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She's suffering from early relationship anxiety, am I dealing with it correctly?


MrMan1983
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Hi,

 

I'm late 30s and have recently started dating a women (10 dates in, including two weekends together) and it's been going brilliantly, in fact I have never felt this sure about someone so far. We completely click and we have been enjoying every moment together.

 

Last night though she said she misses me already (we had met the day before), and that it feels strange/scary for her because she doesn't want to feel that way and it's making her feel really anxious, also that she's feeling terrified of letting another human into her life and that she feels she has been too open with her feelings. Basically she doesn't see it as a good thing feeling that way, I tried to explain it must mean we really enjoy each others company and that I missed her too. I also let her know that this is something I haven't experienced before in my own feelings either and that it's new for both of us.

 

As a guy I'm a guy that does get anxious from time to time too (she said she has suffered from bad anxiety in the past) however on this occassion I have been living in the moment and feeling happy/excited about the situation and prospect of meeting my potential match, so what she said last night came as unexpected for me I had assumed things were heading in the correct direction.

 

I'm a bit worried I was being too open myself in revealing all of my feelings, I'm usually more guarded because I've been bitten in the past for being too open with women then looking like a keeno.

 

How should I be playing this situation, should I just be as reassuring as possible, or should I be giving her a bit of space to process everything? I want us to be able to continue enjoying the dating process and getting to know each other without things getting too heavy/complicated too soon causing it to break down.

 

Hopefully I hear from her later and she's feeling better again, any advice much appreciated though, all new grounds for me and do not want to mess things up.

 

Thanks

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It sounds kind of fishy to me.

 

No one who is falling in love and enjoying the other person's company gets 'terrified' of letting that person into his/her life. There's something else going on here.

 

I think you should ask HER what she wants to do about it. Perhaps spending two weekends together in only 10 dates is rushing things on your part. But definitely ask her what she wants you to do.

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Every relationship is a leap of faith. You'll get hurt if it doesn't work out, and you'll be happy if you've found a lifetime partner. That's life. You can't live your life in a safe bubble, because safe bubbles will lead to lonely lives.

 

If she brings that up again, I'd say these sorts of things to her. Because dating wouldn't be enjoyable to me when if a person regularly moaned in anxiety about developing feelings. I wouldn't be a doormat and would basically say: If you're not 100 percent confident in continuing on with me, let me know sooner than later.

 

My husband was cheated on in his two major relationships before we met. I would've never have known this by the way he and I dated. He had no qualms and was very open to the normal progression in a relationship.

 

I'm a bit worried I was being too open myself in revealing all of my feelings Your feelings right now are infatuation. It takes longer to develop real love for a person. Therefore, there's not much to "reveal" at this point, is there? The fact that you keep asking her out, show affection, compliment her (I'm assuming) says it all.

 

Have a wait and see attitude, but when people start coming up with excuses regarding the relationship, or if they start pulling away, it's time for a discussion, and that doesn't mean begging. Show your self worth and lay it on the line. "Hey, I can't be with someone who is unsure of being with me, so if that's not happening, it's best we part ways."

 

Even if a person is sexy and beautiful, that's only the icing on the cake. Don't settle for someone who has emotional baggage holding them back or is giving fake excuses to fade away from the relationship. That frees you to be available when someone who will be crazy about you comes along.

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Emotional instability is a big red flag. You will forever be reassuring her over and over. It's a visions cycle...she feels anxious, you reassure her, she feels better, it wears off, she feels anxious, you reassure her, she feels better....you enable the OCD type behavior. You give her a quick fix, and then you will find she will keep asking for it.

 

If you want to work with this behavior, I would suggest strong communication, and don't fall into the reassurance trap. Let her think for herself and make decisions on how to proceed.

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Most people reach a stage in the dating phase after some shared physical intimacy and feel vulnerable. I agree with the wait and see approach for now. She does sound unusually fragile though. Do you know when her last relationship ended? What has she done for herself since that time? Is she a serial monogamist?

 

As you spend more time together, focus more on building your emotional connection with each other and reaffirm your feelings for each other if they are mutual. You shouldn't be her therapist so don't keep asking her if she is okay or checking in with her. Make the time you spend together meaningful.

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Thank you for your feedback, much appreciated.

 

She has been single for a couple of years and has been living on her own and doing her own thing, focussing on work, friends and not dating much. Same as me really. Her and I both have not had many long term relationships either so I understand why she might be scared to let herself become vulnerable however on this occassion I wasn't getting any red flags till last night so was feeling excited to see where things might go.

 

It is worth noting it has not only been me organising dates, she's been just as enthusiastic as I have been till what she said last night, the night before we had a lovely evening and she didn't want me to leave so it's a confusing one.

 

Maybe it just a moment!

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Emotional instability is a big red flag. You will forever be reassuring her over and over. It's a visions cycle...she feels anxious, you reassure her, she feels better, it wears off, she feels anxious, you reassure her, she feels better....you enable the OCD type behavior. You give her a quick fix, and then you will find she will keep asking for it.

