Having a high degree of empathy has been both a strength and a weakness in my life. I’ve always felt like I could so strongly feel others’ pain, see from their perspectives and understand their struggles, even if I personally wasn’t going through whatever it was they were going through.
As a result, I became the go-to friend who’d give all her girlfriends extremely rational and calm advice when they were freaking out about something their boyfriend did or didn’t do, like that time Alexis found out her boyfriend was flirting with every girl he worked with at the company Christmas party.
I always thought I was going to be that cool girl, the easy going stoner-esque girlfriend, kind of like Kristen Stewart’s character in the movie Adventureland (minus the cheating).
I thought I’d be like this because as a semi-introvert, I’ve always desired a level of isolation and alone-time, something that has often translated into not needing a lot of attention from my partner.
It wasn’t until I got into a new relationship that I kind of became something I previously couldn’t relate to, despite the fact that I declared a high sense of empathy. Through introspection I refrained from actually expressing any of the insecurities I began to face and instead, bottled everything up in a super healthy manner and responded in passive aggressive ways and heavier than usual drinking.
I’m currently coupled with possibly the most honest, rational and amazing human being I’ve ever met. I’ve done the whole dating-an-asshole thing and this is the polar opposite. I don’t know if it’s the realization that this could be “the one” or something cheesy like that but I find myself being more insecure than I’d hoped.
This new panic, plus the generalized anxiety that blankets my entire life, created the perfect cocktail for an emotional hangover. My feelings would hit me in a pulsing motion; one week I was chill, passive and secure, the next I was an overthinking mess who couldn’t sleep or think logically. Once the latter passed I’d be left exhausted, ashamed and confused. Why did I feel any of the things I was feeling?
Why did I worry when there was a long delay in receiving a text back, when there were not enough emoji uses, when other girls (even those who were in relationships) messaged him about seemingly harmless things? Why did I feel rejected when he said he was too tired to hang out tonight? Honestly, I don’t know. Am I working on it? Of course. Is it going well? Eh.
I think falling in love is the scariest thing I’ve done to date – that being said, I haven’t done cool shit like the CN Tower Edgewalk, bungee jumping, heroin, etc. For me, it feels like I’m putting so many eggs of happiness into one basket.
It’s why I’ve stayed away from the whole thing for so long. I think everyone goes through different feelings, perceptions and thoughts but most are rooted in doubt and insecurities.
Not to say that these are appropriate or rational but they are there and they are real. And maybe this stuff never goes away, and we have no choice but to find coping mechanisms and learn how to express ourselves better.