For a self-described fearless, independent woman, I still harbor a lot of fears, especially when it comes to dating and relationships. In my current relationship, I’ve had to work really hard at moving past these since they were affecting my ability to be a good partner. Here are a few of the things I’ve had to face:
- My fear of losing him He’s good-looking, he’s smart, he’s accomplished, and sometimes it’s hard to believe that a man like him would want to be with me. As a result, I used to be afraid of losing him. My fear was keeping me from fully embracing our relationship even though I knew that he’s the one that I wanted. I’ve gotten over it by focusing on the present and taking our relationship day by day.
- My fear of being too independent It takes a special kind of man to be with a fiercely independent woman. I’ve been with guys who didn’t show their appreciation of my independence as much as they said they did with words. I was afraid that being a free spirit and super self-sufficient would somehow drive him away, so I’d diminish that part of myself and ask him for help when I really didn’t need it. After a while, I realized that acting this way was hiding my true self. I also realized that a man who loves me would embrace me just as I am and love me for my strength. Thankfully, my boyfriend does.
- My fear of not being what he signed up for At the beginning of a relationship, most people put forth their shiniest, most attractive version of themselves. Your flaws and neuroses are still hidden. I had the biggest fear that he would hate me as soon as he realized that I experience crippling anxiety pretty regularly and that I can be kind of detached sometimes. However, I’ve realized that the bad is just as much a part of who I am as the good. Even though I can’t control whether he stays or goes, I can work on improving the duller sides of me. Recognizing what I have control over and what I don’t have helped me get over this fear.
- My fear of not being as good as his ex My boyfriend dated a woman for several years before me. From everything I know about her, she’s beautiful, smart, and really awesome. In fact, she sounds like the type of chick I’d be friends with in real life. Even though they didn’t work out, I was super afraid that he compared me to her in some way. In fact, I’m still getting over that fear. One of the things I’ve done to combat this is talking to him about it. Admitting my fear has helped me start getting over it. Being vulnerable like this gave him the opportunity to respond to it in a loving and tender way and it’s made a major difference.
- My fear of our chemistry changing Relationships change and as a result, so does the dynamic between two people. Even though I’m aware of this inevitability and I’ve experienced it many times, I was terrified of it almost as soon as I realized we had something real. The unknown is a scary place and relationships are basically just that. I’ve reminded myself that change isn’t always a bad thing. Our chemistry has definitely changed over time. Quite simply, we aren’t the same couple we started as, and that’s OK. Being cool with change has helped me get past this fear and bask in what I have now.
- My fear of getting hurt again This fear was crippling at the beginning of our relationship. It kept me from being vulnerable. It kept me from loving my boyfriend as fiercely as I wanted. Ultimately, I weighed the pros and cons and realized that I would experience some heartbreak either way I played it. If I didn’t go forward with our relationship and let my fear win, I would regret not knowing. If I did, well, the truth is that he still might hurt me. The point is that relationships are risky either way and you have to have faith.
- My fear of loving myself first I promised myself after my previous failed relationship that I would never put myself second in a romantic relationship again. In theory, that objective sounds great. In practice, it’s a lot harder, especially when you’re so used to bending over backward for your significant other. Being true to myself and loving myself first before my boyfriend has been hard and even scary. It makes me feel guilty. It makes me feel like I’m not doing enough. I’ve found peace with it because I know that if I don’t love myself fiercely and wholly first then I can’t possibly love him the way he deserves.
- My fear of my friends and family not liking him I used to care way too much about what people thought about me and as a result, I was really afraid that they wouldn’t like my boyfriend. I wanted them to see what I saw. I talked him up, but after a while, it became apparent that I was justifying my relationship when I didn’t need to do that at all. Ultimately, I needed to trust my own good judgment and be secure in the fact that I chose a good guy. Whether my family and friends liked him was out of my control. Moving on from this fear has made me focus on building a strong foundation with my boyfriend, not satisfying everyone else’s interests.
- My fear of being wrong I hate being wrong. I do my research and I pride myself on being informed, but the truth is that even meticulous women like me are wrong sometimes and coming to that realization isn’t easy. My fear of being wrong about my relationship, about my choices, about who I thought he was and who I am triggered my anxiety early on in my relationship. It made me detached. At some point, I had to get comfortable with being wrong and know my boyfriend won’t hold it against me if he’s a good guy. Plus, no one wants to be with someone who is right all the time. It’s unnatural!