I’ve realized that dating is often a source of anxiety for me because when I start to like someone, I become afraid of losing them. I don’t want to go through that sadness. Sadness sucks.
But the thing is…I’ve dealt with heartbreak before and I always come out fine. My fear of heartbreak is all out of proportion to the reality of it – I get scared like a breakup would kill me, when really we’re just talking about a couple of weeks or months or years of processing time. Not actually that big a deal. And in the meantime, the fear is keeping me from fully enjoying whatever nice things I’m experiencing – or even causing rifts*.
There was some book I read (maybe The Highly Sensitive Person? Or maybe it was actually a blog like Captain Awkward or something…?) that said something along the lines of: the key to getting out of panicky brainlock when you need to make a decision is to trust that Future You has the resources to handle the consequences of that decision. That’s sort of what I need to do now: I need to remember that I’m a tough fuckin’ bastard and I don’t need to fear breakups (or some dude going on a nice date with me and then never contacting me again. And everything in between). I need to enjoy liking boys and trust that if one of them bails on me, Future Me will deal with it.
Yeah, rejection sucks. Yeah, it’ll make me cry for a while. But really…so what? My divorce was by far the most devastating thing that ever happened to me, and yet nowadays I go weeks at a time without even thinking about my ex-husband or our marriage. I didn’t die; I don’t even hurt anymore. And I couldn’t have prevented my divorce or any of the other stupid romantic bullshit I’ve been through by worrying about it, anyway**.
So clearly, I need to stop worrying.
I wonder how one does this?
*I half-believe that The Mensch ran into his old crush (who is now single and who he ditched me to pursue) because I worried that he was too good to be true and there must be a catch. Like my paranoia caused the universe – in its infinite dimwitted helpfulness – to put this chick in his path just to prove me right.
**Taking precautions (like going to couples therapy or not throwing myself into a new relationship too quickly) is smart. Sitting around obsessively going OMG WHAT IF HE STOPS LIKING ME is…not. I do liberal amounts of both.