“What If I’m Too Young?”

imageThe spike of the week from my clients and readers who struggle with relationship anxiety comes in at: “What if I’m too young? What if I haven’t met my match yet and I’m just deluding myself to think I could have met my person at a young age? What if there’s someone better out there for me and I just need to be patient?” As one reader expressed in a comment on this post:

I felt like I was making so much progress while reading your posts until I realized that my fear-based self was telling me that I’m an exception towards all your blogs because I’m still young (currently in my first year of college) and because I’m still with my first boyfriend (I will have been with him for two years in November). I always see people saying that people as young as me should date around before knowing what we want, and it’s starting to make me feel as though I really should do it. However, my boyfriend means so much to me. He helped me get out of my out of depression and encourages me to better myself, he understands me and never lets me go to sleep mad. He’s my best friend and I don’t want to leave him just because my fear-based self is telling me that I absolutely HAVE to leave him because I’m still so young.

Deep breath, dear ones. If you have found a loving, attentive, honest partner with whom you share values and vision, then you are truly blessed. We live on a vast planet with billions of people, and I consider it a gift and a stroke of luck when, among the multitudes, you find someone that you like, love, and with whom you can envision spending a life.

We’ve just spent the week with our niece and her boyfriend, who were visiting us from the East coast. My niece is one of the most intelligent, insightful, loving, inquisitive, thoughtful people I know. And yes, like her aunt, she’s on the anxious-sensitive-creative spectrum. When she shares her thought-paths with me, they’re as familiar as the backroads of my own mind. We travel in the same terrain, share many of the same gifts, and battle the same inner battles when anxiety takes hold. When I look at her, I see myself at twenty-five in so many ways.

She’s been dating her boyfriend, who is level-headed, intelligent, interesting and interested in life, for a couple of years and, after witnessing them here for a week, I can definitely say they are a loving, well-matched couple. There’s a sweet friendship between them and a tender, affectionate ease and respect that underlies their relationship. I see no reason why, should the relationship continue on it current trajectory, they shouldn’t get married one day. There’s no rush of course; they’re both in the midst of the decade of 20s, which is fraught with the challenge of figuring out what it means to be an adult. But, as they have everything it takes to forge a loving shared life together, I can’t see why the relationship won’t move toward marriage.

The mainstream culture shouts otherwise: “You’re too young! You don’t know yourself enough to make this decision! You need to play the field! You need to find yourself!”

Bah, I say. My niece and her boyfriend, like the highly intelligent, sensitive, thoughtful women and men who find their way to my site, know themselves plenty well. They can continue to “find themselves” while in union with each other. They can explore the world, both together and separately, if that’s what they desire. As far as “playing the field”, what I primarily see from multiple early relationships is multiple heartbreaks, often from broken trust, which then leads to difficulty opening the heart, which then leads to relationship anxiety. In my worldview, “playing the field” is highly, highly overrated.

I’m thinking about Elizabeth Gilbert, author of the wildly popular memoir, Eat, Pray, Love, in which she tells the story of leaving her first husband, traveling the world, then finding her true soulmate at the end of the book. The story, understandably, has been a major spike source for my relationship anxiety sufferers. The basic message seemed to be (at least through the lens of a certain personality type): You don’t know yourself well enough to choose a partner in your 20s. You must travel the world, find yourself, then you’ll meet your true soulmate. We obviously don’t know the inner, subtle details of her story, but I find it very interesting that she’s just announced that she and her husband are parting ways. What we must take from this is that we can’t compare our life to anyone else’s life. She made the choices she needed to make that pushed her forward on her learning journey, and we each must tune into that place of self-trust to make the choices that are most loving for us. Nobody can tell us what those choices are.

Yet the culture always tells us what to do, and the “right” path is constantly shifting. It wasn’t until very recently that we expected people to wait until their 30s to get married. In my grandparents’ generation, for example, my grandmother was considered an “old maid” because she wasn’t married at the age of 20 (she married my grandfather at age 21). But now, perhaps because we tend to live longer, we expect people to be single and free for as long as possible, and then pin them with the societal fear of not being able to conceive. What a fear-based, double-message we jam down the throats of young people: Wait to get married but don’t wait too long otherwise your eggs will start to dry up. But that’s a topic for another post.

The point is that we force young people to try to contort themselves to fit into an impossible mold. The underlying message, of course, is that if you follow the rules and “get it right”, you will be happy and ding ding ding win the guarantee for success. In other words, if you marry at just the right time, then buy a house at just the right time, and then start trying to conceive at just the right time (in that order, of course), you will be happy. There’s no such perfect timing and order of life, and there are no such guarantees.

We are not robots or cookie-cutters. Every human on the planet has his or her own timing, needs, and path. For some people, meeting their partner at a young age is a gift and a blessing. For others, meeting their partner in their 30s, 40s, or 50s is exactly what they need in order to learn and grow in a loving relationship. Just like we need to toss off the perennial “shoulds” that leak into the subtext of our running commentary, so we need to shuck the concept of a timeline that permeates our consciousness and creates untold amounts of self-doubt, especially when it comes to intimate relationships. The work, ultimately, is about knowing yourself well enough to trust yourself, which means trusting the path that is loving for you.

88 comments to “What If I’m Too Young?”

  • Becky

    Hi Sheryl,

    Your post really resonates with me, I’m 28 and have been with my partner for 4 years. I have always felt a deep sadness that we had met relatively young, as I felt the prevailing cultural message is that you have a semi-serious relationship in your 20’s, followed by your ‘real’ long term relationship in your early 30’s. I find it really difficult to feel the confidence in my relationship and not get sucked into believing this cultural message. But through reading your blog and also reading some of Eckhart Tolles work I find I am creating a stronger sense of ‘self’ I can trust in every day.
    Although I try very hard in my conscious and waking hours to take on board the learnings from your blog, I find that I have lots of recurring dreams about cheating on my partner or being single. I wake up feeling extremely distressed and almost back to square one, with the anxious thoughts of ‘I should be single’ returning. Do you have any advice on how to deal with these dreams, either in reducing them or managing my reactions towards them?

