October 11, 2018 at 2:01 am #804495
I am a 22 year old female from Australia.
I am suffering from seriously severe anxiety over something. I don’t have generalised anxiety but I do always get anxious in relationship situations.
My good uni friend asked me out on a date earlier this year (June). I was hesitant because I was unsure we would be compatible and unsure about dating someone in the cohort (we are only 120 people, we see each other all the time), but eventually agreed because I did like him.
We went on three dates, the first of which had a little bit of hugging involved and he kissed me at the end of it. However, the second and third were suddenly cold physically (I did not know why), he didn’t hold my hand/put his arm around me/kiss me etc. It was more like hanging out as friends.
We never discussed feelings or anything.
I then went overseas on a group trip. On this group trip, I met someone I REALLY liked. This guy pulled me aside one night, said he thought I was really cute, and tried to kiss me. I told him I wasn’t sure because I had gone on a few dates with someone before the trip, he asked if we had talked about being exclusive, I said no, so he said it was fine.
So we made out, did some second base stuff. Didn’t sleep together.
When I got back home, my friend asked me if I wanted to go to the beach to see the sunset. I said I had “sort of caught feelings for someone overseas” and that I didn’t think it was fair to him to continue to see him in this scenario. He was completely fine with this (ostensibly at least) and we continued to be good friends.
The guy from the trip lives in my city, we hung out a bit when we got back, but somehow my feelings for him fizzled a bit (perhaps because I realised that he didn’t want to be with me like I had thought, but rather just wanted to get physical with me), and my feelings for my friends suddenly became much stronger than they had ever been in the past.
Eventually, 10 weeks after my return to Australia, I asked my friend if he wanted to go on another date after all. We had a chat, I said (again) that I had caught feelings for someone overseas but that my feelings had backflipped… I wasn’t sure if to mention that things had gotten physical, because most people I had asked said I hadn’t done anything wrong, and because I felt that he may have already assumed stuff may have happened, and that if it was a dealbreaker for him, he would ask to make sure.
We have now been dating for about 5 weeks (but intensively, sleepovers once or more a week and see each other daily at uni). He hasn’t asked me to be his girlfriend, but I feel like it is assumed at this point since things are very coupley (I also saw him refer to me as his gf to one of his friends on messenger).
Everything has really been going great. I really like him and I would be so happy being with him, if it weren’t for the fact that I feel legitimately crippled by the constant thoughts about what happened overseas in my head. Some nights I can’t sleep. I cannot study. I am constantly nauseous. It’s not a matter of how often I think about it, but how often I /don’t/ think about it. Maybe there is a maximum of about 1-2 minutes in a row in a day where I catch myself managing to not be obsessively thinking about this. I have a constant knot in my stomach. Sometimes I wake up okay and then it takes me all of 10 seconds to remember this and feel bad again.
It complicates things that I do not know how to feel, because I don’t know if I have done anything wrong. Moreover, I don’t know if not telling him is wrong, even if what I did was not wrong.
I feel like a terrible person. Some days I just want to end my life, as dramatic as it sounds, because I (a) feel I do not deserve a life if I do SUCH bad things and (b) want to get rid of the constant physical anxiety I feel.
There were a brief few days where I felt better about this after posting on a relationship advice forum and having some reassurance. I felt like a new person. But now the anxiety has returned. I feel like everyone has a different view on what is and isn’t acceptable in the early stages of dating. And I don’t know what his view is?? I don’t know how he would feel if he knew?? I also heard him say to my friend that he doesn’t understand how people stay with people after they cheat, because if you cheat, it’s over. I didn’t think this was cheating, but what if he would?
I just don’t know what to do. I want to be with him so badly, but I cannot live with this anxiety. No one could. Maybe I should wait for the anxiety to pass (will it ever?) and assume he knows enough, maybe I should tell him and risk him leaving or ruining the relationship for him, maybe I should just end things (despite it being the best relationship I have ever had minus the anxiety) and move on with my life. Maybe I should wait until one day, a “how many people have you kissed” conversation may inevitably come up…
Please help me. I no longer know where to turn or what to do.
October 11, 2018 at 2:31 am #804496
- This topic was modified 1 month, 4 weeks ago by Avuda.
You should go to your school/college counsellor and start a therapy because such an acute anxiety about such a little matter is not normal. You suffer from anxiety in general obviously and it focuses now on this issue.
You don’t owe a narrative of what you did before you started being serious – to any man. This wasn’t cheating at all. You weren’t exclusive, you had not even started to be intimate, you were not yet a couple. Really, you make it more complicated than it is. Plus you said to your BF that you had met someone, so he knows and it didn’t prevent him from dating you later.
Be an adult and own what you did. You were free, you were in the dating period, it is OK. Men don’t like being told about their rivals. Just turn the page and focus on the present. What you could do now is have a define the relationship talk with your boyfriend and embrace the relationship. And don’t forget to preserve your autonomy, even if everything is fine. Don’t be all the time with your BF. Do some evenings or week-end out with your friends.October 11, 2018 at 6:53 am #804584
I agree with Brise. Don’t tell him about it, but it has zero to do with your relationship now. You weren’t together. You didn’t do anything bad. What you did doesn’t make you a bad person. Please go see the counseling services available to you at school. Try to focus on the he present and positive thoughts.October 11, 2018 at 7:03 am #804585
Therapy, definitely. You had gone on ONE DATE with school guy before you went overseas and met the other guy. One date. There was no relationship, no commitment, no promise to remain monogamous, and apparently not much interest on your part, since you immediately started seeing overseas guy and turned down a second date with school guy.
