Slowing Down

I know that oxytocin is a big part of my feelings and thoughts right now, but I can’t ignore them regardless. I have to keep repeating the fact that I have only known her for 3 weeks because it feels like so much longer. The way I act around her is SO different from the way I acted around previous partners, but it’s almost exactly how I act when no one else is there. There’s no “act”. It’s a little overwhelming.

I had a little bit of a “freak out” yesterday after she left. It concerned my life’s purpose, family relationships, and just general anxiety about work and school. However, it also involved my current [very strong] feelings and emotions towards this new human in my life. My friend suggested I hold off on introducing her to more friends or family so that their opinions and thoughts (even if they’re positive) wouldn’t interfere with my own “getting to know her” time. I think that’s a good idea.

I’m not quick to refer to people as my romantic partner or share that with everyone in my life, but I do disclose when I’m seeing/getting to know someone new rather quickly. I don’t do this because I want to, but it either comes up in conversation or I start putting my time towards the new person and away from my previous “plans” or “normal schedule” and then people start asking questions.

This just feels different for me. We’ll see.

Finding Balance

As someone who is newly seeing someone, I am struggling to balance my obsession with wanting to be around this human 24/7 and still taking time for the things I was doing before I met them.

I can’t help it, my oxytocin is going crazy and I want nothing more than to spend all of my time getting to know this new woman. I also know that I need to spend time with myself and make time to do normal things like grocery shopping and laundry. Yesterday was me trying to do that. I had time to spend with her, but I chose to watch The Notebook, bake brownies, and “re-start” a puzzle. I went to bed, slept really well, and here I am at work the next day.

I have a schedule for each week. I am a planner and I own many a calendar to record my events for each month. Weekly, I work Monday through Friday, roughly 7am to 1pm, give or take. Thursdays I spend with my grandma, 3pm to 7pm. Friday and Saturday I am normally in my mom’s town after work. Occasionally I would stay through Sunday, but I think that was too much. So, currently, my available days to see this new human are Monday-Wednesday after work and Saturday and Sunday (given I am back in Atlanta at a decent time [on Saturday]).

So, where is the time I schedule for myself? I don’t know. That is the answer. I guess it might fall on Thursday nights and maybe one afternoon M-W? I’m not sure yet. I also don’t know if I can keep to a schedule concerning that need. Also, isn’t allowing myself to see and get to know this new person partially self-care? I’m not drained by being around her. Now, that’s how you know they’re a potential keeper.

Long story short, I’m figuring this out. If I figure out a system, great. If not, great. I’ve been winging it all these years anyway, so why stop now?

Holding Grudges

I don’t like that I hold on to things as long as I do, but I do and I don’t know how to not. I am just as strict with broken trust; once my trust has been broken, there is nothing anyone can say or do to make it up to me and that relationship is done. That’s just how it is.

Anyway, this post is supposed to be about grudges. I suppose broken trust could be a reason to hold a grudge, but I’m talking more about people disappointing me and then me holding on to that feeling of disappointment and using it to silently and internally hold a grudge against that person.

I don’t let people known that I hold something against them. I don’t often express my disappointment either. The reason I felt the urge to write this morning is because I have not been able to shake something since it happened.

I had a partner. She was wonderful. She did have her own struggles, but she was getting help for them and I like to think it didn’t interfere too terribly with the way our relationship worked and the way I felt about her. Our time together was coming to an end because we lived in different parts of the country and long distance was just simply not an option.

We had 2 nights left together and we decided to spend the first of the 2 final nights at a party with our friends. Of course, there would be alcohol. I decided not to partake, but my partner did. And that was fine, I don’t care if my partner drinks.

The entire week leading up to our final days, she made it seem she wanted to spend as much time with her friends as she could, but also with me. She mentioned setting up a sort of date night for us, on her. I got all of my tasks done so that I would have all the time to spend with her. I feel like I tried harder to make sure that I could dedicate as much time to her as possible.

