Navigating romantic life as someone with an avoidant attachment style
May 9, 2022 2:50 AM   Subscribe

How can I develop a more secure style of attachment to my romantic partners and stop freaking out, self-sabotaging, and self-undermining? Also, how do I approach this specific relationship I am in?

I want to start by saying I am in therapy and while my therapist has been very helpful, they deliberately avoid offering advice since they want me to talk myself into things on my own. Which is good but sometimes I need advice from someone with some distance from my situation. Also, I've deliberately kept genders vague throughout.

Briefly, my first real relationship was an 8 year thing which had a lot of good in it but which I had misgivings about and stayed in in part out of fear that I would never find someone better and in part because I was afraid of conflict and hurting my partner. This relationship ended several years ago after I torpedoed it in a very messy and completely unanticipated way; I still feel a lot of guilt about this but do not miss the relationship or want back into it. At some point in the aftermath of this I read about avoidant attachment style, which seemed to describe me in a lot of ways (my version of this is that my attachment style is highly anxious until I feel a degree of internal confidence that my feelings are reciprocated, at which point I shift into classic avoidant patterns like resisting and being judgmental of my partner's desire for greater emotional intimacy).

Since then I have dated around a bit and have been in several short-term relationships, none lasting more than five months. The pattern is generally fairly consistent. After an initial period of attraction and interest I start becoming preoccupied and anxious about the depth of my feelings for the person, finding specific things to be critical of and focusing on them as the reason I should leave. (Sometimes these are in fact serious issues and ultimately in each case I think the decision to break up was justified.) I start to feel guilty about this and try to repress these doubts and punish myself for feeling them, forcing myself to go on. But eventually the warning bells start to be too overwhelming and we break up (I experience them almost as physical warning bells--like I'll be casually sitting on the couch with someone and I get a voice in my head that says YOU HAVE TO BREAK UP! over and over). Or the other person starts to distance themselves, which starts the cycle over again.

The relationship I'm in now is at the five-month mark and I've started experiencing the warning bells again. A consistent thread is that I don't find them physically attractive (this did not bother me when we first started dating and our sex life is great). I also feel like the relationship isn't very emotionally intense, to the point where it often feels like we're just friends who hang out a lot and sleep together. They are a people pleaser and indecisive for that reason, in part because they don't have a lot of relationship experience; usually I make all the decisions about what we do and what we talk about and I often don't know if the things they say are what they really think or what they think I want to hear. I like them a lot but I wouldn't say I'm in love with them, in part because these avoidant patterns make it difficult for me to feel like I'm really in love with someone when I'm actually in a relationship with them. When I am feeling calm and rational, I think I want to give this relationship at least until the end of the year and see if I can do enough work on myself in the meantime to break through the fog of avoidant nitpicking.

When I am not calm or rational, I am terrified of either breaking up or continuing. If we break up, I see nothing in my future but endless repetitions of this same cycle and ultimately just steadily deepening loneliness. If we continue, I see nothing in my future but a repetition of my failed LTR, forfeiting my chance to find a partner who's truly compatible with me to settle for someone I'm happy with but not ecstatic about. I am also so, so tired and ashamed of the cycle of introducing new people to my friends only to have them disappear from their lives again a month or two later.

Please help me figure out what to do, either in this specific case or in terms of the general issues I've described. This is making me very unhappy and I feel totally hopeless and broken.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (21 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
A lot to unpack here! You seem like you're living in your own head and some of your concerns sound more like anxiety - is this something you are discussing with your therapist? This line stuck out to me:
 I also feel like the relationship isn't very emotionally intense, to the point where it often feels like we're just friends who hang out a lot and sleep together.
That's like, my ideal relationship! Do you like drama? Are you creating drama (this push/pull cycle you describe) because stability is boring or scary? I don't have any specific advice for you- it doesn't sound like you're that into in your current partner and that's ok- in their shoes I'd rather someone break up with me then stick around for a few more months feeling ambivalent. Are you comfortable being single? Maybe you could try that for a while, and get to a place where your self-worth and happiness isn't so tied to your relationship, thus feeding anxiety about it. I don't mean to sound critical- life is complicated and hard, and we are all just muddling through at times.
posted by emd3737 at 3:21 AM on May 9, 2022 [4 favorites]

I second the suggestion to stop dating until you can unpack this in therapy. It's very painful to be on the receiving end of this behavior, and until you can heal yourself, you are going to continue to hurt your partners.