    Thank you,

    Becky

    • Francine

      Becky, I relate so much to your distressing dreams. I often find that when I am most happy with my partner when awake and my mind is blissfully quiet, my dreams are either about him cheating on me or old flames. It feels like a huge leap backwards, I know. Have you read Sheryl’s article, ‘It’s Not What You Think’? (I believe it’s called). I am trying to get into this habit – whenever I have a partner focused bad dream or thought, I try to remind myself that I am fully responsible for my emotions and that it’s time (yet again) to look inward for those empty places. If you didn’t take your dream literally, what else could it be saying to you? Could it indicate something about you instead of your relationship/partner? If so, at least give that your attention first before you panic yourself over the dream being literal. Best wishes Fxo

      • Becky

        Thank you for replying Francine, it is so comforting to know that I’m not the only one with this issue! Totally agree with you about the timing of these dreams – I’m currently enjoying the company of my boyfriend so much during my waking hours, and feel comfortable about contemplating our future (something that usually triggers much panic!). It feels even more upsetting that my dreams are the opposite of these warm and happy moments.
        I think there are multiple ways I can interpret them – part of it is probably not feeling fulfilled in other areas of my life or feeling like I’ve missed out on opportunities…but I also find strength in how I respond when I wake up. I used to get extremely upset to the point of panic or anxiety attacks. Now I like to think with a bit more perspective – these dreams won’t last forever and it’s important to enjoy the good moments with my boyfriend.

        Thanks again,

        Becky

  • Francine

    Brilliant, Sheryl. Yet another one to bookmark. I struggle to dispel the notion of arriving at the ‘ding ding ding’ moment. I always imagined the right person would arrive with a deep feeling of rightness and knowing I am where I’m supposed to be. Sometimes, everything just feels good with him, though always peppered with doubt. I sometimes wonder what I’m basing being ‘in-love’ on, if not these traditional romantic ideas. I feel quite lost. I try to remember, however: love is not only a feeling, but an action. Fxo

  • Kate

    It never fails to amaze me how well timed these posts are. Sheryl your authenticity truly is a gift.

    I’m 20 and I have been with my loving, caring, attentive, honest, trustworthy, stable guy for 2 years now (it’s just today turned our two year). In my opinion, time is an illusion. Time is something humans created, therefore if it was created there used to be a time it didn’t exist; I suffer from this form of relationship anxiety like many others, when I came to this conclusion I realised if I had no age would I still be fretting over the level of depth me and this man have created? No I bloody wouldn’t. Would I still be thinking how am I so young to have something this huge? No I bloody wouldn’t. In my opinion, if you are with someone you can grow with, someone who gives you the love, support and most importantly room for you to grow and not feel threatened then what more could you possibly want?

    We’re moving in together a month today and I realise this has caused the spike of my anxiety, but it’s not like we planned any of this happening, it’s just happened there is a natural flow between us where things just happen. This year we have learnt more about each other than we ever thought possible, we lost total trust in December which took us ages to regain, there were times we wasn’t even sure if we could get it back, but it’s back, more solid than ever by the commitment to both turn inwards and do the work to learn about what was off in ourselves and together. Would I change any of this for what my friends at my age are going through? Heartbreak? Rejection? No I wouldn’t. We unfortunately live in a culture where people are too afraid to be open to let anyone in, so all we do is play around and hurt each other only making matters worse and if I can be 20 in a loving relationship then I give someone else the chance to do the same. Slowly but surely we can turn this back around.

    Whilst this may sound incredibly positive, I am not without severe relationship anxiety. Every thought is plagued with anxiety about my love for this man, my parents had a bad marriage and my mum had an affair a year after the divorce they got back together and it’s never been the same, they just won’t do the work for one another, the problems to me look so easy to fix but that’s a different story. However there marriage has effected me, greatly. I’m so terrified of commitment I want to run every stage I get deeper with my boyfriend, there are no red flags and secretly I can feel a calm pool somewhere within me who knows I’m ready for all this, and when I’ve uncovered the layers of deeply routes fear i know I’ll reach it but until then I’m ok with the fight, I loose sleep, sometimes I can’t eat, I close off a lot of the time to him, tell myself we’ve lost connection, have a bunch of ugly ego thoughts but I’m still fighting, something is choosing to stay with him, I’m scared I could actually make a marriage work with him then all the times my parents made me feel like I couldn’t do anything would be wrong. To me (and I have no idea why) marriage and love is the only thing worth fighting for in life, no matter your age, you don’t need to ‘experience life’ if you feel you have someone who you could do all the things you wanted to with. These are just my opinions, I have fears like the fear off loss, terrified he’s only here for my healing then some cruel twist of fate will pull us away, scared I don’t love him, scared I don’t want to have sex with him (I’ve suffered from sexual abuse, so that’s no suprise) scared I will throw myself into something deeper than I ever thought possible and it either fail or work, but I read a quote that said ” the greater the fear, the greater the blessing” and he too me gives me both.

    For now, I wouldn’t have it any other way, we are learning about each other to hopefully prepare ourselves for marriage, and i am learning about myself to be what he and I both need, whilst he does the same (he’s just recently completed this process for now) it is possible and whilst I’m still in the depths of relationship anxiety, there’s a roar of fight in me somewhere which knows I can trust this.

    Good luck you beautiful souls.

    • Beautiful, Kate. You clearly possess a depth of wisdom and a fierceness of commitment that transcend age. Blessings to you as you continue to fight for truth and love.

    • Dearie

      You are amazing! Just wanted to say that your post resonated deeply and I relate more than words can say. I am in a very, very similar situation (23 and in a deeply loving relationship of four years, and we are getting married soon) and I have all of the same inner struggles you described. I can’t tell you how much I related with your feelings about how, if time and the concept of age didn’t exist, I would never doubt the depth of my relationship. I, too, have a calm pool deep down that always knows how right this for me and that I can trust it. It’s just still such a fight to be able to stay in that heart-centered place. I wanted to say thanks for sharing and also share a bit of my story! Good luck, stay true, and may your inner pool of calm lead the way!

  • Sugar Pea

    “You must travel the world, find yourself, then you’ll meet your true soulmate.”

    THIS messed me up so much… No offense to Liz Gilbert. I read “Eat Pray Love” though when I was 19, and it left me feeling like, oh my gosh, if I’m not traveling and exploring and doing yoga in India, then I’m not “finding myself” right.

    A similar thing happened when I read “Wild” by Sheryl Strayed. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love both of these women writers a lot, and their stories are equally incredible… But both stories are very persuasive in the “you need to leave” camp, and it took me years to realize that I don’t need to abandon my perfectly imperfect relationship just because it’s what so many other independent, soul-warrior women seem to have done.

    Today was my first slip back in ages. I started feeling severe anxiety about whether my partner and I communicate or even love each other enough. (We’re currently long-distance and applying for a fiance visa; it’s kind of tough.) After seeing another gushy, cute couple post on Instagram the other day, I panicked and my anxiety came out in full force. We ended up having a pretty tough conversation about it, about the ways we’ve been mis-communicating and unknowingly hurting each other. It felt pretty far from the way all these other cool young couples publicly declare their love… and I’m trying not to let the anxiety spiral into any more “What is wrong with me?” and “Are we doing this whole “love” thing wrong?” …

    So, tough night for me. Hope everyone else is okay! <3

    • Get off Instagram! You will likely notice a significant reduction in your anxiety if you get off all social media and go on a media fast in general. Once you fill you well, you won’t be so spiked by other people’s lives and their choices.