So, anyway, the party. She drank, I did not. She came into our reserved room in the early morning hours and we slept until about 7am. When she got up, the hangover hit her hard and she immediately became sick. Long story short, that entire day- our entire LAST day- was spent in the ER and her room because she did not handle the previous night well.

I was more than happy to take care of her. I did not mind being there for her. What I was upset about- and frankly, quite angry at- was the fact that the amount of alcohol she consumed was in her control and it seemed like she didn’t care to think about how it might affect our final day together.

I don’t like to be angry or irritated about this because she was the most amazing person to know. I have nothing but nice things to say about her and I will forever wish for her happiness. But. I was angry with the way she went about our last days. And sometimes I think about it and I still get angry.

If she reads this, she’ll know how I feel, but I’m not going out of my way to let her know. Our time came and went and it was beautiful. It wouldn’t accomplish much to inform her about these thoughts.

A Little Dark Cloud

As I was driving home from a very nice evening with Chelsea last night, a slightly terrifying thought crept into my mind. With it also came a familiar feeling from 2014. The things that were attracting me to her were very similar to the things that attracted me to my emotional abusive and manipulative ex.

My ex was very “guilt trippy” and manipulative. Chelsea is nothing like that, but neither was my ex in the first 4-6 months. I see in Chelsea many of the good parts of my ex. They are fundamentally very different people and their personalities are also quite different. Their approach to life, emotions, and conflict is very similar though. It’s also very similar to mine.

To be honest, though, the way I deal with my emotions and anxiety has changed profoundly since I started therapy. I’m much more prone to crying and just letting those sad feelings take over me for however long my body needs it. So, I see parts of my old self in Chelsea, too. I suppose every person is different and maybe what she’s doing works for her. She doesn’t seem to have any huge issues and she seems pretty self aware, so I guess I shouldn’t be concerned.

All in all, I’m not worried. If I see red flags, I leave. If I don’t, I look forward to seeing where this goes.

Meeting Number 4

Today I will be going to my date’s apartment. I’ve been there once before, this past Monday. I feel that I will be writing about this development quite a bit so let’s call her Chelsea so we have a name.

We started talking via Bumble on July 16th. We met for the first time in person on July 23rd. Since then, we’ve seen each other twice, so today will be the fourth meeting.

She’s funny and kind and considerate. She’s very attentive when I tell stories. I made her take the love language test because I suspected that she would have similar results to me and I was right. We both score 10 points or more towards Quality Time and both of our second category was Acts of Service. Her Myers Briggs type is also INTJ, so that was also interesting to discover.

I think there are many people who struggle with long term dating because they’re addicted to the feeling they get during the first few meetings. I, too, find the first few weeks, maybe first 2-3 months, the most exciting, but I also greatly look forward to being fully comfortable with someone. Nerves are fun and tingly, but they also create a lot of anxiety for me.

I feel that this is the first time in a long time that I have been fully myself with someone from the beginning. In previous partnerships, I often had a wall. A large wall. A large concrete wall with spikes. It wasn’t great and it was draining to keep up, but I was doing it to protect my feelings and heart. I don’t feel that I have a wall with Chelsea. She makes me feel very comfortable and I feel free to be however I want to be in the moment.

Without giving away too much of her personal information, she hasn’t had as much experience with women as I have, and that made me nervous at first. I think she has a fear or concern of not living up to my past experiences, but she should know that I have a fear of fucking it up as well. It goes both ways and I think that’s a healthy discussion to have.

Right now, there is a definite safe space to have any conversation and I hope we are able to maintain that. I really like her and I’m excited to see where this goes. I’m allowing myself to feel giddy and I’m embracing it.

Feelings Scare Me

Our emotions and feelings are something we are rarely in control of. You can occasionally control how you react outwardly to experiencing feelings and emotions, but those true feelings and true reactions still live inside of your body and your mind.

