What If I'm Only With My Partner Because...

DSCF3231One of the defining characteristics of relationship anxiety is the propensity to perseverate on a “what if” question regarding the amount or legitimacy of your love for your partner. “What if I don’t love him enough?” or “What if I’m not in love anymore?” or “What if I’m not attracted enough?” With accurate information about the difference between real love and infatuation and understanding that love can’t be quantified, these intrusive thoughts usually fall away with time.

And then the next set of intrusive thoughts arise, carrying within them the need for more accurate information as well as an opportunity to develop more tolerance for ambiguity and uncertainty. These next thoughts comprise a subset of these initial questions and are perseverations regarding the reason why you’re with your partner, like the following:

What if I’m only with him/her because:

  • I’m too scared to leave.
  • I don’t want to hurt him/her.
  • I’m scared to be alone/scared I won’t meet anyone else.
  • I feel sorry for him/her

As you may know if you follow my work, I deeply believe that each challenge with anxiety – whether in the form of physical symptoms, panic attacks, nightmares, or intrusive thoughts – carries within it a profound opportunity to learn and heal. Anxiety, as uncomfortable as it can be, is a messenger – a friend from your unconscious delivering an important message about an area inside of you that needs attention. Anxiety, especially in the from of intrusive thoughts, is an attention-getter, a flare from your inner self that points to needs, not dysfunction. Anxiety is a sign that everything is working as it should be, meaning that just like your stomach hurts when you’ve eaten something that your body needs to reject, so your psyche hurts when there’s something inside that needs your attention.

So what’s needing attention when these subset questions regarding why you’re in the relationship make an appearance? What’s usually needed is to develop tolerance for ambiguity. This means that when the thought, “What if I’m only with him/her because I don’t want to be alone?” bangs on the door of your mind with relentless persistence, the healthy response is to make room for the thought and then allow for the possibility that it could be partially true. Let’s break this down into digestible steps:

Thought:

I’m only with my partner because I’m too scared to be alone (or I don’t want to hurt him/her by breaking up).

Response:

1. Notice the thought and let it in.

Most people are so disturbed by intrusive thoughts that the habit is to push them away. We call them “unwanted” thoughts because we don’t want them, but when we make room for them instead we can soften some of the spike that usually accompanies their appearance. This allows us to notice the thought instead of pushing it away, thereby sending the message to ourselves that, perhaps, the thought is nothing to be scared of.

2. Name that your ego-self is vying for control

When you recognize that the word “only” indicates that you’re thinking from your ego-self, which sees the world in black and white terms, it’s easier to see that the part who’s asking this question isn’t your true self. Word like only, never, and always are clues that your ego is at the helm. The ego is the part of us that desperately needs to control the world around us, and believes that it can do so by parsing life into a world of certainties and definites. But, as that world doesn’t exist, the ego ends up creating an environment where anxiety festers as we attempt to find certain answers to unanswerable questions. Saying to yourself, “This is my ego needing to control” creates a space between you and the part of you that is vying for the driver’s seat. Once you name it, it loses power and your true self can slip back into the driver’s seat.

3. Allow your true or clear Self to make room for uncertainty.

Life is gray and full of ambiguity. See how it feels when you can respond to the thought and say, “So maybe there’s a part of me that is with him because I don’t want to be alone. So what?” Usually when I walk a client through these steps and I watch her make room for a more gentle and encompassing version of the thought, there’s a visible exhale that occurs. Instead of fighting the thought, she has just accepted it into her conceptualization of the reasons why she’s with her partner and the thought loses all its charge.

The three steps are:

1. Notice the thought

2. Name the ego

3. Allow for uncertainty

In order to embrace these three steps, it’s essential to understand that our psyches or selves are divided into parts. We have a true Self (what Carl Jung called the self with a capital S), which is the seat of our wholeness. When we connect to that place, we feel connected not only to ourselves but to the people and world around us. The Self allows for ambiguity and uncertainty and has tolerance for the inconsistencies of life. The Self is connected to the flow of energy that permeates all creation, and, for many people, is often experienced most clearly and directly in nature.

Then there’s the ego or small self with a lower case s, which is the part of us that fears, above all else, death in every form: change, formlessness, transitions, death of our bodies, and its own death. We die ego deaths every time we walk through a change consciously and allow the habits, beliefs, lifestyles, and identities that are no longer serving us to fall away. The ego will resist this at all costs and come up with elaborate and convincing arguments about why we shouldn’t step into the next stage of life, or even the next moment.