 

If you want to work with this behavior, I would suggest strong communication, and don't fall into the reassurance trap. Let her think for herself and make decisions on how to proceed.

 

Thank you, will take your advice on not falling into the reassurance trap.

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Every relationship is a leap of faith. You'll get hurt if it doesn't work out, and you'll be happy if you've found a lifetime partner. That's life. You can't live your life in a safe bubble, because safe bubbles will lead to lonely lives.

 

If she brings that up again, I'd say these sorts of things to her. Because dating wouldn't be enjoyable to me when if a person regularly moaned in anxiety about developing feelings. I wouldn't be a doormat and would basically say: If you're not 100 percent confident in continuing on with me, let me know sooner than later.

 

My husband was cheated on in his two major relationships before we met. I would've never have known this by the way he and I dated. He had no qualms and was very open to the normal progression in a relationship.

 

I'm a bit worried I was being too open myself in revealing all of my feelings Your feelings right now are infatuation. It takes longer to develop real love for a person. Therefore, there's not much to "reveal" at this point, is there? The fact that you keep asking her out, show affection, compliment her (I'm assuming) says it all.

 

Have a wait and see attitude, but when people start coming up with excuses regarding the relationship, or if they start pulling away, it's time for a discussion, and that doesn't mean begging. Show your self worth and lay it on the line. "Hey, I can't be with someone who is unsure of being with me, so if that's not happening, it's best we part ways."

 

Even if a person is sexy and beautiful, that's only the icing on the cake. Don't settle for someone who has emotional baggage holding them back or is giving fake excuses to fade away from the relationship. That frees you to be available when someone who will be crazy about you comes along.

 

All good points and I certainly agree with what you mentioned about taking risks and not staying in a safe bubble all your life. Hopefully it does not keep coming up.

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It sounds kind of fishy to me.

 

No one who is falling in love and enjoying the other person's company gets 'terrified' of letting that person into his/her life. There's something else going on here.

 

I think you should ask HER what she wants to do about it. Perhaps spending two weekends together in only 10 dates is rushing things on your part. But definitely ask her what she wants you to do.

 

Thanks, the weekends just happened organically, we had started off with just meeting for a meal and then it just happened but perhaps I should of held back more to begin with. I will ask her what she wants to do if it comes up again.

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Agree with the general consensus here.

 

My personal sense is that you can gauge a few things about someone during these early days: how ready they are for the risk of romance, how compatible you two are in how you approach that risk. What I'd be seeing, in your shoes, is someone who is quite fragile emotionally and, consciously or not, wants that fragility to be a main source of bonding. That would worry me. Since in these early stages the stakes could not be lower—we're talking about two adults who have spent 10 days together—I'd wonder what kind of behavior I'd be seeing once there are actual stakes at play.

 

I would focus, now, on "playing" this by just being exactly who you want to be in a relationship. Is constant reassurance something you enjoy, find value in, get excited about? If so, go into that gear, with a rough understanding that this is you building a foundation with someone. If that's not you, be confident in yourself, and continue to be curious about her. You've been clear in your feelings, clear in your compassion for her nerves. Wonderful! If that's not enough for her to exhale after this jittery moment, I'd probably be quick to say something along the lines of what Andrina suggested: if you're not confident in being able to continue with me, let me know sooner than later.

 

That is a display of respect for her, for yourself, and for reality. That is the sort of vulnerability that can be expansive and shared, rather than corrosive to sincere connectivity.

 

I admit that's kind of theoretical advice. I encountered versions of this when I was dating, and it was always, for me, a signal to find an exit or, in retrospect, the moment the rocket ship veered away from the clouds and started its descent. I have enormous reserves of patience and compassion, having been through many fires in my own life, but since I don't walk around with those fires at my feet I want to walk next to someone who has put theirs own out. I find that attractive, compelling. Once the stakes get higher—once there is love, talks of moving in, of starting a family, whatever—I understand how this edginess can surface, since we're all humans with pasts, with fears that can be stirred as we swim out into deep waters. But if those fears are this potent when you're still at the shore, I just don't know how to be joined in the depths. That's just me, of course.

 

All of which is probably fancy talk for: be honest with yourself. As she vocalizes these fears to you, are you finding yourself more excited about this connection or more wary? Just as you are new to her, she is new to you. You are both revealing more of yourselves to each other every day, so just be honest about what you're seeing, and how it affects your own equilibrium rather than getting too caught up in hers.

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Agree with the general consensus here.

 

My personal sense is that you can gauge a few things about someone during these early days: how ready they are for the risk of romance, how compatible you two are in how you approach that risk. What I'd be seeing, in your shoes, is someone who is quite fragile emotionally and, consciously or not, wants that fragility to be a main source of bonding. That would worry me. Since in these early stages the stakes could not be lower—we're talking about two adults who have spent 10 days together—I'd wonder what kind of behavior I'd be seeing once there are actual stakes at play.