      • Sugar Pea

        Hi Sheryl 🙂

        I just deactivated/deleted my account. Feels weird, but I know it’s for the best… I can feel all my fears kind of rising to the surface, but I know I made the right choice.

        Thank you <3

    • Brittani

      Hey There Sugar Pea

      Let me tell you. I used to allow Cheryl Strayed’s blog “Dear Sugar”, as well as her books drive me crazy! I read one of her blogs about (when to breakup) awhile back and it made me sick. LITERALLY!! Once I started to learn myself and I started practicing love, patience and kindness towards myself, I realized this is a woman I can’t allow into my being. I was able to make a loving choice for myself to let that go because we tend to mirror who we follow & I didn’t want to follow her because I didn’t agree with “her” way. & that’s all it was. Her choice. Once I realized her choice could not or should not effect my day to day life, I let it go.

      • Sugar Pea

        Hey Brittani!

        Wow. It’s a relief to hear you say that! I read her book “Tiny Beautiful Things” (which was indeed beautiful in lots of ways), but I started having HUGE relationship anxiety in the wake of it.

        I know this isn’t true for everyone, but I’ve found, over the years, that as a sensitive, anxious type, I have a tendency to absorb what others are doing because I don’t always trust myself. Taking Sheryl’s Trust Yourself course has been wildly helpful in that regard. It’s taken me a long time to trust that, like you say, that was her choice. My choices might be entirely different, but no less valid and meaningful and healthy.

        Part of my issue with people like E.G. and C.S. is that so much of what they write is almost deemed as gospel by such a wide audience. Like, I feel like a lot of people look to them for advice and emotional/spiritual guidance… Again, it’s taken me a while to understand that even people/writers at the seemingly top of their journey are just expressing their own singular truth at that particular time. They don’t know my story, and despite what they share, I do not fully know theirs. I shouldn’t try to emulate or compare, or even necessarily accept guidance.

        This is why I like Sheryl’s approach so much because she doesn’t lay out the path and say “ok, now try to walk it”, she gives us the tools to find our own weird and wonderful path… And to trust our own hearts in meeting it.

        I think that’s why this work feels so real and authentic! <3

        • Brittani

          After my relationship anxiety loosened up, my next issue was “Complete Absorption” it’s like I had to make everyone else’s situation my situation. LOL! I can laugh now, but girl I was ridiculous with that. If I’d see a random commercial and a the person would say “I’m true to myself because…” I’d immediately put myself in her shoes to “check” to see if I was being true to myself. If I heard of a life long couple divorcing, I had to “investigate”, because I “NEEDED” to know what went wrong. There was this intense urge to figure out everyone else’s problems so I could mirror them, in a sense. I was Out Of Control Sugar Pea. Like highly intense! Before I started calming down, I was angry with Cheryl Strayed. I’d say negative things about her; while stalking her website at the same time so I could get my next Panic Attack. Seriously! The day I wanted to slap CS, I decided I had to change. She hadn’t done me anything. It was negative views of self that made me dislike her so strongly. It does get easier though Sweet Pea. I’m in such a great head space right now & it feels amazing. The thoughts may still come, but I’ve learned how to let them go as well. & yes “Tiny Beautiful Things” was sweet dream & an ugly nightmare for me.

          • Sugar Pea

            I’m so glad to hear you’re in a much healthier headspace now, Brittani! That’s great news! Thanks for all your insights and encouragement 🙂 It’s helped me a lot! <3

        • Thank you, Sugar Pea. x

  • choosehappiness

    I think a good example of this is the modern family episode where they go to Australia. Hailey gets hit on by a hot surfer guy/lifeguard and she blows him off because “Australia is full of hot guys and I can’t settle for the first one I see”. Lilly has money to buy a souvenir and Hailey tells her she can’t buy the first one she sees and should wait for the perfect one. Lilly brings them on annoying tour of looking for the perfect souvenir. Meanwhile Hailey slowly begins to realize that she can’t do better and passed up on something wonderful

  • choosehappiness

    Elizabeth Gilberts book – I didn’t really know about it till the recent news about her broke. But I think her overall story (and most recent ending) says two things 1) the answer isn’t “out there” travelling the world but rather inside of you 2) there is no such thing as a perfect partner. From what I understood from her story she had a loving partner but left anyway.

    • Possibly. But the truth is that we really don’t know the underpinnings of her story. We need to trust that her choices may be the most loving choices for her, but that doesn’t mean they have to apply to everyone else in the world.

  • Clara

    Love love love this post Sheryl. Thank you so much! How much untold misery is created by the belief that we have to live our lives according to some societally imposed perfect time-line! XX

  • Hannah

    I don’t think anyone is ever too young to meet someone they love. They are lucky. My mum was 14 and my dad 16 when they met, no experience prior to that and are still happily married now. In terms of marriage, some people are ready quicker than others. I met my partner at 21, I knew very early on that I wanted to marry him and we would end up getting married. Even then at the age of 21 people told me that’s too young, but I think that is very immature and childish to actually say that because I am an adult, you are legally an adult at 21 so why is that too young?! The people who say it’s too young are the people who need to grow up themselves and let go of being a child and find a way to take responsibility of their own life in a adult way. Also, if someone married young at least they wouldn’t have as much heartbreak, which means they have more trust and less relationship anxiety. Our culture are very immature and want to hold on tight to their young lives, nobody is going to move forward if they keep behaving that way. I am 23 and renting with my partner in the UK, our culture thinks that is very young and seem shocked when I say I don’t love with my parents anymore, but I just think well everyone can do it if they want to do it’s really not that shocking at all. It’s time for our culture to grow up I think 🙂

  • Lou79

    Hi Sheryl,
    I’ve been following your posts now for the past two years and have gained so much from them. I was particularly interested in ‘should’ theme in this one. Myself and my partner are trying to conceive and at the grand old age of 37 I was struck by your words around the culture of conceiving and following a strict pattern of should ; marriage, house, babies etc and what happens if you don’t fit into this mold. It would be really interesting to hear your thoughts further on this as in your recent posts the topic of conceiving has come up a few times. As I watch friends and family become pregnant so much of the issue is tied up in should perfectionism, failure and comparisons and although I know that this is ego and fear based it is a struggle to remember at times. Great post as always! Agree that sometimes in your twenties lots of broken relationships don’t do much to break down those fear walls ?

