Anxiety about potential relationship manifesting into a series of nightmares

Questions and discussions about relationships: girlfriends, boyfriends, lovers, partners, friends, family or other intimate relationships in your lives.
Amthyst
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Anxiety about potential relationship manifesting into a series of nightmares

Unread postby Amthyst » Fri Jan 08, 2021 9:06 am

Hey

I thought maybe I should start another thread since my last one was getting pretty long, and since I'm no longer a newbie. I also didn't know which category would be the most appropriate, and thought maybe this one since friendships are also relationships.

I mentioned in my last thread that I hung out with a new guy for the first time a few days ago, not as a date, but I am interested in him and we are going to hang out again next week. I had a really good time. When we were scheduling our hang out, he wanted to meet early in the week, which I thought nothing of, but when we talk about meeting again, he suggests later in the week, but then I said that next week would work better. I think it may have been me trying to set up a boundary so I could process what happened. He wasn't being pushy about hanging out sooner, he was very friendly and chill about it.

When I think back, I'm beginning to wonder if he wanted to see me early in the week because he wanted to see me sooner, and if the same applies for him originally suggested to meet later in the week, which makes me wonder if he reciprocates my feelings any. I don't want to jump to conclusions, especially since I'm not even ready to start another relationship yet, and want to keep an open mind that when I do start dating again, it could be with a completely different person. When we were hanging out, I was waiting for him to tell me that he was gay or something, especially after I started talking about my being gender nonbinary and my family's acceptance, but he never did. I just wanted to make sure he knew how to refer to me, and if he was gay, there would be no pressure when it came to hanging out. It's hard to say who was more enthusiastic about hanging out, and I'm excited, and I want it, but at the same time I'm a little scared, especially about how my last relationship went.

I should mention that my therapist told me that he thinks that I do have PTSD after my last relationship, health problems, and sexual harassment. Since we hang out, I have been having a series of nightmares about being bullied, including one where he was gaslighting me and tried to hurt me physically. It's not always him in the dreams, last night I dreamed that a teacher who was in my high school was constantly verbally bullying me, including after questions about my underwear. I don't know why the teacher, I never had issues with them when I was in high school.

I'm trying not to overthink it, but last night was the fourth night in a row I have had these dreams. I don't remember all of them, but they had something to do with it. I'm sure it's my anxiety manifesting itself. I am speaking to my therapist tomorrow. The guy doesn't know anything about my past yet, and I don't want to tell him anything right now, but if we keep hanging out I'm going to have to tell him sooner or later.

I like him, but I feel conflicted. I shouldn't even have to say this, but the idea of being in a relationship with someone who will treat me with respect feels like a novelty. I never really stopped to think how I would react if he reciprocated my feelings, and I'm beginning to suspect it, but I don't want to jump to conclusions. It seems weird that even though I like him, I don't know if I would want to date him, not yet at least. I had a really good time with him, but I'm still anxious about hanging out again.

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Re: Anxiety about potential relationship manifesting into a series of nightmares

Unread postby Sam W » Fri Jan 08, 2021 9:24 am

Hi Amthyst,

Yep, you're in the right spot; we definitely consider friendships relationships!

I'm glad you're getting a chance to speak with your therapist about the dreams. Even if they can't help you identify the exact cause (though I suspect you're right that anxiety is playing a role), they might be able to offer strategies for dealing with them.

With your friend, I wonder if it would be easiest to start with one question and work through things from there. In this moment, and the immediate future, if you could snap your fingers and have any form of relationship with him you wanted, what would that look like? Would you two focus on deepening your friendship? Stay in a casual friendship? Flirt a little? Something else entirely?

Amthyst
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Re: Anxiety about potential relationship manifesting into a series of nightmares

Unread postby Amthyst » Fri Jan 08, 2021 10:30 am

I think for now I would like to focus on deepening the friendship. Ever since my last relationship ended, I have had trouble trusting people, and I would like to be able to feel like I can trust him. I have thought about flirting a little, but in the past whenever I thought somebody tried to flirt with me, I just felt uncomfortable, so it makes it not want to do it to other people. Besides, I don't think I would know how, and I come by it honest. My family says I'm alarmingly like my dad, and when he and my mom were first dating, he was terrible at picking up flirting cues from her.

