T O P I C R E V I E W
Member # 55970
posted 07-14-2011 08:16 AM
I was going to put this in the relationship category, but then I realised this is more about me and less about my relationship.
Recently, I have been through a helluva lot in my life. In March, I ended up in A&E after having slashed my wrists open, and a lot of things in my life simply fell to pieces. I then went into a course of intensive counselling and therapy. I am coming to the end of my therapy, and can safely say, completely trusting myself, that I am a different person. In the past, I could never trust my own judgment and constantly needed assurance to believe my opinions were right. I needed everything I did to be perfect and right, and this was a standard I could never reach. Now, after all of the work I have done, I have learnt that I have never loved myself fully. I can look back on the sad timid Anna and say 'I love you' without any regret, past bad, stupid and downright harmful decisions considered. Why am I telling you this? Because it'll make the rest of this post make sense and give it context. I have recently taken up with a new partner, and am completely amazed by how differently I feel about it. I have been him for just under a fortnight now, but it's long enough for me to notice a massive difference in my approach to relationships: this time round, I'm surprisingly 'okay' with it. I haven't fallen completely in love/infatuation/lust with him. I don't care if I don't hear from him for a couple days, which for me is very strange. When I'm with him, I don't care if we talk about nothing, or if we even talk at all; he is a very relaxing person to be around. If tomorrow he decided I wasn't for him, I would understand that that decision is no reflection on me as a person (although I prolly wouldn't like it very much) Compare that with this: after a fortnight of my previous relationship, my ex and I had our future together planned to the minutest of details, and already spent pretty much every moment of our days together, whether in person or in cyber/textspace. I fell completely head over heels infatuatedly in love with and was completely obsessed with him. It was a relationship high on drama, low on substance. When it ended it was catastrophic and I was absolutely distraught. I have done a massive amount of reflection on my previous relationship, and have realised that we had a lot of 'issues', for lack of a better phrase. His self-doubt, low self-esteem and self-loathing mixed with my anxiety, fear of failure/rejection and self-harming was a combination bound for ultimate disaster. I sat down and thought about what's so different this time around, and I think the difference is is that I have also learnt to cultivate a more self-confident and self-loving frame of mind, and my current boyfriend has a great amount of self-belief, self-confidence and self-awareness, and is assertive in what he wants from life, but at the same time doesn't over-think anything. He lives without regret, with respect for everyone, and for the want of a better phrase, he's just 'cool' about everything. Now, here's why I'm actually here. Sometimes, I still doubt myself: it wasn't that long since things were all pear-shaped for me, and sometimes my old doubting self can come knocking at the door. I have a few things that are bothering me about my attitude at present to my boyfriend, and it's nothing bad, I'm just worried by how... well, 'dramaless' it is. I have always associated 'love' with that head-over-heels nonsense, but there's been none of that this time. No NRE, to infatuation, he's just part of my life, and it feels like he's been around since forever, even though I've only been going out with him for about a fortnight. (I won't get into specifics unless someone wants to have a chat with me about this). What's up with that? Why am I so damn un-worried and un-anxious about this relationship?
Member # 49582
posted 07-14-2011 10:58 AM
It may well be that you just feel safe and comfortable in this relationship. Do you think it has a lot less drama and more substance?