EMDR is a very effective way to heal the early attachment wounds that are the underpinning of our adult attachment style. What you're describing is called 'disorganized attachment' which has aspects of both anxious and avoidant behavior. There are plenty of books about attachment theory, but in my experience most people are not able to make real and lasting change in this area without the help of a therapist. Talk therapy or counciling is rarely enough either. You need a trauma-informed, results-oriented modality that focuses on emotional development and intergation rather than intellectualizing and rationalizing.

This is hard work, but worth it. Best of luck.
posted by ananci at 4:45 AM on May 9, 2022 [5 favorites]

I am not at all trying to diagnose you over the internet, but it might be worth having a look at this info on Relationship OCD and see if it rings true for you:

I have been diagnosed with ROCD and your experience sounds very similar to mine. There are effective therapies available though and I'm now happily married and barely think about it most of the time.
posted by amerrydance at 5:00 AM on May 9, 2022 [1 favorite]

I've started experiencing the warning bells again.

A simple practical starting point: be open and vocal about these warning bells. Maybe refer to them, and think of them, as something less dire--details worth discussing, perhaps? You're doing both of you favors by bringing your thoughts and feelings into the open. Principally you're getting the experience of tactfully engaging--in comfortable opposition to avoidant urges--so that you can see if and how constructively working through things with someone else can feel good. Secondarily, you're giving your partner the opportunity to understand the full picture, so they are empowered with the full knowledge they need to make decisions about their own part in this relationship.

Great question, and it's cool that you're asking. Speaking as someone who was married to and a parent with someone who was/is avoidant without knowledge of what that word meant until the irreparable damage had been done, I'd like to say that it sure feels like you're doing a good thing.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 5:34 AM on May 9, 2022

Sometimes it’s helpful to act “as if”.

You can think: what would a securely attached person do right now? Then, whether or not you actually feel that way in the moment, you can act as if you are that securely attached person. It gives you some practice about how it feels to act that way, and it can pull you out of an instinctive habit-response.

Otherwise known as fake it until you make it, I guess.
posted by rd45 at 6:20 AM on May 9, 2022 [1 favorite]

When I am not calm or rational, I am terrified of either breaking up or continuing. If we break up, I see nothing in my future but endless repetitions of this same cycle and ultimately just steadily deepening loneliness. If we continue, I see nothing in my future but a repetition of my failed LTR

Then the thing you need to treat seriously as your immediate problem, it seems to me, has very little to do with this relationship or even with relationships in general, but is instead this pattern of treating fears about a future that none of us can genuinely see into more than dimly as if they were certainties or even exhaustive alternatives rather than the mere slivers of possibility that's all they could actually ever be.

This is an absolutely textbook example of crystal ball gazing and catastrophizing and if you let this pattern continue to run your thinking for you then it will make your life infinitely harder than it needs to be.

The relationship is a problem that pales into complete insignificance next to that of being unable to find a way back into calm and rationality after being knocked off the path of either. In your shoes I would (and have!) trained myself to recognize this kind of thinking pattern happening in the moment, and treat it as a red light on my internal dashboard warning me that I need to pay more attention to getting good sleep, nutrition and exercise.

As a first step, I suggest resolving to treat a momentary inability to think calmly about an issue as a showstopper for the making of life-altering decisions because of it. The aim is to train yourself to act as if the content of any given episode of catastrophizing matters a whole lot less than the fact of it, and the principle is that if tomorrow's going to suck then it's already quite bad enough for it to suck tomorrow; there's no good reason to allow it to fuck today up as well.

There's lots of good stuff in Judson Brewer's Unwinding Anxiety that will probably be of use to you.
posted by flabdablet at 6:21 AM on May 9, 2022 [9 favorites]

“If we break up, I see nothing in my future but endless repetitions of this same cycle and ultimately just steadily deepening loneliness.”

I never really considered myself as having an avoidant relationship style until I read this question. It really helped me, actually, that you kept the genders vague because I feel like there’s a kind of cultural cliche that the avoidants are the “bad” men partnered with the “good,” anxious women, and that they are fundamentally the problematic, hurtful ones who need to be fixed so the relationship can work out. I’m a woman (well, AFAB non-binary) and I feel like that oversimplified version of the dynamic kept me from seeing pieces of myself in that term until now. So, if nothing else, thank you for your clarity.