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Re: Anxiety about potential relationship manifesting into a series of nightmares

Unread postby Sam W » Fri Jan 08, 2021 10:48 am

Okay! I would take those feelings as your cue for now, and focus on getting to know this person more as a friend. That might take some of the pressure to read the future of things from every interaction and let you just enjoy getting to know him.

As an aside, if you ever want resources or have questions about how to read romantic cues, that's something we can help you find.

Amthyst
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Re: Anxiety about potential relationship manifesting into a series of nightmares

Unread postby Amthyst » Mon Jan 11, 2021 2:38 pm

I think some resources on how to read romantic cues would be helpful, although I already found and read an article on the site that was helpful. I can't really think of anything in particular to ask.

I just finished my second hangout with him. It also went really well. It looks like we're going to try to make it a regular thing. We were originally going to watch a particular movie, but we ended up selecting a different one because it felt a little too intense to watch with everything that has happened lately. I am curious about where things will head. I have felt nervous both times going in, and have felt euphoric when it was over. I wonder if I'll be repeating that cycle. I told him that I have GAD today, but I haven't gotten anymore personal than that. My parents have been going out of their way not to disturb me when I'm talking to him, which I appreciate.

As an aside, with what I was talking about in my last thread, I have a day in mind to act out my role play session, which I have been plotting out for a while, and I was wandering if you had anymore articles on role play and masturbation that would be helpful, but I know it's something I shouldn't overthink, but I come from a family of overthinkers.

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Re: Anxiety about potential relationship manifesting into a series of nightmares

Unread postby Mo » Mon Jan 11, 2021 5:41 pm

I'm glad your second hangout went well! I think setting up a regular time to socialize might be a great way for you to get to know each other better and deepen your connection, like you mentioned wanting. I wonder if, as time goes on, you'll find yourself feeling a little less nervous before these times that you meet up.

I don't have any other specific articles to link to about roleplay during masturbation, but I do think that your best bet is going to be to experiment and find out what works best for you in the moment. Since you're creating a moment that's just about you, and you don't have to take a partner's feelings or limits into account like you would when roleplaying with another person, you'll be the best expert on what will work--and if you aren't sure, you can start with whatever seems most appealing and see what happens. I do think this is something that might be easy to overthink, but I don't think you can necessarily plan it to go perfectly; you may have to see how you feel once you get started and adjust as you go along from there.

Amthyst
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Re: Anxiety about potential relationship manifesting into a series of nightmares

Unread postby Amthyst » Mon Jan 18, 2021 9:02 am

I was supposed to hang out with my friend today, but I asked if we could reschedule for later in the week. I was supposed to talk with another friend last night, the one that I have been talking about sex with, but that also had to get reschedule to tomorrow night. I wanted to talk to this friend before I hung out with him again, because things seem to be moving along pretty quickly, even if we are just friends. I wasn't expecting for us to be hanging out on a weekly basis. He was completely chill with rescheduling, and told me to just hit him up with I have free time. I am a little overwhelmed with both hanging out with him, and from what happened when I acted out my role play the other night, which was what I was really hoping to talk about with the one friend. I hope that what I said about the role play didn't sound crazy, but I don't think there is a way I could have said it without sounding crazy. I'm glad it happened, but I'm having a hard time processing what happened. I wanted to reschedule because what happened is occupying my mind a lot, and I want to get it off my chest so it won't be taking over my mind when I hang out with him. I'm really happy that a bunch of good things have been happening the past few weeks, but it's overwhelming even if they are good things. I also feel a little bad about asking to reschedule, because it makes me think of when my last relationship cancelled on me a bunch of times. When I was in that last relationship, I was told that it was okay to cancel and say that you weren't feeling well even if it was really minor to you, and the other person doesn't need to know. I am glad I told him I have GAD, and I shouldn't overthink that I asked to reschedule because I needed more time than I thought to process what has happened these past couple of weeks. I hope after my conversation with my friend tomorrow night, I don't feel as anxious to hang out with him again later this week.

