After a lifetime of bad dating experiences, I often feel dogged by insecurity, mistrust, and paranoia, even when I’m dating a great guy, like I am now. But now that I’ve done a lot of work on my self-esteem, I can finally say I feel secure about my relationship for the past four hours and counting.
It took me a long time to get here, but now I can finally look my partner in the face and say, “I choose you—at least right now, but that could change soon depending on when my anxiety comes back, but so far today I’m feeling pretty good about this and the panic is gone but just like, be on your toes I guess.” What a relief!
My first step in this worthwhile process was to relinquish control. I needed to stop expecting my boyfriend to be The One, to stop putting pressure on him to be some imagined ideal of “perfect partner”. So, starting this morning at breakfast, I began focusing on how I feel about him in the present moment—he’s cute and has a job, but I’m not sure he really “gets” me. And now, by mid-morning, I’m comfortable in that discomfort. And that’s called growing.
Another thing I realized on my walk to the subway is that I needed to take a step back and stop trying to analyze his every word. For instance, my boyfriend sent me a text this morning that said, “Forgot to say: new haircut?!” Let me tell you, the me of 7 AM was very different than the me standing in line at Starbucks just 4 hours later. The 7 AM me would have said, “My haircut is a week old; he must be confusing me for another woman!” or “New haircut, but is it GOOD haircut?” But coffee break me? She realizes that this is his way of saying that he cares and notices me! I can’t even believe how stupid I used to be this morning, or worse, earlier this morning.
Another thing I needed to do was to stop comparing my current boyfriend—I mean, not “current” like he’s going somewhere, just like, my boyfriend—to my ex. For instance, they both have similar bad table manners. Before I started on this ham and cheese croissant, I might have made some sort of connection there, like, “Just like your ex, your boyfriend doesn’t care how he looks in front of you, meaning he’s not trying to impress you, meaning he thinks you’re not worthy of impressing, and is having sex with another woman—or man???” But that was pre-ham-and-cheese-croissant me. Post-ham-and-cheese-croissant me thinks the world of her boyfriend. She laughs at all un-ham me’s thoughts. Haha! Unless those thoughts come back soon, which honestly, I’m praying to every god they don’t, but they definitely might.
My final step toward feeling secure was to remind myself of all my good qualities that make me worthy of being in a relationship. It took some time, but I had time at lunch because I ate my ham sandwich very fast, and trust me, the soul-searching was worth it. I made a list of my good attributes, like “intellect,” “work ethic,” and “sense of humor,” and then, at maybe 1:30 PM, it finally sunk in: I’m great! I’m a catch! To celebrate how far I’d come, I looked through my old journal (from my train ride to work), and couldn’t believe I thought I should “shower more” and “not eat so much ham”! Gosh, it really was amazing to see myself change for at least this moment right now please God let this feeling last.
So if you’re feeling unsure about your relationship, ladies, heed my word that I just figured out: You can’t let insecurity ruin your life! I know this because I’ve been there, specifically when I was checking to see if I had my keys this morning. When you give yourself a little space and a reality check, the fact that you were worrying over nothing will bring you comfort, at least until dinner!