Dating with Anxiety, Readers Questions
Comments 7

Ask What You Want Wednesday: Don’t Want to Ruin a Good Thing

I’m currently seeing this guy and we just started seeing each other. I have GAD and take medicine for it. I keep reading into things too much and I don’t know how to control it. I don’t want him to think I need constant reassurance either. When we’re together he is the sweetest guy and I feel so important to him, but when we talk on the phone I think I read too much into things. I don’t want to ruin a possibly good thing because of my anxiety.

Thank you for sending in these thoughts…being concerned about ruining a good thing could be the title of my autobiography “Don’t Want to Ruin a Good Thing: The Adventures of Hattie C. Cooper and Her Irritable Bowel.”  But in all seriousness, you are not alone in this concern OR in the habit of reading into things.

Usually when we read into things it is because of uncertainty. When you’re new to a relationship there are a lot of unknowns still. And one of the biggest unknowns, and one of the most powerful ones, is not knowing whether or not you can trust someone yet. As you begin to open up to someone new you expose yourself to being hurt. To get closer to someone in any real, authentic, kind of way you have to be vulnerable, and this is scary as shit.

Talking on the phone is especially difficult for people with anxiety because it removes the human authenticity from the moment. People with anxiety are usually very intuitive and sensitive and rely heavily on physical and/or facial cues. The fucking phone can be the worst. For some reason talking on the phone makes us hyper-aware of everything we say, how we say it, and all those awkward-as-hell moments of silence.

My only encouragement is the more you do it, the more comfortable you’ll become. It takes time (sometimes a lot of time) but as you grow to know this guy more, you’ll grow more comfortable. Be patient with yourself. Give yourself time to adjust.

It also sounds like you might have some thought patterns that like to blame yourself when things don’t go perfectly — as in, if this relationship doesn’t go well, you might blame yourself (or, your anxiety). Remind yourself, time and time again, that relationships are two people being vulnerable together. Two people trying to trust one another, support one another, and learn how to be a better partner. I can guarantee this guy you’re spending time with has things he’s working on, as well. Remember this.

Worrying that we might “ruin” something comes from a place of believing our thoughts or emotions are invalid. That they don’t “count” as much as what other people are feeling because ours come from a place of anxiety. This is simply not true.

As you navigate through these confusing and uncertain times, remember confidence can be defined by knowing we are strong enough to withstand, and survive, a difficult or painful time. Spend time recalling moments from your past when you showed resilience, courage, or strength. Work like a badass to build up that confidence: the confidence in your ability to come out the other end of a difficult time.

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7 Comments

  1. Your blog site is a plethora of information. I have studied health and disease for many years. I believe most physicians lack the skill and knowledge of emotions associated with non tangible disorders. GAD, IBS, FBS, MPS are several named conditions that are typically addressed from a symptom relief standpoint. This means the medical field has “thrown the hat in” classifying these “diseases” as chronic conditions to be maintained. It is my belief this is a huge mistake. Patients believe all these conditions are irreversible. This takes away all hope of finding a permanent correction.
    We need to pursue a different course in evaluating the best protocols to CORRECT many of these issues before they actually become irreversible. This means we need to uncover the ROOT CAUSES resulting in the development of these conditions. Patient involvement is crucial. Symptom relief certainly should be a part of the treatment protocol, but should be weened as the individual uncovers and corrects the underlying problem. Pills will never provide an adequate solution in and of itself.

  2. That is such good advice, Hattie. Almost everyone gets anxious with a new date, it’s just amplified if you have an anxiety disorder. Emails, texts and telephone conversations are often not a true reflection of what we are feeling. They may be truncated because of time, lack of privacy or awkwardness. Just enjoy the lovely time you are having together in the moment.

  3. Aww, this was beautiful:
    Remind yourself, time and time again, that relationships are two people being vulnerable together. Two people trying to trust one another, support one another, and learn how to be a better partner.
    <3 :)

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