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Re: Anxiety about potential relationship manifesting into a series of nightmares

Unread postby Sam W » Mon Jan 18, 2021 9:08 am

Hi Amthyst,

I'm glad you were able to reschedule; if the speed of things was making you anxious, slowing them down a little was a good step in taking care of yourself. And I feel you on the being overwhelmed by good things; even when the result is a positive, a lot of big changes or events in a short span of time can be tiring on our systems.

With the role play, are there particular things you're having a hard time processing?

Amthyst
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Re: Anxiety about potential relationship manifesting into a series of nightmares

Unread postby Amthyst » Mon Jan 18, 2021 10:27 am

With the role play, I mentioned that I was going to try to get into the head of the character, which I didn't think I would actually be able to do, but I managed to do it. It's like I didn't even have to think about what I was doing, it's like the character I was was saying to me, "Alright, I'm going to take over for a while, but if you feel uncomfortable, just stop me. You can become yourself again whenever you want." I feel weirded out that I succeeded in becoming him, but what really weirded me out was that there was a point where I genuinely thought that I was having sex and making out with the actor, which was not part of the plan, but I enjoyed it. I'm already a pretty eccentric person, but I didn't think I had it in me to put that much energy into something like that.

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Re: Anxiety about potential relationship manifesting into a series of nightmares

Unread postby Sofi » Mon Jan 18, 2021 10:39 am

I understand being sort of 'weirded out' by our fantasies or desires, or ones we didn't realize we perhaps had, coming to life. However, what you're describing is definitely not weird or crazy, so I'm glad you enjoyed it and are glad it happened. I know you still have some reservations about it, is this because you think it's unusual or because, as you said, you didn't know you had it in you? It's normal to find out things like these in the moment, through experimenting. The type of roleplay you're describing isn't strange, and if you really feel like talking to your friend about it, I think you should go for it and I'm sure they'll be understanding.

Amthyst
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Re: Anxiety about potential relationship manifesting into a series of nightmares

Unread postby Amthyst » Mon Jan 18, 2021 12:40 pm

I think I mainly have reservations about it because I didn't know I was capable of doing it. I feel comfortable telling my friend who I have been talking to about sex with, but I am definitely not ready to tell the person I like. I have always felt a little weird about talking about my celebrity crushes, but I am especially quiet about this one because he is the only one I have had fantasies about. I have masturbated to other actors before, but they were nowhere near as intense. I have tried having fantasies about past ones, but I couldn't get myself to do it. I don't want to watch porn, so I have to focus my energy on something, and I just happened to have a specific actor crush when I decided I wanted to experiment. The person who I have been talking about sex with is the only one I have specifically told who it is. Since masturbation is typically private, I feel like I need to keep the crush as quiet as possible. When I'm in another relationship, whether I end up with the guy I'm talking to or with another person, I can see myself telling them, but I have to earn their complete trust first. I don't know if I couldn't have fantasies at first because I just didn't want to have them badly enough, but since I want to experiment, I can finally allow myself, and I can see myself becoming the character again. I feel like as long as I feel like I'm in control about when I become him, I should be okay.

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Re: Anxiety about potential relationship manifesting into a series of nightmares

Unread postby Sam W » Mon Jan 18, 2021 12:50 pm

I agree that, as long as you feel in control and like you're exploring the fantasy only when you want to, you'll be okay. Can you say a little more about why knowing you're capable of acting out this fantasy gives you reservations?

If it helps to hear, I think a lot more people have crushes that could be considered niche or strange than we assume. Attraction is an odd beast, and I talk about that (and an older movie star) here: https://www.scarleteen.com/blog/sam_w/2 ... _and_types. You mention you feel weird talking about your crushes. Where do you think that comes from?

Amthyst
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Re: Anxiety about potential relationship manifesting into a series of nightmares

Unread postby Amthyst » Mon Jan 18, 2021 3:09 pm

First, Sam I think it is awesome that you have a thing for Vincent Price, even though the only thing I have seen him in is in an episode of "Night Gallery", but some of his horror movies are on my watch list.

