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Sensitively and constructively dealing with a partner with serious self confidence issues - it is starting to cause problems

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I have been seeing someone for the last few months, who late last year ended his marriage for a number of reasons then found out she had been cheating on him for several years. He has been the primary carer for their two autistic boys for the last several years, as she didn't want to be. He has had to essentially walk away from his marriage with nothing but debt, and given COVID he is struggling financially as well as he's only just re-entered the workforce. These are all big things to deal with, and I am happy to support him wherever I can. He is sweet, caring and funny, and we can talk for hours.

The thing I am starting to struggle with how to deal best, is his extremely low self confidence (which I understand and can completely see where it comes from). I want to find an effective way to reassure and talk to him about this, without making him feel worse. I've been trying, but don't feel I am getting anywhere. I know this will take time to build on. He is insecure about the fact that he currently has "nothing" whereas I have a good job, I own (most of) my home and have savings for holidays etc. He is worried about the fact that he thinks I am "smarter" than him and know all this stuff about things he doesn't and that as a result I will get bored and leave. He keeps saying that I am too perfect and he's terrified of doing something wrong and then I'll leave. He apologises constantly for everything. He bought me a mineral water from the supermarket the other day on his way over (on my request) and then was super apologetic as it was a different brand to what I usually get (he saw an empty bottle in the recycling) - which I don't give two hoots about. He apologised for telling me I'm beautiful, and asked if that was ok. He touched me on the arm and jerked back like i'd burned him, apologising again. I understand abuse (and he has talked about a lot of his relationship with his wife), as I was a victim of childhood abuse, and I know that it takes time to rebuild trust etc. I'm just a little unsure how to help someone else navigate this path themselves and would be grateful for any advice, as I'm now being super careful about everything I say and do and I don't want this to come between us as I think we could be really good for each other. I've tried subtly suggesting counselling, but he doesn't feel this is necessary.

1 Reply 1

Community Member

Hi Ekkie.

Welcome to the forum and reaching out to others. I imagine that your partner is in such an overwhelming state and especially that he is insecure - that would only be more of an impact in his life and his daily living activities. It does sound like he is suffering some type of trauma and that may have affected his confidence and who he sees himself as a person. I myself can defiantly relate to his situation and have only just started improving myself where possible. The hardest part is accepting that we are not perfect and to seek out support. I'm not sure if this may help. I tend to imagine a cat that has been traumatized, they require a lot of affection, support, care and love to regain their personality and ability to become healthy again. It can be very vigorous - especially if you yourself are fairly mentally and physically healthy. The best thing to do is seek support if not already. Beyondblue have a great team to speak with and there is plenty of information on the website. As his partner, part of being in a healthy relationship is working together as a team to improve on each others care needs - so you must understand that you need to maintain your mental and physical health where possible, otherwise, you may burn-out. Just like having a cold or flu, you want your partner to become better again. I hope I could help where possible and please let us know how you both are going.

Be brave, be great.