Sometimes we can be so afraid of replicating a past relationship that we bring that relationship into our present one instead of being conscious, aware and present so that we can acknowledge the differences, including our personal growth, and actually enjoy the relationship for whatever it is. We forget that we’re not that woman/man/person anymore. We forget that the only reason for us to fear that we are in a repeater version of a past relationship is if we have entered this new involvement with the same thinking, baggage and behaviour that we entered a prior involvement with.

If we have gone into a relationship with the same viewpoints that contributed to problems before then our concerns are valid, although manageable, if we take responsibility for our choices now instead of blindly continuing with the pattern. We can ‘wake up’. However, we do ourselves a disservice when we spend too much time thinking about who we were ‘back then’ instead of what we’ve learned since then and applying it.

When we don’t have the reassurance that comes with having a fairly good grasp on who we are and our values, fear of uncertainty will dictate. We lack the self-knowledge and self-awareness that would mean us being sure of ourselves. Because we are looking for the world or whoever’s around us to tell us who we are or to tell us we are OK, we end up being unsure of who we are and only feel temporarily okay after reassurance because we don’t have our own back. We get caught up in the cycle of measuring and estimating ourselves against what we think that person wants us to be or what we think the dating pool or society wants.

Because of that lack of self assurance and self-reliance, it means that we are not confident in trusting our gut, intuition and values on what does and doesn’t feel good and right for us.

As a result, we’re going to struggle to opt out of a situation that isn’t working for us or struggle to trust a situation that is working for us because we lack self-trust. Maybe we’re super scared of making a mistake and ‘getting it wrong’.

We treat a decision or situation as if it’s our one shot. It feels as if the stakes are high.

Are you in the betting shop gambling whatever money you have on a horse you’re hoping your “good feeling about this” pays off, all while knowing that if the horse doesn’t win you’ll go bust and you won’t have your rent/mortgage or be able to pay off your debts or support yourself?

If the gambling scenario is where you’re at with dating, I don’t blame you for feeling anxious.

Imagine being in that betting shop. You’d be clutching your slip, your guts would be at you (unless you’re one of those gamblers that believes it right up until they lose) and you’d be so tense and afraid that you probably wouldn’t be breathing properly. A horse race lasts for a few minutes, but imagine feeling like that over a period of weeks or months? It would be agony!

I’m the type of person who, if I were feeling like that, I’d have bubble guts with the stress of it all. Never mind the toll it would take on my mental, emotional, and overall physical health. Imagine leaving the house every day poised for somebody to mug you? You’d veer between scared and defensive and spending 100% of your time braced for something that isn’t happening.

We remember who we were after a previous relationship and are afraid of going ‘back there’. We’re afraid of being afraid.

Even if in that very moment we are enjoying ourselves, we turn down the temperature on those feelings by worrying that even if we are not afraid right now that one day we might be. We worry we might not like how that will feel. Or we worry we might not be able to handle it. Or we subconsciously decide we’d rather be happy now but potentially disappointed at some point further down the line. We won’t allow us to be ‘too happy’ and relax so that it hurts less in the long run. We’re afraid to be vulnerable in case we get so happy that if someone disappointed us, we wouldn’t be able to handle it (based on our current predictions and perceptions).

We remember how awful it felt before. Rather than risk vulnerability and enjoying ourselves now and checking in regularly with ourselves so that we can be conscious, aware and present, we subconsciously turn down the heat so that were in a familiar zone of anxiety. That zone is where we feel more certain.

When we meet somebody we like, the only way we’re going to truly enjoy it is if we date as ourselves with our self-esteem in tow and we relax.

If we can’t be our authentic self and relax, it’s slow torture.

The trouble with what basically amounts to being afraid of being afraid is that we direct the wrong energy not just that at this person and the relationship, but inwardly as well. We become so afraid of things going wrong and so fixated on when and if this relationship is going to be The One that it affects our mindset, attitude, and general habits in the interaction.

We don’t realise that we’re holding our breath and how tense we are. We’re poised, waiting for the other shoe to drop.

We’re waiting for things to go wrong and, as a result, we are whipping ourselves up into anxiety.

When these feelings come up and we recognise what’s going on and we then ground ourselves by getting into the present and acknowledging positive, real evidence, we can calm ourselves. We can continue exploring and deepening the connection with that person. But if we don’t do these things and instead feed our thoughts and feelings with lots of negative self-talk and forecasting of doom, we subconsciously close off to protect ourselves from being truly vulnerable.

How can we enjoy a new or developing a relationship when we are coming from a place of fear? How can we feel safe and secure when our future self-worth, self-esteem, and perception of our future opportunities rest in the hands of this person?

It’s natural to desire for things to progress when we like the person. However, things go awry when we mistake anxiety about whether we are going to be ‘chosen’ as well as anxiety about whether this person is laying in wait to screw us over for a healthy desire for that person and the relationship.

If you’re feeling anxious in a new or developing relationship, get grounded by anchoring you in your sense of self. If you don’t know yourself, that is your number one priority over getting to know somebody else.

Keep a Feelings Diary. Journal so you have a means of tracking not just your feelings but also the patterns around them. You cannot have any command over changing and calming how you feel if you don’t increase your awareness of the cues and triggers for your anxiety.

Yes, enjoy this new relationship, but don’t sack off everything and everyone.

Maintain your own life and don’t spend every waking hour thinking about this person and trying to predict the future or worrying about the past. This anxiety-driven activity causes you to detach from your core self and the other things that matter in your life.

Take your time so that you can remain grounded.

No Future Faking (by you or them). Remember that you are your own boss. You mustn’t be passive and let somebody take you over and sweep you up.

Show up and step up in your relationship.

Of course, if you hold back and decide that they must do all of the contacting, ‘chasing’ etc, then yeah, they (even if it’s not what they want to do), by omission of your active response, set the pace and temperature of your relationship. If you show up as an equal stakeholder, you ‘meet’ them instead of looking for them to direct you.

If you still have anger, resentment, sadness or anything else lingering from a past relationship or trauma that is influencing your anxiety, as you’re already dating or in this relationship, you have an extra duty of care to be mindful and to take ongoing care of these issues so that they don’t take over you or the relationship.

Take care of you.

Your thoughts?

Need help with learning to listen to and trust yourself? Check out my audio series, The Intuition Sessions and The Anxiety Sessions.

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