Loving someone is about safety, happyness and fun, not drama. If you really love someone, you don't need to prove it in high dramatic ways like promising a exciting future, you can just have fun or relax together and live in the moment, enjoying it all. From you post, it does seem like what you have now is love, not infatuation. Have you read this? http://www.scarleteen.com/article/boyfriend/love_letter This one also has a good piece aboyut drama and infactuation contrasted with loving someone: http://www.scarleteen.com/article/body/10_of_the_best_things_you_can_do_for_your_sexual_self_at_any_age [ 07-14-2011, 10:59 AM: Message edited by: RaeRay2112 ]
Member # 55970
posted 07-14-2011 02:44 PM
quote: Originally posted by RaeRay2112: It may well be that you just feel safe and comfortable in this relationship. Do you think it has a lot less drama and more substance? It's very strange, but I feel just fine and that I have no reason not to trust him. Sometimes I do doubt myself, though, and think that I'm maybe trusting him too much. But sometimes I wonder how much of the time I worry because I feel I should. But I feel that in this relationship I don't have to prove anything to anyone, and that it's just normal life. There are a few specific things I am concerned about, in terms of my security in this relationship and my sexuality, and I worry that it's too early to think of such things. quote: From you[r] post, it does seem like what you have now is love, not infatuation. I think so too, and there are days where I just want to turn around to him and say 'I love you', but I wonder if it's too early to say that, and don't know how I'd react if he didn't feel the same.
Member # 49582
posted 07-14-2011 05:20 PM
Well, it's never too early to think about your sexuality and what you want from a relationship, evne when you are in one, it's a good idea to think about what you want in sexual relationships. In you want to discuss them, what are your concerns?
Do you really feel like you love him? As in, find him to be a really kind and caring person you enjoy being with, and want to express that - or do you think you want to say it to get something back? How long have you known each other? Like, not just as romantic partners? Do you really feel you know him inside out yet? (Oops accidently changed screen name - it's still me!) [ 07-14-2011, 05:23 PM: Message edited by: RaeRay2112 ]
Member # 55970
posted 07-15-2011 05:52 AM
quote: Originally posted by Rey Shelton: In you want to discuss them, what are your concerns? I would like to discuss them, but please don't be freaked out by how close and personal they are! =D In my family we've never really had open discussions about sexuality. My parents said 'wait til marriage, and marriage only', and got very upset when they found out my brothers hadn't waited. As such, talking to them about my sex life, when they believe I'm the only pure child left in the family so far, would be an impossibility. And my brother doesn’t like talking about it to me either, because when he knows about that I have a partner with whom I’m sexually active he never really looks at him the same way again. I have a large amount of guilt feelings around sex. Until recently, I had an exceedingly Old Testament approach to it. But oddly enough, when I decided to lose my virginity I did not feel guilty, or dirty or sinful. It felt like the right idea at the time. I realized that sex wasn’t such a world-shatteringly big deal as I had been brought up believing. It was fun, and I enjoyed it tremendously, and when that relationship fell apart, as betrayed as I felt, I wasn’t thinking ‘He betrayed me, and stole my virginity’. I actually didn’t care that I had had sex with him, it was done and I didn’t regret it. I now have a pretty un-worried and un-anxious approach to sex. I feel as long as I’m in an exclusive relationship with someone who I care about and love, sex is a good thing, no matter when it’s introduced, whether it’s one week, one month or one year in, it should happen when it feels right. But this is completely contrary to my upbringing, and now I fear that maybe I’m being too lax and casual about it? Maybe I’m not making a big enough deal of it? Maybe I’m being too cool about it. The residual nervous, un-self-confident Anna remains in me and consistently says to me: ‘If my boyfriend finds out this is how I feel about sex, maybe he’ll think I’m just with him for sex and nothing else’, which is completely untrue. (We’re not sexually active, just so you know: we’ve only been together about a fortnight… =P) quote: Do you really feel like you love him? As in, find him to be a really kind and caring person you enjoy being with, and want to express that - or do you think you want to say it to get something back? How long have you known each other? Like, not just as romantic partners? Do you really feel you know him inside out yet? I have two answers to this, which involve the two conflicting personae within my mind. Yes, I do sound like a schizoid, but I think it’s better to embrace that we all have many different personalities, schizo or not.
