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Why can't I accurately predict my feelings ten years into the future??
November 14, 2012 8:49 AM   Subscribe

Help me relax and enjoy my budding relationship without stressing needlessly about The Future!

So, after years of dating guys who I just wasn't that excited about, or who couldn't have cared less about me... I've met a dude who I am sort of gaga over. This one is Different, he's kind and sweet and gets my weirdness, my connection with him reminds me of my only previous satisfying relationship but with added amazing sexual chemistry, and I can really see this going places. So can he. We've both expressed how happy we are with how things are going and we're just generally... limerent.

BUT we've only been going out for like a month. And so, while much of the time I am perfectly able to just enjoy being around him and getting to know him better, other times I dwell stupidly on stuff like either... how terrible it will be when we inevitably messily break up, or whether his unusual job will be an issue in our inevitable marriage. You know? All this stuff about the far, far future, when honestly I barely know this guy because, hello, it's been a month.

So how can I get myself to live in the moment more? I don't want to miss out on actual reality because I'm putting myself in an imaginary future with a fictional version of this guy.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (6 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
Why not relax and enjoy letting your mind wander? There's nothing wrong with the grown-up equivalent of scribbling "Mrs LeBon" on your pencil case. When the mind strays to break-up fears, set it back to wanking over a fantastic imaginary future. Nobody will know, and it will likely make you all the more happy to enjoy living in the present when you are together. Mutual limerence is a thing to be enjoyed, not beaten back.
posted by kmennie at 9:03 AM on November 14, 2012


When I get stuck in a cycle of worrying about potential future scenarios, I try to remind myself of two things:
1. None of the worst times of my life were due to things it had ever occurred to me to worry specifically about.
2. I got through all of those bad times just fine, and in retrospect learned a lot about myself and came out the other side a better person than before.

No matter what happens with this guy in the future, you don't know what that will be, you can't predict it, and even if it ends badly you'll still have had these good times, right now, to look back upon fondly. So focus on those, and stop trying to anticipate a future that cannot possibly be anticipated or dealt with until it arrives.
posted by something something at 9:25 AM on November 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


Here's the deal: you can be as crazy as you want to yourself. Write inane things in your journal. Think about all of these crazy things while you're working out/running. Let your mind wander, but just keep it to yourself.

Externally, take a breath! Don't actively say/do things to sabotage what you have right now. Enjoy the ride and enjoy the surprise as to where it's going - whatever that may be. Even if things don't work out, be conscious of your actions so that you know that you tried and were the best person you could be. And you will be - if you are the best version of yourself that you can be, and are happy with that, then whatever else happens is totally out of the realm of your control.
posted by floweredfish at 9:30 AM on November 14, 2012


I tend to try to stop myself from the worrying and fantasizing by coming up with something more immediate to focus my brain on. What will we do this weekend? Have I asked him yet whether he also likes my favorite Indian food? What can I do Today that will make this relationship continue to be awesome fun?

It's tough, but try to redirect it to the next month, instead of the next decade.
posted by ldthomps at 9:52 AM on November 14, 2012


I don't know if the "mind wandering" is sooo bad if you can keep it to yourself. IE not let it poison your thinking or make you say/do weird things.

But what helps me is this: Quality and Quantity are not the same thing in relationships.

My second best relationship lasted 40 days. And it was wonderful and special and life changing. I've had a number of relationships of lengths in between 40 days and my current marriage. But none come close to either.

Essentially nothing can ever retroactively make you unhappy. If you are happy now no potential future event can travel back in time and take today's happiness away.
posted by French Fry at 10:32 AM on November 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


When I do that, I try to recognize it as a form of mental modeling, that it expresses some urge to problem solve and try to avoid the negative scenarios. I use it as an opportunity to identify negative patterns in my own internal dialog. I try to mentally unpaint myself out of that corner (because I probably painted myself into that same corner in previous relationships, duh).

If I am imagining a fight about something, I try to figure out what makes me think we will end up in that scenario and then try to re-envision a future where we made a different set of choices and didn't end up in that exact specific quagmire.

And when I am really stuck on envisioning some negative scenario and not finding a silver lining, I just abandon it. I recognize it as digging my hole deeper and as not having potential to help me sort things out.

I also try to limit it to time not spent with the guy. Live in the here and now while with him. Feel free to contemplate possible futures in his absence as a form of hanging onto him while apart.
posted by Michele in California at 1:42 PM on November 14, 2012


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