For me having reservations about being capable of getting in the character's headspace, it may have to do with a massive panic attack I had when I was a freshman in high school, which I'm going to be approaching the five year anniversary of soon. I had so much repressed emotion that I just snapped, but I didn't realize it right away. A few days later I realized that I felt so much fear, I developed agoraphobia, I went through a phase where I thought certain people were puppets (I think this is my first time telling someone that), and I actually thought I was going to either lose my mind or die of fright. For a while I thought that I had a mental breakdown, and I kind of still wonder if it did happen. Something definitely happened that messed with my mental state for years, but I'm not sure what happened. I was convinced that I was losing my mind and that one day I was going to completely snap and forget who I was and not be able to snap out of it. With my being capable of acting something out, the way I thought of it is that I'm going to voluntarily check out of reality, but I was worried that I going to have trouble checking back in, which was fortunately quite easy. I guess after experiencing a period of time where I thought I was going to lose my mind, and then years later actually going out of my mind feels strange. I always had a reputation of being a bit of an odd ball in high school, and my friends have learned to accept my eccentricities, but I feel like if I told this to the wrong person they would think that I lost my marbles. I'm just glad that I finally got help and am in a much better headspace now, and seem to be able to control my fantasies if I was to go in a character's headspace.

As for feeling weird talking about my crushes, I received my fair share of bullying about them in middle school. When I was in the sixth grade I made the huge mistake of giving a Valentine to a boy I liked, and I didn't hear the end of it for the rest of the school year. My cousin also found out about it, and every time she saw me for several months afterwards she kept asking about it, even though I kept on asking her to stop. A couple months after Valentine's day, I received a fake love note saying that my crush loved me. I knew automatically it was a fake, and the guy who gave it to me seemed to realize that he crossed the line, and stopped bullying me after that. I also got bullied for a crush in 8th grade, which was one of the factors for my panic attack the following year. It feels like almost every time I have developed a crush, the person, or just other people would bully me. I'm not the best at expressing my feelings, and have done some stupid things like give Valentine's. I almost lost a friendship with someone I really cared about because I liked him, and started acting really strange. He wouldn't talk to me for months, and then suddenly he saw me in the hallway and asked how I was. Guess enough time passed that we both cooled off a bit, but I didn't understand why he was talking to me all of a sudden at the time. My really toxic relationship in 2019, we were never official, but my therapist still considers us a couple. I'm glad I never told her I liked her. After all that I have a really hard time expressing myself around people I like. When I was telling my friend about the guy I'm now hanging out with, she asked why don't I just tell him I like him? I have either been bullied, or have acted in ways I'm not proud of. I hope that if I end up with him, it will happen naturally like the relationship I had my junior year in high school. As for my celebrity crushes, nobody knew who I was talking about. It seemed to have to do with I couldn't connect with anyone at the time because they had no idea what The Twilight Zone was, or who The Airborne Toxic Event was, or David Bowie. In 8th grade, there were multiple occassions were I talked about The Twilight Zone, and someone thought I was talking about Twilight. So a combination of bullying and being unable to connect.

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Re: Anxiety about potential relationship manifesting into a series of nightmares

Unread postby Mo » Mon Jan 18, 2021 5:04 pm

I'm so sorry to hear you've experienced so much bullying based on the crushes you've had; I can certainly understand, based on that, why you might be nervous about telling someone you're interested in them! I do think that the sort of bullying and teasing you've experienced is much more common in a middle/high school setting than it is as the people involved age and mature, so I do hope that in the future if and when you do express those feelings to someone, you won't be met with that kind of reaction.

