Tips on allowing new relationships to unfold naturally?
July 31, 2014 5:25 PM Subscribe
I need tips on ridding myself of new-relationship anxiety, releasing the need to control and the need to know where it's going, and allowing the relationship to unfold naturally.
posted by SabrinaV to Human Relations (10 answers total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
I'm in my early 30's an currently in the fledgling stages of a new relationship. Every time I find myself dating someone new who I actually like and want to continue seeing, as I am now, I find myself experiencing the same emotions and behaving the same way. For those of you familiar with attachment theory, I'm anxious-preoccupied. I also have major abandonment fears.
So, how this manifests is that I become incredibly anxious. I feel the need to figure out where it's going, what his intentions are, what his feelings are for me... and I want the answers RIGHT NOW. I make contact more than is probably a good idea to prompt them to remember I exist, or to nudge them about tentative plans. (Pathetic.) I check my phone/FB/email constantly. I wonder/worry/obsess about whether I'll ever even hear from him again. I get all anxious about whether he's seeing other women or interested in other women, even when it's at a time when objectively everyone else would think he should still be keeping his options open (i.e., the very beginning), and give myself mental deadlines of when I should expect to hear from him next and what the consequences will be if I don't ("If I don't hear from him in X days after I last contacted him about our tentative plans for the weekend, that means he's absolutely no longer interested and I will nix him as an option, even if he reaches out at a later date"). It's as though I expect an insta-relationship, despite objectively knowing that it takes time for a relationship to develop, and when he doesn't behave as I want/expect him to, I'm hurt/disappointed. I keep this to myself, but on the inside, I'm torturing myself. It makes dating guys who I actually like a horrible experience, rather than a fun one.
This happens for me whether it's been one date, or three months - the anxiety remains constant. I don't know if the guy actually picks up on my behavior or my feelings, or if my energy travels through the universe and he picks up on it an intuitively knows that I'm obsessing, but I sense my "need to know now!" is the cause of many of my relationships not quite taking off.
Strangely enough, when it doesn't work out, I bounce right back. I'm not heartbroken or sitting around pining or anything.
I've had many people tell me that I live in a world of black and white, and I need to learn to embrace the grey, the "land of maybe," that I need to allow relationships to unfold naturally, to not mentally cut someone off when they fail to meet my expectations on a rigid timeline. I find this very difficult, if not impossible. This is what I need help with. I have no patience.
So, my request of all of you is: What can I tell myself, what mindset can I aspire to have, what changes to my thinking do you recommend?
Keep in mind that I have a very full, awesome life - I am very social, enjoy activities/hobbies. So the whole, "Keep yourself busy! Fill your life up!" type responses won't help. I've already got that down. :/