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Author Topic: Help, I'm jealous!
blueberry
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(Hi, I’m new here and my first language is not English so please ignore any grammar mistakes and such I might make).


I don't really know where to start with this but.... me and my boyfriend have been together for a little more than two years, one and a half of which we've been living together, and I love him to bits. We can talk about anything, he's always happy to see me even if we've only been apart for a few hours, he makes me smile. There's just one problem: me, and my jealousy.

I know it's quite common to feel a little bit jealous in relationships, but this particular jealousy has grown so big I feel like I'm drowning in it. I’m the shy type; I’m not very good at making new friends or talking to strangers, especially guys. My boyfriend on the other hand is a lot more social and girls seem to like flirting with him. Everytime it happens I get madly jealous and end up behaving in a way I don’t want to, making nasty comments or dragging him away.

This didn’t use to be a huge problem before because when we met we were both at the same school, a really small one, and most of the people there were our mutual friends. Either no one was openly flirting with him, because they all knew we were a couple, or I didn’t view them as a threat because I knew them as well. But in the last few months we've both started new schools and met new people. While I'm quite happy to spend most of my evenings at home, occasionally going out with my classmates but usually asking if he wants to come with me, my boyfriend has started partying several times a week, which leaves me sitting at home alone. He's also active in some student organizations and has made quite a few friends there, most of them girls. (Because the parties are usually just for his uni, I'm never invited).

While there's really no reason I shouldn't trust him, I can't help but hating the fact that he's out having fun with these girls (and guys) I haven't even met, partly because I know he enjoys flirting with girls (to be honest, I would probably enjoy flirting with guys as well if I had the opportunity) and because he's had much more sex partners than me (I was a virgin when we met). Sometimes when it gets really late he's stayed somewhere else over the night, and those are the worst for me because it means a sleepless night, even though I know he's not "doing" anything.

I feel like I can't compete with these other girls, that someday he's going to find someone better. In reality, I know that my jealousy and low self-esteem are more likely to push him away. He's told me over and over again that he doesn't want anyone else and that he doesn't want to make me sad every time he's doing something without me, and I don't want to be the 'crazy girlfriend' who can't let him have a social life of his own. Last night he said he loved me but didn’t think our relationship would work if I kept being this upset all the time, and it just breaks my heart.

Even though I know my jealousy is irrational and is doing nothing but ruin my relationship, I don't know how to stop having these feelings.


Lately I've started thinking that it's not just about jealousy, though, it's also that him having fun without me makes me feel very lonely. I didn't have a lot of friends while growing up and didn't think it very likely I would have a boyfriend in a long time; he's changed all that, he's made me feel good about myself. I know this sounds cliché, but in a way he's also all I've ever dreamed about, and when he's gone I feel alone and insecure again. I don't want to be jealous or feel like I'm not whole without another person, I want a healthy relationship with the person I love, but I don't know how to make that happen.

I apologize if this text doesn't make much sense anymore, I'm writing it in the middle of the night since I can't sleep. Either way, I feel like I'm choking on all these negative feelings, please help!

[ 01-10-2013, 06:34 PM: Message edited by: blueberry ]

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Molias
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Hi blueberry,

What really stands out to me here, in addition to your feelings of jealousy when you see or hear about other people flirting with your boyfriend, is your sense of loneliness and feeling left out when he's off having fun without you.
Are there any clubs or organizations you could join through your own school so that you can build up a stronger social circle? You mention that you're more likely to be happy having a quiet evening in, but you might be able to find some like-minded people who like to socialize more quietly. If you're living with your boyfriend and having a hard time with insecurity, it might be helpful to expand your social group and discover fantastic things you can be doing with people who aren't your boyfriend. No matter how wonderful he is, I think you're right that it's a good idea to aim towards feeling like a whole and healthy person in all sorts of situations, not just with him.

Is there something nice you can do for yourself at home those nights your boyfriend is out and you start to feel lonely or jealous? If there's something you really like that your boyfriend isn't that excited about (watching cheesy movies, baking pie, taking a long bath with a book, etc.), you might find that keeping those things in reserve can be a helpful distraction. I find it a lot harder to get bogged down in negative thoughts when I'm keeping myself busy with something I enjoy.

Also, if you don't already do this, maybe you could make it a habit to regularly schedule time for just the two of you, so even if he has a busy schedule you can look forward to a special night out (or in) at a certain time. Or maybe there's a group the two of you can join together?

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blueberry
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Hi Molias, and thanks so much for replying.

I think you're right about finding more people to socialize with so there's no need to feel left out, and I have joined a couple of student organizations at my uni. One of them is a photography club, which is something I'm interested in, and they've even asked me to help out with the board, but I can't help feeling terribly awkward every time we meet. I just don't know what to talk about even though we have a common interest and they're nice people.

I guess I also feel like I don't really connect with my classmates since the majority of them are a bit younger, it's their first time away from home and their main interest seems to be going to nightclubs (which is fun sometimes and I find it easier to socialize in those situations, but I don't want to do that all the time and I don't know them well enough to just hang out and do other stuff). I think it'd just be nice to have someone to watch a movie or having a coffee with without it getting awkward.

I do like to have time for myself as well, and there's a lot of things I'd like to do when my boyfriend is out, like you suggested. Usually I don't mind being apart so much for a few days either, for example if he goes to visit his family, then I mostly enjoy having the time to do stuff he's not interested in. But when I'm here in this apartment where we both live, and he's out with people I don't know, I get too nervous to be able to concentrate on a book or movie (not to mention studying. Baking sounds better though, I should try that). Even if I can manage to distract myself in the evenings the worst part is going to bed, I tell myself that it's stupid to stay up late waiting but even if I go to bed early I just end up lying awake for hours.

Sometimes I think it would be easier if I could just meet these people he's hanging out with, so maybe I'd see that they're just normal people and nothing to feel threatened by, and maybe that I wouldn't like going to their parties anyway.

Hmm... perhaps trying to schedule time just for the two of us is a really good idea. One thing I don't like about him going out is that he doesn't usually tell me until the last minute, so I don't have time to plan meeting someone else (I don't suppose it's on purpose though, he's just disorganized). I've found that the best times are those where I deliberately go out with my classmates even if I don't feel like it at first, just to avoid being left alone, then I'm properly distracted and I can feel good about the fact that we're both out meeting other people but still go home together.

[ 01-11-2013, 09:13 AM: Message edited by: blueberry ]

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Molias
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I can completely sympathize with feeling awkward when you're in that initial settling-in stage with a new social group. Even if you feel a little awkward, though, I think it's great to put yourself out there and make the effort to talk to people. Once you've spent more time with your classmates, it might be easier to identify someone who's more willing to hang out by grabbing coffee with you vs. heading out to a club (and again, I hear you! Coffee dates with friends are my favorite). It sounds like this photography group is a good place for you to be for a while, especially if you do decide to be on the board - it'll force you to be in contact with more people, which may be intimidating at first, but it'll give you things to talk to them about and will ultimately connect you with a lot of people who share at least one interest with you, and they may be people with a wider range of ages/personalities than just your classmates.

