Happy new year to everyone! Hopefully we made it out of the worst part and things can only get better from here^^ I hope 2021 brings hope and positive change to your life, no matter what that implies for you at this moment.
I want to write a quick post about the emotional ups and downs that come with a life where booze is no longer used as a crutch. [DISCLAIMER: the post turned out to be a boring / long anxious rant … now is a good time to go and do something more interesting. Otherwise, read on, but you have been warned!]
I’ve been single for a few months now, which has done me a tremendous amount of good, especially considering how rare the periods of solitude have been in my life. I’ve basically been in long term relationships since I was 14. Many of these, I realize, I chose to avoid being alone and feeling unwanted. Now for the first time, thanks to sobriety and the self-development work I started a few years ago, I have grown to tolerate, even cherish, being alone. Discovering my values. Getting to know myself. That kind of stuff.
Now that I’m back in the dating game, I am also discovering the joys of finding partners out of CHOICE, not by default. I no longer need to find someone at all costs to avoid being alone. This makes a huge difference. But it has also made things more difficult, since as you know, I currently have a huge crush on someone who visibly is letting me do all the pursuing. Because I like this person so much, the stakes are much higher than all those times where I simply let myself be pursued by men who left me relatively indifferent, and “went with the flow.” With this new crush, I feel like everything is more intense, and the ball is constantly in my court, which is horribly nerve-wracking and turning me into an anxious mess.
Strikingly though, ”Out Of My League Guy,” whose name is Jean, has expressed similar feelings of ME being out of HIS league (we both seem to have severe low self esteem issues^^). Everything is still very new and fresh, and I am trying my best not to get my hopes up, but guys… AT LAST! SHIT GOT PHYSICAL! [cue crowd cheers for Anne].
Yep, I asked him to spend New Years Eve together, solo, and he said ok, after expressing worry that because of him, I would spend “the most boring evening of my life.” WRONG! I had the BEST NIGHT EVER.
That evening, once I finally mustered up the courage to kiss him, things magically started to flow – he really does have a rule where he won’t do anything until the woman initiates, but man, once the ice was broken, things got insaaaane. I’ll spare you the details, but it involved lots of kissing, listening to music, deep talks, making love 5 times, pillow talk, and being generally very affectionate and tender. The pillow talk included lots of cheesy moments, where we both seemed to admit we really liked each other. At various moments during the evening, he mentioned how intimidated he was by me, how fortunate he felt to have met me, how “unique”, “special”, and “smart” I was. He also said I was beautiful and even called me a “sex Empress”, explaining that I was much more active in bed than most women, which was very surprising to me, given how hard I worked to get over my crippling shyness. I also reciprocated with similar compliments, and it all felt like a dream come true, despite my insecurities about showing my body to him.
A couple of days later he asked me if I was home, and when I said yes, he texted, “open the door, special delivery”. I was trembling when he came through my door and handed me a paper bag, saying “don’t open this until I’m gone.” I barely had time to say “wait!” and give him a long hug before he mumbled “I have to go” and disappeared into the staircase. When I opened the bag, I found this beautiful terrarium [see pic above] in a big, heavy glass egg, and a cute note written on a small card.
So all in all, this sounds like the perfect beginning to a beautiful love story.
And this is where things get sticky.
The magical sex/bonding night was Thursday evening, and the terrarium thing was Saturday. We texted a lot that evening, but since then, zero news. Nada. Not a peep. I see him online on my phone, but he hasn’t written to me.
I know, I know… it’s only been, what … 24 hours, but for some reason, I have been feeling emotionally starved every time this kind of silence has happened with this guy (which I would say, happens once or twice a week).
Why so anxious? Probably because so far, this man has let me make ALL the first moves. I asked to make plans first, I text first 90% of the time, I asked to spend new year’s eve together, I got him a (small, and in comparison, crappy) Xmas gift first, I had to kiss him first. I’ve never been this proactive with ANYONE, ever.
For someone who has ALWAYS relied on men (or alcohol) to make the first move, this guy is making me feel like a needy, desperate stalker.
Worse, his independent/introverted style and his apparent shyness (which I am really struggling to understand since he is both physically and intellectually stunning, and not shy AT ALL in bed), are extremely triggering for me. Although we text on a quasi-daily basis, there regularly comes a point where we don’t text for a day or two, which instantly gets me to switch to Panic-anxious-attachment mode: “WHY does this guy not initiate? Does he not like me anymore? Am I a clingy desperate wreck ? Will he feel smothered if I text? Is he juggling multiple women? Did I repulse him somehow? Is he just shy, or very independent, or simply emotionally unavailable? Am I crazy and overreacting?”
At this point, I know better than to reach out like a psycho. I am able to sit with all these unpleasant doubts, but it’s emotionally exhausting. I DID gain some insight though:
My previous relationship was with someone who was a LOT more anxious than I was, which naturally led me to adopt a more avoidant stance. But here, I am definitely in insecure/anxious attachment mode. Funny how attachment styles really ARE contextual.
So what now?
I can’t read minds, and don’t feel like I’ve known him long enough to share my needs for intimacy and connection (after all, we are NOT in a relationship, we’ve only been on 5 dates).
Because I am sick of the cycle where I end up cracking and contacting him, I made a pact with myself yesterday. I SWORE that this time [beware, cheesy formulation coming up], I would give us BOTH the gift of space: for him, the space to realize he misses me, and get a chance to reach out himself. And for me, well …. to sit with this horrible crippling anxiety and practice focusing on my own life/hobbies/interest instead of obsessing over this guy 24-7 and of musing about how many babies we will have ^^
It’s really, really hard though.
What if he NEVER reaches out? What if I’m 80 by the time he does, and my uterus has shriveled up and we can’t make all those babies?
Even worse = What if all this business about me trying not to be needy is just my own fear of being vulnerable and admitting to someone that I like them?
Worst of all = What if this dreaming about a relationship is all in my head? What if I’m on the Truman show and turns out he’s not interested at all and I’ve been hallucinating all these encouraging signs? ARGHHHHH
I must confess, the addict in me has contemplated seeing and sleeping with other guys to “make it” until Jean contacts me (deep down I know he will eventually).. But my sister said this was junkie thinking, and that I should practice finding self-worth by myself instead of using multiple guys as a fix to get attention and validation. Bloody younger siblings and their wisdom…
I don’t know why I am so triggered – probably because of the uncertainty that comes with the early stages of what (I hope) might turn out to be a relationship. AND also cause of the specific characteristics of this insanely attractive yet seemingly unattainable (except when in person) guy.
If I KNEW he liked me for sure, I would chill out a lot. I know I’m not needy in a way where I am incapable of having my own life. Rather, I need to be reassured that the connection is secure, and he hasn’t disappeared into the void or changed his mind. I’m not the terrified infant who won’t leave her mother’s lap, I’m the infant who needs to know the mother is watching when I turn back to check, and once I feel like someone “has my back”, then I’ll happily keep moving forward in my exploration of the big scary world.
It’s hard for me to express my need for daily communication to this guy, as I am literally terrified of coming off as clingy or desperate. I haven’t figured out if he has an avoidant style or just a secure style and is taking things slow. I’m obviously terrible at taking things slow but for now, I have no choice. This guy is the slowest person on earth it seems.
I hope this rant gets some of the anxiety out of my system. Sorry for the awful post… better here than in his email though ^^
I hope 2021 brings me more self-reliance!