  • Spinning Top

    Hi Sheryl,

    I’ve been an avid follower of your blog for over a year now, and started but never finished the Wedding course. Well, my bf finally proposed last Wednesday after 5 long years, including a past year of full on chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer (I was diagnosed last October but now cancer free!) and buying a house in the country together in May. I was so so happy when he proposed – it was perfect and of course I said yes. I was also so proud of myself for allowing myself to be happy and not having anxiety take over. There is no way I could’ve enjoyed that moment as much as I did without you! Last year (about 6 months before diagnosis) I was in a lot of pain and confusion over our relationship and it really was your blog and course that helped so much. So thank you!! Secondly, although I’m not that young (33!), I love everything about this post as it reaffirms to me why I’m with my fiancé (!): he is truly an excellent person that I’ve been so privileged to meet. I like him. I love him. And I can see us spending our lives together. As the excitement from the engagement dies down, I was starting to feel room for anxiety creeping in but this has really helped me remember what’s important. Xx

  • Mia

    I think you are right when you say about people living longer and how that affects the age in which we do things/are expected to do things. My therapist said that getting to “know yourself” was generally expected to be done during you teen years, but now there is “extended adolescence” where people in their twenties continued with this process. Whether that’s good or bad, I don’t know, but everyone is different. All I know is I struggled in my teen years and came out the other side in my very early twenties knowing what I wanted and who I fundamentally was as a person. this is why I am in such a state of shock and panic by feeling this relationship anxiety and complete worry about “who I really am” but I want to refuse to buy into society’s message that I must “find myself” and rip away all the grounding I had and have worked so hard to establish, and that if I don’t do It now, well then I am wasting my twenties! I disagree. I want to be strong and continue with my life, the life I have worked for. I do believe I am trying to protect myself from pain as the thoughts and feelings I’ve been having recently are so incredibly out of character for me and whisper to me that if I leave I will become a stronger person (what do you mean thoughts? That I will be stronger and therefore be devoid of pain?) yet staying and working through this will make me stronger and cement my foundations. I will not give up what I have worked so hard for, and be a slave to these horrid thoughts which are trying to shake me to my core and tell me everything I have ever believed to be true is wrong. I have felt a lot of pain in my life because I am sensitive and I care, not because I am on the wrong path or pretending to be someone I’m not! (How on earth could I pretend to be someone else for 25 years? I don’t think it’s possible).

    Anyway.. Thank you Sheryl for this article! Life can be so tough and I’m struggling quite intensely at the moment. Thinking of leaving my home and ending my relationship brings me immense panic (then my mind tells me this is because I’m scared of the unknown and I need to rip off the bandaid/take this step and live through the misery of leaving in order to truly “find myself”) argh!

  • Angela

    Hi Mia, I understand your struggles this anxiety bluff is a hard one, i feel your pain but its ok you will see the light at the end of the tunnel im holding your hand. Stay strong and do Sheryls courses. They have all helped me. You can do it. We all can. Have faith. ?x

  • Chantal

    Hi Sheryl,

    This is a great post! I am 26 and have been with my boyfriend for 5 years. It always bugs me when people say “you’re going to change so much”, you’re so young etc. etc. It’s like I automatically assume that we are going to change for the worse and grow apart. I need to remind myself that it’s possible that we can change and grow for the better.

    You also brought up something interesting – about the Eat Pray Love and Elizabeth Gilbert separating from her husband. I was going to read the book Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. I was following her a bit on Facebook because I saw that she had a successful marriage. Now since I saw that she separated, I don’t feel like I can read the book anymore and had to unfollow her on Facebook. I am an entrepreneur (well, trying to be), and everytime I see that an entrepreneur is not married or is separating from their spouse or has been divorced, I can’t “follow” them anymore. It’s like I think that what happened to them, could happen to me too. Is that me needing to have my own well of self filled and not absorb the lives of others? How do you really get past that?

    • Yes, when you fill your well you can allow the messenger to be imperfect and still follow her message. I haven’t read Big Magic but I’ve heard it’s fantastic and I would encourage you to move through this fear and read it anyway. (I don’t think it’s about relationships at all).

      • Chantal

        I wonder sometimes that maybe I don’t fill my well of self because I feel like if I do, then I’ll feel strong and have to leave. I do still try. I really need to work on self love and the feeling that I’m enough. Does filling the well of self also help with self love?

  • Mia

    Angela – thank you for your comforting and supportive words! I do feel so panicky and unwell with it all at the moment and the battle in my mind is exhausting. I’m so upset and scared in all honestly. I would give anything to feel happy again and settled. I don’t want to have to leave (but then my mind says “don’t be a child. don’t cling to your comfort blanket of home. Go and leave”)

    ?

  • Georgina Hudson

    Dearest Sheryl, what a great blog. As you probably remember I teach English to adults (for the most part) in “in-company” settings. Most of the junior professionals I teach, keep putting things off till they are 30+ “because this is the time to enjoy” and so on and so forth. I totally and truly recommend you see this TED talk connected to what you posted, which, by the way, I took to my classes and it was quite a shock for many! https://www.ted.com/talks/meg_jay_why_30_is_not_the_new_20

  • L

    Hi there,

    I’ve considered taking the course or speaking with you in a coaching session – but before biting the bullet I went through lots of your blogs and comments and it’s becoming clear that most of these cases are what begins as, “it’s the best relationship I’ve had, he’s so amazing and kind BUT i’m having anxiety and wonder if he’s right.”

    I’ve never experienced something that I could say was a great relationship or that I was with someone who I thought was so good to me or so amazing. They’ve all been good guys but with flaws that deeply affected the relationship and made it hard for me to stay (and that before my current partner, were not able to work on their part).

    Right now, my partner of 8 months has so many relationship issues (he’s from an abusive background) yet he is working on them (he is a therapist and is in therapy and we are in couples therapy!) but I’m often struggling with both relationship anxiety and very realistic doubt, and often a desire to not spend time with him as I’m growing increasingly overwhelmed and exhausted by us being together – (but of course, sometimes we are together and it’s really lovely.)

    For example he is easily irritated and frustrated and was like this immediately after we got together (but not while he was pursuing me) often snapping at me randomly. I brought it up (knowing I’d break up if it didn’t change) and he his, 7 months in, finally taking it very seriously and working hard on not doing that. It’s improving a lot.

    He also sexualizes nearly all his feelings and unconsciously puts these demands on me like a 17 year old boy who isn’t thinking about me, which makes me so unattracted to him and makes me sexually freeze (also working on this, but it’s awful for me in the meantime), he has a hard time thinking about me in many moments in general – but can and will soften and own up to it, often immediately, if I point it out. My work in our relationship is to have confidence in my boundaries and state them more clearly as I keep ending up with men who don’t particularly have regard for them (like my mom!)