 

I would focus, now, on "playing" this by just being exactly who you want to be in a relationship. Is constant reassurance something you enjoy, find value in, get excited about? If so, go into that gear, with a rough understanding that this is you building a foundation with someone. If that's not you, be confident in yourself, and continue to be curious about her. You've been clear in your feelings, clear in your compassion for her nerves. Wonderful! If that's not enough for her to exhale after this jittery moment, I'd probably be quick to say something along the lines of what Andrina suggested: if you're not confident in being able to continue with me, let me know sooner than later.

 

That is a display of respect for her, for yourself, and for reality. That is the sort of vulnerability that can be expansive and shared, rather than corrosive to sincere connectivity.

 

I admit that's kind of theoretical advice. I encountered versions of this when I was dating, and it was always, for me, a signal to find an exit or, in retrospect, the moment the rocket ship veered away from the clouds and started its descent. I have enormous reserves of patience and compassion, having been through many fires in my own life, but since I don't walk around with those fires at my feet I want to walk next to someone who has put theirs own out. I find that attractive, compelling. Once the stakes get higher—once there is love, talks of moving in, of starting a family, whatever—I understand how this edginess can surface, since we're all humans with pasts, with fears that can be stirred as we swim out into deep waters. But if those fears are this potent when you're still at the shore, I just don't know how to be joined in the depths. That's just me, of course.

 

All of which is probably fancy talk for: be honest with yourself. As she vocalizes these fears to you, are you finding yourself more excited about this connection or more wary? Just as you are new to her, she is new to you. You are both revealing more of yourselves to each other every day, so just be honest about what you're seeing, and how it affects your own equilibrium rather than getting too caught up in hers.

 

That is all really good advice and certainly given me food for thought, it certainly is early in our dating for these kind of moments. I shall see how she is after that jittery moment and go from there, I hope it was just that because I very much enjoy her company and what we have had so far.

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Most people reach a stage in the dating phase after some shared physical intimacy and feel vulnerable. I agree with the wait and see approach for now. She does sound unusually fragile though. Do you know when her last relationship ended? What has she done for herself since that time? Is she a serial monogamist?

 

As you spend more time together, focus more on building your emotional connection with each other and reaffirm your feelings for each other if they are mutual. You shouldn't be her therapist so don't keep asking her if she is okay or checking in with her. Make the time you spend together meaningful.

 

I agree with this. Being vulnerable and risking your heart causes a good number of people to feel anxious.

Be predisposed to anxiety and that's just how she is wired to respond. Doesn't mean anything is wrong with her or the relationship.

Just be patient, continue what you are doing and take it one day at a time. An anxious repsonse is nothing new for her. She'll work it out on her own (I have an anxiety disorder)

Edited by reinventmyself
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I agree with this. Being vulnerable and risking your heart causes a good number of people to feel anxious.

Be predisposed to anxiety and that's just how she is wired to respond. Doesn't mean anything is wrong with her or the relationship.

Just be patient, continue what you are doing and take it one day at a time. An anxious repsonse is nothing new for her. She'll work it out on her own (a have an anxiety disorder)

 

I agree and for me personally I'd be put off by what I would see as oversharing and inappropriate sharing - you don't know her that long and you are not her therapist. A one off is fine - I'd proceed with some caution.

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Have the exclusivity talk to allay her fears. Let her know you're "going somewhere". Slow down just a bit and let things sort of evolve. It sounds like she likes to talk about her feelings a lot, do what you're doing and just listen, etc.

it feels strange/scary for her because she doesn't want to feel that way and it's making her feel really anxious, also that she's feeling terrified of letting another human into her life and that she feels she has been too open with her feelings. Basically she doesn't see it as a good thing feeling that way, I tried to explain it must mean we really enjoy each others company and that I missed her too.
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Reinvent's post inspires me. I admire people who are able to say what their limits are or if they are predisposed to something such as anxiety because I wish I had that type of openness in my previous relationship. I thought there might already be the exclusive talk but if there hasn't been one it might help especially if you are both new to relationships. Great point, Wiseman.

 

Both of you are just at the start of something possibly quite beautiful. I'd take everything with a grain of salt and really hang on to that communication that you have with each other. Trust that and trust in each other. If other things come up or this becomes quite frequent maybe the kinder thing to do is to be honest with her that you don't feel equipped or fully able to understand her anxiety. I'd enjoy this in the moment and appreciate that communication. She may be very aware that she has moments and you can acknowledge yours too.

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Most people experience anxiety to one degree or another.

Some of us are on the higher end. I kinda take issue with words like emotional instability and similar.

 

It remains to be seen if she has any issues that makes her unsuitable. Her sharing her vulnerability, especially in the context of what shared is normal.

 

Your question is what do you on your end? Just be you and if things are meant to be it will work itself out.

 

Just momentary jitters is all I read.

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I agree with bluecastle,

 

I feel like before you get into a serious relationship with anyone you need to have your emotional stability checked. I know you will have good and bad days. As someone with high anxiety I know I’ll be more anxious then most. I just also know whoever I date won’t be my therapist nor would I want them to be. I’ll need to make sure I’m emotionally ready. I get relationships happen by incident and not when we are fully ready at times. I just think you should ask this girl if she’s even ready to be in a relationship.

 

It’s not fair for you to carry all this on your back. It will start to outweigh you.

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