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Is he the right one for me?(19 Posts)
I'm an anxious over thinker and have found myself engaged to long term partner and feeling overwhelmed at this commitment (I see a counsellor regularly to help with my anxieties)
Part of my homework has been to list my needs in my relationship to see if Partner meets these needs and identify what may be unrealistic expectations.
I've listed that I would like if he were more affectionate and specifically, greeted me hello/goodbye with a hug and kiss and greeted other women - mums and female friends/family with a hug and peck on cheek.
Just wondering if this is the norm for most men or one of my unreasonable expectations? Of course these are small examples to what is a bigger need for me - I.e to have a partner who is comfortable showing affection as this is important for me before having children as my own dad was emotionally unavailable (and just generally unavailable) and that has had a lasting negative effect on me and causes my commitment anxiety and general anxiety about what a good relationship with a man should look like
Any advice from happily married MNetters on what made you sure you were marrying the right kind of person for you to have a happy and contented life? Or perhaps advice from those who wish they had not married their partners?
Sorry not to leave a longer reply, OP, but have you seen Sheryl Paul's blog, OP? conscious-transitions.com/blog/ I've found it really helpful for dealing with my own relationship anxiety.
Thanks Tart - have taken a look at the link and there is some really good info there - thanks! I wonder if anyone has purchased the e-course and would recommend?
My anxiety will be 'dormant' for long periods but when it reappears it makes me doubt my feelings and I feel very distant from my partner which must be hard for him. Although I can see a lot of positives, the negative chatter takes over and I think things like 'he may be honest/trustworthy/hard working but he's too quiet/not affectionate enough/boring and I'll end up bored and lonely in this relationship'
But then I am paralysed to act because I can trust my anxious negative thoughts and I could make a big mistake by walking away.
It's very difficult actually - I've been able to manage it til now because I can just plod along but the prospect of marriage has brought on the worst anxiety yet and I'm pulling further and further away 😢
I haven't purchased the e-course but I have read a lot of the posts on the blog, and they are really, really useful.
Your anxieties about your relationship sound very similar to mine - they also follow the pattern of going away and then coming back, and every time they frighten me again, and so I end up ruminating really badly. I've had CBT and that's really helped me accept my thoughts - although sometimes I now worry because when I think, for example, that my partner isn't ambitious enough, I don't find myself very distressed by the thought.
What helps me is thinking about how I feel when I'm not anxious. Sheryl Paul talks about fear eyes vs. clear eyes - when you're anxious you aren't looking at your partner or your relationship clearly. Anxiety makes you doubt things that are dear to you, so it makes sense that it would make you target your relationship. How do you feel about him when you're not anxious?
I'm not sure whether anything I've said here is particularly helpful, but I do want you to know that you're not alone in feeling like this!
Hi OP I share your wish for your boyfriend to acknowledge greeting and leave-taking with a kiss and a squeeze. Mine is currently in training . However, I'm curious about your wishes around other women - what's that all about?
If you are anxious I am afraid that your anxiety will always find a way to rear its ugly head.
Even if your partner ticked all the boxes there will be new uncertainties to potentially worry about.
-Will he love my children?
-Will he make enough money?
-Will we always get along?
-Will our children go to the right school?
-Are we doing everything we can to give our children the best education?
-Will we get bored with one another?
-What if the NHS falters and we will have to pay for private insurance?
-Do we carry a genetic diseases such as Alzheimer's and if so should we take the risk to procreate?
Anxiety needs to be fed, and it will find "food" anywhere it can.
You are first anxious and then your brain tries to rationalise why the body feels that way. Therefore you find "reasons" to justify why you are anxious.
So yes, it can help to assuage your worries, but the world is full of potential problems so it's not as though you can go mitigate them all.
Seat next to someone who doesn't worry, who is not anxious and you will wonder why your brain reacts so differently to the same inputs.
Another anxious, over-thinker here who, when engaged to an ex-partner my anxiety about the future when into overdrive. With the benefit of hindsight, I believe the causes of this was the fact that the relationship was wrong for me (for many reasons) and I was worried about committing myself to someone who ultimately "felt wrong" for me. Appreciate that this may not be the case for you, on ending that relationship anxious thoughts disappeared and havent reappeared when with current long-term partner. My anxiety still manifests itself in other ways though, just not about my relationship future.
Argh - hit post by mistake!
As I was saying! Tart That's interesting re the fear eyes vs clear eyes - there is a lot of good info on that website - some stuff really resonates with me!
Usually I think I'm happy and fairly content in the relationship but when I get an anxious spell it's really bad - I shut off from him completely and find it hard to relax at home and be affectionate etc as I convince myself he's not right for me and all I see are his bad points and things that I don't ever consider usually become major obstacles and irritations - really unfair things that I think must make him feel bad/unworthy. I try my best not to let him see that I'm questioning everything but ultimately he sees I'm not being my usual self.
