Ask What You Want Wednesdays, Dating with Anxiety
Comment 1

A Story From a Reader

This is a follow-up message, sent from the same reader who wrote the “Ask What You Want Wednesday” question on December 23rd. This content has been posted with permission from the writer.

Sadly, there wasn’t a happy ending to my story as I hoped there would be, but I hope that the end of this will provide some comfort and hope to your readers.

I spent Christmas doing the things I wanted to do, and I kept in touch with this man by texting each other once a day. I felt chilled out and positive, which made a nice change. After a lovely exchange on Boxing Day, I stopped hearing from him completely, but I managed to relax about it and just assumed he was busy. After a few days, I asked him if he was okay. He responded by saying he was fine and just had some family trouble. I took his word for it, but when I went back to the city to spend New Years with my friends, I’d still heard nothing. After a whole week of nothing, I tried to call and left a friendly message. Still nothing. Another week went by and I was going insane. What had I done? Was he coming back? Where was he? I managed to stop myself from contacting him despite this. Friends reassured me by telling me he clearly adored me and wouldn’t break it off, but deep down I knew something beyond his family troubles was wrong.

“Friends reassured me by telling me he clearly adored me and wouldn’t break it off, but deep down I knew something beyond his family troubles was wrong.

Another week went by, and I got a Facebook message from him breaking up with me (a Facebook message!). He cited school stress and family troubles for “not wanting anything serious right now” and that he still wanted to be friends with me, but I was devastated. I had been ignored for two weeks then dumped, and that was painful because I know I didn’t deserve it.

He told me he wanted to meet up to talk and ‘clear the air’ but even arranging this was down to me making more effort than him. When we met up he told me that he never actually wanted anything with me, thought it had been moving too fast and “meant to tell me before Christmas.” Before Christmas he was telling me how much he loved spending time with me and couldn’t wait to see me again! He’d also been the one to initiate the whole damn thing when we’d started seeing one another! It was a shock to hear this from somebody I was so sure liked me the same way I liked him. I felt betrayed and hurt and couldn’t stop crying. He made it worse by telling me that “any man would be lucky to have me”. Owch. I felt like an idiot as I handed over the ‘good luck with your exams’ present I’d gotten him over the holidays and said goodbye in floods of tears.

I’ve not seen him since, and he’s not made any effort to contact me. The only exchange we’ve had is a very brief one where I wished him well in his exams, and I just couldn’t respond when he wished me well too. To feel wanted, then to find out he didn’t want you after all feels like you’ve been punched in the stomach. I’m impressed by my own restraint at not messaging him essays about how miserable I am. I’m angry because I want him to care, angry because he’s not checking up on me to see how I am. I want him to come back and tell me he’s made a huge mistake, but I know he won’t, and messaging him to tell him how badly I’m doing won’t do any good. To make it worse, I think he’s in pursuit of another woman (thanks social media). That stings, and my brain is ticking away with the ‘what’s wrong with me’, ‘why does her like her better than me?’, ‘nobody wants me’ and all those toxic thoughts.

“To feel wanted, then to find out he didn’t want you after all feels like you’ve been punched in the stomach.

The worst part of getting dumped for being ‘too keen’ at first seemed to confirm all of the negative beliefs my anxiety told me about myself: that I was too needy, that I was crazy, that I drove him away etc. etc. etc. But if there’s anything I’d like to tell anybody who has anxiety and has had a similar dating situation, it’s that there’s nothing wrong with you. Using emotional manipulation is wrong. Messing with someone’s mind is wrong. Wearing your heart on your sleeve and wanting to hear from someone you like is not wrong. The word ‘needy’ is all too often used to make loving people feel bad about themselves. To anxious people, the word ‘needy’ kills you because it resets any progress you’ve made with changing your thoughts and negative beliefs.

“at first seemed to confirm all of the negative beliefs my anxiety told me about myself: that I was too needy, that I was crazy, that I drove him away etc. etc. etc. But if there’s anything I’d like to tell anybody who has anxiety and has had a similar dating situation, it’s that there’s nothing wrong with you.

As much as it hurts, you have to come to terms with the fact that someone who finds you ‘too much’ isn’t right, despite your anxiety telling you how much it was ‘your fault’ for ‘driving him away’. I keep having to tell myself that over and over because I’m still hurting very badly. I was in a very bad place after the two weeks of being ghosted then getting dumped, and I know that will take a while to go away.

If somebody wants to be with you, they will make the time and the space. No matter how bad they are at keeping in touch, no matter how stressed they are or what’s happening in their lives, they will make it work and find a way. I was willing to make that time and space for him, but he wasn’t willing to do the same for me.

“If somebody wants to be with you, they will make the time and the space.

I hope some of your readers can maybe take comfort in this story, and know that even when the worst does happen, it’s not their fault. They are not ‘too’ keen, ‘too’ much or ‘too’ anything. They are themselves and someone who treats you that way just doesn’t have the same superpower of being loving that we, the anxious folk, do. Being anxious makes you more conscientious, and one day that will be appreciated. Sadly, the blues hit you harder when it transpires that your feelings weren’t reciprocated.

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1 Comment

  1. I felt so sad when I read this. As an anxious young girl, I became depressed about a break-up and thought life would never improve. The following year I met and married the man I have been with for 34 years. Try to be positive and know that almost all of us have break-ups both in relationships and marriage.

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