December 31, 2019 at 8:20 pm #330537
Posting in case someone has any advice/experiences the same type of anxiety in relationships.
I’m a 32 year old woman with the desire to fall in love and settle down and potentially have children one day. I’ve always put my career first, and tried (and mostly succeeded) being happy single, but there’s always been a part of me that wants that passionate, intense, overwhelming love that Western culture celebrates. I’ve tried to rid myself of my romantic ideals and notions, but they’ve persisted nonetheless. Maybe I read too many romance books growing up, lol.
My problem is, that even though I’ve been in multiple relationships and have had multiple flings over the years, I can’t seem to find a balance between a healthy, stable relationship and a passionate, romantic one. Instead, I’ll either spend months (or years) in a relationship with someone who is “safe” but I’m not really in love with, or I’ll go on a few dates with the wild, exciting type, berate myself for being attracted to him, and call things off, but then spend a lot of time afterwards obsessing over him and wondering if I made the right decision. It’s become a pretty prominent pattern in my love life to the point that it’s almost a cliche….I’m that girl that always attracted to the wrong type of guy. The guy who is scared to be emotionally vulnerable and never wants anything serious. Even though I know this, the problem is that no amount of self-awareness and reflection and therapy seems to be leading to any changes in my behaviour and dating choices.
Recently, I’ve been seeing someone who I’ve been very attracted and interested in. We’ve only hung out a handful of times, but I’m already finding myself obsessing over him–thinking about him incessantly, replaying our encounters in my mind, glued to my phone in the hopes that he’ll text. And I HATE it. I hate that a simple crush has this ability to turn me into this lovesick school girl. I hate that my life is so unexciting that a couple of texts or some silly meme from him makes me jittery like a child on Christmas morning. I hate that everything reminds me of him–even though I barely know him. And I hate that he seems exactly like the type of guy that doesn’t really want anything serious with me….if anything, he just seems mostly interested in having a physical relationship. Nothing more.
Unfortunately I’ve had plenty of experience with this type of guy, and my usual response is to run far, far away. This time, instead of running, about a month ago, I calmly told him over text that I felt that he wasn’t that interested, since he wasn’t initiating conversation often and had cancelled a date we were supposed to go on. He responded that he was sorry that he gave that it came off that way, but he understood where I was coming from. Neither of us ended things per se (there was nothing to really “end”) but we both understood our conversation to mean that we would no longer communicate. I was really disappointed because I was already very much into him but decided it was probably for the best.
Then, a couple of weeks ago, I heard from him out of the blue. One of those texts that guys send late at night when they’re drinking. He apologised and said he would try harder and that he wanted to see me again. And because I had been drinking too–and was really excited to hear from him–I responded. We met up that very night, and it’s like the crush came back ten-fold–i find myself obsessing over him, wanting to know more about him, thinking about the next time we’ll see each other. The thing is that things seem back to how they were before—him not really communicating much, not asking many questions about me, not making concrete plans to see me again. And even though my usual response is to end things, i find myself unable to end things this time. i find myself wanting let things play out, even though I’m bound to get hurt. I’m just so tired of letting fear and anxiety get the best of me; I’m tired of being scared of ambiguity. It’s like there’s this part of me that craves, needs certainty, and my Higher Self–if such a thing exists–wants me to wade in the ambiguity a little bit. Even though I’m bound to flail and drown eventually.
Does anyone have tips on how to deal with this intense anxiety when it comes to budding relationships? I’m still convinced the right thing to do is just to block him, but there’s a part of me that won’t let me this time. And I’m not quite sure why.January 1, 2020 at 10:44 am #330639
Let’s look at your recent experience: “Recently, I’ve been seeing someone who I’ve been very attracted and interested to. We’ve only hung out a handful of times, but I’m already finding myself obsessing over him”- anxiety predates obsession, so you spent a bit of time with this guy and you got scared, excited and scared, both.
Excited, “like a child on Christmas morning”, but also scared, “my usual response is to run far, far away” (we want to run away when we’re scared).
A couple of weeks ago, he texted you, you felt “really excited”, you met, you felt more excited, “the crush came back ten-fold”, and the fear returned as well: “I find myself obsessing over him”. The fear happens in between the times that you spend with him, “thinking about the next time we’ll see each other”, afraid that you will not see him again, you are rushing toward that next time, wanting it to happen quickly so that you don’t wait anxiously for that next time.
In summary, the way I see it, when you feel excited by a particular guy, then you get scared. Positive excitement is quickly followed by fear. The two emotional experiences are physiologically similar.
Another issue is you being excited by the wrong type of guy (“I’m that girl that always attracted to the wrong type of guy. The guy who is scared to be emotionally vulnerable and never wants anything serious”).
If you want to answer my next two questions, please do, and we can communicate further:
1. Do you get scared when feeling excited in other contexts, other than romantic relationships?
2. Are you “emotionally vulnerable” in relationships, and if so, how?
January 1, 2020 at 4:13 pm #330673
- This reply was modified 2 years, 9 months ago by anita.
Thanks for your response. To answer your question, I do get scared in other contexts, especially when I feel excited–I’m definitely an anxious/fearful person by nature, and consider myself just to be a very sensitive and high strung person in general. For instance, I hate public speaking, have a bit of social phobia, dislike big crowds or loud noises, etc. But the funny thing I’ve also scored highly on tests I’ve taken for sensation seeking…it’s like, there’s a part of me that enjoys fear, adrenaline rushes, new experiences. I’ve definitely done some risky things or things that have pushed me out of my comfort zone, and have enjoyed it. it’s a strange mix of qualities lol.