    So, he certainly is giving me an opportunity to work on my own stuff – and is a deeply self aware and committed to my healing and his own….those things make me stay. but I’m filled with anxiety as I don’t feel attracted to him currently and was never crazy for him in general (he pursued me like it was the end of the world and I eventually gave it a shot, with doubts in my mind…)

    But I have never experienced a relationship where I didn’t feel doubts like this and he is giving me a chance to work on my stuff so at the very least I hopefully don’t keep ending up with guys who have trouble thinking about me. So my questions, do I want to get rid of my relationship anxiety as it seems to be helpful to have to keep me safe in many instances? And would your course be helpful since I don’t seem to have a similar experience as many of the other folks (I don’t dream about my ex, i don’t think my current partner is unattractive because of his looks but something deeper that doesn’t feel good…etc)

    • It’s a good question, and a common one. When both people come from trauma, relationships can be extremely challenging. It sounds like you’ve found this to be true in all of your relationships, which means it’s time to look at your own places of wound for the purpose of healing. It sounds like you’re doing that, as is he, and that you’re both committed to working on your own issues that get in the way of loving. My sense is that Break Free would be enormously helpful to you, for while it’s clear that he has his own issues (everyone does), it’s also clear that your mind wants to convince you to walk away because “it’s too hard.” As long as you’re both willing to keep doing your own work, the relationship has a great chance of thriving.

      • L

        Thanks Sheryl, I really appreciate your response. I will definitely give the course a shot in a few weeks.

        You said that having both come from trauma – I come from your standard challenging family with boundary issues and plenty to work on – but not trauma like his. (I’ve had medical trauma though.) I have some theories on why I end up with guys I have many doubts about: One reason I think I do end up in relationships with men I’m not so into is that I’m quite introverted so often end up with men who pursue me quite intensely and in order to do that, they often are not terribly attuned to me and disregard my boundaries for their own desires (they will keeping trying to “get” me, despite me sometimes saying no it won’t work several times). Eventually I say yes. Or I give a half-hearted yes because they are so into me and I like certain things about them which is more than usual for me!

        So, I suppose a last question here is – are relationships born from that dynamic ones that can work and last? I guess I’m afraid by working on my boundaries in this relationship it might lead me to realize, as I get clearer with what I can and can’t do, that it really doesn’t work between us and I need to end it…and that I need to go through this relationship, not because he and I have a chance, but simply to work on my issues so that I can say “No” more clearly and directly to the men I’m not sure about from the get go. I’m worried that’s the problem – that my issue with boundaries needed me saying no to him earlier on. Gah!

  • L

    p.s. to be clear he doesn’t make sexual demands in the sense he assaults me. He just will get aroused while I’m say, cooking, and just come over and start immediately grabbing me in sexual ways (grabbing my chest, telling me how turned on he is etc) without even stopping to think about me and where I might be. (Not in a sexual place! and also busy!) and so I’m working on saying, “I love you and not now, not like that.” But he does this stuff so often, multiple times a day that my sexuality has turned off.

    • Common as well. It sounds like he uses his sexuality as a way to connect and this he needs to learn how to tune into where you’re at and find other ways to reach for you. Again, as long as he’s open and you’re able to communicated lovingly – which it sounds like you are – there’s no real problem.

  • Silver

    I’M SORRY FOR TOO MUCH POSTING WITH THE SAME THING EVERYTIME…

    How do I get in tuned with my feelings and thoughts? I wonder and heard something that “YOU’RE PARTNER IS A REFLECTION OF YOURSELF”. It’s too hard always questioning myself whether what I have is genuine or not sometimes thoughts come and go every minute every day. But since I’ve been helped by reading here in this site, reading books. I learned very very slowly to not take everything by face value thus let me act on better choices learn to slowly control my anger and open my heart every time I feel like raging. But whenever me and my partner fight I always try to break up like I can throw my partner away anytime I want which is a HUGE RED FLAG. I am calm whenever we’re not talking, I read a couple of articles that a guy shouldn’t do when he likes her but I ticked alot of box such as being hot and cold, being distant, not committing and doubting saying that I’m not fully into her, I also try my best not to look at other girls. My partner feels like she’s an option (she also have depression), this breaks me while I am battling and choosing to love. I am very scared to the most extent that it’s too much for me to handle. I fear intimacy, I fear loss, I fear that I might leave in the future. What if I’m stringing my partner along and not really up for the long run to be married and have kids. I just want to disappear I can’t love fully because of my anxiety, I can’t fall in love or love fully because I always question myself, lacking sense of clarity. I know that I have a lot of issues that sends me away and make my heart closed and sealed. I don’t know why I can’t accept my partner and if I’m emotionally unavailable. I want to have a deeper relationship, without too much questioning, I deserve love also but I’m trying my best to give and share without doubting to learn true intimacy and not just lust

    • Brittani

      Silver,

      You seem really amazing, & your post seemed to make me smile. Only because your are me about October 2015 & also, apologizing for posting. Why? We are all here to grow and help one another Silver. If you have to post or question every minute of everyday, I’ll try my best to be here for you. Trust me. You are never alone. Never!

      • Silver

        Thank you Brittani, I’m so close to giving up.. It’s her birthday tomorrow and I always get too angry, defensive and hopeless it seems that I’m not right for her that I must be alone and sacrifice to just let someone else love her for who she is not just being conditioned to love like me. Someone who can appreciate her everyday. I always being judged that I being around with girls even though I’m not. I even hated looking for other girls and flirting with them (civil talking is not included). I put more boundaries and things that I shouldn’t do, I always get hurt for thinking why I’m so distant to her and do everything in my power to do it sometimes, sometimes I am being loving for periods of time. I am never consistent which really puts me off, I’m doing polar opposite moods which also makes me think.

        • Brittani

          I totally understand this Silver. I was the exact same way. Maybe even worst, because I shut down completely. I didn’t even show kindness to my partner. I couldn’t. I didn’t know how. I am grateful that I have a partner who’s able to understand. My partner gave me time and knew it was only something that I was going through. You have to be willing to put in the work as well. Have you tried taking any of Sheryl’s courses?
          Trust me. I know it’s hard. You have to be willing to fully commit to yourself. Making the choice to commit to you own well being is the first step down a long road, but its completely worth it. Trust yourself, believe in you and have faith that you will overcome this. I believe in you Silver. You seem like an amazing human being. You’re just in a dark place right now; but, no worries, I have a flashlight and I am offering you my hand. We can do it together. You will overcome! This is only temporary. What you MUST do now is release the self pity and take a step towards the life that you deserve. The only thing that’s stopping you is you. Are you willing to take another step forward? With me?

          • Silver

            But If we love somebody it must be clear right? even though we are hurt we still now and don’t doubt ourselves. I keep asking myself whether what I’m doing is for the long run and if I will see my partner deeper and marrying her. We don’t want to waste our partners time really good. That’s why we make something out of nothing, I don’t want to make believe that I really love my partner if I’m not.

