New relationship anxiety

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This topic contains 4 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  anita 8 months ago.

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    Hello everyone,

    I’m in a new relationship for a little while now. My last one was several years ago and was abusive; I took years to heal and reflect on it, my lack of boundaries and what I thought I deserve. I got also used to being alone all the time and being an introverted person I did not mind it.

    Recently I have met this man, a bit by chance, I did not expect to find him. He is an introverted person too, not really comfortable with women and working a lot. So he has also been single for the last few years.

    He is great, he takes care about me, pays attention to the little details, soft-spoken, utterly patient with me (this is probably the 1st time I am around a person like that), he is making a lot of efforts to make this relationship happening and he seems to be head over heels about me (from what he says and does at least).

    I am very happy but also a little bit concerned. I “chased” him, as he was too shy to even try (he was sending clear signs though) and sometimes a little voice in my head tells me that I am only a default choice for him. That he is happy to have me because it’s better than being alone. That he would have said yes to any woman willing to try with him. I can’t help myself and that makes me hesitant to invest myself more emotionnaly.

    That leads to my second issue. We are both introverted, quiet and calm, very used to deal with life on our own all the time, and it shows. When we are together, it can be pretty silent sometimes, I don’t mind it but I have always been with extroverted, chatty people so I am always thinking that he might not find me interesting or might be bored. That anxiety prevents my brain to function properly socially speaking and I am running out of topics to speak of. Just a big blank in my head.

    The more I like him, the more I get anxious, and I know it could damage the relationship.

    He opens up a little bit, slowly, but that happens mostly after intimacy and I do not really believe this is a good sign. I mean I am happy he does it, but I do not want our relation to grow exclusively around sex.

    What do you think? What would you do?

    Any advices would be much appreciated ! Thank you.



    Dear Liviana:

    “He is.. not really comfortable with women and working a lot.. he takes care about me, pays attention to the little details, soft spoken, utterly patient with me.. is making a lot of effort to make this relationship happening”- reads like a wonderful choice man for a love relationship, and that you are fortunate to have met him.

    “I ‘chased’ him, as he was too shy to even try.. and sometimes a little voice in my head tells me that I am only a default choice for him. That he is happy to  have me because it’s better than being alone… That he would have said yes to any woman willing to try with him”-

    – every man is in a relationship with a woman because at  one point at least, he figured it is better than being alone. And there are plenty of very extroverted men who say yes to .. “any woman willing to try with him”, every day. When a man has many women interested and willing, it doesn’t mean that the man will proceed to make a thoughtful choice regarding who  is the best women for him. Men often end up with this or that woman because she happened to  be there at a particular moment and he happened to like the way she carries herself, and the body she happens to carry around. No thorough thinking involved.

    Regarding the second issue you brought up, the silence between the two of you, there  is a saying: silence is golden. It is definitely preferable to too much talking. No need to rush to fill in the silence with words. Hold  his hand instead and listen to music together, or watch a comedy show online, let the comedian do the talking, as long as it’s funny to the two of you.

    Regarding him opening up to you after sex but not otherwise- do you spend time with him being close, holding each other, hugging and the like (not sexual)? If so, it can be a comfortable context for some intimate talking, I would think.

    Post again if you’d like and I’ll be glad to read from you again and reply.




    Hi Liviana,

    I hate to say it, but the impending holidays will show the real mettle of the relationship.

    Will you be celebrating them together? Will he introduce you to his family? Will he give you a gift? Will it be meaningful/thoughtful? Are you going away for New Years? Will you survive until Valentine’s Day? Will he forget Valentine’s Day?

    Not even getting into your birthday, or the fact that many men dump their girlfriends before Thanksgiving and take up with a new one after Valentine’s Day just to repeat the cycle.

    I say don’t worry about it. Too much pressure on top of everything. Just get through the next few months!





    Hello anita and Inky, thank you both for your replies,

    Anita : you’re right, he is a wonderful person and I feel fortunate to have met him. He says he feels so confused by the way I’ve been treated in the past by my boyfriend, and he doesn’t understand how I have been single for that long. But I choose him, specifically, for his qualities and values, and I guess I would like to feel he has done the same about me. I get we function differently though.

    As for the silence, this is something I like with him, because we can stay silent without feeling uncomfortable, I think, at least for me. But I’m not sure for him and I never know if it’s because of his loner habits, shyness, little interest in me… anxiety is taking the lead there !

    We spend a lot of time being close, just cuddling or hugging without being sexual and he tends to open up a bit more in those moments too. Maybe it’s just not easy for him too ?

    Inky : we do not have plans for the holidays yet as we will be both working until the very last minute before Christmas. He has made plans though for January when we will have more free time and even if he did not say it directly to me, I overheard a discussion on the phone and understood that he was starting to make arrangements with work to stay around the next following months and not be sent away as usual.

    Christmas is not something we talked about, I guess he is supposed to spend it with his family but in my culture it would be too soon to be introduced to his family. I was thinking to join a friend for that period before meeting him.

    I will try to let the pressure go, you’re right!



    Dear Liviana:

    Whenever and wherever we experience anxiety, life is more difficult. Anxiety hurts and never helps. We don’t think clearly when anxious, we tend to act impulsively.. not a good thing. This is why when anxious we have to have a plan to manage it every day. A routine for the anxious person is helpful, daily aerobic exercise, preferably outdoor in the fresh air is helpful, guided meditations available on line, certain practices like yoga and tai chi and more.

    In the context of an intimate relationship, effective communication will do a whole lot to reduce anxiety on both parties. I didn’t read books for a long time but I bet there are books and articles on line, probably blogs on the home page of this website, on effective interpersonal communication. With communication skills practiced, life will get easier and anxiety will lessen significantly.

    You can ask him how he feels about the silence between the two of you. If you want to encourage him to answer you honestly and open up to you more, pay attention to never criticize his answers to your questions, don’t argue with those or express to him that you feel badly because of his answers (unless they are clearly rude, of course). Don’t ask the same question repeatedly, as in interrogating him. Ask a question here, a question there, not a lot at any one time. As two introverts, your mutual comfort can be developed gradually, and patience is required.

    I repeat my invitation that you post again anytime. (I will soon be away from the computer for a few hours).


    • This reply was modified 8 months ago by  anita.
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