And then there are the off-shoots of ego, the archetypal characters like Judgement, Fear, and Intolerance that are like ego’s emissaries enacting its need to keep others at a safe distance and protect the vulnerable heart at all costs. We all have these parts of ourselves, and when you understand that ego or one of its emissaries is at the helm of your ship, it’s a lot easier to name it, expose its life or half-truth,  and dismantle its power.

Like all inner work, the key in dismantling the habit of believing every thought that enters your psyche as the gospel of truth is practicing, over and over and over again, a new habit. And new habits aren’t created in a day. Commit to practicing these steps as many times a day as you can and within a few weeks you’ll notice a difference inside: more spaciousness, more calm, more clarity. The hooks will begin to unhook and, as a result, your heart will open.

58 comments to What If I’m Only With My Partner Because…

  • SherylPaulFan

    How timely this post is. “What’s usually needed is to develop tolerance for ambiguity.” It occurs to me that my typical responses to anxiety namely; panic & redoubling my efforts to remove ambiguity, are actually attempts to protect myself from harm. But it’s a straw man logic error. The premise, actually several of them, are false. Better that I get comfortable with ambiguity and know that I’ll be okay. Thank you Sheryl. <3

    • Yes, yes, yes. This is how we’re taught to respond to uncertainty in this culture: try harder to find THE answer (as if life is a multiple choice test with one correct response). It’s a surefire way to set people up for anxiety.

  • searching

    wow- possibly my favourite blog article yet. I love the way you break it down. Thank you Sheryl, for this and for everything.

  • Betsy

    Absolutely beautiful Sheryl. I am a true testament to the message you send here: let the thoughts in, work with them, and over time, they dissipate and love shines through. Thank you for your message. I would not have this wonderful marriage (and our new cat!) without your work!

  • Dee N

    Thankyou as this has come just in time. I notice that I’m always try to fight these fears I have such as ‘Am I too young for a serious relationship?’ (I’m 25years old) ‘am I attracted to him intensely enough for the RS to last?’ and these thoughts have been so damaging to my well-being. I love him, I know that, but thoughts still come and go. I can’t imagine my life without him . I will try to work through these thoughts as you suggest and see where it takes me. Than Sheryl, you always soothe my deepest fears.

    • Sophie

      I am 24 and have had a similar feeling of being too young to really know. The thing I have realized is I am where I am supposed to be and we are strong together. My anxiety has opened bonding opportunities that I never thought would be possible. I guess, I just want to say, you are not alone in your fight between your underlying beliefs about youth and your wonderful reality. You got it, girl!

  • Amanda

    Practical, timely advice like this gives me more confidence that I can address my anxieties head on and sort through them. So much advice I’ve received in the past about anxiety has been nebulous and not something I can actually practice and get better at, and I’m already seeing the benefits of learning more about how anxiety works in us and how we can acknowledge it, work through it, and move past it. Thank you!

  • sharan

    Absolutely love this post. “And new habits aren’t created in a day.”…so true and so easy to forget. For perfectionists like me, I constantly wonder why change hasn’t happened already…waiting for an a-ha moment! But this has reminded me that we need to give ourselves time and patience and work with it day by day…to try not to focus on outcome but work with these what-if thoughts as they come up. Bit by bit.

    I sometimes just spend a few moments thinking “what-if I didn’t find sheryl’s work!” but I don’t worry about that, I just smile and connect to gratitude that I did find it 🙂

  • Aysia

    This couldn’t have come at a better time for me. I really needed this. Thank you, Sheryl.

  • Alison

    This part is so on point: “Then there’s the ego or small self with a lower case s, which is the part of us that fears, above all else, death in every form: change, formlessness, transitions, death of our bodies, and its own death.” It reminds me that nothing is certain in life and that I need to let go my need to control the outcome of everything. My ego has been at the helm for far too long. Such an exhausting way to live!

  • Gina

    Sheryl, your posts always seem to come right when I need them! I am recently engaged (one week), and although I know this is supposed to be a happy time in my life, I find that I am not “over the moon.” When my fiance asked me to marry him, my reaction wasn’t tears of joy- in fact, before saying yes, I felt a pang inside that seemed to be saying “This isn’t right.” A month ago I couldn’t stop talking about marriage, and then it finally happens and I freak out! I was sobbing uncontrollably for two nights and experiencing very strong anxiety. After experiencing severe anxiety in past relationships, I always equate it to something being wrong. He is a wonderful man, and I love him, but sometimes I think he loves me a lot more. I feel that maybe I am not “in love” because I’ve never felt that “I can’t imagine my life without him.” He listens to all these fears and doubts and assures me that it’s okay- that everyone has fears and he isn’t afraid of going through this process with me. I will say that I have made an effort to accept these doubts and stop beating myself up over them! And, as you’ve advised in past posts, I remember all the wonderful things that drew me to him, and it helps me 🙂 Thank you

    • I’m glad you found your way here, Gina, and it sounds like you’re with a great guy.