Throughout my therapy, I decided that I would be in absolute control over my feelings at all times. Everything we do in life is a choice, even the things that seem like reflex, we learnt how to chose that response. When I was a kid, I asked my mum often ‘How will I know when I’m in love?’ and her frustratingly vague reply was always ‘You’ll just know.’ This never really made sense to me, but I accepted it anyway. I decided that I’d wait to ‘fall in love’ with guys before I went out with them, which in retrospect was a moronic idea. It led to obsessive and boyfriend-centred existences, which were damaging and harmful. I thought to myself during my recent therapy: ‘There’s gotta be a better way than this!’ My counselor always tells me that, as I mentioned earlier, everything is a choice. So I thought ‘Can love be a choice?’ I read extensively, I read ‘The Five Love Languages’ by Dr Gary Chapman and ‘The Four Agreements’ by Don Miguel Ruiz, and breathed a sigh of relief when I found someone else who shared my philosophy. They both agreed that we can choose to love whomever we want, whenever we want. I discussed this with two friends: one who agreed, and one who told me it was a cold, clinical and sociopathic way of thinking. But, I just went along with it: I’m perfectly happy with this approach to life. I’ve never been so peaceful or content. The last time I can remember being so happy and serene is when I was 6 years old and rolling around in mud puddles. Nothing in life seems like an obstacle anymore. I love many people in my life: my parents my brothers, my sisters (including my brother’s fiancée) and a handful of very close friends. Some I have known all my life, and others for only a couple of months. My closest friend I’ve only known since November, but I love as much as my two brothers. Now you’re thinking ‘What’s your point’? Well, the moment I started going out with my boyfriend, I chose to love him. I didn’t ‘fall in love’, I didn’t get butterflies in my stomach, I didn’t suddenly realize we ‘were meant to be’, and I didn’t decide he was the only one for me and I never want to leave. I made a conscious decision to love and care for him and nurture him. I’ve known him for about 6-7 months, and he’s been a friend, not an exceptionally close friend, but a friend all the same. I don’t know him inside out, I don’t know much about his past experiences, or what he wants, and neither does he about me. But, in all honesty, we don’t really mind. We’ll learn over the next while. This rational, thoughtful and self-confident Anna knows that I can say ‘I love you’ to whomever I want, whenever I want, and that I don’t need to hear it in return. It would be nice to hear it in return, but that’s not the point. I have every right to turn to my boyfriend and tell him I love him because it’s the truth, the same way I tell my brothers, my sisters and my friends that I love them nearly every time I see them. But, as I’ve said before, the residual nervous, un-self-confident Anna remains in me and consistently says to me: ‘What if he gets freaked out and runs a mile?!’, ‘What if he doesn’t say it back?!’, ‘What if I make a fool of myself?!’ The doubting self never goes away, and sometimes likes to – excuse my French – piss all over my picnic. I know the answer to this problem is just to continue nurturing my self-confidence and self-love, but sometimes it’s hard to do with no-one to talk to about it =)
Member # 56822
posted 07-15-2011 06:06 AM
Well, Scarleteen is a great place to be if you're wanting to nurture your self-confidence and self-love, and talk to people about it, and you could even argue that it's the main point of its existence. It is extremely hard to have fulfilling and healthy relationships of any sort, let alone intimate relationships, if you aren't basically okay with yourself, with your faults and blemishes as well as your strengths and unique abilities.
So, whenever you need someone to talk to about your growth and health journey, just come to Scarleteen! =) There are lots of great people here.
Member # 49582
posted 07-15-2011 08:00 AM
Don't worry about disclosing personal things about sexuality and relationships here at Scarleteen. That's what it's here for!