If I have learned one thing from my brutal history of broken past relationships, it iis that in every single case, those alarm bells were signals I should have listened to. My problem was not that I always started getting ambivalent in perfectly good relationships; it was that I ENTERED relationships that were wrong for me and STAYED in them, even though my mind, body, and heart were screaming at me to get out. It’s like I was in a burning building and I was writing AskMe posts about how to deal with the annoying sound coming from the fire alarm. Yes, you have work to do in therapy, but the work isn’t to fix yourself to overcome your ambivalence, it’s to heal so that you are strong and confident enough that you stop rushing into committed relationships with people who aren’t right for you. And this is not to blame your partner— no one is right for you yet, because you haven’t healed. I wish you luck with this—feel free to reach out by memail if you like.
posted by Merricat Blackwood at 6:35 AM on May 9, 2022 [12 favorites]

I am also so, so tired and ashamed of the cycle of introducing new people to my friends only to have them disappear from their lives again a month or two later.

What's up with this bit? Why do you perceive your friends as judging you? To what extent do you agree with their (real or imagined) judgment? What role does your friends' perceived judgment play in your own brain when you reflect on your situation? (Note that you might be projecting, even if it turns out you're right about your friends. Similar to: just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean they're not out to get you.)

These could be questions to explore in therapy, or maybe in journalling if your therapy sessions are already crammed. I thought journaling sounded dorky until I tried it -- and I guess I still feel like a dork, but a dork doing something that's productive for me.

Are you comfortable being single? Maybe you could try that for a while, and get to a place where your self-worth and happiness isn't so tied to your relationship,

Smart idea I reckon. Another possibility -- maybe easier in some ways but harder in others -- is to try going into relationships with the expectation they won't last longer than a month or two, five months max. Be honest with your partners about this. And your friends, for that matter. When you're telling them about this person they're going to meet, describe them as "someone I'm currently dating," or whatever phrasing works for you.
posted by feral_goldfish at 7:26 AM on May 9, 2022 [2 favorites]

I want to echo that your therapist's job is not to give you advice, but to give you tools to navigate these issues. I'd be really specific with your therapist about what you're experiencing and about your goal of working through trauma and attachment issues.

Two book recommendations: Attached, the book that helped popularize discussion of attachment in adult relationships a decade ago and is an okay basic introduction.

And a stronger recommendation for Polysecure, which is about attachment and trauma in the context of consensual nonmonogamy but is really worth reading even for monogamous people. You can skip the second section, which goes into detail about consensual nonmonogamy, and sort of adjust the consensual nonmonogamy examples throughout to be more applicable to your situation. But I think this book is really worth reading for the first and third sections. The first presents a much more nuanced version of attachment theory and trauma, including thinking about avoidant and anxious attachment styles along a spectrum and recognizing the ways that trauma outside of the levels of one-on-one relationships can affect our attachment styles. The third section presents a very specific model of how to develop secure attachment within relationships and with yourself; if you're unsure about your current relationship, the section on developing secure attachment with self will be most useful right now, and the section on developing secure attachment with others can be a helpful blueprint for what you ask your partners for in future relationships. This book really changed how I think about attachment and I think it can help you grapple with these issues in useful ways in conjunction with effective trauma-informed therapy.
posted by earth by april at 8:41 AM on May 9, 2022 [4 favorites]

It may be worth picking apart your own expectations about what a healthy relationship looks like and what you think it's supposed to feel like to be in one. Like, just, yeah: a long term relationship on the average feels like fairly satisfying teamwork that fucks. Does it have higher highs and lower lows than that? Yeah, for sure, but not like movies and TV. Most healthy couples have never thrown anything at each other; most healthy couples don't have the lifestyle opportunities (or time or energy) to spend a month doing a tantric sex resort in the wilderness. Sweeping passion is not a daily feature for most people, which is fine because it's exhausting and small doses suffice.

Also I very very strongly think that you should take all the media you have consumed about "attachment styles" and set it on fire. After like 20 years on this website I have never seen anybody talk about that concept in a way that was productive, it's always just an excuse to stay a mess (or forgive someone else's abuse). It's like "oh, well, I have an avoidant attachment style shrug". It feels like the worst applications of astrology. "I'm a scorpio, so I make friends really fast and I shoplift." Totally external, nothing to be done about it.

