All posts filed under: Dating with Anxiety

Collecting Those Relationship Blueprints

It would be so nice if in third grade we all sat down, opened our Relationship Textbooks, and started learning a set of skills. But, unfortunately, that shit doesn’t happen. In childhood we aren’t all taught the skills necessary to build solid, strong relationships. For the majority of us we learn how to “relationship” by what we see and observe in the relationships around us. I know, personally, that my anxiety often rattles around in my brain with negative thoughts. My skull is a gumball machine, my negative thoughts are hideously moldy gumballs, and they love to try and accumulate. Over the years I have spent way too much time thinking about all the things I “should” be doing better or that I “could” have done differently. I have spent a lot of time fixating on what “might” go wrong in the near future/distant future/hypothetical futures. And when it comes to my intimate relationships and the years I spent trying to enter into the dating world I spent a hell of a lot of time hating myself and my …

Discussing Mental Health on a First Date

The New York Times recently shared a question that was sent to their “ethicist.” The reader is back on the dating scene again after ending a lengthy relationship. The reader also lives with a complex mental health past and is uncertain about when if/when to discuss this past when entering new relationships. What I love about this short little piece is that it acknowledges the grey area of getting close and intimate with another person. It explains: “on dates, convention holds, you’re not obliged to lead with your weaknesses. The best way for someone to see that you’re doing O.K. is not to assert it but to show it. AKA walk the walk, yo. Show what you are capable of on a day-to-day basis, let them see your best self. While you may feel your shadows are bigger than you, the truth is they only feel this way from your perspective. Remember you have a say in how you are perceived. You are writing your own story; make sure you’re the protagonist of it. However, the …

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 …

One of the Weirder Moments of Eye Contact I’ve Had Recently…

Eye contact can be challenging for me sometimes. I know it’s important, I know it makes people feel heard and connected, but damn it be awks sometimes. It’s incredibly intimate and makes you feel seen. It reminds you that, hey, you are right there. That’s you. A good friend of mine got married this past summer and after the ceremony she pointed something out to me I hadn’t realized before. “You have to maintain eye contact for a long time. Like, way too long,” she said, a fellow introvert who probably is as much of a fan of eye contact as I am. I’d never thought of this. Over the past few years I’ve been to a lot of weddings. A lot. If weddings were Cheetos and I was pouring myself a bowl for the past two years that bowl would be full. You know what I mean? Cheeto metaphor? Jared and I have attended so many weddings we foolishly thought planning a wedding would be easy. We thought it would be as breezy as a sailboat on a …

Getting Better at Getting Mad (aka finding your conflict spirit animal)

I’m getting better at getting mad. What I mean is, I’m slowly learning the skills of fighting fairly while in a romantic relationship. I’m getting “better” at being mad, if that makes sense. As Jared and mine’s wedding approaches faster than the upcoming Oscar snub of Leo (jk he’s probably going to win) I’ve been thinking a lot about how a marriage will probably consist of just as many challenging moments as joyous moments. Love is the bread holding this meaty sandwich of chaos together. To put it simply: I’m not the best at being angry. I don’t handle negative emotions very skillfully. I’ve never been an expert at navigating conflict.  I fear being mad or frustrated reflects poorly on my character as a whole. I feel a lot of guilt, shame, and fear. So one of the things I’ve been forced to get better at, now that my life is so intimately interconnected with another human, is how to be mad. Like, how to be mad. Being upset is the easy part. But being upset in …