Honestly, I think you have a really sensible aproach to love that can helo to keep you safe from harm. I think when people refer to 'falling in love' they are actually refering to two things. Firstly, sexual chemistry and secondly, the same kind of love one would have for a sibling. Sexual chemistry is what you have if you are physically attracted to this guy and find him appealing to be around and exciting to be physically close to. Often, sexual chemistry is not a choice. We cannot really help who we are sexually attracted to. However, we can choose not to do anything about our feelings of attraction. Love is a choice. Even good parents can need to learn their children. It is an active process not a state, instead of being 'in love' we are 'loving' someone, which is something we choose to do. People often mistake sexual chemistry for love, but love is an active choice, and we can choose someone that we feel intense sexual chemistry towards who will also be a kind, caring partner to us, or we can choose to stay away from someone we feel intense sexual chemistry towards who would be abusive say, or inconsiderate as a partner. So yes, love is an active choice. It is like a plant that needs watering and feeding in order to keep it alive, so if a relationship suddenly turned unhealthy, the plant that is our love would stop being fed and watered and we would stop loving that person. I really don't think you're being to lax or casual about love and sex. It's a good idea to make sure your relationship is healthy, and know when to call it quits when if it does go down that path, but apart from that, a relaxed attitude it brilliant. The best thing you said was that if he decided that the relationship was not for him, you would know that this is no refection on your character. Sure, you wouldn't like it, but, break-ups are bummer for everyone. However, you seem to be thinking about romantic relationships realistically and your expectations for love and sex seem sensible and healthy. What if he doesn't say it back? If you don't mind a personal analogy, I used to say 'I love you' to a partner who couldn't ever say it back. He explained that he was not ready at that stage in our relationship to say that. If your partner cannot say it back, it may mean that he is not ready. Honesty and communication are some of the most important parts of any relationship. If you want to tell him how you feel, and you feel ready for any outcome, go for it! Be prepared, there may just be silence; he may just enjoy it without understanding that you would like a response. You can't 'make a fool out of yourself' for communicating a valid feeling. We all find that we love people at different stages. Like the sensible way you feel about sex, whenever a person is ready is always the best time to express loving someone. If he thinks you are a fool for feeling ready to express yourself, he may not be that great a person, you know? If he 'gets freaked out and runs away' then it indicates that he was not ready for a relationship of the same type you were. Perhaps he would rather a relationship soley made up of care and sexuyal chemistry than love? How about maybe having a talk with him about this first? Like a chat about how you feel the relationship is going and how he feels about it? Communicate your fears of 'freaking him out' maybe? That way he can understand your position about wanting to say 'I love you?' Perhaps you could ask him if he has any boundaries around people saying 'I love you' and how he normally feels about it when a partner is ready? Maybe like 'I really love this relationship and I'm so happy with you but I'm not too sure if you have boundaries about people expressing how they feel in certain ways? Do you think it's a good idea to explain this to him first? About the un-confident Anna, who loves him and is ready to verbally express that? (Don't worry, there is probably and un-confident version of most of us hiding somewhere inside. You are absolutely right that we have lots of aspects to our personalities and they do conflict each other. This is normal. ) I think it's amazing that you are very self-aware. A lot of people need to nuture their self-love too but do not realise. You really do seem in the right mental space for a relationship. Go Anna! [ 07-15-2011, 08:20 AM: Message edited by: RaeRay2112 ]
Member # 56822
posted 07-15-2011 08:14 AM
Member # 55970
posted 07-19-2011 11:27 AM
