It's just a crush, why do I feel so anxious?
February 18, 2011 5:17 PM   Subscribe

How can I manage my situational anxiety when the situation is being attracted to someone? Part of the problem is that I'm used to a particular romantic scenario, but I think it's an unhealthy one and want to avoid it in future. Not sure how to act when it's not fast and furious.

So I've had several long-term relationships that began with a whirlwind romance, and two of the main three began when I was on the rebound and wanting to take a break.

In each case, I met someone and it felt intense instantly. Overnight we were calling each other on a daily basis and totally into each other. These relationships turned out to be long-term, committed, and important, though each one ended. I have tended in the past to not stay single very long. I feel it's important to try to resist, but it seems that this very resistance creates immense anxiety. It always seems like someone really amazing pops up quickly after the last relationship ends and I'm resisting them even though I really like them, because I "should" be alone to heal, get to know myself again, etc. I know that's important and I really want to, but I end up having out of control feelings for someone. In the past, I've caved because I felt like the feelings were so strong they had to be explored regardless of how soon it was after a breakup. Generally it was three months to 18 months after a major relationship.

So, my last relationship ended in November and I moved to a new city a couple weeks ago. I met someone here who is also a newcomer and I now have a huge crush. (I tend to be a "feelings" person with very intense emotions in general).

I have really been trying not to jump into anything with this person. We've hung out as friends a few times, texted, and emailed. However, I have this anxious feeling that if I don't make a move ASAP it will be too late.

I also can't read this person's signals very well. I think there may be interest, but I'm not sure. I have really been resisting disclosing my own interest because of my fear of moving too fast. But I'm concerned that I might be giving signs of disinterest because of trying to resist and he may feel discouraged.

I don't even know what the normal range of contact is in terms of getting to know someone on a normal basis, where it's not OMG soulmates swept off our feet. When someone is coming on strong it's obvious, but I don't know how to distinguish more subtle signals from friendship.

In practical terms, how often should you call or expect to be called, texted, or emailed, for example, in a normally-paced potentially romantic relationship? How do I read a pat on the back, an offer of help, or a hug goodbye?

So I have normalized the whirlwind; I'm ambivalent; and I'm shy. The thought of simply declaring my feelings up front just feels like too much for me right now because I'm still raw from my last breakup. I need my confidence increased right now, not diminished. I know mature adults are supposed to be able to handle rejection but I just don't feel up to it right now.

Also, I'm female, my crush is male, and I have been out of the "dating scene" long enough that I don't know how guys feel about women who make the first move. ("Dating" was never how any of these relationships started. In fact, it sounds contrived to me, and is very intimidating, very quaint and The Rules-ish and really not my thing. These relationships just went from hanging out to making out and declaring our feelings and that was that. And that's what I'm comfortable with).

Anyway, the Hive Mind is good at this, so please unleash your insights.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (5 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
How it works is that people still make moves pretty regularly but don't act so serious about it. If you plan out long pauses and big moves at intervals, it seems contrived. Just keep up a constant low-grade playful flirtiness. IMO this is how most low-key relationships start (and I have also had the whirlwind type). Think witty banter, obvious flirting but in a way that's just for the fun of flirting.
posted by Nixy at 5:29 PM on February 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

Well, the one bad thing you mention that's happened in the past is that you've "resisted" for too long, which causes you great anxiety. OK, I'm just going to advise the blatantly obvious: don't resist for so long. Just go with your honest feelings and do what you want; don't feel like there's some formal procedure you need to follow. There isn't.

You might think what I've said is too simplistic and vague. You want more details. Exactly how long should you wait to do each thing? Well, I'm sorry, but again, there just isn't a fixed procedure. There's no law that says you have to follow a certain timeline. People can write books with "Rules" in the title and claim to be privy to the real rules, but there are none. This is just a scheme to make money selling books. Go with how you feel; don't fight against how you feel.

Also, I'm female, my crush is male, and I have been out of the "dating scene" long enough that I don't know how guys feel about women who make the first move.

I think the way they feel can be summed up in this comment:
Guys out there...need advice mostly from do you take being asked out by a cute, bubbly, intelligent, financially independent girl?

Oh jesus god yes please hi now thanks wow hey.
There's a reason that comment got 47 favorites.
posted by John Cohen at 5:38 PM on February 18, 2011 [7 favorites]

1) Why "should" you be alone to heal? Perhaps you are a hopeless romantic, doomed to spend life having intense experiences with people. So what - that's awesome! Particularly since they turned out to be long-term, committed and important. I am extremely envious - that is not something most people can manage to do.

2) There is no normal, there is only you.

3) Many guys like women who ask them out - but not all. Some are turned off by it. Again, there is no such thing as normal.

4) Go for it. If it pans out, awesome; if it doesn't, be nice to yourself.
posted by mleigh at 10:35 PM on February 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

A hug goodbye from a guy you just met who is also sometimes texting/emailing/calling you and is offering to help you about something... probably he's interested.

Side note: stop trying to resist disclosing your interest! If he's shy, too, he'll probably respond much better to a bit of clarity than mixed signals. Act how you feel and give him a shot.
posted by J. Wilson at 10:59 PM on February 18, 2011

Yours is an enviable problem. Why the need to resist?
posted by elpea at 2:55 AM on February 19, 2011 [2 favorites]

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