I have been seeing a girl for two years, but I know she has been seeing other guys simultaneously because I have checked her phone. Her behaviour makes me feel insecure but as soon as I move away she comes running back saying that she loves me. Our parents are also involved and planning our engagement next year. What should I do?
Ans: A relationship based on mistrust and insecurity has a short shelf life. The problem is not her seeing other guys. The problem is you checking her phone and you feeling unstable. Your nervous system is activated because you feel under threat. You don’t feel safe with her. Your emotions are not safe. Your understanding of commitment in a relationship is in jeopardy. All this causes hormonal and physiological changes that make you behave suspiciously and inconsistently too. It’s a fight, flight, freeze response triggered by the uncertainty she is bringing up in your life. When your nervous system is stimulated in this way, all the time, you release cortisol (the stress hormone) and adrenaline. Is it worth it? I say short shelf life because, even if you had to stay in the relationship, your body will start giving up.
The physiological changes will have an impact on your heart rate, blood pressure and your immune system. You will probably start developing ailments. The dynamics of your relationship have already set in and unless you both roll up your sleeves with a professional, this situation is a dead end. You have not mentioned being in love yourself, so are you in this relationship only because she loves you or because you are hooked on the drama? Relationship drama is overstimulation of the nervous system. You are equally responsible for the drama unfolding because you are allowing it to happen again and again. There will always be excuses to stay in relationship drama and the most often quoted reason is love. In your case, it's the involvement of the family and she claiming she loves you. Are these reasons good enough to experience so much mental and physical turmoil?
The writer is an Intimacy and Relationship Coach, Founder of The Intimacy Curator, an organisation promoting self-discovery through emotional and sexual well-being (www.theintimacycurator.com). (Have a query? Send it on firstname.lastname@example.org)