How to not overthink it
November 25, 2018 9:23 AM   Subscribe

I've got a date with somebody, and it's totally not a big deal. Really. It's just a date.

I'm very inventive when it comes to finding new ways to wreck romance opportunities. I never make the same mistake twice; I find new ones. Most recently, I wrecked a sexfriends situation by appearing too eager. I checked that impulse in re: a very special person who inexplicably holds me in the same high regard as is mutual. And finally now, we have plans. I had been thinking about them a lot, and now that we have a date planned they are likely to take up too my brain real estate. I plan to do healthy things like exercise and study, but I'm sure that during inbetween moments I'll be overthinking this. This will be distracting and might lead to me doing something to hurt a new... friendship, let's say.

This is a person who could have anyone they wanted and I feel a little out of my depth, and if there's a time to break a pattern of self-defeat that appears to come from a fear of success it's now. I just need insight on being good in my head and able to think about more than one thing. Small-scale, short-term, little peace-and-being-me tips.
posted by Sterros to Human Relations (4 answers total)
It sounds to me like you are idealizing this person, and that probably isn’t helping your nerves. No one can have ANYONE they want, everyone faces rejection at some point. Try to view them as another human with flaws the same as you.

This person holds you in high regard. Don’t question that or worry about it being “inexplicable”. Trust that they have good reasons for their high opinion of you.

Also, re: appearing too eager — I call bullshit on this. Some of us (me) are terrible at feigning “chill” and that’s ok. If it doesn’t work out because the other person is less interested than you are, that’s ok. It doesn’t mean you fucked up. It just means y’all are looking for different things and have mismatched expectations.

You seem to have a lot of self-doubt and self-loathing in general, and I think dating would be easier if you try to operate under the assumption that you’re a good and interesting person who has a lot to offer.
posted by a strong female character at 9:33 AM on November 25, 2018 [5 favorites]

Any connection that sparks and deepens is about what happens between the two people, not about either person being in a higher or lower league than the other. Pull your focus away from anything that measures people as having some kind of inherent status and focus entirely on getting to know them and letting them get to know you. When you pay calm attention to who they are by asking questions and empathically trying to understand their emotions and experiences, does it feel like you can really relate? When you reveal something of who you are, do they seem to receive it and reciprocate? That's pretty much it. The rest gets in the way. And by the way, if it doesn't work on that reciprocal level, it doesn't mean you messed up. It means you just didn't click, and you, too, are allowed to decide that.
posted by nantucket at 9:45 AM on November 25, 2018 [6 favorites]

I wrecked a sexfriends situation by appearing too eager

Nope! I’d instead say you were straightforward and honest with your interest, and you quickly learned it wasn’t the right match. Better not to have wasted your time.

It sounds to me like you might be a bit anxious and preoccupied with relationships. I strongly recommend the book Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment. It’s incredibly insightful for explaining why dating and relationships can make us feel crazy, and how to avoid that.

It sounds like you are blaming yourself for your relationship failures instead d approaching it like, “It just didn’t work out.” Therapy can be a great place to work through this sort of thing.
posted by bluedaisy at 4:09 PM on November 25, 2018 [5 favorites]

One thing that might really help is to cut back way back on how much you think about all of this. Make a plan for when you are allowed to think about all aspects of this relationship. Try to give a specific time with clear boundaries like "during my morning commute" or "while walking the dog". Give as much time as often you think it needs/deserves. Then make it an absolute firm rule NOT to think about it at any other time. Every single time you find your thoughts drifting in that direction, give yourself a very clear, firm "N. Wait until it is time!" and then force yourself to think about something else. (It might help to have a list of other things that need thinking about it or other things you can do to preoccupy your mind.) Be prepared to slip up often but every time be firm with yourself.
posted by metahawk at 6:17 PM on November 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

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