Ask A Woman: Help, I over kicked my coverage!
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I recently started dating a girl who, by anyone’s standards, is very attractive. She’s smart, witty, and accomplished, as well. She has a lot of friends, and occasionally she likes to go out and have a good time. I’ve noticed that this is sort of messing with my self-confidence, as usually I’m a rock. I know, I know, what a problem, right? It’s twofold:
1. Sometimes I find myself over-achieving in my attempts to keep her entertained. She loves staying in and watching movies even more than she likes going out, but I find myself planning big weekends with hotel stays and expensive dinners and all sorts of money-sucking activities. I think I do this because I’m scared that if she’s not constantly elated, she’ll get bored.
2. When she goes out with her friends, I get really anxious. She typically walks the line between tipsy and drunk. She’s never blacked out, coming-home-with-a-traffic-cone-on-her-head drunk, but she has her share of drinks. I tend to worry about this way more than I have with other girlfriends. I get this crazy idea in my head that she’ll respond too positively to other men’s advances, of which I know there are plenty. She’s not the type to drop a relationship for an evening with some other guy, but I worry that she might find someone “better” than me when she goes out without me, again, because I tend to think that she’s out of my league.
I realize how irrational all of this sounds. How can I view my super hot girlfriend as a normal person who likes me for me?
Your email made me sad–it must be awful to feel so worried about your relationship all the time. What gives, dude?
Regarding the first issue, your desire to be the Willy Wonka of dating and blow her mind with every date is not healthy. Which you know! First, it’s not financially sustainable, so right away that’s bad. Second, it’s not necessary. She’d rather stay at home and watch movies–just because you can put together an excessive evening or weekend doesn’t mean you have to. Plus, the beginning of a relationship is when you need the least amount of frills and fanfare–it’s the honeymoon period! In five years when you’re both exhausted by work and fighting because of the realities of maintaining a life and home together, that’s when you lay down the big bucks for a romantic getaway that will help you reconnect. Right now you already think the other person is flawless, no window dressing needed. Take advantage.
The second issue is a little harder to tackle. I don’t think it’s helpful at all to tell yourself that she’s out of your league. Guess who determines who’s in her league? She does. You think she could have anyone and she picked you. There’s a reason for that. You didn’t knock her up on a one-night stand and now she’s stuck. She’s not obligated to be with you or stay with you. She continues to choose to be with you.
Zach, I don’t recommend renting this movie anytime soon.
What I’m hearing in the undercurrent of your words is your belief that you’re responsible for this woman’s actions and choices. You think that if you buy enough expensive dinners and stay in enough pricey hotels, you’ll prevent her from getting bored and leaving you. Like that’s the default–she’s going to leave unless you maintain this circus. The same thing is happening in your anxiety about her getting drunk with her girlfriends–you’re worrying about something you have zero control over. Somehow you’ve taken on the responsibility for her behavior when you’re not even there. You’re afraid she’ll leave you for a better option.
The truth is that she might be get bored and leave you. She might cheat and leave you. But neither of those things is your responsibility. You do not need to “prevent” them from happening, because in fact, you can’t prevent them from happening. Even if it were possible (which, again, it’s not), it wouldn’t be fair to ask you to do that. You’re responsible for yourself. That’s it. Be a good boyfriend. Be loving, generous, kind, and supportive. The worst you fear might happen, I’m sorry to say, but if it does, it will be because this woman independently decides to cheat or leave. It will NOT be because you didn’t fly her to Vegas for a three-day weekend with steak and lobster buffet and front row Celine Dion (my heart will go onnnnnnnn anddddd onnnnnnnn).
Zach, I hope in time this will become easier. I think it will be as you build trust with this woman. I’d be interested to know how many other men out there battle these same fears. I think the cultural assumption is that women are more likely to feel insecure in their relationships, but as I’ve learned over the years (holy cow, it’s been years) writing this column, men and women are actually very emotionally similar. Readers, anyone want to share a similar experience?
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