Meeting the people your boyfriend's hanging out with sounds like a good idea! Getting a feel for what they and their parties are like might turn them from an abstract group (which might make them feel more threatening) to specific people. Maybe you'll make friends with some of them, but even if you don't, you will at least know who they are. It does sound like some of your worries come from these parties and friends being a bit of an unknown. I know you said the parties are mostly through the university group and so you aren't invited, but I assume most groups have events that are open to friends/partners from time to time. It seems like something you could ask him to keep an eye out for, so that the next time an even like that comes up you could come along. Or maybe he could plan some other outing that includes some of the friends he's made.

I don't know if you'll find this helpful, but in terms of scheduling I've found Google Calendar to be a great tool; you can set it up so that something he puts on his calendar will show up on yours, and vice-versa. It still requires him to think ahead enough to put things on the calendar, but if he can get in that habit it may help out so you can look at the days ahead and have an idea of what he'll be doing. It sounds like you've talked about some of these feelings with him already, so if you present this as a way he can help you, it might be enough of an incentive to get him to organize his time and communicate his schedule to you.

You mentioned that you both started new programs fairly recently - did you move to a new city at the same time, too? Any big transition like a move or a change in your school program can add a lot of stress to your life, and that effect can be much stronger when both things happen at once. It sounds like you're taking steps to take care of yourself but I'd encourage you to continue finding the self-care habits that work best for you.

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blueberry
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Sorry for replying back so late, I've been thinking about what you said and trying to figure things out with my boyfriend.

The calendar thing is a really good idea, he's already using one on his phone and it's possible to share it so I can see it as well, so I think that will be very helpful for planning my time. [Smile] And yes, we did move to a new city so everything's quite new, but we've been here for half a year now so I think I should start getting used to it.


This is all very good advice you've given me, and I will certainly try to make use of it as much as I can, but I can't help thinking that the big problem here is my lack of confidence and low self-esteem (because it causes the jealousy and makes me feel insecure about our relationship and about meeting new people). Rationally, I know I should be able to trust my boyfriend, that meeting other people makes him happy which is good for both of us, and that I could use some time for myself too, so why do I still have to freak out every time I'm left alone? It doesn't make any sense, really.

I also feel reluctant about bringing up this topic too often nowadays because we always start arguing about it rather than being able to discuss it in a constructive way. I think he's starting to get tired of how I always get upset by the silliest things.

Actually I've tried to talk about me meeting his new friends quite a few times, he's said he'll invite me to a party sometime but it's never happened. Whenever I point this out he says I wouldn't like it anyway since I wouldn't know anyone there, which of course is why I don't want to do it if he doesn't like the idea. I have seen some of them in their school cafeteria a couple of times, but then he's rarely introduced me and even seemed a bit embarrassed to have me there, like he doesn't want everyone to know we're together, and he's really shy about hugging and such if there's any chance any of his classmates could see us, which I find funny because he's not at all shy otherwise. I don't know what to think really, I just feel confused and a bit hurt by all of this.

I'm not really sure what kind of self-care habits you're talking about, do you have any examples/suggestions?

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blueberry
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I forgot to mention that I've felt unusually depressed about the winter cold and darkness this year (we're living in southern Finland now), so that has probably made me more likely to have negative thoughts as well, together with the stress of starting a new program as you said. Perhaps I will start feeling better now that things are calming down a bit at uni and it's starting to get lighter outside.
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Molias
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No worries about taking a while to respond! It sounds like you have a lot to think about.

If you are feeling insecure about yourself or your relationship, I can definitely see why that would make this situation more difficult. Building up your self-esteem is a worthy goal, and while I don't know what will work best for you I do think getting out and involved in something like one of the university groups you mentioned could be a great start. Any environment where you might have to interact with people more or take on some responsibility could be a way to push yourself in a way that might be a little scary at first but will develop some skills and give you something you can point at and say "look at this fabulous thing I learned to do." I know you're a student and may not have a lot of free time, but if there's a skill or activity you are excited about - or maybe even your coursework - that you can apply yourself to and really shine at, having that accomplishment could be a really positive thing. You mentioned in your first post about how much your boyfriend has made you feel good about yourself, and that's really great! Maybe it's now time to explore what you can do for yourself to feel good. I think that part can be harder, but it's ultimately more rewarding.

I will say, though, that I can see why the behavior your describing from your boyfriend might be confusing or upsetting to you. It's completely fine for him to want to have a new group of friends that does things you aren't as interested in, and to want to spend a lot of time with them. But if he is telling you he'll do something and then doesn't, or acts differently than you expect when he is around this group of people, it sounds reasonable to me that it could bother you. You say you're getting upset about "the silliest things" but I don't think this sounds silly at all. You get to feel however you feel! I hope when you are talking to your boyfriend he isn't diminishing your feelings in this, because what you're describing does sound kind of hurtful, whether he intends it or not.

If you keep bringing this issue up and instead of finding a resolution you are arguing about it, maybe the two of you can find another way to have this discussion that will work better? I tend to get very emotional when I talk about things that are bothering me, so sometimes when I know I need to have an important or scary discussion with my partner I will send an email, even though we live together. It gives both of us a chance to think about our emotions and sort through them before we put words down, and it's helped a lot. If you're feeling burnt out on this discussion and worry that he is too, you could even give him some things you're thinking about (either in an email or face-to-face) and set a time to sit down and talk about them later.

If you have specific examples of what you worry about, or things that have upset you, it may be more helpful to provide those than to say "I'm feeling jealous." And if you have something you'd like him to do in response to those issues, that's even better. You can mention that he hasn't invited you to a party and ask if he can make that happen in the next week or month, for example. Or ask if he can make sure to introduce you around and include you in the conversation if you come across him when he's with friends you don't know.

In terms of self-care, I like to use that as a blanket term for anything you can do for yourself to help ease stress or calm down - any sort of "treat" you can give yourself. My list, when I'm stressed or upset, looks like this: go on a walk and take pictures of my neighborhood, go out for fancy coffee, take a bath with a good book and nice-smelling bath salts, bake cookies or a pie, snuggle with my cats, knit while watching a silly movie. I know folks whose self-care regimen includes shopping or yoga or making music or running. Whatever sounds best when you are trying to make yourself a priority and treat yourself right. =)

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blueberry
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Okay, so if I try to focus on building up my self-esteem and doing things for myself (like those self-care habits, and things I can be good at) rather than focusing on negative thoughts, that will probably help with the jealousy and insecurity as well. =)

I did decide to join the board at the photography club! We had our first real meeting yesterday and I think it went quite well, it felt a little bit less awkward than usually and my tasks don't seem too hard to manage. So now I will get to see the others there regularly for at least a year, and hopefully get to know them a bit better! I will try to get to know my classmates better as well, because some of them are really nice and I'm sure they do other things than go to parties.