          • Silver

            It was so different from before, I felt happy because I surprised her and made her too happy yesterday. It was her first time being surprised. She told me “You were the first person to make me feel what I’ve been watching in the internet before, what I’ve been expecting for a long time.” It made me teary eyed when I saw her cry and we hugged and it wasn’t explainable deep inside me I want to stay and keep hugging for too long. I have the thoughts and numbness and emptiness but I rather do work to keep her happy yesterday. What is your email btw here is mine lagascajamuel@gmail.com so I can email you for sometime but will keep working on myself.

        • Silver

          Thank you but I also can’t find myself amazing. I have a very low self esteem which I can see in my partner. It seems that my partner should leave me for who I am, she should find someone who would tell her that they love her everyday with no doubt. I recently understand how to ask for forgiveness when my Grandfather died, I was able to lower my pride and ego but it still it lingers too much. I want to disappear or die but that’s not the right thing to do.

          • Brittani

            I’m really sorry Silver, but I’m not letting you off that easy. I 100% disagree! You are amazing. If you were not, you wouldn’t be reaching out for help. When we are in dark places, we can’t see ourselves that’s all. You’re welcome to email me if you’d like.

          • Brittani

            Silver,

            How was her birthday? Were you able to let go of your thoughts for this occasion?

    • What books have you read? Tell me what you do on a daily basis to attend to your thoughts and feelings?

      • Silver

        I keep reading in this site, I read a daily devotional of 5 love language by Gary Chapman( which involves alot of understanding regardless of how love works and changing attitudes and mindset to understand our partners) I’ve also read when talking isn’t enough by susan page. I’m slowly entering Christianity that I also read the bible which helps me understand love, patience etc. I pray to let go of every thoughts, feelings which are painful negative and destructive. I try to exercise, do inner child work ( I can’t access it really it’s too hard). Trying to talk to my close friend for sometimes which is married but lets me understand how love works (that it is not a feeling but a choice) I wonder, whether I really like this person or not. Because I try to decipher whether it’s really genuine, I suffer from a lot of issues and I think I’m very insecure and just clinging my partner along.

  • Mia

    I just feel like I’m the exception as I realised a long time ago that the problem wasn’t my boyfriend but it was me. Now I just think I’m one of the ones who just has to accept that I am too young myself (other people aren’t – they can get through this) but as my worries are to do with me personally then that must be my core problem!

  • Emily

    Reading this is such a breath of fresh air Sheryl 🙂

    In my case what I’ve particularly struggled with is the conventional wisdom that my first relationships need to be educational mistakes that develop me as a person, rather than set the foundation I’ll live the rest of my life on. My first boyfriend (who I will have been with for two years in December) can’t be my permanent choice- he’s got to be someone I can’t make it work with, but leave knowing more about myself and what I need from a relationship. That’s his “role”. Your description of adherence to a timeline is something that also deeply resonates with me, because of course there’s no room to “mess up” after a certain age- I have this magic idea in my head that somehow in my late twenties or thirties, after I’ve gone through enough relationships that weren’t meant to be, I’ll meet the right person and everything will feel just like I imagined it would. So to me it’s like it’s not worth investing in my relationship, since it seems inherently doomed. It’s not even just about relationships- I think many of us view our twenties as our “mistake years”, where we take all the wrong risks- move to the wrong city, make the wrong friends, date the wrong people, and emerge in our thirties having gotten our personal development over with and figured everything out, and fully equipped to make all the right choices.

  • Bianca Wilson

    Oh Sheryl, how interesting the timing is on this! I have not written on here in quite awhile but I always read all of your posts. When I was going through my relationship anxiety, I had ALL lf these thoughts but was able to work through quite a bit with the loyalty and encouragement of my boyfriend; however, after he left for grad school and doing long distance, he ended things and I was absolutely devastated. After over 3 years together I thought we would make it…..but I came to the conclusion that he taught me many lessons. After 1.5 years since the breakup and a lot of pain, growth and breakthroughs, I was almost completely healed and then out of nowhere he comes back. He has grown in this time. He wants to see if there’s a chance of trying again. There is no right answer here which is the beauty of the timing of your post: “choosing the path most loving to you.” It’s amazing how this is coming full circle. I guess there are more lessons to be learned with him.

    • Interesting indeed, Bianca! And I love your attitude of learning that you’ve already adopted regarding the situation. In the end, that’s all it really is: an opportunity to learn and grow.

  • Michelle

    Hi Sheryl!

    This post was amazing as they all are. I have a problem and I am trying to work through it. I have been dating this amazing guy for going on two years. He is the best guy I have ever met. He is attentive, loving, sweet, my friends and family adore him! He is almost perfect. But last year, I suffered a crippling anxiety attack where I questioned if I loved him. All of these fears waved over me. I started questioning everything. What if I don’t love him? What if I am gay? I wish he was taller. I wish he saw more things the way I saw them. He is too nice. I have been contemplating the idea of dumping him, because I don’t want to hurt him. I am so scared. There are some days where I can’t sleep over this. Is this my fear based self? Could I benefit from a course? If so, which course? He recently purchased a home (a three unit) and I am moving in with him and my mom is moving in to one of the units. I am so scared. I have been asking if this is truly right. I have been exploring why do I have these doubts, if this is the person I am meant to spend the rest of my life with. I have told him how I felt and he is so supportive. But deep down inside, I see no future with him and that hurts me so bad because I love him, but I don’t know why I feel this way. Is it because it is not meant to be? Seriously conflicted.

  • hayley

    Would you be able to direct me to any articles about compatibilty if you have any?

    • Francine

      Check out the Archive, perhaps try ‘Is my partner right for me?’ and ‘Is there a better match for me?’

  • Kate

    Hi Sheryl,

    Any perspective you could offer? Or anyone? I’m trying to find the blog which I read about it a while back but didn’t really take it in as at the time it didn’t apply to me. I’m with an incredibly loving thoughtful guy, he’s healing, I’ve let him in more than I ever have anyone else, I trust him with my heart, we openly communicate, I always thought of marrying him and how truly lucky I would be. I’m moving out with him, and it’s always been something I’ve been so excited about, couldn’t wait for it to come quick enough. Then as it approached so did my masses of anxiety, all thoughts such as “too young” “you don’t love him” used to overwhelm me with anxiety, I could feel the truth, the truth that I did love him and I didn’t want to run, when I had moments of clarity. I haven’t had one moment in about 6 weeks, I’m clinging onto the last time I felt it, I lay next to him, not one part of my body resisted, we made love that night without any physical contact, everytime I heard him breathe in the night even amoungst my slumper I had thoughts of gratitude for this magnificent being by my side. I always new we had a connection recently more than ever (well before my 6 weeks of terror have struck) we are easy together, it just works, we love working on our relationship as much as enjoying it, we share the same values and basically the same personality, when I look at him I see me without the hurt, he’s strong, open and constant. Now I feel nothing, no anxiety when I’m think I don’t love him, no anxiety when I think of leaving, no love, no fear, just numbness. Any advice on what to do when we enter this stage? Is this just a stage or has the best thing that’s ever happened to me gone? Even the connection I felt without even thinking about it. I feel like I’ve lost him. (He’s still here, lovingly showing up, lovingly overcoming challenges together) what do I do Sheryl? Or anyone? How do we continue when we lose every feeling even the truth?

