Trust and boundaries
I have been in a very loving relationship for a few years. I am an extrovert who loves interactions and he is an introvert who prefers not sharing as much with many people.
Over the years I have made many contacts with friends, new friends, both male and female. I make myself available to support people and love encouraging.
I met a man last year who my bf also met. That man is quite outgoing like me. We texted a few times and have been encouraging each other on various things, only a few times over about 5-6 months. I find it interesting to text him because he does sports and is a great story teller about his runs and such. I barely know him as I have seen him only 3 times since we met.
I don't know detais about his life at all, other than he is outgoing, loves sports and seems to be in a loving relationship with his wife (going from FB posts and he talked about her in nice ways a couple times).
My bf was using my phone and saw a txt from him which started with "Made me smile to see you texted back..." After I had replied to a txt 1 week later he sent one.
He said to me, after looking quickly scrolling up: that's a lot of texts baby. And instead of agreeing with my bf, i was defensive and replied it was nothing and that I barely knew the guy.
He repeated the first line of the text (made me smile) and said why does someone you barely know writes that to you? And again, my response was very defensive, i repeated that I barely knew him. My bf said: next thing you know he will be complimenting you. I was defensive again, saying there was nothing wrong with compliments. He scrolled up and saw many compliments the guy had texted me. In my mind at that point, i thought this was ok as he is that kind of person who gives lots and compliments lots on FB. My bf said: OMG, that guy is into you! And i got defensive again, stating he wasn't and that he was just that kind of guy. My bf got mad and said that when guys compliment like that, its for a reason.
I don't know why, but again was so defensive. I feel like i was trapped in a corner, accused of having a secret intimate emotional relationship with someone. I think thats why I was defensive. Looking back, I see that many compliments were exchanged in the texts. I felt they were fine first, but in retrospective, it was not appropriate. I think if it was my bf exchanging compliments and thoughts to a woman through txt, I would not like it at all.
More examples were then brought up to me of times when my bf said he could see me feel excited about a guy and how I should have not engaged in conversations or txts with them. I was again defensive, completely shocked because I know I never had feelings for these people. But Ingot defensive. Instead of having a calm conversation about it.
We have been very tense for a few days now.
My question is, first, I know that I have boundary issues, with man, but in all areas of my life. Why was I some defensive instead of listening to my bf's concerns. He says the more defensive I get, the more it looks like I am hiding something or there is more there than I am saying. I agree with that. I feel that my defense was because I honestly did not see how it could be wrong until he pointed it out and I started thinking what it would be like for me if the roles were reversed.
He doesn't trust me now. I need help. I want to work on this. I don't want to cross boundaries and hurt my bf. But I do need social interaction and don't intend to change who I am, an extrovert, for someone. How do I remain myself while establishing healthy boundaries?
Also, why the hell am I so defensive? Instruggle eith any kind of critisism. I read lots about it and it usually points to lack of boundaries or childhood issues. Both apply here I think.
Thanks to those who can give me constructive advice.
1) Why was I some defensive instead of listening to my bf's concerns. He says the more defensive I get, the more it looks like I am hiding something or there is more there than I am saying. I agree with that.
Based on your third comment below, it seems like you have insight into your difficulty receiving criticism. I'd encourage you to explore this in previous relationships including those in your early childhood. A defensive reaction does tend to make people appear guilty. You'll have to consider what purpose does your defensive behavior have? What does it do for you? In thinking about "defenses" or "defense mechanisms", Freud taught us that the purpose is to protect the psyche. I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that you felt some attraction toward this friend you'd been texting. If not, was there a part of you that enjoyed his flattery and attention? These are questions you'll have to reflect on to gain better insight on your responses.
2) I don't want to cross boundaries and hurt my bf. But I do need social interaction and don't intend to change who I am, an extrovert, for someone. How do I remain myself while establishing healthy boundaries?
Humans are social creatures particularly individuals who identify as extroverts. Based on the information you presented, it does not seem your bf is asking you to stop being an extrovert, rather he is pointing out that your communications with your male friend are borderline inappropriate. Do you feel as if your bf is fulfilling you emotionally, spiritually, sexually? If yes, then what is driving you to have the following recurring issue: "I know that I have boundary issues, with man, but in all areas of my life." There is absolutely nothing wrong with having platonic relationships with members of the opposite sex but if you are finding yourself in situations where you are repeatedly crossing boundaries then perhaps there is something else you are seeking. Ask yourself what might that be?
3) why the hell am I so defensive? Instruggle eith any kind of critisism.
See response to #1