Dating with Anxiety (Part 2): Or how I’m learning to give myself a break

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Last time I talked about some painful things. My anxiety and how that has really become a burden while dating and embarking on a new relationship.

One of the biggest things I’m learning is how to have compassion for myself. And to see things in a clearer perspective (vs the nagging negative voice that has repeatedly told me I’m too much of a burden for anyone, I’ll never be able to have the life or love I truly desire, etc etc). 

Four years ago I walked away from a safe space. A marriage and a home with a man who I might not have been in love with, but someone who I did care for, who cared for me (well, most of the time) and who was my partner. I shared everything with this man – my ups and downs, good and bad.  It might’ve been unhealthy, unkind, even indifferent but it was certain. I, a person with very intense anxiety, walked away from a very certain and stable future. Did I mention I walked away from a HOME? We had this beautiful home we remodeled. It had a yard. And vaulted ceilings. Sigh. I had safety and security but emotionally we were totally empty.

Walking away from the stability was GD scary. There were moments I was worried I had a brain tumor. My whole self, my entire identity (to a degree), was shifting. I was … becoming me. It was a rebirth in a sense. I knew it had to be done and yet there was a vast amount of time spent going WTF is wrong with me.

So … I’ve realized I need to give myself a break. I don’t have it figured out … and there is no timeline to healing or recovery. Or even to personal understanding and growth. Nor is there any one singular right path or journey. I was born into the family I was born into (and I’m grateful for that) and it came with it’s own unique burdens and wounds that I’m still recovering from. Sometimes I have chosen people that were bad for me because of these wounds. Sometimes my wounds have caused me to hurt others. And for that I am very sorry. But having anxiety about having anxiety is not doing me any good. Feeling shame for being my age and not having it together is fruitless. Trying to hide it and just hoping it will go away or I will find someone who will just ‘deal’ with it isn’t helping me either.

Last night I feel like the universe gave me a bit of a hug. This past weekend I met a guy while singing karaoke and we exchanged numbers. Last night we hung out (to sing more karaoke … I am an addict) and we had a very meaningful conversation. Turns out we have very similar stories. He married very young without having dated … at all. He, however, stayed in his strained and unhappy marriage for 26 years. They had kids. See he’s 48, handsome and successful too. But only recently, like a year ago, embarked on being single again even though 2 years into his marriage he knew he really wanted out. He had only ever slept with one woman.

We talked about this. I shared my story, he shared his. We had so much in common. Just a half generation apart really. The thing is … when you do walk away from a marriage and a home and a stable life to pursue your truest self and happiness, there is a part of you that wonders if you’re just a big fuck up. And sometimes you wonder … did I make the biggest mistake ever? Will I ever find someone again? Am I crazy? We talked about those fears … about what is was to learn how to date as an adult without much experience. How it can very often be embarrassing, the list of things we didn’t know and had to learn later in life. It’s as if we are reliving our awkward, hormonal, very emotional teenage years as an adult. We talked about how sometimes it’s hard to find someone who will even understand what that kind of a thing does to you, how divorce changes you and reshapes you.

The irony of it all? When he left his wife he immediately embarked on another year long relationship .. without knowing it was a rebound. Because, well, when you go through your first breakup EVER late in life, there are things you have heard about but never understood. Like how your initial instinct is to jump into a new relationship before you’ve even processed the last one. Rebound. I told him I actually did the same thing and how I was grateful for that relationship. 

His accidental ‘rebound’ relationship was with a girl with my same name, only spelled slightly differently. Mine was with a man who shared my date’s first name as well. Oh the irony. 

I don’t know if there is anything with this guy beyond friendship. What I honestly think … is that the universe let our paths cross so that we could see we aren’t alone. And that we’re maybe on the right path to healing. To truly knowing ourselves for the first time … maybe ever. And that it’s ok. It doesn’t matter that it’s a different story than either of us wanted. Divorce isn’t something to be ashamed of, though often you can feel that way about it. And not having it figured out at 35 (or 48) is ok. 

So .. thank you universe for the gentle reminder. I’m on the right path. I am eager and ready to learn. And I’m ready and hopefully equipped to finally work through and let go of a lot of baggage. It’s ok if it takes time. I am ok. And my uncertain future is very very bright.

4 thoughts on “Dating with Anxiety (Part 2): Or how I’m learning to give myself a break

    1. Thank you! And I agree. Our path is uniquely our own and I’m learning to embrace to good parts as well as the bumps and bruises. Thank you for reading 🙂


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