The narrative you tell yourself is really important, and it never feels like this one is useful. If you have anxiety, manage your anxiety. If you have trauma, try to treat it and learn to manage (if dismantling or at least defusing isn't possible) your trauma responses. If you have a fear of abandonment, process it and find a way to keep it from making decisions for you (which is also a kind of anxiety, most things really boil down to fear so it's really anxiety all the way down). If part of your anxiety's presentation is in intrusive thoughts - which you have described in your post - you may need to talk about those mechanisms specifically so you can find ways to manage them. Get tools to treat the actual behaviors that are a problem for you. Make a list of those and tell your therapist you want to work on them.

You seem so shocked about your relationship pattern, is a vetting process and what you've experienced is sort of good, actually? If anything, it's possible you're getting in your own way (or letting limerence make decisions) and not getting out after a few weeks when you recognize the red flags and the kinds of incompatibilities (ones that aren't going to be negotiable for you) that do ultimately tank it 5 months later when the high wears off. That's not all that unusual, but that you've been through that cycle so many times - to your own dissatisfaction - suggests you're getting your head turned by the attention and forgetting what you actually care about until things settle down. Sometimes people fall into a mindset where every new love interest in their lives is automatically The One until it turns out they're not, which is really crushing. It's actually way more pleasant to start at "interesting" and increment up the scale over a moderate amount of time (unless a dealbreaker is reached) because that means you are really getting to know somebody instead of productizing a person and getting hurt when they turn out to be real and slightly messy humans.

As a fellow sufferer of anxiety, I know about being in a place where the slightest discomfort equals a crisis. You need to learn to recalibrate your actual body and your brain to tell the difference between "input that deserves some additional consideration" (most things) and "freakout" (should generally involve fire or other actual immediate physical dangers). It's convenient to go straight to freakout because that means you don't have to do any real work. This takes literal practice, for real "getting out of your comfort zone" and actually like the cliche says "sitting with your discomfort." Learn tools for interrogating your feelings instead of just freaking out, and use them all the time instead of only when things start to spin out.

I am going to encourage you to end this current relationship, because you have described such a "meh" set of feelings for them and you're already identifying things in their personality that are not promising in any relationship really. Like, I think you're really close to a breakthrough in identifying truly and satisfyingly what you want in a partner and your life (which can feel scary, to know what you want, if you feel you are not deserving of getting what you want) and you're describing someone who is gonna just roll around bonelessly behind you rather than getting up to walk beside you and contribute half or more of the energy that makes up this relationship. It does not sound like a lack-of-drive people-pleaser is the kind of partner you'd appreciate or thrive with in your life. It seems like you actually need some pushback, of the constructive kind, plus also you need someone who's not going to let you try to perform both sides of the relationship.

It is okay to decide that you are a little bit of a strong emotional personality and need a partner that can hold their own in that, and work enthusiastically as a team with you to address and manage and grow the relationship like a garden, with purpose. You absolutely should spend a solid chunk of time - maybe a year - dating yourself and making friends with yourself and building up your sense of value in your time, energy, money, and other resources while you build your toolbox for managing and interacting with your feelings. Build your relationship with yourself up to the point you are able to trust your feelings and instincts enough that when you DO start dating again, you have your priorities already in order and they have real value so you don't discard them out of a scarcity mindset that you have to settle for less because you should be grateful that anybody kinda likes you (and then get disappointed in the relationship later because they're not making much effort).
posted by Lyn Never at 9:38 AM on May 9, 2022 [19 favorites]

have you ever had a relationship with someone you were passionately attracted to in the beginning, with whom you could confidently say you were in love? or even: have you ever been passionately attracted to and in love with someone, even if you were never able to have a relationship with them?

I am not asking because I think the right person could fix you or whatever. it just sounds like anxiety over not being wanted -- the very state of potentially not being wanted -- is stimulating enough to you that it functionally substitutes for attraction. and thus when it goes away because you find out that they do want you, there's no chemistry or affection underneath. and so, since you have anxiety working as such a potent substitute for lust & love, there isn't much incentive to hold out for someone you actually do feel lust & love for. it might not even be a set of feelings you recognize easily, I don't know.

I'm sure that if you got into a relationship with someone you desired for reasons other than the rush of uncertainty they gave you, you'd still struggle with this ambivalent impulse pattern. but if you wanted them badly for their own sake, it might help. in that there would be intrinsic rewards for you in restraining your habitual impulse to push them away. sure, you want to change yourself, but if you don't fundamentally want to stay with & make _this person_ happy just as badly, that self-improvement motivation may never be enough.
posted by queenofbithynia at 9:40 AM on May 9, 2022 [7 favorites]

Another way to frame this is that nobody you've dated is "the right person" for you yet; you tend to notice it after a few months; and you prefer to move on rather than soldier through.

