I’ve been going with my girlfriend for quite a bit. Soon to be one year. It’s the first serious relationship for both of us.
Thing is, she just asked me for “time.” Our relationship was starting to take a stressful turn. For some reason, I let my self-esteem issues drive me. She doesn’t enjoy holding hands all the time, and that made me feel like I wasn’t loved or she didn’t want me. Sounds pretty ridiculous, I know. So she told me to take time. Not a “time to go out with other people” but just time and space to think things out. And I’ve given her that space, and taken the space for myself. No weird late night calls or texts. None of that stuff.
But you know, still, I can’t stop overthinking this whole scenario. I want to be with her, and right now there’s nothing I can do, and there’s no way to know what’s going to happen. So I’m worried. Now what?
I’m so sorry you’ve been going through this. It’s a hard situation and anyone in your place would feel sad,worried, and a bit lost.
I don’t know how old you are, but I can guess from your email. Early twenties? It’s always struck me as unfair when people equate feelings or behavior with age. It’s sort of condescending, sort of disrespectful. But. Much of what you’re describing can be attributed to being young and in a relationship. I’m not a wizened elder, by any means, but I’ve got you beat by at least 10 years, probably more, and I can tell you that all of this is familiar to me. I’ve been insecure, but also distant; I’ve wanted PDA and also been embarrassed by it; I’ve asked for time, and been asked for time.
Love hurts, man.
I don’t think it’s at all unreasonable to want to hold hands and feel rejected when your love doesn’t want to. That strikes me as very human. I also understand that some people aren’t into PDA. That’s also human. Neither of you is wrong, it’s just a matter of preference.
Sometimes people act in an insecure manner because they have reason to–they are picking up on a partner’s increasing distance or lack of interest. And sometimes people act in an insecure manner because they are young, or inexperienced, or prone to just generally being insecure. I can’t say which is the case here. It’s possible that you’ve noticed your girlfriend pulling away and it makes you want to hold on tighter. It’s possible that she’s not acting any differently, but your increased attachment to her has made you feel vulnerable, and thus you’re afraid of her leaving you. It’s also possible that insecurity may be your Achilles heel. That is, you may struggle to feel secure in relationships no matter how good or solid they are.
Wayne’s the only one who can get away with acting insecure.
The best advice I can give you is something you already know because you’ve already stated in your email: I want to be with her and right now there’s nothing I can do and there’s no way to know what’s going to happen. So true. You can’t do anything. You have to simply bide your time. It will be uncomfortable, painful, and confusing. These are normal feelings and you don’t need to get rid of them; they’ll eventually go away. In the meantime, be good to yourself. Be constructive in managing your anxiety–try to deal with it by taking walks or working out or watching movies or spending time with friends.
If you end up with this woman, that’s great. And if you don’t, you’ll survive that, too. Relationships take practice, that’s why most of us need a few (or a dozen) before we settle down for good.
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