One thing I think would be really good for my self-esteem would be to exercise more, but that's also something I've always felt very insecure about (thanks to PE-classes in school). I enjoy biking and walking/running in the woods by myself during the summer months, but as soon as I go to a gym or some similar place with other people present I start feeling insecure and very self-conscious because I'm in such bad shape (I'm still quite thin though, so I may not look like it). I even felt like that while taking a yoga class since a lot of the movements involved being able to reach your toes with your legs stretched out, which I find impossible to do. Anyway, the point is that for most of my life I've avoided physical activities because I feel so bad about it, and that's something I know I need to change.


Well, in his defense I don't think any of their events lately have been the kind that you can bring guests to, but I still feel like he just not too keen on having me there... I'm not sure if he can really sympathize with how I feel about this because he never gets jealous at all and I suppose he doesn't have any reason to. Even if I'm openly flirting with someone else he mostly seems happy about it because he thinks it makes me more cheerful. He's also got more experience from previous relationships, but for me this is the first time I've had to deal with these kind of problems (I used to be jealous of the girls he had dated before me, which seemed a bit silly even to myself, but since that wasn't any kind of real threat I never got around to doing anything about it).

In this case I don't think an email or any text would be very helpful since he's dyslectic, but what I could do is to try to figure out exactly what I want to say and have some suggestions or examples ready before I bring it up at all, so I could be more specific about it. I hear you on getting too emotional; I often end up crying because I don't know how to solve the problem, which doesn't really help either.

There's a party next weekend that I've been especially worried about... It's only for the board members of their student organization so I understand why I'm not invited, but they're going to be at the summer cabin of my boyfriend's family, so I kind of get the feeling that he's throwing a party without inviting me. They're going to stay there for two nights as well so another thing I feel anxious about is that he might end up sleeping in the same bed as another girl, since I know there's not going to be enough beds there for all of them. I've told him how I feel about this and he's said he will try to avoid it... maybe it's not such a big deal but I can't help feeling bad about it.

I really appreciate that you're taking the time to have this discussion with me, by the way. I've never actually talked about these things in depth with anyone else than my boyfriend, and it feels like a huge relief just to be able to discuss it with someone else.

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Molias
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I do think you're right that focusing on things you enjoy and that make you feel good about yourself will be helpful, not just for your current situation of handling the move and things with your boyfriend, but for your overall sense of self in the long run. Of course knowing that doesn't always make it easy! But it seems like you're doing a lot of thinking about the situation and feeling pretty self-aware about it, which is a good first step.

It sounds like getting more involved with your photography group will be fun and a good experience. And can I just say how sad it is how many people (myself included, for sure) get turned off of the idea of sports or exercise from PE classes? I really feel you on that one. Hopefully you can find a type of cold-weather exercise you can enjoy. I think at the gym, most people are too busy feeling self-conscious about themselves to notice if someone else is being awkward; maybe that'll be good to keep in mind?

In terms of this upcoming party, it does seem likely that in a group of at least some straight people, no one would think it odd if your boyfriend said "hey, I'd rather share a bed with another guy." That sounds like a very reasonable boundary to draw up with your boyfriend if it would make you feel more comfortable. This might not be a big deal to some people, but if it feels like a big deal to you, that's ok! It doesn't sound like you're trying to be controlling or butt into your boyfriend's life if you set this boundary.

Something that may help as you're processing your feelings and trying to sort out what you want to say to your boyfriend before you have conversations about this issue is keeping some sort of journal about how you're feeling as things happen. This could help to clarify what you are feeling and make it easier to figure out exactly how you want to explain things to him.

And ultimately - you can't control what he does. That's kind of scary, but also kind of freeing - it can be so tempting to dwell on what might be happening when you're not around, but if you can get past that temptation, you leave yourself with so much more mental energy to plan for the future, or think about the great things you're involved in, or whatever else you want. I think this is another thing that's much easier to say than to do (and I certainly struggle with this sometimes), but if I find myself feeling jealous or worrying that if I'm not around someone I care about then they'll forget about me or have so much fun they won't miss me, that's my cue to get up, take a walk, pet the cat, or something to drag my mind out of that place. After a while of building up that habit, I'm much less likely to feel jealous in the first place. It's an on-going process, but I really do think it's something you can teach yourself over time.

I'm glad you're finding it helpful to talk things through! That's what we're here for. =)

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blueberry
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I'm glad you think sharing a bed with someone else is a reasonable boundary; being too controlling is the last thing I want to do and sometimes it gets hard for me to see what's reasonable and what's not. I know me and my boyfriend have quite different notions of what is and isn't okay to do in a relationship, of course, so maybe we need to discuss that more.

As for this party I mentioned, I tried to use what I've learned from here to avoid feeling jealous or left out and I think it worked quite well! I went to stay with my parents for the whole weekend so I wouldn't be on my own all the time, and kept myself occupied with things I like to do without my boyfriend, like reading books and going swimming with my sister. I also told him beforehand that I really appreciate to hear from him every now and then, and he did call me a few times, so that made me feel much more at ease (especially about the bed thing). I started having negative thoughts a few times but I found it much easier than before to get up and do something else, like you said. In any case I wasn't at all freaking out like the first time I posted here, so I think that's some progress. =)

I like how you're putting it as a 'temptation' to get past - I think I'm starting to see the whole thing more like a challenge for myself rather than a problem, especially since I can use it as a reason to build up my self-esteem. In everything I've ever read about jealousy they've never offered any solutions other than perhaps dumping the jealous partner, so I'm just happy to find that this is something I can get over, even if it takes time! At least now I have some strategies for how to deal with it that I can focus on.

Is there anything else you think I could do to work on my self-esteem? Or maybe book suggestions? I think the idea of exercising is something I would like to discuss a bit more but it feels a bit off-topic here, maybe I could make a new post about that?

[ 01-23-2013, 09:04 AM: Message edited by: blueberry ]

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Molias
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It does sound like it might be a help to talk about what each of you think is ok in a relationship. Relationships can be so varying and complicated - people can be so varying and complicated - that there certainly isn't one way for a relationship to look. I think these articles (especially the first one) have a lot of information that might be helpful if you're thinking about having that conversation with your boyfriend:
Supermodel: Creating & Nurturing Your Own Best Relationship Models
Hello, Sailor! How to Build, Board and Navigate a Healthy Relationship
One thing I've found is that even if a discussion like this reveals that my partner and I had pretty different views about how to handle the issue, the stress of dealing with that was generally a LOT easier to cope with than the stress and confusion of not knowing where we stood with each other. So, it might be scary but in the long run, hopefully it will help.

