The last relationship undoubtedly amplified my problems to a level I couldn’t have imagined
It created new problems
It left me, a person who has always overthought, overthinking to a point where I no longer completely understand what is reasonable and what is not, especially in the context of a relationship
And I can hear some people on the internet say, it’s not about what’s ‘normal’
It’s about someone who meets your needs
If they don’t meet that, that’s them failing you
And undoubtedly for a relationship to last you have to be able to support the other
You have to understand and accept each other
You have to communicate
My problems now create a wave of anxiety which means sometimes even messaging my friends or partner is overwhelming
It didn’t used to be that way
But I grant it always took me time to learn to trust people, to learn to speak my mind
To be able to understand, this person likes me and is interested in what I’m saying
Especially when I as a person, for whatever reason, has always been better at reacting to things, than starting conversations.
I am an introvert whose conversations consist of enjoying subverting reality, discussing emotions, helping those with their problems, and occasionally politics, film, music and archaeology
And nowadays even my closest friends, I don’t speak to on such a regular basis
For the supposed percentage of people who will have to deal with mental health issues in their lifetime, with the people I’ve been closest too, I seem to somehow have reversed the ratio, and even exceeded that
My friends and family often have their own issues, or have had their own issues
I am grateful for what support they have given me, and I am glad to have been able to help them where I can.
But we struggle along, but it can be lonely
More so when as adult you can’t always find the time
With issues, you don’t always have the energy or confidence to talk to someone
And this is what I’ve become familiar with
Talking about these topics, irregulary
Seeing these people, irregularly
But not necessarily learning to trust others
I am only now understanding that people I worked with cared, just because
That not everyone judged me
That many want the best for me
That I could’ve asked for more help than I understand
I have had a hard time understanding that the person I’m with loves me, because it was not like my previous relationships
The constant conversation, which dually makes me afraid that this new person and I don’t talk about the smallest things 24/7, and that if I don’t respond as soon as I see it, that I’m a bad person
It was hard to build that trust when we are frequently 100s of miles apart.
It’s hard to learn to speak my mind
There were no dates where we asked about what each others favourite films were
And my memory fogs, and believes that he doesn’t ask questions.
It’s just not in the format I know, it is not to the same extent
Because this person is different
This relationship is different
It took me 7 years to properly realise that my first boyfriend must’ve cared, regardless of how interesting or intelligent I was, or he wouldn’t have written to me for several hours each evening for seven months.
Because I knew he’d loved someone close to me, who was those things
So I didn’t believe he could love me too.
And that haunted me for years
Not feeling good enough
I hurt this person by not being able to understand he cares
Because it’s not to the same imaginary standard of my previous relationship or the unrealistic ideal relationship I have from my teens
– I did not get to see a functional relationship growing up
I hurt this person by not being able to understand that he loves me
That he wouldn’t shout at me for not being okay
That most of all he wants me to be happy
It hurt me to hurt him, and I sought help for the first time
I understand now that he loves me
But other things will take time
Being together, most likely means living abroad, it might mean I won’t get the same job opportunities I get here
I still feel anxious apart, because most of all I seek stability
When apart my mind can find little doubts as to why it might not work
Which sometimes spill into the time we have together
To say is it worth the risk?
I am learning to rationalise what I can, to try and learn to talk about what I can’t
To understand just because it’s different, doesn’t mean it’s not okay
That part of the problem is that the last relationship taught me not to express emotion, to analyse to such an extent you felt unable to say anything, because you knew the other person would shut you down.
It taught me to view everyday things as mundane
This person is young, he has not had the same experiences as I.
But sometimes he knows more than I do.
He wants to be better for me
He appreciates that I am patient, as opposed to getting angry
Because he has the best intentions, but especially in another language and culture, things do not always come across as they’re intended.
Complex conversations about emotions and issues aren’t so possible.
Most of all he can let me know he’s there, and he loves me
It means I can’t rely on him as I did so much with previous partners, it means I have to find a solution and support.
But he is there.
Even if he finds it hard
That is something I still have to understand properly, when the ideal person would be able to talk to me about this stuff, they would have the answers.
Maybe he will have some of them someday
Maybe I won’t need to anymore
Whether he knows it or not, some things he’s said have helped
I am learning to appreciate what I do have.
The small gestures
It shows he cares
I do not need constant verbal confirmation that things are okay
But to see it in things he does too
That his outlook may help me more
And I hope one day I will be able to appreciate that properly, rather than it scaring me
That the waves of anxiety I feel with him and others will fade with time
NB Has far as I know a lot of the trust issues come from being bullied constantly throughout secondary school, and the last relationship being one in which my partner/best friend emotional controlled me (I believe without realising it), but I believed it was okay because they were my ‘best friend’
I also read this article a few months ago, about dealing with someone with depression or anxiety when they have an episode. I am not confident in how actions can be perceived to send this to my partner, but there are things he does or has started to do which do help. It’s a learning process for both of us ❤