In terms of romance, my feelings have always been strong. I fall for people quickly and hard. I don’t tell them, of course, but I am very aware of how my mind, body, and heart feel. Usually, my mind is in some sort of disagreement with itself about how I should be navigating the relationship, my body is very willing to comply with everything and anything, and my heart has already partially attached itself to whoever I’m talking to.

I felt like writing about how my feelings scare me because they are currently scaring me. I have only known this woman for 10 days and I have met her once; however, it feels like I’ve known her for years. I don’t know if she feels the same, so I speak only for myself.

She answers my questions without hesitation. She is interested in what I do and where I come from. She’s open to adventure and travel. She’s very blunt and straightforward, not unlike myself. I appreciate talking to someone who “speaks my language”. Oftentimes, I have to preface things I say with, “I don’t mean to be rude” or “I don’t want to offend you”, but I don’t have to do that with her and she is just as forward towards me. I love it.

There is also one thing she did when we met for the first time that I can’t stop thinking about: When I was telling an elaborate story, she leaned forward, elbows on knees, and looked me in my eyes while I talked. She was so attentive.

In the past, I had an emotionally abusive partner who told me more than once, “I don’t hear you when you talk.” With this in mind, her leaning forward and being so obviously interested in the words coming out of my mouth meant the world to me and it made her that much more attractive. She’s super cute, by the way. But she just got cuter.

So, anyway, I like this woman. I like her a lot for only having known her for 10 days. part of me is like, “get a fucking grip”, but the other part of me is saying to just fall into it, don’t resist, don’t overthink, just be. I’m going to try very hard to “just be”.

An Unfamiliar Feeling…

The girl I have been talking to just asked me if I have anxiety. For the first time EVER, I was hesitant to say yes.

I have always been very open about my mental health struggles with my friends and close family. Even if strangers ask, I am also very open because it’s nice to tell your story and bond with other people about similar issues. I’ve collected many preventative and coping skills this way.

So, when she asked me if I had anxiety, I was surprised at the feeling I got. I felt a little bit of embarrassment. I felt a little bit of shame. I felt a little bit exposed. However, I responded with a calm “yes” because I wasn’t going to hide something that is such a big part of my life. Eventually, it would have come up anyway.

I also explained to her that it doesn’t keep me from living my life. It makes living life more difficult, but it doesn’t keep me inside [anymore]. When I was much younger, I refused to leave the house for any reason other than to go to school. Now, I feel the same hesitancy, but I push through and do it anyway.

I think I felt a certain type of way about her asking because I have been going to therapy for over 2 months now. To me, therapy feels like taking medication that hides the symptoms, but it doesn’t cure the actual problem- it just helps you understand and deal with it. I guess I felt that because I was dealing with the problem (and its very visible symptoms), she didn’t need to be aware of its actual existence.

I think it’ll be fine. She did respond with a positive message after I said yes, so I don’t think I have anything to worry about.

Do any of you guys feel embarrassed or hesitant about informing possible romantic partners about your mental health struggles?

Today In Therapy…

I came to therapy today with nothing in particular that I felt I needed to share. I did tell my therapist about a friend coming over yesterday evening and discussing commitment issues with said friend. Naturally, that quickly turned into today’s topic in my therapy session.

My therapist began by asking me if it was okay to visit the past, but not live in it- in terms of where we’re getting most of our information from. I’m fine with whatever, so I said yes.

He then asked me to retell what I told my friend last night, so I went over all of my relationships, one by one, and told him about all the moments I decided (and then internally celebrated) in each of them to end the relationship.

Then, he asked me to describe what it was like growing up with my now divorced parents. So, I recalled that I didn’t remember mom and dad ever being affectionate; I remember one hug in the middle of the living room, and I must have been quite young. I remembered dad sitting on the couch every night eating popcorn and drinking beer while mom was in the kitchen or reading. I recollected that for a few years, mom would come sleep on my top bunk every night instead of sleeping with dad. I knew dad snored, but looking back, I feel like that was a good excuse to cover up the true reason she didn’t want to be in the same bed as him.

