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I am feeling terribly ashamed, alone and depressed. The issue is the same as always. For whatever reason, I seem to be incapable of maintaining a romantic relationship.

I think I understand the problem, which is that (in addition to all of my other problems) I have anxiety and am terribly sensitive to rejection. I get so anxious when a relationship is starting it is too hard for me to give it time and space and let it develop naturally. If I don't hear from the guy for 3 or 4 days, I start to wonder if they are rejecting me. Even if I am able to keep that fear to myself, the anxiety and worry expresses itself in other ways. I have guys who tell me they are crazy about me...and then they disappear from my life!

The longest (and best) relationship I ever had was 3 years, but lately I'm lucky if I make it to 3 months. The worst thing about it is that so many of them end with the guy ignoring me. I *hate* to be ignored, and I get terrible anxiety so unfortunately my response is almost always to try to contact them and change their mind. Then when they continue to ignore me it's so painful.

Since obviously these problems cannot be solved instantaneously, perhaps you can think of some dating "rules" that would help me? For instance, how long do you wait without hearing from someone before you try to contact them? How long before you start to worry?

Any tips for helping me control this anxiety? It's starting to become a vicious cycle. I'm feeling really depressed and downtrodden. It's as though there is no hope for me. I cannot be happy with my life if I'm not in a relationship, as a relationship is really important for feeling connected and loved.

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1) Here's one rule that a friend recently told me. Wait at least a month before having sex. That way you get to know the guy without being in a cloud of sexual endorphins.

The main thing is to tell the guy this early on, so he'll know he has to wait a month. If sex is all he is after, then he'll disappear into the sunset.

2) I, too, have terrible social anxiety. After years of therapy, the only thing that really helps me is an anti-anxiety med. It takes away the pounding heart and the rapid breathing, so I can think.

3) Another thing I am learning in therapy, is to try to remain curious, at the edge of the unknown. Try not to predict the future with a guy OR think about the past mistakes. Just be in the moment, curious about it. It really lowers your anxiety level. Try it.

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1) Here's one rule that a friend recently told me. Wait at least a month before having sex. That way you get to know the guy without being in a cloud of sexual endorphins.

The main thing is to tell the guy this early on, so he'll know he has to wait a month. If sex is all he is after, then he'll disappear into the sunset.

2) I, too, have terrible social anxiety. After years of therapy, the only thing that really helps me is an anti-anxiety med. It takes away the pounding heart and the rapid breathing, so I can think.

3) Another thing I am learning in therapy, is to try to remain curious, at the edge of the unknown. Try not to predict the future with a guy OR think about the past mistakes. Just be in the moment, curious about it. It really lowers your anxiety level. Try it.

I agree with this although I heard it was waiting 3 months. Either way, get to know the guy a little first so you can judge whether he's WORTH sleeping with. If he dosent want to wait, you have your answer. I will only get to know men as friends first and I am very upfront about it, if thats not what they are looking for then they know where the door is. I'm sick of making the same mistakes over and over. If you dont look after your own welfare no one else will. Sounds like a cliche but its true.

Trying to stay in the moment is also a good idea..not easy to do but it's worth a try.

Take care,

Cat

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danna,

I don't know what anxeity is like, i can see tho how this is depressing. Just please, don't be ashamed. You are obviously a very caring person. You have needs and they are real, you deserve to have them met and not tear yourself up for "flaws", which might be a foundation for tremendous trust in a relationship. I think you are onto something about the space to let it move at a more natural pace. Maybe something with a guy a couple towns away so that there are external forces that give that space. to that end it might also help to be distracted and be a little busier with job(s), extra classes, responsibilites, so that your energy to think about the relationship is limited to times that are healthier. It is cliche, but true that communication is key. If you most hate being ignored, then look most for attentiveness in a date (knows current details about the lives of his friends, changes the oil in the car, calls his mother, and does all because it gives him satisfaction to know things are taken care of). Connection and love are about opening yourself up to be filled with something beautiful that another has need of sharing and vice versa. Its hard but at the end of the day we all want honesty. You've been honest with yourself here and being upfront out there that you worry a lot and have been seeing it as a hinderence to relationships will be huge. Seems to me that by third dates the opportunity arises to share something much more personal, a lot of people skim over it because they don't know themselves that well or think that they don't want to chance losing something innocent and new. But life's not innocent, everyone has their skeletons. What you have to gain by that revelation is more powerful to what i believe from your post that you are looking for. what's the loss of two dates if, given the facts, a guy knows that he can't be that person? It's not about rejecting you. It is not about rejecting you, its about rejecting the reality that pretty much everyone is just barely holding it together.

The trap of course is the oogling guy who quickly thinks, "oh yeah, i can handle it baby". In which case you need the most horrific horror stories you have, prepare. in my experience you are looking for the guy who looks at you, smiles, and politely chuckles before you are done. Only when he returns to the next date with a "how do we make this work" do you go forward. I guess a good rule for you might be a daily check up, not even talking necessarily, but a like a text message "hey, i'm alive, as you can see i am thinking about you today, don't worry until tommorrow ok." Wanting and hating and fearing something all at the same time is a bad plan. its not fair to keep this to yourself and have it manifest as a complete suprise to someone you'd like to have a connection with. nor is it fair for a great new person in your life to deal with lots of your stuff which is not related to your relationship, which is why modern life gives us counsellors and tdocs. See one! so that your date knows they can take on only the burden they'd like to be there to share, and that there will still exist a held-together you to love. All the best

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I agree with this although I heard it was waiting 3 months.

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Waiting 3 mos. to have sex is even better. I know I've never waited that long, and I've ended up in long term relationships that were based on nothing but lust. Not a good idea.

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