I feel weird about having relationship anxiety

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Jay27
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I feel weird about having relationship anxiety

Unread post by Jay27 »

I don’t know how to stop judging myself for my anxiety. I’ve been in therapy for GAD and OCD since I was a kid. Having my first ever romantic and sexual experiences over the past year has brought so much joy and pleasure to my life, but uncertainty and not knowing what I’m doing is my biggest anxiety trigger. I know it’s irrational but I feel like I should just be okay with dating because I’m 21 years old. I want to talk about my anxiety with my friends who are more experienced but I’m worried they’d judge me. I feel so behind because a lot of my friend group became sexually active around ages 15-17 and had their first dates in middle school. I didn’t even feel ready to kiss someone until I was 18! My partner is 19 so she feels it a little bit less, but she’s also insecure about being a late bloomer and having relationship anxiety as an adult. It would be really cool to hear from some other late bloomers who have been through this.
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Re: I feel weird about having relationship anxiety

Unread post by Nyss »

I sometimes feel similar, like I am behind on the times on some great script. My friends are all dating and I'm just kinda sitting there like "I had a crush for the first time in nearly 5 years a month ago". I take comfort in knowing that my parents didn't meet until they were in their late 20s/early 30s and it worked out for them, I exist after all. My mom just straight-up refused to date for all of college. If your friends give you grief for being a late bloomer, that's just uncool. If you know other people who are also "late bloomers", it could help to see other people who are like you and doing fine. I honestly don't like the term "late bloomer" because it stigmatizes what should be seen as just normal life variation. Some people start dating early, others start dating later, why should anyone care what your love life is like if you're happy with it's current state?
Jay27
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Re: I feel weird about having relationship anxiety

Unread post by Jay27 »

Thanks for this! A few of my friends haven’t had sex yet but they all started dating in middle school or high school. We’re all around 19-23 years old. I really want to talk to some other people I can relate to though. I asked one of my friends, who’s 23 and had her first sexual experience at 15, for advice before my first time and she just told me to stop worrying because it’s no big deal. Of course someone who’s had way more time to figure this stuff out thinks it’s no big deal. It’s only been 3 months for me and I have no idea what I’m doing! I don’t really like the term late bloomer either but it’s an easy way to describe myself I guess. I also didn’t go to any parties or drink until I was 20 so I’m kind of behind in a lot of ways.
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Re: I feel weird about having relationship anxiety

Unread post by Latha »

Hi there, Jay27!

Your friend was probably trying to be helpful, but I can definitely see how that wouldn't be reassuring at all! Sometimes you need practical advice more than platitudes.

Ultimately, it doesn't matter whether you've gone to parties, drank alcohol, dated, or had sex, so I wouldn't say that you're behind on anything. I understand feeling that way though- I feel that way myself pretty often.

Would it help to remind yourself that it's okay to not know what you're doing? I don't think that feeling ever goes away entirely- for example, no relationship is the same as any other, so there's always a learning curve. As I understand it, you just become more self-assured and confident in your ability to navigate those situations over time, even if they make you nervous.

(As I'm sure you know, if you have any specific doubts or if you want reassurance about something, you can always post here)
Jay27
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Re: I feel weird about having relationship anxiety

Unread post by Jay27 »

I think it’s been getting better. My anxiety over whether I’m doing sex “right” has been lowered because we communicate well. I still have some anxiety about being touched and I don’t really know what to do about that.
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Re: I feel weird about having relationship anxiety

Unread post by Sam W »

Hi Jay27,

It's awesome that you're noticing that communication is helping you lessen those fears that you're not doing sex "right." Too, I feel like that highlights something Latha mentioned; there's always a learning curve with a partner, whether they are our first or our twentieth, because no two people need or want the same things from sex and relationships. So those communication skills you're learning and practicing with your partner are going to serve you far better in the long run than learning some supposed set of steps for doing sex "right."

With that anxiety around being touched, can you tell me a little more about what that involves and if you tried any specific things to address it?
Jay27
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Re: I feel weird about having relationship anxiety

Unread post by Jay27 »

I’m almost always down for non sexual forms of touch like hand holding, hugs, and cuddling. Those relieve stress for me. I’m a bit of a perfectionist but I’ve noticed I have a lot less sexual performance anxiety lately when I’m giving pleasure. I really enjoy it! It’s usually anxiety when she’s performing manual or oral sex on me, and sometimes with kissing. Last time, my whole body was kind of tense while I was receiving. I tried to use deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation but I was still uncomfortable so we stopped and cuddled instead. I think I’m anxious about whether it’s going to feel good or if I’m going to get overstimulated. It’s very rare for me to experience pain, but if I get overstimulated, it can be really uncomfortable. My whole body is very sensitive which can be a blessing or a curse.
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Re: I feel weird about having relationship anxiety

Unread post by Sam W »

That detail is really helpful, thank you! With that worry around overstimulation, do you think it would help you relax if you made a plan with your partner about what to do if you do get overstimulated during sex? Sometimes having a plan for an unwanted scenario makes it easier to relax, because then we know that if it does happen, we're not going to be flailing around trying to figure out how to address it in a moment when we're already not feeling good.
Jay27
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Re: I feel weird about having relationship anxiety

Unread post by Jay27 »

I’ve been thinking about that. I didn’t experience overstimulation until the most recent time we had sex so there wasn’t a plan in place. My partner could tell that I looked tense so she asked if I was feeling well and I said yes, even though I was uncomfortable. I really wanted it to work out so I asked her to keep trying different things until it felt really uncomfortable. Then we stopped. I think next time I might want to stop what we’re doing as soon as it feels like too much and not keep waiting to see if it gets better.
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Re: I feel weird about having relationship anxiety

Unread post by Sofi »

That sounds like the route to take next time, because truly, if you're uncomfortable, it won't be a good experience for either of you. It sounds like your partner is very supportive and kind, so it would be great if you can talk about it with her and that way next time - if it happens again - you can gently nudge her and let her know (whether directly or through some kind of 'safe word', whatever you agree on) that it's starting to feel uncomfortable. It's pretty common for lots of folks to feel this way and it really helps to have an understanding partner. Do you want some tips on approaching this with her?
Jay27
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Re: I feel weird about having relationship anxiety

Unread post by Jay27 »

We actually talked about it last night and she was very supportive! She said that she’s also had trouble knowing what she wants. We agreed to stop as soon as either of us is uncomfortable in the future. We want to keep having sex but we might also take a break from the specific acts that were overwhelming for me.
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Re: I feel weird about having relationship anxiety

Unread post by Carly »

Hey Jay -- Glad to hear this was a productive conversation! I'm curious, what kind of advice would you give someone in a similar situation hoping to have a similar conversation?
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Re: I feel weird about having relationship anxiety

Unread post by Jay27 »

I think it helped that we were in her room and had a lot of time to talk. We were holding hands pretty much the whole time and that helped us feel connected and less nervous. I guess I’d just advise someone to be honest about how they feel and let their partner know that neither of you did anything wrong.
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