You didn’t cheat. You’ve done nothing wrong. At all. You were honest and straightforward with school guy when you told him you’d rather date overseas guy. He knew you were with someone else. He had to assume there’d be some physical contact.
You’re obsessing over a problem that isn’t a problem. That’s your anxiety disorder at work. Are you in treatment for that? If not, you should be, if it’s causing you this much discomfort.October 11, 2018 at 7:10 am #804586
Stay single. And for the love of God, please do NOT ever reproduce. The world has far more than enough drama queens… Catchfeelings — my ass! —- an entire generation seems instead to have caught stupidity…October 11, 2018 at 8:04 am #804595
Omg. Dating is just… spending time with people to see if you like them or not. It is absolutely acceptable, normal, and advisable to be doing this with more than one person at a time. Even sleeping with more than one at a time if that’s something you can handle and you’re using protection. My goodness, I don’t know who suggested to you that this isn’t okay, but please know that it is. However, you need to keep your mouth shut about it and not discuss with one person your feelings for another. That’s not polite. It’s also none of their business. But no one owns you or your feelings after a handful of dates. You did nothing wrong except discuss with the one guy that you had feelings for the other one. LET IT GO. If you truly cannot let this go, you need to make an appointment with a therapist who specializes in relationships and anxiety. Your obsessive feelings aren’t normal or healthy.October 11, 2018 at 8:16 am #804596
Also? Who CARES what the guy you’re dating thinks about you kissing someone else after going on a couple dates. Seriously. Who gives a fuck? If he thinks that’s cheating, he’s crazy. If he’s crazy, don’t date him. Don’t date a guy who you’re scared to death is going to think you cheated and omg what then? Don’t tell him and make it a big deal, because it’s none of his business and it doesn’t matter. But honestly if you can’t handle this situation, just extract yourself from it. Break up and get some therapy and work on being an autonomous woman with options and agency.October 11, 2018 at 8:50 am #804599
I think you need to be clear about the fact that the anxiety you’re feeling over this is because of your anxiety issues, not because you actually did anything wrong or because this is anything that a person should actually worry about. My assumption is that a person without anxiety would most likely not even give it a second thought. Don’t go into detail with him about what you did with the other guy. It would actually be much worse to give someone you’re dating details about your involvement with another person before you were dating because it would be sort of rude and inappropriate and would create problems when there is no logical reason to.
Please pursue resources to manage your anxiety better because it’s not being managed properly if you’re having these feelings over this situation.October 11, 2018 at 8:50 am #804600
Nothing that you did is wrong. What you are describing is a 100% normal dating situation that definitely should not be something you are losing sleep over. I agree with everyone else that what is NOT normal here is your level of anxiety and obsession over this. I can’t imagine not sleeping and feeling nauseous over something so small. Please speak with a counselor and look into treatment options for anxiety and obsessive thoughts. You don’t have to live with that – your brain needs to take a break!
And seriously, if your boyfriend would actually think of your perfectly normal and honest dating history as “cheating”, then you are better off without him. It’s kind of like…”omg, I once heard my boyfriend say he really hates the color yellow, but before we got serious I wore a yellow sweater a few times! What if he finds out and dumps me?!” Do you see how silly that would be?October 11, 2018 at 9:49 am #804606
You did nothing close to wrong. You did nothing that most people don’t do. You weren’t in a relationship with current bf at a time — that one date and then hanging out doesn’t count as anything more than starting to know each other. You made no commitments, he made no commitments, he had even shown signs of losing romantic interest in you.
You sound very immature. I’d go slow on your current relationship if I were you, until I figured myself and my views on dating a lot more. I’ll add my recommendation for therapy, because your level of anxiety about this non-issue seems so very unusual.
Since you have been rather ambivalent and changeable in your feelings about both of these guys, you should take some time to examine what you actually feel. It sounds like you don’t have prior dating experience to compare these current feelings to. A therapist can help with this. Once you’ve sorted this out, you should have a ‘where are we’ talk with current bf, since he also has been ambivalent.
In summary, you can’t cheat if you aren’t exclusive, and it sounds like you weren’t really much of anything with current bf at the time.October 11, 2018 at 11:20 am #804618
What is it with this “Catch Feelings” phrase? Where did it come from? Is it some translation from another language like “no problem” (a phrase with which I have no problem)?
Who threw the feelings? Or is it like catching a cold? Do you want feelings to be akin to a runny nose and rheumy eyes?
I got nothing on advice though -you seem awfully sheltered for 22. Is there some kind of familial or cultural stigma you’re up against?October 11, 2018 at 12:20 pm #804626
Different countries use different phrases. Just because it isn’t commonly used in the US doesn’t mean it is strange.
I think Ange recently said that in Australia you date one guy at a time. That’s how it was when I was dating. One guy at a time. It doesn’t take much time to have a few dates. If you then continued you were a couple and if you didn’t you went out with someone else.
LW Your boyfriend knows that you saw the other guy. You told him about meeting the guy on the trip and wanting to date him. Then you tried dating the second guy and realized it didn’t work and you also told the first guy that it didn’t work. He knows that you had another relationship. He will assume that there was some physical contact. That’s what you do when you date. He knows it didn’t work and that you are now interested in him. You’ve already told him everything he needs to know and he still wants to be with you. You don’t have a secret. He knows. You don’t need to and shouldn’t give him the nitty gritty details. If anything, knowing that you were in a relationship with someone else showed him that if he wanted to be with you he needed to show it and act on it. When he was ambivalent you moved on. When you circled back he was still interested and not so ambivalent.