I'm working with a counsellor to improve my periods of anxiousness - atm the anxiety is around my relationship but I can get anxious about other things at times.
Pastoral - again, very useful post, thank you - learning about an anxious brain and thinking style is interesting and helps me to take a step back from my thoughts and recognise when anxiety is perhaps creating an unrealistic response or feeling to a thought or situation. Very hard tho!
User - this is my fear as my anxiety only kicked in when I moved in with my partner full time and so a part of me wonders if my subconscious knows it's not right for me but because it's a good relationship it's harder to understand why I would leave it etc. If it's not my relationship and I leave and still feel anxious in new relationships etc then I don't want to have major regret about what I lost etc.
Redmaple - I just want him to be more tactile - stems from my dad also - he is not very tactile at all but my best friends dad always greets family and close friends (including her friends) with a hug and I just think it's lovely - I love to greet people with a hug and if I'm introduced to someone new I always think it's so polite when the male gives the female a peck on the cheek. I basically covet the European way to greet people - so much warmer than a nod or handshake! Silly I know but I would love any children I have to feel comfortable with that kind of physical contact
I don't have much knowledge about anxiety so I won't comment on that but I just wants to say that some people are comfortable hugging and pecking new people and/or friends and some people aren't.
I hate when I get pecked by men I don't know in particular and I'm not much like that myself, unless I am very friendly with that person. My DP is the same and I would never want to force him to greet people that way if that wasn't how he felt comfortable.
I would however, be upset if he didn't get me in that way, and I know he would be upset if I didn't greet him like that either. In fact if he comes in from work and strait away starts doing something I always say where's my kiss and he does to me too so I don't think you are being unreasonable to ask him to greet you in that way, after all you are engaged.
I do think it is unreasonable to be asking him to greet other like that, I understand what you say about your dad and the difference with your friends dad but at the end of the day, he's not your dad and he is different to either of these other men.
There's no reason why you can teach your future children to greet people like that but again, they may not feel comfortable doing so
I guess my relationship could have been described as good- but I always felt like there was something missing and knew, with a certainty, that I could love someone more than I loved the man I was engaged too. That's the exact reason I ended it. We were together 5 years in total, lots of break-ups instigated by me as I took time out to worry about if this is what I wanted for life. I'm not proud of my actions and I caused a lot of hurt and even on our final break-up I wondered if I'd done the right thing? However, at the time I thought back to how I'd felt in previous relationships. Had I been this anxious then? Was I worrying about the future constantly? The answer was no. Hope this in some way helps.
Over the course of your relationship, you will know if he is the right one. A person is an accumulation of things and one or two with either a + or a - sign don't make that much of a difference, unless you value significantly the + or loathe the -
Layla - "you will know if he is the right one" This kind of thinking is often very triggering for people with anxiety that centres on their relationship. I love my partner deeply, and I have not met anyone who I like or care for as much as I like and care for him. But I have never "known", because I have anxiety and my anxiety causes me to question everything. The idea that I should just "know" is frankly terrifying!
Have you read codependent no more by Melody Beattie?
I think people communicate love very differently. My dp is a lot more affectionate than me. He needs a kiss as a greeting and a goodbye. Touch is his 'love language'. I communicate love much differently through actions. Little gifts or gestures. I think at first my being less tactile made him anxious that I didn't feel the same and we actually sat down and talked about how we communicate we care and he had to be more accepting and worry less if I am not always as touchy as he is and for him to try and communicate with me in 'my language' And I had to try a bit harder to sometimes communicate in his. But that involved both of us recognising that just because we communicate differently doesn't mean it is a bad thing or we care any less. It was great for both of us.
redmaple no I haven't read that book - would it be something you would recommend?
Yes, I don't know if it would apply to your scenario but I think it might be helpful. It's written with a focus on the friends and family of alcoholics, but if you read around those bits you may find you identify with some bits.
I haven't seen the term OCD come up in this thread yet (sorry if I have missed it), but that's what this sounds like to me - specifically relationship OCD. You might find this useful OP: ocdla.com/rocd-relationship-ocd-myth-of-the-one-3665
I would add that if you do think you have OCD or similar, this forum might not be overly helpful for you because one of the issues with relationship OCD is that people without OCD (or a good understanding of it) may assume that you are just unsure about your relationship, and will advise you accordingly. For example the PP who said that you would learn over time whether he is 'the one'. I have no doubt that the poster had the best of intentions, but if you do have OCD, one of the problems you may experience is needing to know things for certain. Any lack of certainty might be taken as a sign that he isn't, in fact, the one, and situations such as this can cause intolerable levels of anxiety.
I could be wrong about the OCD altogether of course, in which case please feel free to entirely disregard my comments!
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