Here at the Stop The Drama! Campaign Doc Robyn often receives emails asking for advice. The email below came in this week and we thought it and Doc Robyn’s response might be helpful to more than just the sender. Here’s a shout-out to the person who was brave enough to ask the question. We hope her strength is your gain.
Original email (In its entirety, names removed):
I just watched your video on how to make a point productively, and I have a couple of questions for you.
My boyfriend and I have been together almost a year. We love each other very much but have contradicting viewpoints on quite a few topics. For example, I have an almost irrational fear of being cheated on (every relationship I have been in, apart from one, has ended with the man leaving me for another woman), and like to be updated about his personal life, simply for my own benefit and reassurance. However, he is intent on keeping his private life private, to the point he jerks his phone out of my hands should I touch it. I can understand it, really, but my fear keeps me from being able to handle this productively, and it often ends in a screaming match.
I should point out that we do live together, and he’s almost always at home, so if he’s talking to other girls, it.would be at school or online. Anyway, I have tried to explain my fear to him, and he says that if I can’t trust him fully I am “going to lose him by my own doing”. This also often ends in a fight where I have to stomp out of the room to cool down so that it won’t escalate further. After we cool off, I have tried once or twice to talk again, this time more calmly, and he will have none of it.
I genuinely feel like this man is my soul mate for many reasons, and am intent on keeping it together. Do you have any suggestions on how to discuss this in a way that will not start a fight?
He also says, during these arguments, when I ask him to level with me, that he won’t change for anyone, not even me. It hurts my feelings when he says that, as I have changed the majority of my life to accommodate his needs. Any advice on this?
I’m sorry for the lengthy email, and I thank you very much for the reply.
Doc Robyn’s reply:
Thank you for your email. It is always nice to hear that people are finding my videos helpful.
There is SO much in your email that I could respond to. Certainly if you were a client we would to explore all of it. There is no way we can do that via email. Since you stated that your goal is to make this relationship work, I will respond with that in mind.
Here are a few questions you might want to consider:
- When in an intimate relationship with and living with someone, what does it mean to you to have a “private life”?
- What expectations do you have about what he should share and what is okay for him to keep to himself?
- What do you share and what do you keep to yourself? Are the expectations the same on both sides?
- How much of your concerns are really about his behavior (he jerks the phone out of your hands) and how much if it is leftover “stuff” from other relationships?
I would also like to share a tidbit from my life – I have always lived by the motto “If she can get him she can have him because if he’ll leave he’s not worth keeping.” And before you assume I feel that way because I have never been cheated on let me assure you that is not the case. I have been and badly. It is important for you to realize there is NOTHING you can do to create a healthy, monogamous relationship with someone who doesn’t want one with you. It is your job to defend your relationship from the men who hit on you. It is HIS job to defend the relationship from women who hit on him (this also assumes neither of you is actually chasing others).
A healthy relationship does not involve bouts of screaming, yelling, fighting, crying, demanding and making up. A good relationship is work. But it isn’t hard and it isn’t ever miserable. You deserve to be loved by someone who wants to love you, who cares about you enough to really be there emotionally for you and who is willing to earn your trust. Is your BF that man for you? If yes, then enjoy who he is and what you have and stop nagging him about who he’s not and what you don’t. If he is not, find someone who is. He isn’t going to change.
As always, I wish you the most from your potential!
Dr. Robyn Odegaard (aka “Doc Robyn”) is internationally known conflict resolution expert, motivational speaker and executive wordsmith. As CEO of Champion Performance Development, she works with executives, professionals, athletes, and coaches to help them achieve excellence in all aspects of life through active leadership, powerful teamwork, effective communication, Productive Conflict™ and professional disagreement skills. She is the founder of the Stop The Drama! Campaign and author of the books Stop The Drama! The Ultimate Guide to Female Teams and The Ultimate Guide to Handling Every Disagreement Every Time. To work with her one-on-one, have her present to your team, request a custom workshop or invite her to speak at your event, please contact her here.