I'm glad to hear that you handled the party weekend pretty well! It sounds like you were doing several things to take care of yourself and kept busy when you started to worry, so good job! High-five! Now you at least have a few things you know are helpful the next time you get that feeling. It is a challenge, for sure, but I like your way of looking at it as a personal challenge that's an excuse to work on other things in your life.

I am not sure about books, but I'm investigating and will report back if I find any that look good. The best advice I have in terms of how to increase self-esteem is to find time to do things in your life that you can be proud to talk about in relation to yourself. I am still very much a work in progress but when I was young I had *terrible* self-esteem and I feel much better about where I am today. A lot of those changes have been in relation to me sorting out sexual/gender identity stuff, but the rest has come from developing friendships and relationships, doing volunteer work and professional development, and learning new skills and hobbies. It doesn't mean you have to be doing Important, Life-Changing Work all the time, but being active in things you feel good about is likely to make it so you feel better about *you* in general.

If you want to explore exercise more, we can do that in this thread; it ties in with how you're dealing with the initial topic, so that's fine. =) But if you want to start a new one, that would work too! That would fit in the Body & Soul section and you'd probably get more responses there.

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blueberry
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Thanks for the links! I have an important exam in a few days that I really need to focus on right now, but after that I'd like to take a proper look at the articles and then get back to you, hope that's all right!
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Molias
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Yep, no problem at all; there's no time limit on when you need to stop back by. We are here at your convenience. =)
Good luck on your exam!

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blueberry
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Hi again! This break got a bit longer than I thought since we went on an unexpected vacation for two weeks and the time before that was quite stressful. But I've had a lot of time to think (so I'm afraid this is going to be quite long) and I also realized I've missed talking to you here so I hope you still want to talk to me =)

I got another challenge after the party weekend, because the trip involved staying at hostels and that's something I've felt insecure about before. Last time we went on a trip, there would be some girls who wanted to flirt with my boyfriend at almost every hostel we stayed at, with me ending up alone in a corner and feeling awful about it (partly because most of the girls my boyfriend's been with before me were people he met at hostels, and he's also been to a lot more of them than me). However, in the end it wasn't so bad, all the people we met were really nice and I didn't feel so insecure since this time it was something I had done before, and I could also speak a bit of the local language (my boyfriend didn't) so at least that was something I could feel good about. I also tried to explain to him how I felt about it beforehand and he said he would try to make sure I didn't get left out. However, we didn't actually meet any girls I could have been jealous about, so I didn't get to test that, but on the whole I think it definately went better than last time. And I think it helped to write down beforehand why I felt bad about it, so that's something I'll keep in mind.

Going on this trip also made me realize I do feel terribly lonely in this new city, because we went to visit the place where we lived before, and it's not like I have loads of friends over there, just a handful, but still more than in my home country... Even just talking to strangers in a hostel made me feel less lonely than going to uni with my classmates. It feels quite depressing to be back home, to be honest, not just because of feeling lonely.


Back to what we were discussing before:

I do think that sorting out identity stuff is a good way to start! And it's good to hear about someone else who've had the same problems but been able to do something about them. I also feel better about myself than I did a few years ago, but still, I don't really know who I am or what I want to do with my life. I haven't thought that much about sexual or gender identity, but ever since I was around 13 there's always been this pressure to find out what I want to work with, from my parents, school and society in general. Go to a good university, start a career, make money, and so on. It's always made me feel bad, because I think it's impossible to know what you want to do when you're that young, and even now I'm somehow expected to finish my studies quickly and start working as soon as possible, even though I'm not sure I'm in the right course to begin with.

I started making a list for some small things that I could do to feel better about myself, but then I realized it was mostly about skills that I could be better at.... and it feels like all my life I've just been trying to prove to myself or others that I'm good enough, because I can get good grades or draw or knit a stocking, but then if my grades go down for instance I just feel worthless. I don't think learning new skills would be a bad idea at all but I need to stop seeing everything as a competition, or have my self-esteem so closely tied to what I'm good at.

As for the article about relationship models, we did talk a bit about what's okay and what isn't (like flirting with other people), so I feel like that part is becoming a bit clearer, but there's still a lot of things we could use talking about. However, I'm a bit reluctant to bring these subjects up right now because I've tried many times before and it never leads anywhere, or turns into a fight. And some of those are things I haven't quite made up my own mind about yet, which makes it even more confusing to argue with someone about, so I think it would be nice to discuss them here first and then see if I can have a constructive discussion about it with my boyfriend =)

Otherwise I just feel really disorganized at the moment, like I can't enjoy the things I like to do because I have so much unfinished schoolwork and other stuff hanging above my head, and still I can't get up and do something about it. I get nervous when the apartment is messy because my head is so messy as well and somehow I can't handle both things at the same time. Even replying to you here is something I have to write down on a to-do list and it still takes me weeks to get it done. I could probably write a few pages more about everything but I'll stop here before it turns into a novel [Smile]

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Molias
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Hello blueberry! I'm so happy to see you back! =)

It sounds like you had a nice trip, and I'm glad to hear that it was easier to navigate hostels this time than the last time you traveled together. I am really sorry to hear that it made you feel lonelier in your current city, though. I can really sympathize with feeling disconnected to people where you live and missing friends from your old town. It really does take time to make friends, especially close friends, in a new town (and I know you mentioned an age difference between you and most of your classmates, which probably makes it harder), but while you're working on building up a social group here, do you have ways to stay more connected with friends who live other places?

You mention feeling like everything's disorganized and I'm sure that makes it harder to sort through everything, whether that's thoughts in your head or dishes in the sink or papers to write. When I feel overwhelmed with a lot of things it's harder for me to get started on anything, and I've had good luck with setting timers to help with doing smaller, periodic tasks. If you're feeling distressed, say, by a dirty kitchen, can you set a timer for 10-15 minutes to tackle as much mess as you can during that time? That way you know you've put some effort into it, but you have a set end point when you know it is time to take care of something else. If you do that every day or a few times a week you can know you're taking care of things without having a vague "I need to do dishes!!!" dread hanging over you. You can use this for all sorts of things, of course.
I tend to be kind of loosey-goosey about getting tasks done because historically I've been decent at time management without trying too hard, but that just means that when I really DO have to manage my time better, I'm not always good at it. So I learned that sometimes I have to be a hardass with myself (but a loving one) and really focus on minimizing distractions. At times that means I have to take a long walk or something to tire out/quiet down the most critical part of my brain before I can get started on real work.