But yea, to answer your second question–I think I’m MORE willing to be emotionally vulnerable than I have in the past, but it definitely doesn’t come naturally to me . I’m trying to verbalise things more and tell guys early on what I am looking for, but I still find it really difficult. There’s definitely a part of me that’s shy and scared of rejection, and that knows that the men I’m dating are probably dating a lot of other women too, and there’s a part of me that’s really scared of just being perceived as too sensitive and too feminine and too needy.
In the past, I usually only end up having relationships with men that are extremely into me, show me they like me a lot from the very beginning and are almost obsessive about me (at least according to my friends). But when guys are a bit aloof, I perceive that as complete disinterest, and it’s like there’s a part of me that ends up being drawn to them even more. Even though they’re exactly the type of guys that I’d probably feel the least safe being emotionally vulnerable with.
It’s just funny to me that I consider myself to be relatively self-aware and yet find it so hard to change behavioural patterns and to be satisfied and content dating men that i WOULD feel safe being emotionally vulnerable and open with.January 1, 2020 at 5:51 pm #330679
I will read and reply to your recent post when I am back to the computer, in about 12 hours from now.
anitaJanuary 2, 2020 at 7:27 am #330761
You are welcome.
You wrote earlier: “I’ll go on a few dates with the wild, exciting type, berate myself for being attracted to him”. You berate yourself because you hate yourself when you feel like you felt as a child: needy of someone else: “I’m already finding myself obsessing over him… glued to my phone in the hopes that he’ll text. And I HATE it. I hate that a simple crush has the ability to turn me into this lovesick school girl. I hate that my life is so unexciting… I hate that.. And I hate”.
And, you are “scared of just being perceived as too.. needy”, “shy and scared of rejection”.
You hate the child that you were, needy, scared. I imagine that as a child, you were bored/ anxious a lot of the time, sometimes very anxious, otherwise mildly anxious. Life was a combination perhaps of fear/anxiety and meh. But once in a while something exciting happened, and it was a joyful break from <b>the usual</b> emotional experience.
“I’m that girl that always attracted to the.. guy who is scared to be emotionally vulnerable and never wants anything serious”- I think that the child in you doesn’t want anything serious, because anything serious, for her, means that usual.
“I’ll either spend months (or years) in a relationship with someone who is ‘safe’ but I’m not really in love with..”- someone safe is someone unexciting, it feels like being back to that usual.
“or I’ll go on a few dates with the wild, exciting type”- these are the exciting breaks from the usual.
“I hate that my life is so unexciting that a couple of texts.. makes me jittery like a child on Christmas morning”- the usual year long emotional experience is disrupted by wonderful once a year Christmas break.
A couple of weeks ago, he texted you at night, his text was a break of excitement, you were “really excited”, then you met him that very night and got a most intense break of excitement (“like the crush came back ten-fold”).
Following that night, back to the usual emotional experience of life, and you crave the next break of excitement, “thinking about the next time we’ll see each other”.
“there’s always been a part of me that wants that passionate, intense, overwhelming love… I’ve scored highly on tests I’ve taken for sensation seeking.. a part of me that enjoys fear, adrenaline rushes, new experiences.. I’ve definitely done some risky things.. and have enjoyed it. It’s a strange mix of qualities lol”- not strange at all, to crave exciting breaks from the usual combination of anxiety and meh, perhaps a mild depression.
I am thinking that you perceive “a healthy, stable relationship” to feel like that usual I mentioned here repeatedly. And therefore, a healthy, stable relationship turns you off.
You are welcome to let me know your thoughts/ feelings about what I wrote here.
January 4, 2020 at 2:50 pm #331129
- This reply was modified 2 years, 9 months ago by anita.
A lot of what you said makes sense. I definitely think the inner child in me likes the excitement and ups and downs that a fling with an inconsistent guy creates. But on the other hand, there is a part of me that genuinely wants a long-term relationship with someone who shows consistent interest in me. So the challenge for me has been–how to reconcile those two warring parts of me? Does it mean to simply reject the guy that I perceive as inconsistent, and make a purposeful, concerted effort to gravitate towards the “stable” “nice”men? I feel like that’s what I’ve been trying to do, and it hasn’t been working. For instance, I recently forced myself to stay in a relationship with someone I didn’t have a spark with because I tried to convince myself that I don’t NEED to be attracted to the “bad” boy–and it didn’t work. Instead, I just caused myself more pain, and caused the guy I was dating pain as well. I ended up feeling really guilty that I didn’t end things earlier and chose to stay in a relationship with someone I wasn’t in love with–even though he had so many of the qualities I was looking for.
There’s a part of me that’s just angry at myself for continuously being attracted to guys that I know don’t want a serious relationship. Which I guess is really anger towards that aspect of myself in me, that part of me that is scared to be vulnerable, that is scared to show my pain and scars to another person.January 4, 2020 at 3:03 pm #331131
“There’s a part of me that’s just angry at… that part of me that is scared”- imagine a child being scared and the parent getting angry at the child for being scared. What is the result? The child getting even more scared and shutting down.
Clearly, the solution is that the part of you that’s angry at the scared part needs to be very gentle and very patient and kind with the part that is scared.
Now, what is the scared part scared of? It is scared “to show my pain and scars to another person”.
What is that pain and scars, would you like to show it here, on your thread, using words, describing it?