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Archive for September, 2010|Monthly archive page

Will My Insecurities Drive Him Away?

In Dating, Marriage, Mental Health on September 14, 2010 at 7:24 pm

Hi Yenta,

I am in my early 30s and I have recently begun seeing a really awesome person, and it’s all very unexpected and wonderful. I’m terrified! I’ve never been the marrying type, but I like this person enough that I want them in my life for a while, or however long we’re both happy together — and I know they feel the same about me — but I really don’t want to fuck it up with my insecurity and occasional social awkwardness.

I’ve have two previous serious long-term relationships, and my last one ended about a year and a half ago. I’ve been doing some kind of personal inventory on myself ever since. I dated, I spent a lot of time alone, I cultivated close friends and some new interests, worked at enjoying my job, and generally like myself more these days than I have in a long time and am mostly in a good headspace. I moved to a somewhat remote area recently and in my casing for new and interesting friends somehow managed to cosmically happen upon someone incredible. He makes me laugh, he’s straightforward and communicative, he seems genuine, people who know him really like him, he’s fucking cute and um, etc.

Needless to say, I’m pretty head over heels for him, which is wonderful and totally scary. I have some pretty serious trust issues, and  while I recognise that I will never be perfect (and don’t want to be!) I’m not sure that I can be a good partner, and this makes me reluctant to enter in a new (and likely serious) relationship if I can’t ‘act like an adult’, whatever that means. I’m super nervous when I’m introducing him to people in my life, and I’m afraid to meet his friends and coworkers because I’m worried that I won’t measure up somehow. (His work is more ‘important’ than mine! He makes more money than I do! He certainly doesn’t make me feel this way, but I feel really inadequate next to him sometimes.) It’s not that I still want to play the field — dating and hooking up occasionally was great and all, but my connection with this person is really different — it’s that I don’t know that I’m okay with myself enough to not burden him with my likely eventual nuttiness, and am so over the moon that I feel like a little kid sometimes. But boy, do I want to try. How can I get over this? How can I learn to accept myself enough and not push away someone that is really offering themselves to me in a positive way?

-Crazy Insecure

Out with the old, in with the new YOU! Photo courtesy of Victor Jeffreys II, phiary.com/diary/victor.

Dear CI,

Chances are you are perfectly lovable as you are.  But, just like faith in G-d, we need to cultivate faith in ourselves with steady devotion. This is no easy task. No Ma’am.  This can be a struggle, a fall in the mud and smear your face filthy process.  But every step counts towards immeasurable results.

Lucky for you there are about 72 hours left for inventory before the upcoming year is sealed.  You can hate yourself for not loving yourself, or, within this new relationship you can privately take steps towards self-adoration.  There is a chance that he makes you feel inadequate, and there is the other side of blooming blossoming new love: your inadequacies refuse to hide any longer.

So, use these 72 hours to look at what you fear.  Trust issues, schmust issues.  If he is the one, he is the one. But your work, that inner searching that often comes after a breakup, it also helps to engage such devices during, before, after, and between relationships.  During, however, is clutch.

Maybe you need things to slow down, maybe you need to meet those friends of his at a later date.  Maybe you wish you made more money or that your job were more “important,” whatever that means.  When we fall truly in love we are moving towards a wholer more exquisite version of ourselves.  If you feel inadequate and he isn’t saying you are, then guess who is rapping at your door with Negative Nancy?  You.

There is no shame in therapy for the sake of love.  Maybe you need some extra help reigning in your dark side.  Or, maybe you need to start being your own mirror, somehow curbing the conversations in your head, “I feel inadequate.”  “I shouldn’t feel inadequate.”  “I am inadequate for feeling inadequate.”  And so on.

Love, marriage, trust, commitment:  these things are a choice.  If you choose, then stop indulging the parts of you that are resisting.  Nudge them with love, with gentleness, with friends and with life changes towards the image of the woman you believe deserves this amazing love you are experiencing.  You might be shocked when you realize you are the perfect worthy other half, and this might not happen until you begin to fall as hard in love with yourself as he has.

Want to Ask Yenta too?  Click here.

Merissa Nathan Gerson is a fan of
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When DENIAL Strikes

In Breakups/Divorce, Drama, Mental Health on September 5, 2010 at 7:10 am

Caution: Blindness is not always involuntary. Photo courtesy of Victor Jeffreys II, phiary.com/diary/victor.

Hey Bubby,

So a close female friend of mine told me a couple of months
ago that a friend of hers had just moved here and suggested we hang
out. I met her friend for drinks and we ended up making out at the end
of the night. I told my friend about it a couple of days later –
expecting her response to be anywhere from ambivalent to supportive –
but instead she responded, “I will tell her not to date you.”

Apparently, she thinks I was an asshole to one or two of my
ex-girlfriends. (I really didn’t do anything that terrible to them.)
I’ve seen her friend a couple of times since and I’m not crazy about
her or anything, but my friend’s threat has really gotten under my
skin. Why would she be friends with me if she thinks like that? I
don’t want my friendship with her to end, but I don’t think I can be
friends with someone who feels like that about me. I don’t know what
to say to her and she’s ignored me when I’ve tried to continue the
conversation. Basically, it seems like she’s done talking about it.
Also, she isn’t jealous like she wants to date me or anything.
That’s not the issue.

-Zadie In Waiting

Dear ZIW,

Might you be in denial? According to MindDisorders.com, “Denial is the refusal to acknowledge the existence or severity of unpleasant external realities or internal thoughts and feelings.” It seems to me that when a woman tries to protect her friends against the perils of dating a man, it is never in vain or without prompt. What happened with these exes? Did you unwittingly behave in a way unbecoming of yourself?