    • Miranda

      Gina! Your comment resonated so true with me. It’s so incredible – it’s like you’re speaking into my soul! I’m experiencing the exact same thing. Thank you for posting!

  • beautifully put sheryl…so eloquent…it’s so helpful to be able to understand how the ego keeps us in fear..and it’s so hard to change but harder not to!

  • HikingFan

    Simply Excellent Sheryl!
    The visible exhale you describe in your post had that same profound effect on me. Perspective is so important in all of this.
    Thanks for the insights 🙂

  • MM

    It’s a shame more men do not post here because many of us go through the hell that is the anxious mind. These posts are a great resource and guide for anyone of us who tend to have all or nothing thinking habits.

  • Meital

    Wow..I am printing this out and bringing to my therapist, as she has been trying to get this through to me all along. I came across your blog last night, as my anxiety about my relationship has been making my chest tight, and brain busy.. I am so grateful for you and your posts, as I don’t feel so alone with what I am going through.

  • Katherine

    This post was so needed today Sheryl. I’ve had a few bad string of days where my wounded self had been so loud. My thoughts have circulated around “Maybe I met him at the wrong time and that means I’ll never love him like I’m supposed to.” We’ve been together almost 2 years now and honestly this seems to be my re-occurring negative thought. I feel like I do try and push it away because it scares me to think it might be true. But I can’t imagine not being with him he makes me smile and he always just “gets me”. In any case thank you for some new insight into working through the fear.

    • Amy

      Katherine,

      I have been going through a similar thing. It is as if my thoughts scare me because I so badly don’t want them to be true. My wounded self has definitely been back in the driver’s seat the past few days and its hard to remember how I feel when fear is not in the seat.

      But then I remember, if they really were true, that would be it. I don’t think I would be doing this back and forth battle…I would just know that that is the truth, and I know just the opposite..that I am with a man who loves me through all my imperfections and anxiety and still chooses to stick around with me. That is the kind of man I want to spend my life with.

      • Katherine

        Hi Amy,
        Thanks for your reply! It’s always nice to hear we aren’t alone in these things. I know what you mean by forgetting what it feels like to have those wonderful moments, especially when fear is in the driver’s seat. I know the negative feelings aren’t me but it’s so easy to get caught in that downward spiral.
        My partner is the same, kind, loving, supportive and exactly the type of person I want to be with. I always seem to feel like there is a problem because we communicate well and there is no drama (silly huh?!)
        I guess I have let to go of that “fairy tale” idea of love, or that love is this intense feeling that should be there all the time. Clearly a part of me is still stuck in adolescent love. Anyways, sorry for the rant!

        • Amy

          Hi Katherine,

          It is so interesting that you talk about letting go of love as this intense feeling! I was just saying to my fiancé (I try to be as honest with him as possible and I find it helps for me to let it out instead of keeping it in) that sometimes I can “feel the love” where I am calm and happy and excited for our future and then there are times like now where I am anxious, over thinking, and going through what if’s in my head. Of course I am not going to “feel the love” when I am thinking so negatively!

          I am the exact same way, it’s as if I am waiting for something bad to happen because everything is so good, rather then just enjoying the good.

          Hang in there! We will make it through this =)

          Amy

          • Katherine

            Amy,
            Thanks so much! Today is much better, and I am feeling more like myself. It is always nice to have these moments of certainty! I try and think of how strong we are to really take the time to learn and work for love. I think it makes it all the more rewarding when fear isn’t in the drivers seat.
            All the best to you as you plan your wedding! If you ever would like a support buddy I’d be happy to stay in touch!

          • Amy

            Thanks Katherine! I would love a support buddy! Are we able to share out email address here?

            It is so comforting to know there are people out there who feel just like me.

            I am so glad to hear you are feeling better today. I too am feeling a bit better. The moments of clarity make all of the work totally worth while. It makes it even better that I am learning new things about myself too!

  • Amy

    Sheryl,

    As always, your posts seem to come at just the right time.

