Dating Answers

Should I let go or try working it out?

Hi Cris!  I'm glad you took the time to reach out for support. The dilemma you're facing seems difficult and likely confusing. When facing relationship transitions or decisions, I encourage clients to really listen and tune into a few things. First, instincts are very significant to validate and honor. Additionally, look at the general theme or larger messages that your partner is sending you over the smaller messages or gestures. From what you are describing, it seems the larger message your partner is sending you is that she is not interested in nurturing the needs of your relationship right now, such as private time together and prioritizing your relationship. The smaller gestures of still offering some supervised time together may be more of a gesture of not hurting you, but it does not seem to be suggestive of prioritizing a relationship or larger commitment at this time. I suggest expressing your observations to your partner to review what she is wanting at this time, while also honoring your needs. You may want to consider a trial run of spending time together the way your partner has suggested to see if it feels practical. This may then allow you the ability to bring up concerns with her if it doesn't feel practical or manageable. I know that my response doesn't give you clear direction, but hopefully you will find that as you clarify your needs and request clear and direct communication from your partner.  I also like to encourage that whenever making any major life decisions that you are taking time to engage in activities that you enjoy and that also allow you time to recharge and reflect. Boosting your coping skills right now and also identifying and nurturing your additional support system will be helpful to you as you navigate through this time. Seeking support from family and friends that you trust can be very beneficial and is different than seeking advice from them. Having a good network of others to spend time with will be helpful to you. Please reach out for additional support as needed. Take Care! 
Answered on 07/26/2022

How do I deal with relationship anxiety ?

I'm sorry that this has happened to you. Being blindsided by someone that you love and that has expressed love for you can be an emotionally draining event to go through. In your question, I wasn't sure if I was reading it correctly, but the way I read it was that something had happened with a prior relationship and now this situation is another situation that has happened.  If you were to look back over the course of the relationship, were there any "red flags" that stood out to you as being odd or just not seeming to be right? When it comes to relationships, we learn by those relationships that we grow up with. Look at how your parents relationship was or if you had any close family friends or other family members and think about what their relationships were like.  Something to think about as you move forward into any other relationship is to define what it actually is that you want out of a relationship. Define the terms that you want your partner to have and seek someone out with those characteristics. As you are leaving this relationship, think back over what parts of it you enjoyed and how you would  like to have those parts in the next relationship. As you think of what you want in a relationship, consider why you want to be in a relationship to begin with. Many people get into relationships, just because they don't want to be alone. Use this time for you and to reconnect with who you are as a person and think about what you have to offer to a relationship and a partner. Lastly, you also have to allow yourself to heal from all of your relationships that you have had. If you do not allow yourself to take some time and get to know yourself again, then you could be setting yourself up for failure again by getting into a relationship too soon. When you are ready to begin seeking out a new relationship, make sure to take your time to get to know others and take the relationship at a slower pace. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Think of dating as an interview for a life partner. 
(MS, LPC)
Answered on 09/23/2021

I lied to my boyfriend about details of some past relationships.

Hi Amy, How long have you been dating your boyfriend? It sounds like he is focusing a lot on your past, which is something that some guys do in the beginning of a relationship until trust is established and they feel comfortable in their roles. But if this is something that is continuing past 6 months or a year, it might be an indication of someone who is overly controlling and can be a sign of someone who can become emotionally or physically abusive over time. It is not fair for any partners to judge or shame each other based on what has happened prior to you meeting and being together. You are not accountable to each other for anything you have done, as long as you have been SDI-tested and are being safe sexually. You do not “owe” each other any details at all about past relationships or partners, and it is not normal or healthy to focus on this or to talk to your current partner about previous sexual exploits. Most couples talk about these things very minimally, because it’s likely irrelevant to your current relationship for the most part and can cause the issues you have mentioned. It is not shameful or “wrong” that you have had previous sexual partners. As you stated, this is a perfectly normal thing and you should not be made to feel ashamed or “less than,” even for relationships you might regret now. “Hindsight is 20/20” as they say, because you know so much more now than you did then. Everyone has relationships they regret and decisions they wish they made differently, including your boyfriend.  If he is continuing to pry or request more details about your past relationships or sex life, this also might be indicative that he is struggling with his own self-esteem issues or feels insecure about himself or your relationship. This is something he needs to work on himself, preferably through meeting with a therapist and processing some of his own internal beliefs and issues. His focus on this issue has caused you to question yourself and to feel guilt and shame about something that is perfectly normal and reasonable. I’m glad you know yourself and your self-worth; hold on to that. If your boyfriend can’t recognize your worth as well, he might not be the husband YOU’D want. What if you had daughters? Would he judge and shame them for having relationships? What messages would he send them about women and sexuality? If you are thinking about marriage, I would highly recommend pre-marital counseling to see if you can get past this issue and put down healthy boundaries around this topic and work through some of his trust issues and insecurities. I’m hoping this is not the case, but here is a resource to screen for other controlling behaviors that you should be wary of if he exhibits them: https://pairedlife.com/problems/7-Warning-Signs-of-a-Controlling-Boyfriend-How-to-Deal-With-a-Controlling-Relationship I know you probably wrote thinking that there was something you could change, but I don’t see that you have done anything that needs changing. It’s normal to withhold information or even tell white lies to someone who is hounding you for inappropriate information. This is a sign that you felt unsafe in those moments and off-guard, which are also not great things to experience in a relationship. If you are comfortable sharing this with him yourself, I would encourage that. Otherwise, you could consider going to a couples-based counselor to help with this and with teaching some more healthy ways of communicating with each other. I’m going to include some resources that can hopefully be helpful for you and your boyfriend. I’m so glad that you reached out, and I hope you two can get past this!   Warmly, Katherine https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/anxiety-files/201804/getting-past-the-past-jealousy http://www.psychedinsanfrancisco.com/sharing-scaring-deal-partners-sexual-past/ https://www.regain.us/  
(M.Ed, LPC)
Answered on 06/29/2021