Long story short, I grew up in a household that stayed together “for the kids”. There was a sense of loyalty they felt to our family unit and to us children, but the romance and intimate love was no longer present- and hadn’t been present at all in a decade.

The conclusion my therapist and I came up with today is that I have a fear of real, earth-shattering, ground-moving love. It is something that I feel doesn’t exist. At the same token, I do go searching for it every now and again and I give my everything to that individual for the time we are together. I am very open, honest, and loyal with my partners. I am even so concerned with loyalty and faithfulness that I will stay in a relationship even when I am no longer in love and then I search for a convenient outside factor or other reason to end things with people. For most of my relationships, I have done this.

Something I also have to be aware of and keep in mind is that even though I have clear commitment issues, my previous relationships were not built for long-term. There were major issues (or reasons we just weren’t a good match) in each one, no doubt. I think that even without these “let’s kill the relationship ASAP” issues, I believe that each of these relationships was not going to last.

With all that being said, I feel that it is difficult for me to be truly convinced of the extremity of my commitment issues, but I am fully aware that there is something there and I am working on piecing it all together.

My homework assignment to bring to the next session is for me to connect the things we discussed today with the flowchart that I made last week. Basically, my flow chart outlined my mental and physical process when having “what if” questions, when feeling anxious, and also when I’m having an actual panic attack.

As I connect these two sessions, I will write about my findings.

Update on My Date

My first date with this woman was this past Tuesday. We met at California Pizza Kitchen. We split the bill if anyone is curious about those things, although she did offer to pay.

Long story short is the date went well and we are seeing each other again.

We had so many things to talk about, so my worst fear was definitely avoided. I hate when you’re unable to bounce off of each other in conversation because at that point I’ve lost interest and am looking for an out. So, again, that was not the case; the conversation flowed and I had many questions that she answered without hesitation.

Our next “date” is going to be cooking a meal at her apartment. I say meal, but I actually just wanted to show her how amazing homemade banana pudding was. She lives about 30 minutes away from me without traffic, so it could be worse.

A peek inside my mind: I have commitment issues and I am well aware of them. In previous relationships, I always looked for an out or a convenient excuse for the relationship to end because I figured the relationship was going to end sooner or later anyway, so I might as well end it now. I’m trying to change that mindset a little bit and it will be something I discuss with my therapist in the near future. For now, I am trying to enjoy getting to know this woman and not worry so much about sabotaging something that doesn’t even exist.

First Dates

I have a date tonight at 6pm. We’re meeting at California Pizza Kitchen. She insisted that I choose where we eat because I’m the one with dietary restrictions. I’m fine with that. She tried to tell me that she’s paying, but I like splitting on first dates. We decided on us both paying for our own meals, but if the waiter forgets to give us separate checks, she’s paying. I told her I wouldn’t let the waiter forget.

First dates are so weird. Normally I would be more nervous, but we’ve been texting all week and the conversations have been diverse and easy to continue; I’m hoping that dinner will feel the same. I thought I knew what I was wearing, but now it’s raining and it’s a tad cooler than it has been all summer.

She is shorter than I am. I think I’ve had a mix of heights in my past relationships, although my more serious ones are always with people who are shorter than I am. I don’t have a preference and I am of average height myself, so I don’t run into many women who refuse to date me because of my height. There are some weirdos out there though that insist on only dating taller/shorter women, whatever they prefer.

The thing that has surprised me the most while talking to this woman is how similar we are in our thought processes. We have both established that we are also more assertive and willing to speak up if it is concerning a topic we know well. We are both straightforward and sometimes can come across as rude or too blunt for other people. Additionally, it’s interesting to text with someone who writes just as much in each message. I am known for writing paragraphs and she is also delivering the same word count. I’m excited to see how dinner goes.