I mentioned in a previous post that I was attempting online dating again and that I might be meeting up with a guy from one of the sites. Well we did end up meeting up, and things have gone really well so far. Iâ€™ll need to write about our first date at some point, actually, as it makes for a funny story, in terms of how mortifyingly/ hilariously (depending on how you look at it) awkward I am. Weâ€™ve been going out for almost two months now, and I now have a boyfriend (!!!) Trust me when I say that no one is more surprised than I am! I was thoroughly convinced that I would never be in a relationship, given my mental health issues, unattractiveness, and low self-esteem. I still canâ€™t really believe it now. This is a very prolonged and elaborate dream that Iâ€™m having. I really donâ€™t want to mess this up, but Iâ€™m worried that all my issues that I mentioned above will inevitably ruin things. He knows all about my social anxiety and history of depression, and has so far been extremely patient and understanding, but it is still a worry. I have zero relationship experience (and not even much experience with friendships), and, as I mentioned before, being in a relationship/ getting close to someone is the area in which my anxiety and low self-esteem are most intense. I am also absolutely dreading meeting his parents (he has already met all of my immediate family, but his parents live up in the Highlands, so it will be some time before I have the opportunity to meet them, if everything continues to go well), even though they seem like lovely people. Everything in a relationship is so new and daunting to me.
While Iâ€™m of course really happy about finally having found someone I really like (and who apparently likes me) enough to be in a relationship, I am having huge issues with cognitive dissonance. For example, I canâ€™t believe him when he says that he really likes me or that he finds me attractive, because most of my previous life experiences have taught me that Iâ€™m unlikeable/ unlovable, and that Iâ€™m hideously unattractive. Therefore according to the sum of my life experience and conditioning, heâ€™s lying. And then I get suspicious and start to worry about what else he might be lying about. Stupid brain. All of this has made me realise that low self-esteem is my biggest issue/ obstacle. Iâ€™m currently reading a book on self-compassion in an attempt to address this. Another thing that Iâ€™m worried about is that I have intense anxiety/ issues around physical intimacy (I find it really difficult to talk about that kind of thing, but will hopefully write about it in more detail at some point, as I imagine itâ€™s quite a common issue in those of us with SA). Even though heâ€™s been super patient and understanding about this so far, I worry that my issues with this will eventually cause his patience to run out. Anywayâ€¦negative rant over.
It feels so great to finally have someone special in my life. I thought that romantic relationships would only ever be something that happened to other people, not to me. Iâ€™ve been so lucky to find someone so caring, patient and understanding when it comes to me and my mental health. I had the courage to be open with him about my issues, and he has accepted me, anxiety and all. I feel like this is someone that I may actually be able to trust and open up to completely. Although there are a lot of things about getting close to someone that make me really anxious, I have become so much more comfortable around him already (probably like a different person compared to how anxious I was on our first date), so I am hopeful that I will continue to improve and wonâ€™t let my anxiety get in the way of this part of my life. Even if things ultimately donâ€™t work out, Iâ€™ve still really enjoyed our time together, and have some new happy memories to add to my collection. Any friendship or relationship that I have in my life is very precious to me. I wonâ€™t take this for granted, and I will certainly cherish this far more than most people.