I didn’t hear from the gentleman again after the lovely drink we had together last Friday. It gave me the opportunity to face some personal challenges and address some anxious attachment tendencies.
He knew I’d be a bit frenzied this week with family in town. I tried to assume he was giving me some space and I’d probably hear from him at the end of the week. Emphasis on the word “tried.”
There was a whole bunch of anxious and unhealthy thinking that needed to be dealt with in order for that to happen.
It was a week when every one of my old demons attempted to rear their ugly heads.
Rejection. My subconscious insisted on having thoughts about him deciding not to hang out with me again. All the things about me that would, in my head, obviously make me someone undesirable to know flew at me from every direction. The negative thoughts I had about myself this week were overwhelming at times.
I also did battle with the side of me that said, “If you want to connect with him why don’t you just text him?”
This is what Old Self would have done, under the guise of being a strong, modern, liberated woman.
I realized my motive for texting him was wrong. I didn’t have something to prove to the world; this was only about me and one other person. Nobody else.
The question at hand was whether I wanted to talk to him, not whether it’s okay for a woman to text a man. I know it’s okay for a woman to text a man. That isn’t a question anymore.
I realized texting him didn’t feel authentic to me. It felt forced and anxious. I would be acting from a place of fear (of being alone) and not genuine desire for communication with him. My gut said it didn’t feel right and I listened.
Panicked need for connection
I felt panic at the idea of losing him, of never talking to him again, and I realized this was my anxious attachment style speaking and had nothing to do with him. He seems nice, but he’s someone I’ve only known a couple weeks who I’ve casually hung out with twice and texted with a tiny bit. He is not someone I am attached to.
I have learned from the lessons of my past and appreciate having an opportunity to put them into practice. This week, I overcame the challenges I faced.
This week, I was able to detach from feelings of anxiety. I did not attempt to suppress them. I did not pack them in a box and set them aside. I felt the feelings and honored them, and did not act on them. They existed within me simultaneous to my recognition of reality.
I repeatedly reminded myself that I am fine. I am good. I am enough and I am strong.
It is particularly worthy of pride because it was a very tough week regardless. I had a week that was emotionally challenging in a broad variety of ways, and I addressed each of those challenges and conquered them in turn.
I didn’t fall into old habits. I didn’t try to escape myself and find unhealthy external evidence that I was okay. I managed it on my own, by blogging, engaging in appropriate self-care, and connecting with my survivor/recovery tribe on Instagram.
I took care of myself and didn’t give in to old habits. I didn’t succumb to the urge to find a man and force him into a caregiver or self-esteem soother role. I did that for myself.
I did think, however, that I might shoot the gentleman a text if I hadn’t heard from him by the end of the weekend.
When I thought those words to myself my gut instinct piped up and had something to say about it.
“You already know that isn’t going to be necessary.
Deep down, you know he’s left you alone this week because he knew it was going to be a busy week for you, and he is a kind, respectful person who doesn’t want to intrude on your life.
Deep down, you know you’re going to hear from him.
You know you don’t have any doubts about him specifically.
You know your anxiety is entirely due to past experiences and has nothing to do with your present day.”
My gut instinct spoke the truth. It usually does.
Sure enough, when Friday evening rolled around, I heard from the gentleman. He sent this lovely message:
“I hope you’re doing great and your family arrived in town safe & sound. I’m guessing you’ve been busy with that so I wanted to give you some time and space. But, I’d love to see you again sometime soon if you’re interested and free…”
This guy continues to impress me.
Things that helped me this week:
- This post on Twitter.
- The lessons I learned from having read Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment by Amir Levine and Rachel Heller.