    I have been following your E-Course and am up to Lesson 5-how to manage my anxiety. I am also reading your book, Conscious Bride, and both have been a huge source of comfort, relief, help and most importantly, guidance. I have also been seeing a therapist which is a huge help and outlet for everything I am working through.

    I have been doing pretty well but yesterday Aunt Flow came to visit and it was as if I took a thousand steps back and my anxiety came crashing back down on me. I can’t say I was having specific “What If” thoughts (although I have been getting better at managing those when I do) but I just felt distant from my fiance and it’s just breaking my heart. I don’t want to feel this way about him or around him.

    I spoke to my mom about it and she just thinks that because of the time of the month, I am just in a bit of a mood swing.

    Unlike the past, I am able to recognize that this is fear or ego in the driver seat, not my Self. I know this because the first thing I said is “I am not feeling myself”.

    When I feel “myself” I am happy, joyous, and I can feel those loving feelings for my fiance.

    I am hoping this will past as I hate feeling this way but deep down I know it will!

    Thanks again Sheryl!!

    Amy

    • Katherine

      Hi Amy,
      Glad to hear things are better today! If you’d like to stay in touch please email me at kati_what@hotmail.com. Hope to hear from you!

      • macy

        Hi katherine and amy,
        Your stories really seem to be similar to mine. I would realky like to speak with you e-mail if you could use another support buddie 🙂

      • D

        I would love to speak to you guys too. If you don’t mind I’ll email you !

  • Stephanie

    I found this site because I am going through crippling relationship anxiety.
    It’s affecting every other aspect of my life. I can’t sleep, I can’t focus at work…I can barely eat.

    My partner knew that I was feeling anxious but didn’t understand why. I finally shared with him that my feelings of anxiety stem from uncertainty in our relationship. When he asked me if I wanted to leave, it became very clear that I don’t. I love him, and the thought of losing him was unbearable. However, there is still this burning feeling in my body telling me that I’m doing both of us a disservice by staying. It seems my heart and mind and body all want different things. I love him, and my mind wants it to work, but my body seems to be screaming “Run!”

    • Alex

      Stephanie,

      I feel the same way. Part of me has been having the “grass is always greener” thoughts for some time. I know he’s a good man and that he loves me but he’s not the greatest communicator. The intrusive “you can find someone who just GETS you and not drag him through the mud anymore” line is always on repeat in my head. I’m not sure if you’re in the same situation but I’ve been finding the phrase “just because someone doesn’t love you the way you want doesn’t meant they don’t love you with everything they have” really helpful. It lets me step back and realize that love can’t be quantified or measured, and that maybe the kindness and security I’ve got in my relationship is the kind of “unmeasured” love I need to free myself from these thoughts. Hope you learn to calm and move through your anxiety… it’s a lot of work but choosing to identify your anxiety is the first step. Best of luck!

  • Jeanine

    Love, love, love this Sheryl! You nail it Everytime 🙂 I’ve suffered with OCD my whole life since I was 7 & I’m now 27. I’ve suffered with horrible intrusive thoughts. It wasn’t until this year I found your work & learned so much about myself & in fact that I did love my partner. Fear distorted my perception of him which made it a living hell but had I not kicked fear out of the drivers seat & took control I would have never known & not know what real love was all about. I started accepting my thoughts & making room for the uncertainty. I haven’t felt this good in 4 years & it feels amazing. I comment a lot on your posts but it’s because of how truely grateful I am for what you do 🙂 thank you for all your work! Great article, couldn’t have been explained better by my psychitrist! I am now in recovery with my OCD & I only hope it stays that way. Reading your blogs has been very therapeutic for me. As I thought my wounded self wound never feel the love again & be able to be herself again, she did 🙂

  • Ashley Chapman

    Hello sheryl,

    My boyfriend left for basic training and since he has left I have been having anxiety attacks and crying. Now all I feel is numb and just want to break up for no reason. I cant seem to get back to that feeling of wanting to be with him. I know its there somewhere and I feel selfish cuz while he is away he is helping financially and I am thinking I probably shouldnt be receiving any help since lately all I want to do is break up. Its so hard to stay positive now and hope for the future when you dont see or you feel like its not going to work. I feel like if I broke up with him I could function I would be fine but there is is this other part that is slowly being silences the part thats crys I love you in the moment but then when so called reality hits I just cant see it working. I have been suffering for a while now and the more I read your article the less it starts to hit home. I mean when I first discovered your site I cried because I thought that was me but slowly over time its not hitting me the same way. Im scared that I let the best thing in my life walk out of life just cuz I feel so closed off. Its like I cant open my heart or just dnt want to. I wish he was here for reassurance. I couldnt wait to visit him before he left for basic training now I feel hesitant to see him graduate next month. Im so hestitant on booking the plane ticket based on how I feel. What is going on with me?

