My girlfriend is a very attractive professional model. However, she gets very insecure when my female trainees and mentees interact with me. I am extremely devoted as a professional and take my mentoring role very seriously. I would never turn down a genuine need for help from a mentee or a trainee. I am also committed in my relationship with my girlfriend. However her insecurity is creating a lot of conflict and stress between us. What should I do?
A contentious topic needs to be appreciated for the pain it causes but when too many emotions get involved, this becomes a challenge. Have you communicated with her that this recurring source of conflict is eroding what you’ll share? This revelation will be a pivotal first step in helping you’ll understand each other’s hopes and dreams better. Be gentle in your approach.
Any revelation that sounds accusatory may make her feel defensive in return and defensive individuals seldom appreciate new ideas. Your girlfriend’s attractiveness or being a model may be a contributing factor in how she indexes herself or people around her. There is no way to prove this at the moment but this is likely to be a contributing factor. A professional model’s career is predicated on their appearance and attractiveness as deemed by the industry in keeping with quite a range of visual aesthetics and presentability standards. While calling models ‘vain’ about how they look would be a bit of an overgeneralisation, what is pivotal to appreciate is that a professional model may in fact spend a great deal of time wondering if ‘they still look as they once did’ in keeping with the fact that the industry she is in is always looking out for younger, fresher faces for the show to go on. This is a professional and personal insecurity that many models live with as they may feel that ‘they’re only good enough if they’re good looking enough’. It is important to understand if this fear or any such related fear is acting upon her and disturbing her emotionally. Is she afraid of losing you to someone younger or as she may see it (better and more emotionally compatible with you) than she is? Does she feel like she’s lived out her best days as a model already? How is her career doing?
Could she be afraid that once her looks wane, you’d no longer be interested in her? What is she really afraid of? Insecurities must be dealt with through compassionate dialogue and patience. People are extremely uncomfortable with what scares them or reminds them of the shaky timeline they inhabit. This is what makes insecurities such a difficult topic to dive straight into as people are likely to feel great shame about their own fears. A good idea would be to perhaps also schedule a visit to a relationship counsellor so her fears may be better understood if she is hesitating to open up with you about why she feels you’ll stray away from her with one of your mentees. Is there a precedent for such behaviour in her previous relationships (if any)? Have you ever given her reason to suspect your faithfulness to her or the relationship?
Is she insecure about other aspects of her life as well and is she generally someone who doesn’t trust people to do right by her? The answer to these questions will help clear the air but firstly also clarify what exactly is going on in her mind when she feels insecure. To understand the source of her fears and the direction that she’d like to choose for the relationship you’ll share would be a crucial starting step in remedying the situation. To gain this clarity, you’re going to have to initiate a dialogue. All clarity will follow once she talks about what ‘she thinks will happen between you’ll’ in contrast with ‘what’s really happening between you’ll’. She may also need to share ‘what she’d like to see happening’ in the relationship and intimacy you’ll share with each other. Our wishes and dreams are attempts at keeping track with our core personalities. Re-assure her of your commitment to the relationship.
Be earnest and genuine about it. Token words of compassion can be seen through with great ease. Open up a dialogue. Keep it clean. This means parking aside the desire to punish, mock, blame or shame each other. If a dialogue feels too weighted and intimidating at this juncture, a visit to a relationship counsellor may help add some much needed objectivity to the situation. You’ll will come back learning new communication tools and perhaps even feel better understood by each other. Fresh perspectives yield fresh approaches and that is precisely how all successful relationships stay on course.