Someone call the papers!

I mentioned in a previous post that I was attempting online dating again and that I might be meeting up with a guy from one of the sites. Well we did end up meeting up, and things have gone really well so far. I’ll need to write about our first date at some point, actually, as it makes for a funny story, in terms of how mortifyingly/ hilariously (depending on how you look at it) awkward I am. We’ve been going out for almost two months now, and I now have a boyfriend (!!!) Trust me when I say that no one is more surprised than I am! I was thoroughly convinced that I would never be in a relationship, given my mental health issues, unattractiveness, and low self-esteem. I still can’t really believe it now. This is a very prolonged and elaborate dream that I’m having. I really don’t want to mess this up, but I’m worried that all my issues that I mentioned above will inevitably ruin things. He knows all about my social anxiety and history of depression, and has so far been extremely patient and understanding, but it is still a worry. I have zero relationship experience (and not even much experience with friendships), and, as I mentioned before, being in a relationship/ getting close to someone is the area in which my anxiety and low self-esteem are most intense. I am also absolutely dreading meeting his parents (he has already met all of my immediate family, but his parents live up in the Highlands, so it will be some time before I have the opportunity to meet them, if everything continues to go well), even though they seem like lovely people. Everything in a relationship is so new and daunting to me.

While I’m of course really happy about finally having found someone I really like (and who apparently likes me) enough to be in a relationship, I am having huge issues with cognitive dissonance. For example, I can’t believe him when he says that he really likes me or that he finds me attractive, because most of my previous life experiences have taught me that I’m unlikeable/ unlovable, and that I’m hideously unattractive. Therefore according to the sum of my life experience and conditioning, he’s lying. And then I get suspicious and start to worry about what else he might be lying about. Stupid brain. All of this has made me realise that low self-esteem is my biggest issue/ obstacle. I’m currently reading a book on self-compassion in an attempt to address this. Another thing that I’m worried about is that I have intense anxiety/ issues around physical intimacy (I find it really difficult to talk about that kind of thing, but will hopefully write about it in more detail at some point, as I imagine it’s quite a common issue in those of us with SA). Even though he’s been super patient and understanding about this so far, I worry that my issues with this will eventually cause his patience to run out. Anyway…negative rant over.

It feels so great to finally have someone special in my life. I thought that romantic relationships would only ever be something that happened to other people, not to me. I’ve been so lucky to find someone so caring, patient and understanding when it comes to me and my mental health. I had the courage to be open with him about my issues, and he has accepted me, anxiety and all. I feel like this is someone that I may actually be able to trust and open up to completely. Although there are a lot of things about getting close to someone that make me really anxious, I have become so much more comfortable around him already (probably like a different person compared to how anxious I was on our first date), so I am hopeful that I will continue to improve and won’t let my anxiety get in the way of this part of my life. Even if things ultimately don’t work out, I’ve still really enjoyed our time together, and have some new happy memories to add to my collection. Any friendship or relationship that I have in my life is very precious to me. I won’t take this for granted, and I will certainly cherish this far more than most people.

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6 Responses to Someone call the papers!

  1. Marine says:

    Hi Gemma ! I was so happy for while reading this *-* I hope someday I will be able to have a boyfriend too… It’s been almost a couple of years that I get better and better, but I still have no confidence at all when it comes to that subject… Almost two years ago, I started talking to a guy on the internet, and now I really want to meet him, and I think he does too, but I’m so afraid… I think I will be to shy to say something, while I can talk about a lot of things with him through messages. I have no problem talking with someone on the internet, but when it comes to the “real life” I just can’t. I’m afraid he doesn’t find me attractive, or he thinks I’m boring. But when I think about it, if I can’t even meet the man I’ve been talking to the past two years, then when am I going to be able to meet another man ? It scares me, I really want to be with someone who cares for me, but I ruin everything…
    (sorry if my English sounds bad, I’m French ^^’)

    • Gemma says:

      Hi Marine. Sorry for the late reply. Does the guy you have been talking to know about your anxiety? I found that telling my boyfriend about my social anxiety really helped, and he was really understanding about it. If you haven’t already, I’d recommend letting the guy know about your anxiety, even if you simply tell him that you will probably be really nervous and not able to say much if/ when you meet. If he doesn’t accept that you have anxiety and at least try to understand it, he’s probably not worth dating anyway, so you have nothing to lose. I hope everything turns out okay. 🙂

  2. fotojennic says:

    I always thought my husband was lying too, when we were dating and he’d tell me I’m beautiful. But !! If he didn’t like you / find you attractive, he wouldn’t be dating you!!! ❤

  3. Really, really happy for you and your progress. Been reading your journal since 2013 and I’ve always respected your perseverance.

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