  • This kinda confuses me alittle bit , are you saying we are with the wrong person if we have theses thoughts because it might be true or saying we should come realize that these thoughts are just thoughts and make room for them but stay on track with are loving partner ??

  • divorcedandscared

    Sheryl,
    As always this is a great post. I am feeling so scared. My fiancé and I are both divorced. He’s wanted to get married since we met but I have had every reason in the book not to. I am terrified of making a mistake again. Terrified of losing myself again. Terrified. We just got engaged and were sooo happy but I have been anxious in my belly the last few days.

    My current what if is about someone else. Months ago I saw a fairly famous academic speak online and my whole body was overcome with spirit. Like a huge life force. I felt like I knew this person and thought maybe this is my husband. I asked Gd to introduce us if it was to be so and even though we live in the same circle and do similar work we haven’t met. I even reached out to his office for a meeting and got nowhere. I thought I had let this fantasy guy go in my mind but now he keeps coming to mind. I try to telltales th

    • me myself and i

      I think you have your answers. You admit in your title of your screenname that you are scared. You also admit you fear making the same mistake as well as entertaining a fantasy image of this speaker (who, from reading your entry, you do not know personally). Hence, you fall in love with “the idea of love” with “the idea that your fantasy partner exists”. The problem is, the more you think like this, the more likely you will run into the same pattern over and over again of never finding anyone who meets these unrealistic demands. To continue to think this way will keep you safe and protected. It will keep you from opening up to love. But I think you already know that.

  • Katie

    Ashley,
    My boyfriend is also in the military. Boot camp was a huge period of transition for both of us: I had no idea who he’d be when he came back, and I had no idea how to accept all these changes into my life. My advice is to book that plane ticket, and go see him. Make the decisions your non-wounded self would make, and let that carry you for a while. Distance is an ugly modifier to relationship anxiety, because as you obsess over it, they become more and more of a concept without a real physical person to show you the truth. The first times I saw him, after two months of boot and then another 6 months apart, I was so nervous I thought I was going to throw up, but I knew it was the right thing to do, and I just put one foot in front of the other until I was calm enough to let the love of ‘us’ flow back in.

    • Ashley Chapman

      How did you manage while he was away?. Because I find that now its is harder to fight. Its an all day struggle for me not to be convinced of something so easily to believe based on how you feel.

      • Katie

        Ashley, The best thing I’ve ever heard was “don’t make any decisions when you’re anxious”. Your feelings, while they feel real, are only caused by your head, which isn’t in a good place. I’m not yet in a place where I can offer counsel, but I’m getting better, so i can only say to just keep reading Sheryl’s blog, and go one day at a time. (accidentally commented this below, instead of replying)

  • Sam

    Sheryl,
    Since when i have entered in relationship with the girl i love, i am constantly in a fear. Nausea, pain in chest, knot in stomach, tightning of legs etc are the issues i am dealing with. I get scared when i think what will happen if get comitted with her forever..it makes me frightened. I need your help.

  • Love this! Even though I’ve been through this and have come out on the other end, I still have moments, especially lately. this is the perfect thing to remind myself that I am constantly grasping for control and wanting to see things black and white in a world where that’s not possible. going to bookmark it 🙂

  • Jess

    Reading this does make me feel slightly better…but there are still those nasty little thoughts in the back of my mind saying:

    “You feel this way BECAUSE you shouldn’t be with him. And techniques like this will only pacify you for a certain amount of time. It will resurface again when you are 45 years old and realize you made the biggest mistake of your life, but now have children and a mortgage and can’t back out. There is probably someone out there who won’t make you feel this way, you just aren’t brave enough to risk letting go of this to find them.”

    It makes me feel cowardly, selfish, guilty, and like I don’t deserve for him (or anyone) to love me. It makes me feel not authentic. It makes me feel like I should let him go and find someone else who can love him 100% without doubt. Worst of all, it makes me feel unbelievably lost and confused…like I can’t trust my own mind whatsoever to determine what is reality. I just CRAVE that certainty that you feel when you are totally “in love” with someone. In fact, those months of relationship puppy love are the only times in my life where I have felt 100% anxiety-free for a significant amount of time. I’m afraid I’ll never feel that way again…

    • This is where you need to work:

      “like I don’t deserve for him (or anyone) to love me.”