Also, in terms of talking things through with your boyfriend, I'm glad you've done a little bit of that, and I can certainly understand that it might feel a little perilous to start a conversation when you aren't quite sure exactly how you feel about something, or are worried that you might start fighting. If you think it'll help to sort through any of that here, then by all means let's do some sorting.

But honestly, it's possible that bringing up some of the things you want to talk about will mean you have a fight. Which of course you don't want to have happen, but what would also be unfortunate is if you have something you really do want to ask for, or that you know upsets you, that you don't bring up because you're worried that he'll be upset or you'll have a fight about it. Fights are no fun, but holding in something that you're worried might cause a fight can be even worse. I think it does make sense to sort things out in your head as much as possible before you talk to him, and do whatever you can to make it a smooth conversation, but I think this goes back to not being able to control his reaction (the same way you can't actually control if he cheats on you or not): all you can do is approach a potentially difficult conversation with your best intentions and see how it goes.

Finally: I get what you're saying about wanting to be good at things and have a sense of what your goals are and what your future should look like, and I think it's always great to have a desire to improve at things you enjoy. I know I even said above that honing a skill or learning something new can be a great way to be excited about yourself and what you have going on in your life. But! I think that has to dovetail with learning to be excited about where you're at right now in your skills and your life. There's this very narrow dividing line between "I want to improve my fantastic skills so they and I can be even better" and "oh god I haven't learned enough yet, I am insufficiently awesome" and it's tough to stay on the positive side of it! I do think that keeping this in mind or being aware of when your brain starts nastily comparing you to other people can make it easier to switch back to a less self-defeating mode.

I think I've just about written a novel in response, oops! [Wink] Again, welcome back.

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blueberry
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Thank you! And that makes me glad, I'm so happy I have you to talk to.

I know it can take time to make new friends but I've already been here for half a year and everything's been pretty much the same in the last five months. What I mean is, it feels like everyone has already found the group of people they want to hang out with and are reluctant to change that. I did make two friends in my class at the beginning, but one is so busy she rarely has time to see me, and the other one just got a new boyfriend (who is also one of my few friends) so now she's busy too. From my other (younger) classmates I get the impression that they like hanging out with me at parties, but otherwise they're not really interested. It would be nice to stay in contact with old friends, but they live so far away that I'm not sure if I'm going to see them again, and just keeping in touch via facebook feels a bit... meh (I know there is skype as well, but we're not so close that I would call them up for no reason).
I think another reason I feel depressed is that I'm not particularly happy about living in this country at all, mostly because of the climate and the language (this is a long story but I don't speak the local language very well at all even though I was born here, so I don't really feel at home).

Yup, that's the same for me, I just feel so overwhelmed I don't know where to start. I've also found the timer method good for straightforward tasks like clearing up the sink - you know what to do without having to spend too much time thinking about it, so the real obstacle is just getting started with it. But then there's all the stuff that ends up on my desk because I have to decide what to do with it, and stuff that is hidden behind cupboard doors but you still can't stop thinking about it... That's what is distracting me the most, and our flat isn't really THAT messy, haha. But I think I will write down a list of everything I want to clear up at home and then start working through it a little bit at a time.

I definately need some tools for time management, though. One reason I'm finding it so hard at the moment is that most of the courses I'm doing in the spring term don't require me to go to school at all, it's only self-studies, so I'm finding it really hard to keep up a routine and actually getting my work done without having someone there to remind me or even set a deadline for when I need to be done. It's just not very motivating, and I think I need some kind of routine to be happy. (It's also one reason why I feel isolated from other people - I never see anyone!). So I decided that I will try to be more strict with myself next week and actually go to the library to work there so I can concentrate on other stuff when I'm at home.


Well. You do have a point in that, and I can take a fight if I have to, but it's not like I'm holding in a lot of stuff that I don't dare to say aloud. Most of it are things we have talked, and argued, about a hundred times before and it hasn't lead anywhere. I'm tired of fighting all the time. But if something bothers me I usually bring it up, except I may not do it in a very good way, so I've often wished that I could just keep my mouth shut until I know what to say rather than blurt out the first thing on my mind, especially since I so easily get anxious about nothing. I'm not very good at keeping things just to myself, to be honest.

(As for holding in stuff, I found out a few weeks ago that my boyfriend has been taking antidepressants for more than half a year, but he didn't want to tell me before because he thought I would react badly. Which I can kind of understand even if it stings a bit, but I don't think holding in things like that is healthy for anyone, especially since it came quite out of the blue.)

Could we talk about porn, though? That's one discussion in particular that never leads anywhere, perhaps because I don't really know what to think of it and my boyfriend seems uncomfortable talking about it. I get that it's not "real" and it's not really about us, but it still makes me upset if I see my boyfriend watching it (or thinking about it at all, actually).

Okay, so everything you're saying about skills makes perfect sense, but I'm not quite sure how to go about doing that in real life. The only thing I can think about right now is if I start out working on those skills where I'm less likely to end up comparing myself to others. Knitting for example, since I don't know anyone else who's interested in that. And the closest friend I've made at uni so far is very very motivated about her coursework, but since we're doing slightly different subjects I can feel inspired rather than like I have to compare myself to her, so that's another place I could start (in the past, I've usually only felt threatened by people who are better than me at something). What do you think?

(I'm sorry, it seems like I can only write novels these days!)

[ 03-02-2013, 01:46 PM: Message edited by: blueberry ]

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Heather
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blueberry: I'm around today and happy to talk with you about some of this, including about whatever preferences and feelings you might have per a partner and pornography.

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blueberry
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Hi Heather! That would be nice, but should I then make a new topic for discussing porn and relationships? So it will be easier to follow [Smile]
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Heather
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Whatever you like: we can do it in this thread or another. Up to you. [Smile]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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blueberry
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Okay! I made a new thread just for that, it's in the Relationships category (hope that's the right place).
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Heather
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Seems fine to me! [Smile]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Molias
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I see that separate thread you made about pornography, and it looks like you and Heather are having a good conversation; I may weigh in there as well. But! In terms of the rest of what you have going on, I have some thoughts!

Social stuff is SO HARD in a new place. I know I said that above, but it's so so true. I can understand how using facebook to keep up with friends might not feel great. You're in school right now, I know, but do you have time for something like volunteering or joining a group related to another interest you have? You mentioned the photography group; how's that going? Maybe there's some other activity you can do where there's a built-in shared interest with other members.
When we're kids it's a lot easier to make friends; you go to school with the same people and everyone is mostly doing the same work and activities, so there's a lot of shared experience. But as adults either out of school or in university programs with a more mixed age group, that shared experience isn't as strong, and schedules are so different, that it's a lot more work to make those connections. I wish there was an easier way to do it, but I think in your situation making friends will be something you might have to put more effort into. And that can be really stressful and awkward-feeling, I know! I'm hoping there's a key person you'll be able to connect with who will have an established social group you'll fit with. I think it'll just take some patience and a willingness to talk to people and reach out. I wish I had an easier answer for you. =(

I've had to learn a lot about time management because my job right now is a work-from-home situation, and that makes it really easy for time to get away from me. Setting a routine has been a huge help - I wake up at the same time every weekday, and while my hours are fairly flexible I have a set time that I HAVE to start working by, although I often start earlier. I also have a rule that I can't start drinking coffee in the morning until I start work! It's a small thing but it has helped me get into the Working Mindset.

