Why am I acting so weird when I meet someone new?

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    Hey, guys! Let me introduce myself: I am 23 years old, currently living in the Netherlands because I recently started my studies here. In the last two months that I have lived here, I have met an incredible number of new people and gained a lot of experience. In short: it was one of my best decisions to come here.

    As it is, I met a girl that I feel attracted to. We met at the university and kissed at her party a week ago. We talked about it and agreed that we like each other a lot but want to take it slow. Since that moment I just realize that I can’t control myself. While before I could talk to her in a very relaxed way without worrying about whether she liked it or not and I had everything coming to me, now my whole world literally revolves around her. I check my messages more often if she has answered me. I feel bad when I see her spending time with others. When I lie in bed, I think that she doesn’t like me anymore, that everything is over for her now. After some time I can free myself from this spiral of thoughts. Nevertheless I catch myself again and again pulling myself down.

    I know this situation too well! It is not the first time that I react the way I do now. It seems to me that I am trying to force something. I want her to spend more time with me, I want her in a relationship, I want her to write to me. But I know it doesn’t work that way. At least I have had the experience in the past that as soon as I act like this, I tend to do the opposite.

    Take your time, they say. Intimate relationships take time. Let it come to you, they say. But since I’m so involved in the situation, I can’t see or think clearly anymore.

    I just want to understand what is going on inside me. Why do I act like this? I want to understand myself. I don’t want to worry all the time, I don’t want to fantasize all the time. I just want to enjoy letting it come to me without fainting immediately if she doesn’t react the way I hoped.

    I hope you can understand me. Maybe you have had similar experiences or have some advice for me.

    Thank you very much!

    Warm regards!


    Dear Flo:

    You are a young man, 23. A strong part of what you feel toward this young woman is a sexual attraction, but it is not all that it is.

    When a young boy raised mostly by his mother, experienced a distant or otherwise unavailable, or inattentive mother, the child focuses on his  mother as she becomes his whole world. He tries hard to get her attention, feeling anxious when she is not home, or when she is home but attending to other people, not to the boy who needs her so much… this boy grows up to be a man who focuses on a romantic interest, anxious when she is not around, worrying.

    Does this  make sense to you?



    Dear Flo,

    Your 23, and from the research on childhood development, it seems that you were somewhat sheltered as you were growing up. That means that you weren’t taught how to explicit deal with certain emotional aspect of life. And seeing as you are still in your 20s, you’re still trying to understand the role you have as an individual in society and in life. You’re still trying to understand yourself as a person. That’s a lot of things to learn and with having a life to keep up with, it’s a challenge.

    The situation with this girl and you has to do with the fear of rejection and your insecurities. You don’t write much on your situation other than that you feel insecure so you’ve revolved your life and thoughts, basically, around this new attraction of yours. That’s not uncommon on the first stage of attraction since the emotions of ‘like’ tend to be a lot of adrenaline, dopamine and serotonin flooding your brain, which makes you giddy and full of energy. The thoughts of this girl makes you energized and it feels good. But once the adrenaline wears off, you are left with an emptiness that might feel foreign after the rush of ‘happiness’ and some people tend to seek for that adrenaline in different form.

    Combine that emptiness with a fear of being rejected, which stems from insecurities, you get an outcome that could be like yours. Insecurities makes people do either of two things; change themselves or change their situation. Why? Because insecurities is seen as bad therefore you must do something to control the situation since being in control makes people feel safe. Your way of doing things is the latter. You feel the need to control the situation because you find it easier to do so. After all, you fear being rejected so you feed that fear by your negative thoughts and the constant need to cement the relationship with the girl. As much as you like the girl, the fear you are experiencing from your lack of confidence is growing more urgent to you therefore you don’t feel that you can’t relax. Therefore, your thoughts revolve around her and her actions affect you on a personal level. That’s not good for anyone.

    There is no mention of how you were taught to deal with emotional instabilities and insecurities, but if the situation is any indication, then it’s about time that you learn how. There are many classes and books to read on learning to engage and manage your own emotions. There are psychologists out there, maybe your school offer free counseling, who can help you start the process of understanding your insecurities. There are many resources out there that can help you understand how fear and insecurities work and what you can do about it. You have work to do, but you have the maturity to realize that you need help to understand yourself and that being a human/person is a work in process. You’ll be fine.

    Also, congratulations on understanding that how you were dealing with your insecurities was not helping your situation or your mental health. You are one step closer to understanding how to help yourself.

    Good luck.

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