I don't see anything you're doing as a problem as long as you aren't dishonest (ie, not lying that you're in love) and respectful when you break it off ("you're amazing, it's not you, it's me" rather than "here is a laundry list of why I'm not attracted to your appearance or personality").

If you're not attracted to the person you're dating, maybe break up with them / next time, don't date them... people do deserve to have a partner who is attracted to them.

> just friends who hang out a lot and sleep together.
I will say that for many people this would sound ideal and frankly be a dream come true, so maybe do some journalling (make sure Partner can't find the journal!) to unpack what else it is you're looking for.
posted by nouvelle-personne at 9:51 AM on May 9, 2022 [1 favorite]

I honestly can't figure out from this if you're just dating the wrong people or aren't that into them when you start dating in the first place or are legitimately freaking out when a relationship goes well and want to hit the eject button, or any/all of the above. I would say to just...stop dating, honestly. Sort stuff out in therapy before you start dating again.

Speaking as having dated someone who was surprise! avoidant, going through people in an endless churn hoping that the "right" one won't make you want to hit the eject button probably doesn't work.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:40 AM on May 9, 2022

Time for an Ideal Partner List, finding 5 key must-haves
Then a Current Partner Pro/Con list and check them against the Ideal Partner List
If you’re at a 70% hit rate vs Ideal, then there’s no reason to break up and you need to shift into mode of hashing out these intimacy resistance feelings perhaps with a therapist.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 10:47 AM on May 9, 2022 [1 favorite]

Sometimes these are in fact serious issues and ultimately in each case I think the decision to break up was justified.
This seems really good, actually! Good job on this. It sounds like, with distance, you've realized you did make the right call. I agree with others that perhaps the problem is that you are waiting too long to call it, and not noting misalignments sooner?

I don't find them physically attractive (this did not bother me when we first started dating and our sex life is great)
I'm curious about this. Do you mean, you're not super attracted because they're not an ideal fitness/body type for you? Or, like you really don't have any attraction to them? Because I'm wondering why you got this far if you aren't attracted to them. I've dated people whose bodies I was more or less attracted to, and whose minds I was more or less attracted to, but I don't think it's great that this has been an issue for you throughout the relationship. I don't think this is good for you or your partner. They should be with someone who is attracted to them.

They are a people pleaser and indecisive for that reason, in part because they don't have a lot of relationship experience; usually I make all the decisions about what we do and what we talk about and I often don't know if the things they say are what they really think or what they think I want to hear.
I also want to say that this would drive me bonkers. I'm not sure this is related to not having much relationship experience; maybe this was the relationship model they saw growing up? I briefly dated a guy who was so reluctant to express opinions about where we'd go to dinner, or what movie we would watch. He was quite bright but grew up in a household where his dad deferred to his mom a lot, so I think that was just normal to him. "Whatever you'd like." I didn't always want to make the decisions! And I knew that sometimes he did have preferences and just wasn't sharing them. I would get super frustrated. He was a really sweet guy, and I just needed to be with someone who was a bit more assertive. It's okay to find this as something that doesn't work for you.

I also want to respond to the advice that some folks are saying here, not to date for a while. That can be healthy, but it's not the only path. There are definitely issues that you pretty much have to be in relationship to work on. You can do all the therapy and processing and so on, but until you're in a relationship and dealing with things, a lot of it is theoretical. Like, you can watch 100 youtube videos about making a soufflé, but you are going to learn a lot more if you also include some trial and error and actually ... try making a soufflé.

If we continue, I see nothing in my future but a repetition of my failed LTR, forfeiting my chance to find a partner who's truly compatible with me to settle for someone I'm happy with but not ecstatic about. I made a similar mistake in a long-term relationship. I think at five months, you should still be pretty excited about this person and excited for the possibilities ahead. Sure, you are going to see more of their quirks and things you aren't as excited about, but it's still a very new relationship.

And, as you said, you've made the right choice in the past when you've wanted to end relationships. I wonder, in future dating, if you might try to end things a bit sooner if, for example, you aren't attracted to someone. Maybe the problem isn't that these relationships are too short, but you let them go a bit too long?
posted by bluedaisy at 10:50 AM on May 9, 2022 [1 favorite]

If it's attachment theory you're wondering about, I always recommend The Personal Development School (YouTube) and the website which has a number of courses. I'd suggest taking the quiz to find out where you are on the avoidant scale - whether it is dismissive or fearful.