I think time management and organization are often the sort of thing you just have to make yourself work on; it isn't fun, it can be hard to find the right kind of structure for your workload and needs, but once you find a system that works I think you'll find it makes you less stressed about what you have to get done.
And in terms of clutter and general cleaning, making a list sounds like a good plan. I think list-making can be really helpful for all sorts of tasks because even if you don't actually work directly from a list it can be useful just to see what's taking up space in your mind.

In terms of skills you can work on, I am always excited to see people knitting so I think that's a great plan, but I guess I don't want you to get caught up in feeling like you have to have some amazing skill to build confidence. The thought in my mind, when I brought it up, was that when I'm feeling low and down on myself it is great to be able to step back and think about the things that, imperfect as they may be, I can accomplish that I feel good about. I managed to take some good pictures last year, mostly by accident I think, even though I don't know much about good photography and I just have a cell phone camera. If I were to compare my work to "real" photographers, it wouldn't stand up to their work at all. But it's something I enjoy and can get excited about, even if I know it's not objectively the Best Ever.
I think that's what I'm getting at. It doesn't sound like you need another source of stress or something to feel bad about if you're comparing your output to what other people do, but something you can enjoy for what it is and take comfort in when you're not feeling great can be really helpful. But if you're really struggling with feeling ok about where you're at right now and aren't sure how to put that in practice, then sticking with something like knitting where you're less tempted to compare your results with anyone else might be good.

I also want to note here, that a lot of these things I'm suggesting, that you say are really hard for you, are hard for me too. It's difficult stuff! And I think a lot of people struggle with feeling insecure, and that they aren't good enough, and that some of them are just really good at hiding it, or are working hard to overcome it. I just want to say that so it doesn't sound like I'm saying "just change how you feel about yourself! It's so easy!" because I know it's not.

And on that note, one last thought: does your university offer any counseling services? I know many in the US do but I'm not sure if you have some available. I wonder if it wouldn't be helpful to talk over some of this with a counselor; there's some in-depth stuff that we can't do here that I think could be useful, mostly because I think improving self-esteem and trying to break the habit of comparing yourself to other people really is work and having someone who can give you some real concrete things to work on might be a huge help.

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blueberry
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Yes I know, I'm not expecting you to come up with some magical answers for me. =) I'm not sure if I agree that it's easier to make friends when you're a kid though, or at least it wasn't for me, I had a few friends but I always had a feeling they weren't particularly good friends and some I've later wished that I hadn't hang out with at all because they weren't good for me. The best experience I've had with making friends was at a folk high school a couple of years ago with a very mixed age group, the school was quite small and we were all living at the same student hall, so you didn't get isolated in the same way that I feel these days. (With my current classmates, I feel disappointed that it's NOT a more mixed age group, haha).

The photography group is going good! There's usually a few meetings and other program every month, so I get to see those people quite often, and I'm starting to feel a bit more comfortable with them. I've missed a few events lately because of the trip but now that I'm back I expect to get more involved. I can't think of any other suitable groups I could join right now, but I'll keep my eyes open!

You know, I went to one of my student organization's parties yesterday, and I actually had a lot of fun! I decided to help out with one party they're having next week as well, just so I get to see some people and then I'll keep myself occupied while my boyfriend is at another party (he's become better at letting me know beforehand, so I'm glad). I know I said I'm not much of a party person, but I think I will give it another chance, to see if I can expand my social circle a little bit.

About this party though... I went there by myself at first, and I had a really nice time with the people in my student group, but then my boyfriend decided to come there as well a bit later on. And we danced and I was so happy because that's what I had wanted and we both had a really good time, and I tried my best not to get upset if I saw him talking (flirting?) with other people and I think that went quite well, but then I saw him dancing with this cute blonde girl from my class I'm not very good friends with, and I don't know, I was a bit drunk and I just couldn't handle it. (Which was stupid, because I had been dancing with other people as well, but I still can't stop thinking about it). I wish I could take everything a bit less seriously. Anyway, we had a big fight but at least we've talked through some things now. (and I'm sorry, I'm writing too much about details again and I know you might not have that much to say about it but I just need to write it down).


As for skills, I get what you're saying and I will try to focus on doing things just for my own enjoyment that other people don't have to see, like improving my cooking skills for instance. Maybe it could also be good to spend some more time just doing things that I enjoy, such as reading novels, even if they're not exactly skills? Things that feel like "me". I also started clearing out my clutter and it feels really good!

Other than that I was thinking a bit about self respect and what I could do in that area. For example, I'm really bad at keeping timetables and I always end up being late everywhere, and every time it happens I hate myself for it. And I've also been thinking a lot about eating more vegetarian food, which should be really easy at the uni café since I don't even have to cook it myself, but I still end up making the wrong choices. In both cases it's really a matter of self discipline, I think. So, if I could make a decision and then stick to that, it might help me feel better about myself. What do you think?


I think counselling could be a really good idea, my boyfriend has also suggested it a few times so I've been thinking about it for some time. I'm not sure about where to go though; they do have some kind of counselling service at my student healthcare center but I'm a bit sceptical about it since my previous visits there (for other health problems) have all been a bit awkward. Also I'm not sure if they have anyone I could talk to in my own language or even English because I think that's quite important... But of course I could always try. And we have a school counselor which is just for my university, from what I understand she is mostly there to help with time management and problems related to your coursework, but I figured I could probably use some help with that as well =) So I will see if I can get an appointment with her, and then perhaps she can give me some advice for where to go, or it might feel less awkward to see someone else to talk about self-esteem with after that.

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Molias
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I'm glad to hear that your photography club is going well - it can take a while to settle into any new group like that, but it sounds like you're on your way. And it's great that the party was a positive experience for the most part. One thing that may be helpful to remember is that it's ok to go to a party for just a little while (unless it's a more structured type like a dinner party, I suppose). Sometimes I like socializing for just a bit and will leave a party earlier than other people but I feel better for having gone a bit. And honestly, sometimes just saying out loud "I can leave early if I want" before I go to a party helps me relax about it and I end up staying longer anyway!

On to the stressful part of that evening - first off, this is your thread to write in and you can put in any details you like! Don't feel like you have to apologize for whatever you write. Do you have a sense of what in particular made you more uncomfortable about your boyfriend dancing with your classmate vs. talking to people? I wonder if it was specific to that person or just the accumulation of a lot of smaller instances you saw that night.