Amthyst
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Re: Anxiety about potential relationship manifesting into a series of nightmares

Unread postby Amthyst » Tue Jan 19, 2021 10:39 am

I have been thinking about how to approach my crush with rescheduling a time to hang out, and I don't know if I want to be alone with him this time. I schedules to do a movie night with one of my best friends in a couple of nights. I do movie nights with him regularly, and we take turns choosing films, the only rule we have is that the movie has to have been released before 1970, and it was his turn to choose, and he chose something a bit on the trashy side, but hey, bad movies are fun sometimes. I thought maybe it would be fun to invite my crush, and my friend said go for it. I'm going to ask him later, and I think having one of my best friends around would ease the pressure. I hope he's cool with it. The friend that I do movie night with, I love him to death, and he is one of the very few people I have opened up about the crush, I have been very reluctant to share my crush's name, and he is one of the few people who knows. I am glad the person I like wants to spend time with me, I just need to figure out what type of boundary I need for now. We start classes next week, and we are going to try to find time to hang out even with busier schedules. I am glad he wants to spend time with me, I'm not sure how often I want it yet. I'm also trying to figure out what to say if he says he won't be able to spend time with my friend and I.

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Re: Anxiety about potential relationship manifesting into a series of nightmares

Unread postby Mo » Tue Jan 19, 2021 4:41 pm

It can sometimes feel like a lower intensity or pressure situation to hang out with a crush in a small group or even with one other person; this sounds like a good plan, especially since your friend's been so supportive.
If your crush isn't able to join in the movie night, do you have a sense of how else you might want to try and interact or spend time together? It sounds like you aren't sure you want to spend time alone; are there other ideas you have in mind that you could suggest instead?

Amthyst
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Re: Anxiety about potential relationship manifesting into a series of nightmares

Unread postby Amthyst » Tue Jan 19, 2021 6:47 pm

He is joining my friend and I for movie night. I'm not sure what I could suggest that we do together in the future, especially since everything we are doing is virtual because of Covid. I am wandering what things will look like for when we try to hang out together when classes start next week and our schedules are busier. Right now we're kind of just movie buddies. We make commentary on the movies we have watched together, but we still don't know each other that well. He wants to check out "The Twilight Zone" sometime, which I would watch with him, or just about anyone in a heartbeat, but right now I would be reluctant to watch my favorite episodes with him because they make me cry.

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Re: Anxiety about potential relationship manifesting into a series of nightmares

Unread postby Siân » Wed Jan 20, 2021 5:31 am

I'm glad you get to hang out with him at the same time as your friend! Do you want to try to think up some other activities you can do together online or are you happy sticking to being movie buddies? Perhaps the addition of classes to your schedules will help you space out your hangouts to a pace that feels good for you. If you wanna watch the Twilight Zone with him then you could always do start with some of the episodes that don't make you cry, if you're more comfortable with that.

Amthyst
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Re: Anxiety about potential relationship manifesting into a series of nightmares

Unread postby Amthyst » Wed Jan 20, 2021 9:25 am

I am interested in thinking of some other virtual activities, but at the same time, old movies and TV shows are what I thrive off of, and I'm glad I found someone who appreciates them. I can talk about them for hours, but aside from that, I'm not the best at making conversation. I mentioned Twilight Zone because it pretty much is my favorite thing in the world. When I try to have a different type of conversation with someone I don't know very, it feels awkward. I'm not good at small talk, and I don't have much of a filter. The last time I talked with my therapist he said that he considers me the type of person who is direct and unfiltered, and that I expect people to be the same way with me, which is true, I want people to be honest with me. The problem is that intimidates some people, and I don't trust others as much since my last relationship ended. I have tried to keep my filter under control with him, and I seem to be succeeding so far, but if we become closer friends or even romantic partners we will have to be more personal. I feel like watching one of those episodes that make me cry would be a good introduction for that, but I would feel more comfortable watching one that doesn't. It will depend on whether or not he asks me to show him my favorite episode. I wonder if my friend will say anything about some of the goofy things we have done together to him. I'm probably going to ask my friend to get in the chat platform 10 to 15 minutes early before he comes on, in case I think of anything I don't want him to know about me yet.

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Re: Anxiety about potential relationship manifesting into a series of nightmares

Unread postby Sofi » Wed Jan 20, 2021 9:39 am

I want to invite you to consider being vulnerable with him and either letting him see you cry during your favorite episode, or even letting your friend tell him about some goofy things you two have done. Most times if someone likes you, they will not care and even will appreciate you being open and vulnerable with or around them. Plus, it feels really good to do so and receive their acceptance, because then you can really start being yourself around them (at your own pace).