The school puts a lot of focus on relationships, which may help.

Have a brief look at signs of co-dependency and see anything clicks.
posted by Ms. Moonlight at 11:19 AM on May 9, 2022 [2 favorites]

I mean, I might be totally off base here. But. I am not reading anywhere in this question that you feel super compatible and excited about any of the relationships you got out of. 5 months is about when the happy brain chemicals wear off for a lot of people and you might just be more aware and able to recognize incompatibilities when you aren’t in the throes of limerence. I believe you that you have an anxious attachment style, but it also doesn’t come across that you are super sad not to be in any of these relationships. It’s ok for relationships to end when you aren’t feeling it.
posted by Bottlecap at 1:43 PM on May 9, 2022 [2 favorites]

I wanted to add as a clarification that successful attachment style therapy is focused on moving into a secure attachment style - - not to accept where you are as some kind of fixed aspect of you as a person, and definitely not necessarily to fix a relationship with a current partner. Like, it might, but it also might not. When you heal from attachment wounds you will start being drawn to other secure attachment style partners. That may be your current partner, but honestly it rarely is. And that's ok! It just also important to do the work for your own sake, so you can make better choices in the future and hopefully find people that you can have healthy, settled relationships with.
posted by ananci at 4:24 PM on May 9, 2022 [1 favorite]

This website is pretty great, both for people who identify as avoidant and their partners:
posted by danceswithlight at 12:57 PM on May 10, 2022

>I see nothing in my future but a repetition of my failed LTR

It sounds like you have some trauma around your LTR. I'm glad you're seeing a therapist and I hope they are trauma-informed. I don't think you're avoidant in relationships per se, I think you're avoiding really looking deeply at this relationship and learning from it. I say this because I feel that if you were doing that, you wouldn't be so afraid of repeating the past, AND you wouldn't be trying so hard to find a partner.

The underlying message of your post is "what is wrong with me that I keep pushing these partners away and that I can't form an LTR with them?" You're convinced it's because you're avoidant, but have you considered that you and them weren't compatible? Like they actually aren't what you want in a partner (and what DO you want in a partner)? It seems like with each person, you've tried to make it work, because you want that LTR/don't want to be lonely, but I think what you call self-sabotage is actually self-preservation - deep down you know this person isn't right for you.

With the current person - it's clear this relationship isn't working for you. It's not what you want. It's not because you're avoidant, it's because you don't actually want to be with this person. And there's nothing wrong with rejecting someone; with deciding that they're not right for you.

You don't find them physically attractive, then why are even you with them?! Physical attraction isn't everything, but it IS important, and you're not shallow for wanting to be with someone you find hot. Would you want to be with someone who wasn't attracted to you? That aside, it doesn't sound like you're into people-pleasing and indecisive types (me neither) - it sounds like this person barely even knows who they are and what they want. It really sounds like you're trying to force yourself into feeling love with someone that you're not compatible with, and labelling that avoidant.

Like others have said, take a break from relationships. Figure out who you are and what you want in a partner. You don't have to know 100% (who does), but it's clear that you don't know what you want right now. So give yourself that gift. Break up with this person whom you're clearly not compatible with.
posted by foxjacket at 9:37 PM on May 12, 2022

> tired and ashamed of the cycle of introducing new people to my friends only to have them disappear from their lives again a month or two later.

You could maybe talk to your friends about this and see how they actually feel about it - are they judging you, do they have insights, etc? At the least you could stop feeling shame about it. I like when my friends bring new people around, it’s novel and interesting.

As long as they’re not, like, bringing some random person they barely know to really special friend traditions like an annual cottage weekend, or high-stakes events like a wedding.

But bringing a new squeeze to brunch or a barbecue? Yes please! In casual situations like that it’s actually really fun to meet a friend’s new person-of-the-moment, even if they won’t be in our lives for long.

This probably doesn’t need to be something you feel shame over, just make sure to adjust your habits so you’re being considerate of your friends’ (stuff like, make sure the date is not eating a $200 wedding plate, being trapped with your friends at a cottage for a week, being respectful and a good conversationalist and ok with silence, not inappropriately intoxicated, etc).
posted by nouvelle-personne at 4:05 AM on August 1, 2022

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