What to do when you are embarrassed by your partner

Columnist and counsellor Fiona Caine urges a confused woman to consider where her insecurities are coming from.

The problem …
“I saw an article you posted recently and it made me think of my situation. I accepted an engagement ring from a man who is perfect in many ways and loves me and my adult children, and my grandchildren who have special needs. He is always there for all of us, and he recently stated that he wants something permanent and wants to be married.

“I was speaking with a friend, and she mentioned that she regretted a break-up that she initiated. She also mentioned that she has never found another man that she is proud to introduce as her partner.

“This is my problem as my fiancé is very short – only 5ft 6. I am 5ft 2, and most of my friends are 5ft 10 or better. He looks about 65 when he is only in his 50s, and I look younger although I’m 61. He is also not very social, to the point that he is socially inept. I love him very much, but I could possibly attend functions alone because of the social indifference, and he would prefer to stay home with my family.

Read: Dear Fiona: My wife had an emotional affair

“I feel really bad about the fact I am not proud of him out socially. I had never really thought of this until my friend mentioned this about her past relationship. I feel like this is my problem that I will have to deal with, but is it fair to marry him when I have these hang-ups? I hope you can give me some insight. I haven’t met anyone else as kind and considerate of me and my family.”

Fiona says …
“It’s really difficult to see anything wrong with your fiancé, to be honest. He’s a kind, loving man who has embraced not only you but also your family. Okay, he’s not much taller than you and he doesn’t like going out socialising very much – but just because your partner doesn’t like socialising with strangers doesn’t make him socially inept. The fact that he gets on so well with your extended family contradicts this.

Read: Ask a counsellor: ‘Why won’t my partner finalise his divorce?’

“What is more important to you? Social events with strangers, or a warm family unit – because while your fiancé rejects the former, he’s embraced the latter wholeheartedly. You seem to be more worried about appearances than you are about the important things in life, and for that reason I think it’s your own confidence that is at the root of these feelings.

“For some reason, you seem to care about what others will think about him, as if that reflects on you in some way. You think others are judging you on your choice of partner, but if you had loads of confidence, you simply wouldn’t care! Rather than look for him to change in some way, I think you need to look inside yourself to find out what it is that makes these things bother you.

“If his behaviour in public was rude or overly loud – if he made you squirm – then you might have some reason for embarrassment, but he simply doesn’t want to be there and that possibly shows. Lots of people feel that way – they much rather have a small circle of people they feel close to, rather than a wide network of acquaintances.

Read: Why do many men find it difficult to talk about their feelings?

“This man has the potential to make you really happy, if you’ll let him, so examine what it is that matters to you. Try not to let material things dictate your happiness, how you value yourself and your worth as a person. If you like and love your fiancé and enjoy his company when you are together, then surely that’s more important than scoring points of some kind in front of people who aren’t even that important?”

If you have a problem you need help with, email Fiona by writing to [email protected] for advice. All letters are treated in complete confidence and, to protect this privacy, Fiona is unable to pass on your messages to other readers. Fiona regrets that she cannot enter into personal correspondence.

What advice would you give in this situation? Do you think it reflects more on you if you’re embarrassed of your partner? Let us know in the comments section below.

– With PA

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