Amthyst
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Re: Anxiety about potential relationship manifesting into a series of nightmares

Unread postby Amthyst » Fri Jan 22, 2021 9:18 am

My movie night didn't go as planned. He never showed up. My friend was still there though, and we still had a good time. My messaged my mom while the movie was playing saying that he didn't come, and this was what she said.

I am sorry. Don't assume the worst, something may have come up. You can message and say you were sorry he couldn't make it. See if you hear back. Try not to dwell on it, not everyone is bad and he's had a good track record so far.

She's probably right. I messaged him saying that if he wants to reschedule again, let me know. It definitely wouldn't be the first time he wasn't good about responding, but that was something he acknowledged a while ago, so keeping that in mind makes it not hurt as much. I do feel better then I was last night.

Speaking of people who have hurt me, I had another dream about the person that I had that really toxic relationship with. I confronted her in the dream, I asked why she kicked me out of my life and expected me to talk to her after all this time. I even flat out said that my parents hated her even though they never met her. She said I deserved it, and I found myself apologizing for something that wasn't my fault, and even made up with her. When I woke up I had a harder time than normal processing that it was just a dream. It felt so realistic. It wasn't my fault, she was the one that tossed me around like a rag doll. I told my mom about the dream, and she said that it sounded like something that she would do. Whenever I think about her, I find myself thinking about Toni Collete's monologue in Hereditary, and when she ends it by saying, "Because NOBODY admits anything they've done!" Seems to sum up everything very well. Things ended with her almost a year ago, and she still gets in my head.

I can understand why my mom worded the message the way she did, by saying that not everyone is bad. That I shouldn't start comparing my current crush to the person that I was with after one screw up. I am beginning to think that I should consider that when the appropriate time comes, I should tell him what happened between me and her. I don't know when the right time would be though.

Sam W
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Re: Anxiety about potential relationship manifesting into a series of nightmares

Unread postby Sam W » Fri Jan 22, 2021 9:36 am

Hi Amthyst

I'm glad movie night was still enjoyable even if things didn't go as planned! I think your mom is on to something, if only because the current times seem to create a lot of schedule unpredictability (including things like "oh man I'm so burnt I do not have the energy to do this thing with friends I want to do").

If opening up to him about that past relationship feels right to you, that's absolutely something you get to do. Do you feel like it's something you want to tell him sooner rather than later? Or do you want to wait until a certain level of trust or intimacy is present?

Amthyst
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Re: Anxiety about potential relationship manifesting into a series of nightmares

Unread postby Amthyst » Fri Jan 22, 2021 10:17 am

I want to wait until a certain level of trust is present. I would like to tell him sooner than later, but I don't feel right telling him while we still don't know each other very well.

Sam W
scarleteen staff/volunteer
Posts: 7248
Joined: Mon Jul 28, 2014 9:06 am
My Awesomeness Quotient: I raise carnivorous plants
My primary language: english
My pronouns: she/her
My sexual identity and orientation: queer
Location: Desert

Re: Anxiety about potential relationship manifesting into a series of nightmares

Unread postby Sam W » Fri Jan 22, 2021 10:37 am

I would definitely follow that instinct to wait until you know each other better, if only because this sounds like it's still a very raw spot for you. When/if the time comes that you're ready to tell him, that's certainly a conversation we can help you with.

Are there other things with this situation that we can help you with right now?

Amthyst
not a newbie
Posts: 39
Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2020 10:37 am
My Awesomeness Quotient: I have Martin Landau's autograph
My primary language: English
My pronouns: They/them
My sexual identity and orientation: Pansexual, nonbinary
Location: Virginia

Re: Anxiety about potential relationship manifesting into a series of nightmares

Unread postby Amthyst » Fri Jan 22, 2021 10:42 am

Not right now. I'm still waiting to hear back from him, which may take a while. I'm okay with that, I could kind of use some space right now. I'm talking to my therapist tomorrow, and I arranged to speak with my friend who I normally talk about sex in a few days.


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