    • Francine

      Hi Kate, I think we’re in the same place. I went through the stage where the *he’s not enough* themed thoughts used to cause me such frustration, helplessness and anxiety. After one particularly bad time with it, I stopped fighting. Over the weeks and months that followed, I experiences soaring highs (feeling like I’d finally broken free and could see and enjoy my relationship for as great as it really is) ((just to illustrate how my brain works, a voice interrupted as I typed that saying, “‘great’ – really?”)) and familiar lows but also…the same bad thoughts without any feeling attached. Only the sense that they are true. I’m worried that through not contradicting my automatic bad thoughts, they’re becoming me. I don’t quite know what to do here. I just hope that I am in the ‘Liminal’ stage of transition Sheryl talks about (see articles such as ‘Anxiety and Numbness/Anxiety and Emptiness’). However, there is a voice that tells me this is just an excuse for avoiding the truth, which is that I don’t love my partner. It’s interesting and upsetting to me, that I KNOW I have moments (hours/minutes/days) where I feel so good about him and us and KNOW I love this person…but they are totally lost to my memory and never form part of the overall feeling of our relationship. I find it very sad. Sorry I can only relate and can’t help you more, but my brain is pretty fuzzy too. Best wishes Fxo

  • Francine

    I also want to add something I find even more difficult than the individual thoughts – my mind can be quite blank, but I actually feel (faintly, all my emotions seem to be quiet whispers right now) disconnected, a little angry/resentful, closed. There isn’t that feeling of warmth and openness there as much as I need there to be. I feel so awful for writing the things I do here. I need to stress that he is wonderful, I know that in my reasonable mind, but my feelings are…askew. When I feel good with him, my emotions feel aligned with my reality. That is peace, to me. I think the anger may come from how hard this is and that I see so much of myself in him. It’s funny how feelings come and go with relative ease around my friends and family and with him, they get stuck. I guess that’s because more is at stake. Outcomes of emotions are uncertain and what I feel matters.

    • alison

      Francine, I so relate to so many of your comments on this article. The biggest thing that struck me was when you said how you see so much of yourself in your partner. It’s taken me EIGHT YEARS, but I finally am able to recognize that a lot of my anger toward my husband is because so many of his “shortcomings” are things I’ve always despised about myself. I always have thought I wish he was “cooler” or “funnier” because I have always critiqued myself for not having a million friends and always being invited to parties and outings and such. It’s amazing how our most intimate relationships are the ones that can bring out the worst; it’s really like looking in a mirror that forces us to look at those shadow parts of ourselves. It’s great that you are aware of these things though–that’s half the battle!

      • Francine

        Thanks for your reply Alison, I really appreciate it. That all resonated with me too. I’m glad you’ve made that connection, despite how ‘late’ it might feel to you. x

  • Katelyn

    I’m very young myself. Been in a relationship with a great person for almost 2 years!!! This is my very first SERIOUS relationship. Not my first relationship. But the very first serious one where my parents love him and we’ve just been together a long time. I’ve dated other people but not long enough for the “honeymoon” stage to fade away well that’s when they would break up with me but I never had doubts with them so when someone says “I’ve had found in all my relationships” I just scared because I didn’t but like I said none of those relationships were not as serious as this one!! I have such bad doubts and feelings and it’s great to know I am not alone! My past relationships we only really hung out at school and it just wasn’t that serious now that I look at it now! But this one is and is so very important to me! Please comment back! I started getting doubts and “not happy feelings” when I stopped getting butterflies last summer when we had been dating for like 7 months and I just thought I was losing feelings and ever since then I’ve had bad doubts and feelings but it’s gotten better I can say, but sometimes I’m happy and sometimes I’m not and I blame it on my partner a lot but I know it’s not him, it’s me!!

    • Have you read through my site in its entirety, Katelyn? You will learn so much about yourself, the truth about love and relationships, and how to work with your anxiety.

      • Katelyn

        I went through a phrase where I would fantasize about other boys (I still do but I have learned how to just kind of ignore better and know that it’s not me) I also always believe my thoughts. My thoughts feel so real, like they’re from me and that’s why I get so scared. Sometimes I can have a thought and not get anxious. I’ll be texting my partner and think “you’re about to break up with him” and my thoughts push me where I almost do but I know I can’t because I have to fight it. My thoughts also make it SO hard for me to know what I want. I use to could tell myself that this is what I want but my thoughts took that and used it against me I guess you could say. It’s like they make it hard to know if I love him and want to be with him. I will read through your site again! My boyfriend sent me a picture of him last night and I didn’t get excited or butterflies and I got sad. I keep hanging on because I know if I didn’t have thoughts he is still the person I would wanna be with, before I had thoughts I could have sworn I loved him but it’s hard now but I’m making it!!! I also went through these stages where I would think its God telling me to leave or my gut but it’s gotten better. And sometimes I’ll even think it’s not relationship anxiety because I haven’t actually been diagnosed, but I relate to your site so much. I’m thankful that my partner is so understanding even though I don’t know anything!

    • Katelyn

      Yes ma’am. I’ve read through a lot of it! I will have thoughts about leaving and I feel like I really should but then I stay because I know it’s my thoughts and my anxiety! I am just so scared. If people can stay in their relationships and fight it then I can too!!!

  • Alise

    This is so timely and wonderful, thank you Sheryl! I have been working through the e-course since March and, after intensive work and a week long vacation to his family’s home that I had to either survive or leave, I am joyous to say I got to say yes to my wonderful, loyal, hardworking man back in April. I couldn’t have done it without your e-course. I am not totally free of engagement anxiety (we’re 22 and 25…so the young part of this article hit home. He’s also my first boyfriend). Being a millennial, I am constantly inundated with this dichotomy of wedding themed blog posts or “live your own life being single is the best” is SO CONFUSING sometimes. It seems like they’re saying that you need to date around, put off marriage, “find” yourself. But I have a stable job that I enjoy, family I love, and most importantly a life I have loved for four years with my SO. Most days now, even if a fear voice comes to the front of my mind, I am able to open my heart to him. He feels like home and my comforter and I CLING to that when I fall into a dark place. Thank you for your words of wisdom…and to anyone reading this the e-courses are the best thing you can do. Promise. It’s not an overnight fix, but it’s one that works. I am still working through it, but I can hear my heart again and deep down, I know I want to get married. And that is the best thing that I could’ve hoped for.

