could (in theory) form an equivalent friendship with another woman, why do I need to? This person is right here. I think instead, we should be asking, why can't I be friends with the opposite sex? I have seen people end relationships (including marriages) and maintain a friendship with their ex. Sometimes people are just not compatible. Additionally, people may form a friendship without ever dating due to either lack of compatibility or general lack of romantic interest in the other person. Why should those people not be able to be friends?
I have seen mixed opinions on whether or not you can be friends with a former romantic or sexual partner,. While I personally think it's not an issue, I think people need to just date someone who is aligned with them on the topic. If you think that it's not appropriate, then don't date someone who is friends with an ex and then try to shame them into ending the friendship. Either way, a conversation about boundaries definitely needs to be had to ensure that everyone is on the same page.