Like you said, you were also dancing and talking with other people and that felt fine and not inappropriately flirtatious to you, I assume. Maybe it would be helpful to think about the sort of things you're feeling when you are hanging out and being friendly with people of various genders at a party or other event. I think it can be easy to read friendliness as flirtiness between other people, especially if you're feeling insecure about yourself or your relationship, and sure, some people are naturally more flirtatious in their friendly interactions, but that doesn't necessarily translate to an intention or a statement of romantic/sexual intent.

I am guessing that this is something that will feel like less of an issue to you as you feel better about yourself. In the meantime you are being pretty self-aware about it, which seems like a pretty good thing to me. It sounds really stressful to get that upset and I'm sorry to hear that it happened. I do think if you do see a counselor this is the sort of thing that maybe they could help you work through and come up with good coping strategies for similar situations in the future.

Finding things that are relaxing and fun like reading and cooking is a great plan. I like your thought of doing things that feel like you. =) And setting goals is a good idea too - one thing I think that might help is to set smaller goals at first; break down a larger goal like "I'd love to eat vegetarian most of the time" into something like "I'll eat vegetarian at university every Wednesday" or "I'll research two new vegetarian recipes to make this week." That way you can set goals that are easier to achieve so it's more likely you'll succeed and feel good about it. It's ok to set a super-easy goal just to have something you feel good about achieving, you know?

Seeing the basic counselor through your school seems like a good first step. It can be hard to find someone you really click with but the only way to know is to give it a try! And I think it can be really relieving to know there's someone whose job it is to just listen for a while.

Also, just so you know I'll be out of town for a few days but will be back Monday. =)

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blueberry
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Hi! I've been a bit slow with writing back, went to stay with my family for a while since it was a bit hard to figure out how to have more space for myself while living so close together, and I didn't want to log in from my parents' shared computer.

The thing about the student parties here is that they're typically a kind of dinner party where you can't leave until 11 or 12 pm, and you usually have to be quite drunk to enjoy it, so I don't go if I have something important the next morning. But I always try to think that I can leave right after the dinner part if I want to, so I think that's a good strategy, especially for other less organized parties =)

About that particular evening, I think how I felt had a bit to do with that specific person, because I know her but I've always had a feeling that she doesn't like me very much (she's quite popular with the other girls, though). And right then it felt like it would have been easier to handle if it had been a total stranger or someone I knew I could trust (for example, my boyfriend was also hanging out in the bar with another of my classmates, but it felt safe to leave them alone because I know she wouldn't do anything to make me upset). This girl he was dancing with also seemed more like his "type", like he seemed really interested in her (and she did too). I've always thought she's really pretty but I didn't expect to feel bad about it.

And, I'm not very popular with my classmates, but I've always had a feeling they still respect me because a) I'm older and b) I live with my boyfriend. So I think that had something to do with how I felt as well. And then I was also feeling especially insecure about our relationship on the whole at that time, partly because of what Heather said on the other thread, and some dicussions that we'd had, so it felt a bit like an inappropriate time to go off dancing with someone else (my boyfriend said he could understand my reaction better after I explained that). The alcohol probably didn't help either.

And I guess it also brings up the question that if the important thing is that I can trust my boyfriend, why does it have to matter if I can also trust the people he's talking/flirting with?

But you're right, of course I was also talking to and even flirting with other people, but that didn't mean I wanted to do anything more than that. I will try to keep that in mind for next time. (And I hope this explanation made any sense!)


I finally heard back from the school counsellor, she said she's really busy right now though so I should get back to her in April and then perhaps she could make an appointment for me :/ But I will see if I can go and see someone at our student healthcare center instead. My boyfriend goes to a psychiatrist twice a week and he (the therapist) has asked me to come there with him some time as well, so I suppose that could also be a first step, even if I'm not going there to talk about *me*, but maybe I'll see that it's not so scary =)

I talked a bit about therapy with my sister as well, or mostly she talked and I just listened, she recently got diagnozed with serious depression and I know she had similar problems when she was my age. And it was so nice because she's one of the most open-minded, genuinely kind persons I know, and I started thinking that if she has these problems then it's nothing to feel bad about, because I still think she's fantastic. Do you know what I mean? From my parents on the other hand, I get the impression that they'd rather pretend these problems don't exist.

I also feel a bit stupid and like a bad partner for being so slow to realize that I'm not the only one with problems... My boyfriend has been taking antidepressants since August but I only found out around Christmas, and I know he was depressed last year but I thought it was just because he was unemployed and had nothing to do. Now it's gradually become worse over the last few months and it looks like he's going to have to take a break from school or drop out so I'm not sure what will happen next year. But he's getting more help now, so I'm happy about that (I was worried about the medicines before because he just started taking them without going to a therapist).

And then I've been thinking about what I should do next year, if I should stay here or not. But I think I should make my own plans separately from whatever he plans to do, because he doesn't know that himself yet and probably won't for a long time.


Oh, and I've started to have lunch now and then with my old friends from a few years back who live in the same city. It's a bit awkward sometimes since we don't have that much in common any more but it's still really nice to see some people. And some of them came over to our place last night, we had a great time and it felt just like what I needed right then. For both of us, I think. It makes such a difference to know there's someone you can talk to or ask if they want to hang out. I think I could use some more of that =)

[ 03-24-2013, 10:47 AM: Message edited by: blueberry ]

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Haleigh H
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Blueberry,

Great to hear you are doing well and reconnecting with friends. It is wonderful that you were able to talk with your sister about her depression and therapy. Your right, there is nothing shameful about going to therapy or taking medication, it doesn't change how fantastic someone is, may even help them be more fantastic. [Big Grin]

That's a bummer you wont be able to get into the counselor until April but it sounds like you are doing some things to help yourself in the mean time (spending time with friends, family).

You asked why it matters if you can also trust the people your boyfriend is talking/flirting with, for me this is a question of respect. For me personally, I feel like it's important that I trust that the people my partner is talking/flirting with respect our relationship and don't cross those boundaries. I feel like there is a line between flirting and something more. While I respect my boyfriend not to cross that line, I may not trust the person he's talking/flirting with not to cross that line. What do you think?

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Haleigh

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blueberry
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Hi Haleigh,

Yes, exactly! I don't know why I didn't see that before. I was a bit surprised to hear about my sister's depression actually since she seems quite happy, she's always filling her time with people and activities she loves and seems to really have found her place -- she didn't quite fit my stereotype of a depressed person. Whereas my parents think she's nuts, but I'm starting to think that they could probably use some therapy themselves. [Big Grin] I like the idea of therapy helping someone be even more fantastic!

