I’m currently in what’s probably the best relationship of my adult life so far. I’ve been with this guy for seven months now and he’s everything awesome: smart, funny, nice, fun, and really affectionate and sweet.
I’m currently in what’s probably the best relationship of my adult life so far. I’ve been with this guy for seven months now and he’s everything awesome: smart, funny, nice, fun, and really affectionate and sweet. My friends love him, my family loves him and I love him too.
My only real problem now is me: I’ve become incredibly anxious about everything. I keep feeling like he’s going to dump me when I least expect it, so I’ve become hyper-vigilant about anything that could possibly be construed as a slight rejection. Like, this morning I started crying in the shower because he took his hand off of my shoulder while we were cuddling on the couch. Objectively, I know this is completely insane, which makes things even worse; I can see how crazy I’m being, but I feel like I just can’t stop feeling hurt and rejected all the time.
My friends say it’s like post-traumatic stress. My last three dating experiences ended like this: Guy #1, after two months of dating, stood me up one day and never called again; Guy #2 turned out to be a total grifter and con artist and was arrested for stealing his customer’s credit card information; Guy #3 literally left me in the middle of the night after I finally slept with him after three awesome dates — I woke up to an empty apartment and a note saying “I can’t do this.” I kind of feel like Charlie Brown, like every time I run for the football, Lucy yanks it away before I can kick it. And I just keep waiting for this guy to yank the football.
The worst part is, I know it’s starting to drive him crazy that I’m so emotional all the time. I try not to let him see when I get upset, but he practically lives with me so it’s impossible to just isolate myself every time I get teary. It’s so unfair to him because it makes him feel like a bad boyfriend, when really he is the best boyfriend imaginable. I have to figure out a way to get my anxiety under control before it ruins this relationship. Any ideas?
-BAWLING IN BROOKLYN
Sometimes I say the same things over and over again. It’s not because of you guys, but because I only have so many words of wisdom in my words of wisdom bank. I have totally been in this place before and the one thing that helped me, which is something I’ve said before, is that fears are wishes.
The thing we spend the most time consumed with and scared of is the thing that ends up happening. This isn’t new age mysticism but pure scientific fact.* Fears are wishes. It’s like the sign that says “DO NOT PRESS THE RED BUTTON” and all we can think about doing is pressing it. We become obsessed with pressing it until we just have to fucking press it.
Consider this for a moment: What if you do break up? What if he dumps you? Let’s take the worse possible case scenario and play it out and get to the bottom of the fear. For me, whenever I am so afraid of losing my relationship it ends up being not because the guy is so amazing that I can’t live without him, but more because I am afraid of being alone. No, scratch that — the real fear is that I’m afraid of being alone FOREVER, that looming “forever” that makes everything so scary. The future in all its black-caped glory. I’m alone! I’ll die alone! No one will come to my funeral! Who is gonna press “play” on the Van Halen song I specifically requested? (“Change.”)
That’s the real fear.
One of my biggest fears is not having children. I think about it often. What if I’m one of those women who can’t have babies? What if I’m too old and miss my chance? What if I give birth to an unhealthy baby? What if my child dies? I know these are dramatic fears but whatever, they’re mine. The question I really have to ask myself though is, What If? What if I don’t have a baby? Will I die? No. Will it make me less of a woman? No. Will it “ruin my life?” I’d like to think I have more faith in my life and it’s path that no, it wouldn’t be ruined. What if my baby dies? That’s possible. It’s awful, but it happens. It happens in much more awful ways and fantasies then my brain allows me to envision, and yet sometimes these awful things happen. It makes me question everything I know, and yet they still happen and I am still alive.
So don’t be so heavy. Don’t be so serious. Don’t hold on to anything too tightly because it’s truly not ours — none of it — to keep. Not even the children we have or the people we love. Consider for a second your fear and your problem and think about how much worse it can actually be. You’re young and healthy and have a boyfriend you really like. So have fun, laugh, and be dumb and be smart and be everything you fear and everything you don’t because it’s all gonna change anyway.
The PTS is a reality and worth looking into as well. My heart goes out to you, but I think you can handle things differently this time. I have a good feeling about it.
*Not an actual fact that it’s a scientific fact.
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