Soz for the late reply: my internet’s been banjaxed. And I also apologise in advance if any of this is too much information. But hey, this is Scarleteen! =D quote: Originally posted by RaeRay2112: Sexual chemistry is what you have if you are physically attracted to this guy and find him appealing to be around and exciting to be physically close to… It [love] is an active process not a state, instead of being 'in love' we are 'loving' someone, which is something we choose to do. People often mistake sexual chemistry for love, but love is an active choice… I find him very physically attractive and I enjoy having him hold, touch and snuggle me, of course. I like it a lot. We were kissing the other day, passionately, and it turned me on so much. I made sure to ask him if he was comfortable with how things were going, and he said he was. It was interrupted by a phone call, and things cooled down, but at the time I wished it had just continued: I was pretty damn close to whisking him off to the bedroom, there and then. I reflected on that encounter, when I wasn’t in the heat of the moment, and I didn’t feel bad about it, but I started to have doubts. Not doubts about what I wanted, but whether I was respecting him enough, and that I was maybe not taking him into account enough. I like to think I am, but maybe I’m not. Let me explain. I believe that my sex life could be a little healthier than it is, but it is certainly better than it was: between the ages of 13 and 19 I found it incredibly difficult to pleasure myself without feeling exceptionally dirty and guilty, but one day I decided that wasn’t healthy. I learnt more about myself sexually, and learnt how to get the most out of my sexual experiences, long before I involved any other person in my sex life. I lost my virginity only when it was comfortable, not a second before, and I don’t regret it. Recently though, I’ve found what I want out of my own sex life has changed, since going out with my current boyfriend. I find that masturbation isn’t as satisfying as it was when I was single because whenever I do it I think “Yes, this is fun and all, but I wish my boyfriend could do this for me”. On thinking about it, I realized that I don’t a sex life for the sake of it, but I want my boyfriend involved in it. I understand that I don’t need him involved in it, but I want him to be. I think I’m looking for a partnered sexual experience. quote: Honesty and communication are some of the most important parts of any relationship. This is always a good idea and I know it, but a part of me doubts my own motives. Part of my thinks ‘Is this too early to be genuine?’, ‘Maybe my hormones are running away with me’, ‘Am I using him?’ and all this stuff. I’d like to think that he would be open to the concept, but I also fear that if I started to talk to him about it this early, would he think I was just ‘man-hungry’, and assume desperation? Now, enough about sex. About love. quote: If you want to tell him how you feel, and you feel ready for any outcome, go for it! Be prepared, there may just be silence; he may just enjoy it without understanding that you would like a response. How about maybe having a talk with him about this first? … Maybe like 'I really love this relationship and I'm so happy with you but I'm not too sure if you have boundaries about people expressing how they feel in certain ways? … Do you think it's a good idea to explain this to him first? About the un-confident Anna, who loves him and is ready to verbally express that? My answer to this is similar to what I was saying earlier. Just because I have a healthy and self-aware attitude towards these things, doesn’t mean others have too. Sex and love are often confused and muddled up, and I fear that he might not understand sex and love in the same way I do, and that wires might be crossed. Maybe he links love and sex in his mind, or maybe he wants only love, no sex yet, or vice versa? I fear that I might offend him or cause him to doubt my genuineness. quote: I think it's amazing that you are very self-aware. A lot of people need to nurture their self-love too but do not realise. You really do seem in the right mental space for a relationship. Go Anna! quote: Originally posted by WesLuck: Go Anna! Thank you. I’ve worked on it non-stop for the past 3 months, and I’m glad it has paid off noticeably.
Member # 3
posted 07-19-2011 12:12 PM
IthilienDude: just saw this post and wanted to quickly say that I'm so sorry you went through all you did, but am so glad to see you come out the other side. I'm glad you're okay.
Member # 55970
posted 07-19-2011 12:48 PM
quote: Originally posted by Heather: IthilienDude: just saw this post and wanted to quickly say that I'm so sorry you went through all you did, but am so glad to see you come out the other side. I'm glad you're okay. Thank you, Heather. I know I was sometimes volatile in my previous threads, and I apologise, but your help was invaluable! x
Member # 3
posted 07-19-2011 01:08 PM
Water under the bridge, always. No worries, we talk about loaded things here, so sometimes people get intense. It happens.
Again, just really glad to hear that you got through so much tough stuff and are alright.
Member # 56822
posted 07-21-2011 09:01 AM
And to go through a lot of tough stuff, and survive, and learn to love, respect and take care of yourself, and then others, shows exceptional strength of character. And when you approach from a position of gentleness and caring, to sometimes doubt and question yourself and the world is healthy, as it allows you to refine your world view to what what works best for you and to appreciate the small but important things in your/life. Life is kind of like a jigsaw puzzle that keeps on expanding as pieces "click" together and new challenges and opportunities await! [ 07-21-2011, 09:34 AM: Message edited by: WesLuck ]