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Tag Archives: vulnerability

Woman and hurting heart

Starting a new relationship. I’m certain I’m not ready – so many of Mac’s words and actions still surface, making me question if I am even worthy of connection, and already my anxious attachment style is causing constant uncertainty. But it happened and there is no going back.

He came on strong but not intense at first. Just being very open about how he felt. There was no love bombing, just attentiveness, protectiveness – and gifts. Sweet thoughtful gifts like remembering what I like and making sure I always have it. When we’re together, he’s sweet, attentive, and thoughtful. He texts me every day. He always responds quickly if I text him. He’s always available when I call. But he has boundaries about how often we need to see each other. He has things to do and a life of his own and he makes time for me in the midst of these things rather than immersing me in them or immersing himself in my life. He is very affectionate when we’re together, but his texts don’t contain many words of validation or affection or even sexting content. I’m equally relieved and wondering what’s wrong. It’s only been a month – this is the normal pace of a relationship, I tell myself. Yet, it’s hard to shake the pattern of feeling that if he doesn’t demand my constant attention and shower me with endless words of affirmation, it means he’s really not that into me. Little seemingly harmless things he says or does (or doesn’t do) send me into anxious hysterics inside. We’re both getting used to sleeping with someone again (yes, I’m sleeping with this guy in the same bed staying over at his place every weekend – I’m such a hypocrite). He made a comment about me pushing him off the bed and I took it to heart as a rejection. I didn’t express it, because I know it’s irrational and I have learned to be good at letting myself process and not immediately react. After all, he had previously mentioned missing me being in bed with him, and this comment was half humor, not meant to be cruel. And the fact is, I’m having a hard time learning to sleep with him too. It’s normal to have some difficulties getting used to each other’s sleep habits. I, of all people, should know this and not take it personally when he jokes about it, or even if he feels a little crabby after not getting a full night’s sleep. I wouldn’t even let my last boyfriend sleep with me AT ALL for god’s sake. And I’m so full of anxiety about being too clingy or attentive, or not being affectionate or attentive enough. If I text him with sweet words, he doesn’t respond with sweet words, though he does always respond gratefully and almost like he’s uncomfortable and doesn’t know how to communicate this way. So then I start wondering, am I getting myself into another avoidant situation like Nandi? I stop communicating affection. And then I start getting scared that my not communicating affection will make him think I’m not into him – and so I send a hint of it. And the cycle repeats. My god why can’t I just chill the fuck out and let this unfold naturally? It’s barely been a month for god’s sake!

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I saw you in that coffee shop

You didn’t notice me

Just like it always was

Those years before.

I saw you in that coffee shop

And I felt nothing

I did not even want your attention

After all those years of beating myself against your iron clad heart

Trying to get you to see me

To feel anything

I do not want your attention anymore.

I felt sad for you, staring down at your computer screen as always, missing life as it walks right in and out of the room.


There was a coffee shop chain Mac introduced me to and I was craving their food one day but didn’t want to go to any of the ones he might attend, knowing he sometimes has his friends pick him up there. The last thing in the world I want right now is to run into Mac somewhere. So I found one somewhere he would be very unlikely to go, and headed there. Walking in, I immediately saw Nandi head down in his laptop in front of me. It wasn’t his neighborhood either, so no idea what he was doing there. I thought about walking out but then thought, “Why should I?” I walked right past him, up to the counter, ordered my food. I sat as far away from him as possible, but the place is small so no way I could escape his range of vision entirely. I drank my coffee. I ate my food. He did not look up from his laptop once. I came, I ate, I left, with him never noticing me at all. Felt like old times. Except I felt no sadness, no desperation or despair. I actually just felt bad for him, still stuck in the same pattern after all this time. It gave me hope – that someday I may feel the same nothing in the face of running into Mac.

iStock-837440074.jpgSometimes I find myself reaching inward, trying to touch that need for you.  It’s only curiosity, an interest in knowing whether it could be rekindled even if I wanted it to. I don’t want it. But I wonder – could it ever claim me again? If I were to see you tomorrow, what would I feel? Sometimes I feel I hate you. Sometimes it’s only pity I feel. Underneath it all, I do feel a love, but it’s like the love of a sister to her brother.  And only that this time. There is no passion. No desire. When I think of us together, the intensity we once felt, I cannot touch it. I remember it like I’m watching a film with different people, just actors, not us. It doesn’t touch me. Sometimes I think it’s my own psyche protecting me from the memory.

Someone who is recently sober said they realize they will never again feel the highs they got from being on drugs, that nothing in the natural world will ever come up to that intensity, but that it’s worth the loss of that high to never again have to feel the incredibly unbearable lows that always came after. I feel the same when I think of you, of our relationship. I will never feel that rush again. Because it was unnatural – like addiction to a drug, not love.  But I am happy to let it go, never to be felt again, for the simple peace of your permanent absence from my life.

When I unpack my frequently fearful and anxious emotional responses to anything that confuses me or makes me feel uncertain in relationships, I tend to find shame at the core of most of them – and somewhere around that, a resistance against vulnerability. When I saw Brene Brown’s first lecture on Shame, it resonated with me. The second literally made me cry. I haven’t read her book yet, but fully intend to.