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Fear of Intimacy and Standing Up for Myself

Hey guys. I have hit a little bump in the road in my new relationship, and was hoping I could get some good feedback, or just positive support here.

Boyfriend and I have been together for about two months now, and things have been really good. I have felt very safe and comfortable with him. We also just recently started sleeping together, which is a huge step for me. I haven’t been intimate like this with somebody in years. It is startling to me how safe and at ease I have felt sharing a bed with him, meeting his mother, wearing our relationship out in the world around our colleagues and friends, etc. It’s entirely new territory for me.

He was gone at a conference for the nonprofit we both volunteer with this past week, and I was almost taken aback by how much I missed him and ached to see him and be around him. That feeling was extremely scary to me. After a bunch of intense past heartbreaks and fucked up dating situations where I was lied to, abused, or cheated on, I did this thing for awhile where I’d try to be detached and avoid getting in too deep with somebody, or would cut and run before they had a chance to hurt me, or in other words, would self-sabotage, and make heartbreak into this self-fulfilling prophecy. I was afraid of looking needy or like I could have the wool pulled over my eyes again, so I’d shoot the thing in the foot before I could get hurt. I think I allowed myself to be conditioned also by guys calling me “crazy” or “needy” whenever I wanted affection, attention, or simple acknowledgement, so I did my best to pretend I didn’t give a shit.

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I have dealt with some of that in therapy, and I know where it comes from- a desire for control and this deep down feeling I had that I wasn’t good enough for love, that my needs didn’t matter, and I had to settle for whatever scraps I was thrown by men (and others, if I’m honest that also carried over into other relationships as well with friends etc). I will say I have gotten a lot better with dealing with those false beliefs about myself, and I recognize that to have what I truly want- love, companionship, etc- I have to step through the fear and be vulnerable, and also be able to state my needs clearly and not back down or put myself last. Basically, I have to have guts and stand in the fear. There’s no way around it.

Anyway, Boyfriend is always extremely wiped after these week long events (I have done them as well and I can surely attest to that, they are draining and you really need a day or two of just rest and relaxation to feel normal again) so I tried to give him space even though I was really wanting to spend time with him. We talked for a minute on Sunday and he told me how much he had missed me and asked if I’d like to have lunch on tuesday (today) I said yes and that we’d work out the plans. Also, I was already going to his place on Wednesday night (tomorrow), because we are leaving for a week long vacation early on Thursday morning. (this is relevant in a bit.)

Yesterday we didn’t talk much, because I knew he was in recovery mode and I expected that. I did feel a little edgy, but again, was giving him space to recover, and I had my own stuff going on that made me feel more off balance (family drama and some sleep issues as I’m going off a medication)

I called him this morning to confirm plans for today, and he told me that he wasn’t going to see me because he had to go to (college town an hour north of us) to finalize some of his grad school stuff and that he and a friend of ours were going to see Mad Max later tonight (which, okay, cool, but I’d like to see that too.... :/) I just said “okay” and then mumbled something about when I’d come over tomorrow and got off the phone, and then I was PISSED. OFF.

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One of my BFF’s was then kind enough to listen to me get upset, cry, rant and go on about my fears of being jerked around and how scary this all was for me. I hate, hate, hate being flaked on, and I hated that I felt like I wouldn’t have known if I hadn’t called him up and asked.

Once I was calm again, I texted BF and said “hey, can you call me, it’ll take two minutes” and I calmly explained to him that I know we are about to be together for a week alone in the mountains, and that it’s okay if he has to go do other things today, but that I felt hurt and disrespected by the fact that he flaked on our plans without notifying me ahead of time, when we’d been texting during his week away about how much we were missing each other. He apologized to me, said he’d been thinking about it too after we hung up, that he was mad at himself for not picking up on my disappointment on the phone before, and that he should have told me at least the day before, and that he had justified it by us not having set-in-stone plans. It hurt to hear that last part, that he justified treating me like that, but I was glad that he recognized that. :/ and I am glad that he apologized.

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I don’t want to make a big deal out of this, and I’m proud of myself for telling him in a calm manner how that made me feel instead of stewing on it or devaluing my own feelings, and I am glad he apologized, but I’m a little nervous now. I feel like I should probably open up to him tomorrow about some of my fears of intimacy and our growing closeness and see how he takes it. This has been a very healthy thing up to this point, and I am willing to show some grace around someone making a fairly-small-in-the-grand-scheme-of-things mistake, but it is pretty frightening for me still. I am afraid that this could speak to other things going on. At the same time, I do not want to jump at shadows or let my fears of abandonment or hurt feelings from my past get in the way of this.

thoughts? :(

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