  • JoJo

    Hi Sheryl,
    What L said above I wanted to comment on. I agree with her that I see a lot of people describe their partners as amazing and wonderful and attentive etc. For me I feel closed off to seeing that or feeling that and I don’t understand why all of these people feel that even though they have anxiety. I know I have a good relationship but I don’t see him with such wonderful clear eyes as others describe and it makes me feel I then I have it wrong and are not in love. What steps should I take?

    • If you were to describe your partner through your clearest eyes and most open heart – thinking back to times when you were connected to each other essence to essence – what would you say? We all have higher selves and lower selves, and we can see our partner through either lens (and my guess is it’s also the lens through which you often see yourself). What other readers are describing is their partner in their highest selves – not perfect, still human, but who they are in their essential nature and character.

  • Paige

    Hi Sheryl. I just realized that my relationship is toxic; no, I’m toxic. My partner is amazing and patient and kind and all out wonderful. We’ve been together for 7 years and my relationship anxiety started 4 months ago. I grew up with parents who were emotionally unavailable. I literally never heard the words I love you from neither of them until I was 18 years old and heading off to college (as my friend and I headed in the car, my mom yells “Love Y’all”,) it confused me. If my relationship with my parents were toxic, the internet says adults pick partners that will allow them to relive that hurt and pain. Is this true? Or could this be opposite? Meaning, I’ve picked a partner that has allowed this growth to surface. Please help. Do you have any blogs about toxicity? Can this be fixed? I desire acceptance, but I desire sharing a life with my partner more. I know that I am toxic, I know that I’ve been broken. What to do now?

    • Paige

      Honestly. I think my whole view on toxic is wrong. Or shall I say my definition of toxic was wrong.

      A person is not toxic if they happen to act in a way that you find harmful or doesn’t meet your needs. A person is toxic if you tell them “I need x” or “it hurts me when you do x” and they ignore you. Likewise, you are not toxic because you can’t read someone’s mind and fulfill their needs without them ever communicating with you.

      I now believed its more about accepting my negative emotional childhood and trying to move forward. How do I do that. Do you have ecourses that would help that situation. I want to be the partner that my partner deserves. You know.

  • hayley

    Has anyone else struggled to connect and see their partners essence. :/

  • bumblebee

    it’s not really easy to be with High Sensitive Person.. my partner has a lot of uncertainty, the other time he doubt my intelligence because he said I have lack on reasoning ability.. and recently he’s afraid that he make wrong choice if he marry me, he’s afraid he doesn’t love me enough because he often find me unattractive etc..
    I often get triggered of his doubts, I’d be feel so bad about myself , victim mode ,etc
    it just so challenging for me to accept my helplessness over his doubts

    • Northernlass

      Hi Bumblebee, I feel like I can really relate to you as my partner is highly sensitive too. It’s hard when you feel like somehow you should be ‘entitled’ to a partner who has absolutely no doubts about you whatsoever, and that if we’re not careful we can internalise those doubts believing them to be our fault somehow. It’s helpful to remind myself that I get doubts and anxiety, so why shouldn’t my partner? I trust him to work on himself as I am working on me. Also, I don’t know about you, but I tend to look at other couples I know and think wow, they’re lucky, they look like neither of them has ever had a single doubt about their relationship. This is dangerous as nobody can truly tell what goes on behind closed doors or in people’s minds. We only see other people’s highlight reel, not their darker days (unless they choose to be open about them). Our stories are unique. In our relationships we must deal with anxiety anx doubt. Other couples have their own stuff to deal with, guaranteed. It helps me to remind myself that my partner’s sensitivity makes him just that, sensitive, towards me and others, and I adore that quality about him. Good luck and sending positive thoughts!

  • Northernlass

    I wonder if anyone else can relate to this: I realised that I had developed an anxious obsession over ‘Sheryl’s red flags’. I was analysing and scruti ising every part of our relationship and my partner for any hints of these ed flags, so scared that they were there even when they weren’t. The thing is that any mistakes that happen in a relationship from one or both people can be moved past and forgiven, even if it seems like a bad mistake, as long as both people are truly willing to learn from it and change and grow. I see my partner’s essence and it is beautiful. H e is so caring, loving, hates to hurt me in any way, and wants nothing more than to grow for us and himself. I’ve been obsessed over a particular flaw, but I’ve realised that since he is truly working on it and hates any time it may hurt our relationship, I don’t have to worry about it being a red flag. I don’t think we need to obsess over red flags. If they were truly there, a large part of us wouldn’t want to be in the relationship, if we were able to tune in to our highest selves. If we want the relationship despite its imperfections and our individual imperfections, and recognise that it takes work and growth to grow a beautiful relationship, we truly don’t need to worry about these red flags. Hope this all makes sense!

  • bumblebee

    Hi Dear Northernlass.. Thanks a Lot , it’s open a new perspective.as I worked on myself , I noticed that he worked on himself too n he’s changed.

  • Worrier96

    Sheryl,
    This post speaks right to me! I am 20 and have been with my lovely D for about a year and 8 months, and he is everything I could ever want/need. If we parted ways, I’d spend my life trying to find someone with the qualities he has. I agree that at my age I am lucky to have found someone so specialspecial and from experience of multiple heartbreaks (that indeed creates a fear of loss thus creating my relationship anxiety) plaginthe field is utterly not worth it.

  • Fight for happiness

    I’ve been waiting for a post like this for awhile now. So perfect. We’ve together 3 years and talked about getti. Married for the last 2.5 years. I’ve dealt with what seems every spoke of anxiety possible throughout this time. I found out yesterday that he bought a ring. He hasn’t gotten down on one knee yet but knowing he has it brought a sense of excitement (which I feared I wouldn’t feel for the longest time) and then fear. I’m so scared to get married. Scared because I’ve swallowed ( as much as I never wanted to) the idea that I’m too young (21); not single long enough; not dated enough; etc etc. Thw fears always vary but center around this articles main idea. So thank you for writing it because I will continue to consult it to help dispel the fear again!! to find my excitement once more.

  • Fairh

    I found this at the perfect time. I’m 22 and have been with my fiance since I was 16, we got engaged almost 2 years ago. Although I cant picture myself with anyone else I’m always afraid that we’re too young to get married, that I haven’t experienced independence and known what it’s like to be ” a real” 22 year old. My fiance is my best friend, the only person who knows all of me and the only person I can really be myself with. I think the idea of lifelong commitment is what scares me more than anything, it’s like I’m perfectly fine with us be labeled as boyfriend and girlfriend but husband and wife is what scares me. I just never thought I would have feelings like this before getting married but I guess it’s kind of normal.