The only thing scarier than being single is being in the beginning stages of a relationship.
When you’re single and the months turn to years, you fear you may never meet someone. You worry you will become a spinster, and the only living, breathing thing that will ever love you is a cat.
You dread going through the holidays and wedding season alone yet again.
You think the only answer to your problems is a relationship. All the fear would go away if you could be legitimized by someone besides yourself thinking you’re rad.
But as soon as you meet that someone special, a whole new set of worries takes its place, and you yearn for the simple fears of being eternally single.
There is no feeling greater than that of falling in love.
Your mouth feels frozen in a stupid, goofy smile. You laugh more.
Colors look more vibrant. Things irritate you less.
Your dreams are taken over by him or her. You start feeling grateful for literally everything.
Life feels more effortless, and you feel powerful just knowing there is one person on this planet who is super into you.
This continues for a couple of blissful months until around month three-ish. Suddenly, the doubts roll in and you are panicked with anxiety, insecurity and fear.
Your mind starts to swim with questions that include, but are by no means limited to, the following:
1. Am I good enough?
After you’ve been single for (what seems like) a century, you start to question your self-worth.
When someone finally seems interested, you worry your limited résumé doesn’t give you the right to have someone love you and care for you.
It’s a weird little trick your mind starts playing on you. Once a confident, secure person, you have now turned into an insecure little puppy, hoping your owner doesn’t send you back to the pound.
You want it so bad, and because you have caught the feels so hard, you start to do the reverse and sabotage it.
If you sabotage it, you can go back to being in a safe world where no one loves you.
Then, you don’t have to be brave or vulnerable at all.
You subconsciously feel like you don’t deserve to be shown this much affection and attention. Especially if you’ve been burned hard or a lot in the past.
But you do.
Everyone deserves to be loved. The universe has conspired to bring you this love at this time because you're ready for it.
2. Does he think I’m good enough?
This seems like the same thing, but it’s slightly different. You project your own insecurity onto your significant other's actions and overanalyze his every move.
He called you every day in the beginning and now calls only two or three times a week. He has obviously lost interest.
He said he wanted to hang out with friends tonight. He obviously doesn’t like hanging out with you as much anymore. End it now before you get hurt.
He told you he doesn’t really like PDA, or holding hands isn’t a favorite. You might as well throw in the towel now because this person pretty much hates you.
You guys spent the night together and didn’t have sex for the first time ever. He is totally sleeping with someone else.
You want to sit your man right down on the couch and have him calm your fears.
You want him to predict the future by saying, “You are the one, and I can’t wait to propose to you, impregnate you and spend the rest of my life with you.”
But that is not how life works.
No amount of anxiety or pressure will make him able to know these things right away.
As much as we don’t want to, we have to just go with the flow and allow things to unfold how they will.
It really sucks.
3. What did that mean?
Sometimes, a guy just mindlessly talks. Sometimes, he is talking about himself or other people.
Sometimes, he is recalling something generally. Sometimes he is making an observation or stating something objectively.
But girl brain will tell you that literally every word that comes out of his mouth is about you, indirectly or otherwise, and affects you deeply.
You start to get offended by things he says, which coming out of a friend’s mouth, wouldn’t even make you blink.
You take everything he says personally.
He can’t poke fun or joke around with you anymore because you suddenly feel like he’s making fun of you.
You’re so overly sensitive about everything that you find it hard to even have a conversation about mundane things.
Him: "It's really hot in here.”
Girl brain: “Oh my god, he hates my apartment and thinks I have no idea how to regulate temperatures. Why is he always criticizing me? He hates me. We might as well end it now.”
Your brain goes on overdrive with analyzations, and you find it challenging to distinguish what is real and what is not.
You send your friends screenshots of texts and have hour-long conversations about things he said and how they relate to you.
It’s important to constantly remind yourself you’re not as important as you think you are, and not everything is about you.
Also, don’t sweat the small stuff and don’t take everything so personally.
Repeat this every day 187 times while meditating, you psycho.
4. Should we just break up now?
Your heart is so fragile when you’re falling for someone. You know opening yourself up so fully means if it fails, the crash will be that much worse.
So the fear of it ending is now at the forefront of your mind.
You worry that every time you get into a little fight, it’s over. Your anxious mind will tell you if it’s not perfect in every way, something must be wrong.
If you have conflicting ideas now, it may mean things will go downhill even more in the future.
Your cynical mind will tell you nothing lasts forever and you might as well end it all now. This is better than going through with the heartbreaking disaster this will inevitably become.
But as the saying goes, “It is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all.”
So, you take a deep breath and calm yourself down. You look at the person you’re falling in love with and convince yourself everything -- even the pain -- is worth it.
For anyone currently in this stage of dating, I think we all hope that once we get over this hump, the thoughts will calm down.
They have to, really. This is exhausting.
But the good news is, this person must really be special. Otherwise, we wouldn’t care so much.
Hopefully, for all of us, it’s just the growing pains of what will become a wonderful relationship.