I don’t think any of this is so weird. You can love your guy friends as buddies, but not want them to go near the hearts of your female friends if you know they can be hurtful. Romantic involvement is not what your relationship with this friend entails, so the judgment of that side of you is null and void to your friendship. If she were IN love with you and thought you were a jerk when it came to dating, then you might want to question the integrity of your interactions.

It sounds like she cares about you, but doesn’t love the idea of you hurting another friend. It also sounds like she is controlling the conversation. But if you are in denial, then that is a pretty typical response. Some people hate going in emotional circles. When they know something and they find their partner in conversation faking like that shit doesn’t exist, well, continuing in that manner can be a sincere waste of time. Try reading The Elephant in the Room: Silence and Denial in Everyday Life by Eviatar Zerubavel to better understand this phenomenon.

Her girlfriends are going to trump you, because life sucks like that sometimes. So, do some personal gravedigging and yank up those skeletons. Re-visit the endings to those relationships and see if maybe you forgot to see something in the mirror of your ways. I wouldn’t abandon this friendship, I would abandon the self-avoidance.

According to LiveStrong.com we can confront denial by:

* Asking ourselves honestly why we are in denial.
* Asking ourselves what are the benefits to be gained by our denial.
* Recognizing the negative consequences that result from our denial behavior.
* Allowing ourselves to express negative or embarrassing emotions as we confront our problems (e.g., crying, feeling lost, feeling confused or feeling scared).
* Allowing ourselves to admit to being out of control.
* Trusting others to help us with our problem.
* Admitting our vulnerability and our need for assistance.
* Risking the loss of acceptance or approval by those who may be unable to handle our open, honest admission of our problem.
* Recognizing that denial is a natural stage in the loss/grief response.
* Believing that out of failure comes success; accepting the failure as a chance for personal growth.

Merissa Nathan Gerson is a fan of
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Piggyback Dating

In Dating on September 5, 2010 at 1:14 am

Dear Yenta,

Is it okay to date multiple people? I struggle with this question a
lot…Currently, I am dating more than one person and both
relationships are advancing on physical and emotional levels,
although, they are advancing at different rates. At what point do I
have to pick one? I am not stressed out by it, I have room in my life
and head to manage both relationship, but my friends think it is
emotionally immature and greedy… I dont feel unhealthy, and I would
be totally honest if they found out about each other.

Any thoughts?

-Needy and Greedy

Don't pull a Woody.

Dear Needy and Greedy,

The barometer test for situations like these has to do with who ends up getting hurt. If you can honestly say that no one involved will be devastated or destroyed by your dating habits, then what’s the problem? There are plenty of people who believe in open dating policies and succeed in this fashion. They succeed based on honesty, openness, and a clear understanding of what commitment means to them and how to get their own needs met. If you fall under this category of evolved dating, then so be it.

When it comes to love and sex the opinions of others can be poisonous. Every different human has a different set of needs and some are more proactive and more creative about meeting them than others. For all you know these friends judging your behavior are just jealous. Are they getting any? Maybe you getting more than your share is “greedy” in their eyes because somehow they feel you are dipping into their pool of possibilities. Date away, as long as no one gets hurt.

If, however, you secretly want a monogamous relationship and can’t quit all this piggybacking, then that’s a question to sort out within yourself and possibly with a therapist. This same answer applies if your chronic dating is chronic lying and cheating.

For help cultivating multiple healthy relationships at once check out: The Ethical Slut: A Practical Guide to Polyamory, Open Relationships & Other Adventures by Dossie Easton and Janet W. Hardy or Opening Up: A Guide to Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships by Tristan Taormino.

Merissa Nathan Gerson is a fan of
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Long Distance Loving

In Dating on September 4, 2010 at 1:00 am

Keep him close to your heart and the physical distance dissolves. Photo courtesy of Victor Jeffreys II, phiary.com/diary/victor.

Dear Yenta

I started dating my boyfriend in July. Any day now, he’s supposed to
run off to work for a disaster relief agency for 6 to 12 months in
some far-off, war torn, disease-riddled land. While I admire him
greatly for this choice (a choice he had made before we met), it’s
going to wreak havoc on our relationship. It’s been a long time since
I met someone with whom I have so much in common and that I really
enjoy. We are well matched. Although, he is emotionally reserved
in part because he knows he’s leaving. Yenta, is it worth continuing this
relationship or do I cut my losses now?

-Dating a Social Servant

Dear DASS,

If you started dating this man in July, and he knew when he met you that he was leaving, then you need to take a long hard look at yourself. You chose a man who you knew would leave you, and now you are wondering if you should hold on.

If you are as well matched as you say you are, then I am confused by the question. Long distance can be a bitch, but so can losing the most important person in your life. Is he emotionally reserved, or is he not that into you? Or, is he scared to lose you? If you are as well matched as you say you are, then I wouldn’t let this one go just because he is pursuing his far-away dreams.

Have you two talked about what happens next? Where does he stand? And have you had any time apart traveling since you met him? How did that work out? Long-distance relationships really depend on how much the individuals involved are willing to invest, both on their own and as a couple. If you think this do-gooder is someone you should keep around, then I would start fighting now.

And in the meantime, fight with a realistic understanding of what that kind of distance can do to a couple with a wobbly foundation, or how the distance can shrink with skype, effort, a plane ticket and a sincere investment in keeping up with the love. Are you two close enough to cultivate this? If not, and if he is the one, then a year apart on separate paths might just bring you closer when you find each other later and are really meant to be.

Merissa Nathan Gerson is a fan of
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