I see what you mean by that, and I agree, but what do you do if your boyfriend IS talking to someone you don't trust? Or a stranger who doesn't know he's in a relationship? I can't control who he's talking to (and I don't want to!), so that's bound to happen sometimes.

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Haleigh H
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blueberry,

I've struggle with this too. I've worried about it and let it effect my mood, which feels so destructive. The thing that has worked the best for me is talking to my boyfriend about it. Sharing with him exactly how I'm feeling. Letting him know that I'm worried about friends or people he is talking/flirting with not respecting the boundaries of our relationship. Once I got all of that out in the open I felt a lot better and was able to move past it. For me, in my relationship, this is something we've talked about several times. It may be something you continually navigate together, I know it is for me and my partner.

Do you feel comfortable having this conversation with you boyfriend about being really honest about how your feeling?

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Haleigh

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Molias
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Hi again blueberry! Nice to see you around as always. =)

It sounds like talking to your sister was really good for you; I'm glad the two of you could connect and that she was willing to share her experiences with you. It's too bad the first counselor you talked to didn't have much room in their schedule at the moment but I think your idea to look for someone through your student health center is a good plan too. It sounds like you're doing a lot of thinking and processing right now, which is great, and having another set of ears to hear what you're saying will probably be helpful.

One of the things that I've noticed about depression is how well some people who have it can hide it or how surprising it can be to learn that someone has it. I would try to be easy on yourself about missing your boyfriend's depression until he told you; it's possible he was really trying to hide it not out of a sense of dishonesty but because it can be incredibly difficult to talk about. I struggle with depression and have had to try really hard to break the habit of hiding it from loved ones - even loved ones who also have depression and know what it's like - because of some pretty harmful lessons I learned about being honest about it when I was really young.

I'm also glad to hear that you reconnected with some old friends; even if you aren't all in the same place in your lives any more it sounds like you had fun. Maybe you can try to schedule some things with them more often?

It sounds like you're mulling over a lot of things right now, trying to sort out what you want to do in the future. Maybe keeping a journal, if you aren't doing so already, about the sort of things you're thinking about for next year could be helpful.

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blueberry
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Haleigh:

That's an interesting thought. I've tried to explain to him how I feel about it before, of course, but we've never talked about it in terms of others people not respecting our boundaries. Thanks for the advice, I will see if I can bring that up in the future and hopefully it will make things a bit clearer!

Molias:

I went with my boyfriend to see his counsellor last week and - well, it was quite awkward at first, but after a while the time really flew by and I was left with the feeling that I really should go and talk to someone as well, and it doesn't have to be that scary even though it's a bit outside my comfort zone. I'm not sure how much help it actually was for our relationship, but on the whole I think it was a good experience and I'm glad my boyfriend felt ok about bringing me there.

It makes sense to me why someone would want to hide their depression; certainly people around you can be quite harsh about anything that's different. I'm sorry you had to go through that :/ I know it's been really hard for him to start talking about it as well (and I'm still surprised my sister can do it so openly, but then she's not very good at hiding things either). In any case I'm glad it's become easier for us both to talk about; I feel much better now that I know what's going on.

Keeping a journal could be a really good idea, I've used writing before when I was younger to figure out how I feel about things so I think it could work again (and I guess I've written a lot here already, oops!). My biggest problem will probably be to just sit down and start writing when there's no one else listening [Big Grin]

Okay, so here's my plan for the next few weeks!
  • Make an effort to expand my social circle a bit, even if it's a bit awkward at first, BUT avoid people who only make me feel bad about myself
  • Schedule time for doing things that I feel good about or that help me relax, such as reading novels or painting, or self care if you want to call it that
  • Make sure I take care about my health as well, trying to eat and sleep well to start with
  • Write something in that journal at least once a week, maybe with specific topics if it feels hard to start
  • Start writing down some goals or things I want to do in life, big and small ones, and break them down into small parts where there's something I can do every week or every day
  • Dress in clothes that make me feel gorgeous just because it's such a nice feeling, and throw out the ones in my wardrobe that don't feel like *me* anymore or I don't feel comfortable with (with I guess might seem a bit superficial, but it feels important somehow)
  • Try to manage my coursework and stuff for the photography club without having to feel stressed out about it
Well, that's to start out with at least [Smile]

When I went to see the doctor about my stomach problems, she said it's possible that my body is just reacting to too much stress. And I thought that sounded crazy because I've had so little coursework lately that I can't be stressed out... but of course I still am. I think I need help with figuring that out, but at least I've decided that my coursework doesn't have to be the most important thing right now, I've been obsessed about getting good grades since I was twelve so maybe it's time to stop.

On the whole, I feel a lot more relaxed about everything than a few weeks ago, I've worried much less about uni or my boyfriend lately, we haven't had any big arguments and it's generelly been really nice living together. And now I have a whole week to spend by myself in our flat while he's on holiday, and time to start working on that list (friends coming to visit are already booked)!

[ 03-30-2013, 08:14 PM: Message edited by: blueberry ]

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Molias
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I love your list! I am a huge fan of using lists as a way to either tackle big problems (by breaking them down, as you mention) or keep track of a lot of smaller items and projects. It's always nice to put some fun things on a list too, so good on you for including clothes you like on there. That's not superficial at all, it's just good self-care!

I'm so glad to hear that you're feeling a bit more relaxed at the moment. Thanks for the update. =)

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blueberry
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Haha, all right! I'm going to write a more detailed list for myself then, so I have more specific things to work on, and see how it goes this week [Smile] Thanks for listening!
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blueberry
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One more thing: is it okay if I keep writing on this thread, to sort of report back on how things are going? I very much hope I will get to talk to a counsellor through my uni soon, but even if I do there's a limited number of times you can go there and I feel like there won't be time to talk about everything. So I'm not expecting anyone to write a novel in response, but it would be nice to know there is someone who knows more of the bigger picture, if that makes sense. And then I could make other threads if there's something I would like to discuss more specifically?

And - I don't really know how to say this in a good way, but I'm so grateful to have found this place and to everyone who has tried to help. Thank you so much for just being here and listening, it means more than I can put into words.

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Heather
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I think that's just fine. [Smile] Also, I know the conversation you and I were having per your feelings about pornography, as I recall, seemed to be left hanging on your part, so if that's not something you felt done with, we can talk more about that there, too.

(If it did drop off because you felt done, that's obviously fine, btw: no need to talk more about something you don't want to talk more about or feel resolved with.)

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blueberry
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Ok, great! [Smile]

I would love to talk more about pornography, but right now it feels like I have a lot of other things on my mind and I'm still thinking about what we did discuss on that thread. My boyfriend hasn't been watching porn when I'm around lately and he's been totally fine with (almost) having a break from sex, so what I would like to do is keep trying to find out what I like, sexually, and then go back to that thread a bit later when I have some new thoughts about it, if that's all right.

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