      The belief that you’re not worthy is encased inside the relationship anxiety, and this belief:

      “There is probably someone out there who won’t make you feel this way, you just aren’t brave enough to risk letting go of this to find them.”

      is what’s keeping you trapped. Until you take 100% responsibility that the anxiety begins inside of you and would exist with any available parter, you’ll remain stuck.

    • Kerri

      Jess – this is exactly the thought I struggle with the most, just reading what you wrote made my stomach go into knots.

      It’s hard – I can do the work and feel better, but then there is always the nagging feeling that it shouldn’t be like this, maybe if I was with someone else I would not feel this way and that this is something inside of me telling me that its not right.That I am just trying to convince myself that I should be with him. That in 20 years ill wake up and know that I made a huge mistake and need to leave. I have never had anxiety in a relationship before, except for when I knew I needed to leave (he lied and was a big drinker).

      What helps me is repeating to myself that ” Love is a choice and I am choosing to love him.” Would love to hear if there is something that you do that helps you manage these thoughts!

  • Katie

    Ashley, The best thing I’ve ever heard was “don’t make any decisions when you’re anxious”. Your feelings, while they feel real, are only caused by your head, which isn’t in a good place. I’m not yet in a place where I can offer counsel, but I’m getting better, so i can only say to just keep reading Sheryl’s blog, and go one day at a time.

  • Christina

    Thank you Sheryl for this post! Your blog has been a great tool for addressing this type of anxiety, and it has strengthened my relationship. I am very appreciative.

  • Hannah

    Hey sheryl, thankyou for your amazing posts!
    I feel like I’m in a slightly different situation and never know whether I have ‘relationship anxiety’ or whether its actually me.
    I have had these realm of doubts about my feelings for my partner , whether we are ‘right’, attraction etc etc since December now, and over a week ago we decided to take a couple months break or so. I pushed him to the point he felt completely smothered and this is now time for me to get myself back on track and to start our relationship as a fresh. With having a break, comes the natural risks that we may not end up together, but j really want to and so does he, and because of that i feel its a positive thing we are doing as i dont want to push him further away. However the past day or so I’ve been having awful doubts like ‘what if you just want to get back with him because you’re comfortable?’
    So now, when I think of me and him possibly getting back together in a few months time, I just feel so incredibly anxious because I don’t know if I’m wanting it for genuine loving reasons. At times, I have complete faith in us, then other times I just have this horrid feeling that its not going to happen or that we will get back together but the same cycle will occur. Also, when I think about the memories from the past few months (as he’s away alot, so I don’t see him much) each memory I have are just filled with anxiety? And that makes me so sad and feel like there’s something wrong with US? But then.. Is it me?
    I know this doesn’t quite link to others on this post, but I’m so so desperate for some guidance or opinion or help as no one else seems to understand!
    Please, anyone.. Help me 🙁 I love this boy, SO much 🙁

  • Hannah

    I want to also add that we have been together for 3 years, and we are both I my 18. Yes, we are young I hear it all the time. But I can quite honestly say that I see myself with him for a long long time.

    • Macy

      Dear Hannah, I sympathize with you, we are in the same boat. Take care of yourself and know that you are not alone!

  • lynne

    Brilliant blog Sheryl. I suffered 25 years of relationship anxiety and ended up having a breakdown before I had counselling and found your site. Im happier now than Iv ever been and my mind is at peace at last. My partner has always known I love him and Im glad he never gave up on me.

  • Macy

    Dear Sheryl, I have been following your posts for soo long…sometimes they are my only lifeline. I seem to be able to find an answer to all my fears or thoughts that can rationalize them and put my anxiety at ease…except one. I got together with my boyfriend out of….pity and confusion, not out of infatuation. And although we have grown into what seems to be true love. I am plagued with the thought that I am in the category of your followers that are just too young and not ready to commit without having experienced infatuation at least once in my life (although I did experience it a bit right before finding my boyfriend)….I am so scared of what your answer will be…but I would really like if someone could give me a rational response to this thought/feeling…Thank you for your work, extremely helpful and interesting.

    • macy

      Its important to mention that we have grown a great friendship and relationship throughout the years and that other than what is described above, there are no red flag issues.

  • D

    But can this be done with the thoughts “What if I don’t love her ?” “I don’t love her because I don’t feel any love for her.” It’s awfully confusing and causes so much discomfort in my head and feelings of not feeling real or like she isn’t real. And I’m not sure how to work through it.