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So this is the age-old situation with a modern take on it, my girlfriend is asking me to stop following certain girls on instagram. It just happened like this and I'm scared this becomes a slippery slope where some demands become more and more authoritative.

We've been together for a year and a half at this point. We're very close to moving in together (that happens next week). I know she's been under a lot of stress for that reason and her personal situation until now, and we've had quite an increase in amount of arguments for the last few weeks as she seems to have difficulties coping with her stress. I tend to be patient and stress is not really something that affects me, although I do understand what it's like. I'm always trying to get her to talk to me of what truly is on her mind, and I know she's doing great efforts there.

So now she just called me while I'm working, and asked me to unfollow that girl I've travelled with on a few occasions (ridesharing). So far I've cut short to the discussion and told her we'd talk about it after work.

But truth to the matter is, I don't like where this is going. We've had many conversations on how important it is to trust each other, and not to try and control the other person. I feel like her asking me this is again a lack of trust towards me.

I don't want to cave in on that demand, as I'm scared it could lead to more unreasonable requests and I think those are unhealthy in an otherwise perfect relationship.

How could I tell her that this sort of request is unwarranted in a healthy relationship and make her understand that she can trust me? Or otherwise, make sure that if she has any fears, she should mention them right away instead of scape-goating them on such demands ?

I've already had a few conversations about this topic, but I see this still happens and I'm wondering whether there is another way to tackle the issue.

  • is this a one time thing? does she ever request something like this? is it worth to fight with your SO over a instagram follow? after all its not about what it is but how she feels towards it. – NaiceGuy1 Jun 15 '18 at 12:03
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I don't know much about jealousy since my SO and I aren't really inclined to be, but if I understand well, she asks you to unfollow girls from which you receive notifications when they publish new content, but with whom you're not currently talking.

If I'm right on this, she might be feeling insecure about herself. This would not be really surprising considering that:

  1. She's about to move in with you! That's a huge step! You're gonna see here in all circumstances, get to know her strengths but also her weaknesses. This can be intimidating for someone, to know that the person they love will see them, well ... not always in their best shape.

  2. Instagram hurts people's self-confidence, for it shows the best (and only the best!) of people and one can, from time to time, forget that this is just an image, and that people are not this perfect in real life.

Trying to know if this is really about insecurity could help you approach the issue, so I suggest you'd try to determine whether it's about this or about jealousy (or something else). Anyway, what you could try to ease the situation is to approach the topic with her at a calm moment, e.g. after you had dinner together, tell her that you're really looking to moving in with her, reassure her about the fact that you love her and think she's a wonderful person, and then use the Non-Violent Communication approach to let her know that you're uncomfortable with her wanting you to cut off any contact with your female acquaintances (whether it's a virtual or IRL connection). Below is a example of what it could look like:

Alice, I'm so excited that we're about to move in together. I love you and I think you're a wonderful person, and you have great qualities [insert here missing qualities] that I truly appreciate in you. When you asked me recently to unfollow some of my acquaintances on Instagram, I felt upset and a bit worried because I think that confidence in your partner's faithfulness is crucial in a relationship. I would like to reassure you about my faithfulness towards you, and I think cutting off with my female acquaintances might not be the best way to do it. Do you think spending more time together [or another activity that suits you] would help showing you that you're the only one?

"I feel" statements help open a dialog with her in a peaceful and healthy way. It may not always result in immediate resolution, but if you look at the answers to this question going into a bit more detail on when I feel statements in NVC "fail", we can understand that it is still okay if it doesn't immediately work out. Maybe she will be fine with your suggestion. Maybe she will offer to try another thing. Maybe she will tell you that it's not about insecurity. Either way, using and continuing to use this NVC-based approach will help introduce this issue, and resolve it in a way that is good for you both.

I wish you the best!

  • 6
    I used this and we managed to have a conversation and solve the issue. Indeed she's super stressed out and felt a bit insecure / jealous, but I managed to reassure her on that :) – Skwiggs May 25 '18 at 8:23
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I think the other answer has most things covered, but I wanted to address the "I don't like where this is going" aspect of your question. You are right to be concerned that such behavior is often a slippery slope and absolutely correct to tackle it head-on.

Many years ago, I was in a relationship with someone who suffered with insecurity and I wasn't fully aware of the implications at the time. We moved in together and gradually her issues became apparent as she got more and more uncomfortable with me socialising with other people, especially women. Long story short, in hindsight I should have taken a stand from the beginning and not accepted her requests that I don't see or speak with certain people. Needless to say, we aren't together now and it's a lesson I learned the hard way.

If you want to protect your relationship (especially when living together) then you need to be mindful that it's not an act of kindness to give in to these unreasonable requests - you are in fact enabling what can be quite a destructive behavior and in the long run, it may damage the relationship beyond repair.

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