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You Asked: I'm Tired of Being Afraid

You Asked: I'm Tired of Being Afraid

Dear Sugar,

A while back my ex-boyfriend dumped me out of nowhere. I thought we were heading in a good direction and that we were finally getting to know each other. (In fact, less than a week before that happened we had spent our first romantic weekend together.) At the end of one date night on the way back to my place he told me that while he loved hanging out with me and that I was the best girlfriend he has ever had he just doesn't feel "it." While I respected that he told me that instead of leading me on, I was still very hurt.

Now I've started a new relationship after licking my wounds for a little while, but I've discovered that my ex has changed me. I now have this sudden fear of abandonment and I am afraid that my current boyfriend will do the same thing. I've never experienced these kind of fears before. My boyfriend is a great guy, and assures me that he isn't going anywhere; he knows what happened before. But I can't shake this feeling, and I'm afraid that it will ruin my relationship. Every time my boyfriend doesn't return my call immediately a small voice inside my head tells me that maybe it's happening again. I know it's irrational but what can I do? Please help!

— Nervous Natalie

To see DearSugar's answer,


Dear Nervous Natalie,

It's important for you to recognize that there are no guarantees in love or life; what happened to you before could happen to you again. But that's a possibility that you have absolutely no control over, and worrying about it won't make a difference. In fact, as you mentioned, worrying about it can put an unnecessary strain on your relationship. But, of course, it's much easier to tell yourself this than to convince yourself that it's true.

If you make the decision to let go of your fears, they'll naturally fade away, so don't hold on to them because you think they'll protect you from having this happen again; they won't. They'll only make you feel sad and scared. Luckily, acknowledging that your fears are irrational is a great step in the process. Now you just have to believe it. Whenever these concerns enter your mind, start squashing them by putting them in perspective. The fact is that even if your worst-case scenario took place, you'd make it through. It might be hard and painful, but in the end, you'd be OK.

I'm glad that you've opened up to your new boyfriend. Definitely keep those lines of communication open, but make sure that you avoid projecting your fears on to him, which could lead to resentment and extra stress. It's going to take some time, but if you can keep reminding yourself that there's no point in worrying, they will eventually disappear for good.


Join The Conversation
herbiefrog herbiefrog 8 years
maybe he felt more like a friend ? same love... ...different connection
herbiefrog herbiefrog 8 years
someone said... "...what happened to you before could happen to you again. But that's a possibility that you have absolutely no control over, and worrying about it won't make a difference. In fact..." ...excuse us ? well you would have no control if you just lie down and wait to die... ? most classy gf ever : ))
karlotta karlotta 8 years
The same thing happened to me. This guy was crazy about me, writing me incredible love letters, and we were talking about spending the rest of our lives together. Then one day he came over, sat me down on the bed, didn't even take off his hat and gloves - just stood there and told me he didn't love me anymore and couldn't fathom having children with someone like me (!??!?!???) - it completely destroyed me. It has been years and I still have fears of abandonment because of this douchebag. I ruined a couple of good relationships after him, because those feelings were so intense; I was totally sabotaging myself. I learned the hard way, by losing the guy I knew was THE ONE - so I took my ass to therapy and worked really hard at rebuilding my self-esteem. Thank God the ONE came back, and even though I still have to watch myself (esp. when I'm PMSing!) I keep telling myself that a sure fire way to lose the guy I love is to act like a complete nutbag who has no self-confidence and no trust in his feelings for me. At first I'd do little "exercises" to help out - I'd kneel and ask God (I don't even believe in God that way, but it helped, so I did it!) to give me the strength to have FAITH. Because that's what love is all about - FAITH that it will work out, FAITH that the guy you love will love you back (and KEEP loving you back!), and FAITH that whatever happens, you will be okay. You have to force yourself to think positive. And even write down everything your BF does or says that proves he loves you. Read it. Again - and again. Every time you have doubts, read it again. And when you're afraid, make a step towards him - go give him a peck on the cheek, rub his shoulders, or cook him dinner. Don't express your angst too much - once in a blue moon is okay, but you cannot lay it on him or it will be the end of you; instead, channel that energy into doing something positive for him. Love grows as a give and take; and so will your confidence as you do little things for him that he most certainly will appreciate, and return. I hope this helps. Again, years later, I still have hot flashes of terror that my BF will just one day stop loving me and take off. But I fight it off with all those little techniques, and they happen less and less. Good luck!
marttina marttina 8 years
Glowing Moon- couldn't have said it better. Natalie, you'll be OK one way or another, whatever happens.
forestrygal forestrygal 8 years
Had to post because I've been through this too, between the father who left when I was 4 and a serious boyfriend who just up and broke off ties with me completely overnight. For one thing someone said maybe you're not ready to date. Well, that could be true but I don't think that is why you are having these issues. After my ex left I spent a while getting things back together, making new friends, doing all of those things you're supposed to do to get over a breakup. And you know, it really worked. However, when I met my new guy (still together going on 3 years, he is really patient!) and things seemed to be going well, after the first few months this absolute panic came over me. I hadn't even realized just how much the way he left had hurt me, and it was something that I wouldn't be able to realize until I met someone I cared about and realized that it could happen again. As for advice, definitely keep communicating with your boyfriend BUT don't let this become a constant crutch for everything that goes wrong with you guys. Also, like everyone has said, realize that these things are out of your control and just focus on being happy. I don't know if this bit applies to you, but I'm a perfectionist and in a way I also had to forgive myself for what happened with the ex and realize that I did deserve to be happy. I know it sounds messed up but I guess I held myself responsible for the breakup even though it was actually his doing, and once I got out of that cycle things were a lot better. If you're still wondering what you did wrong or any of that, maybe talk to a counselor about how you can let those feelings go. Good luck, it sounds like you've made it through the bad parts so try to focus on yourself and also on this fun new relationship.
KathleenxCouture KathleenxCouture 8 years
Here's my philosophy: When you start feeling like this distract yourself. Go to a website or call a friend to figure out plans for the weekend. Eventually you will have just outgrown feeling like this and realized that your boyfriend is there to stay. On the other hand be strong! Sh*t happens and you have to pick yourself up and move on with a smile on your face whether you feel it or not. Start realizing that you are worth a lot and any guy that is worth your time will stay with you.
Annie4385 Annie4385 8 years
sounds like you're just not ready to date again yet. it's trite but incredibly true: you can't be happy with another til you're happy with yourself. maybe you should take more time to get over the last relationship and what happened before trying to date again?
JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 8 years
You have to just htink about it like it's your exes problem. He's the one who got scared and ran off, it has nothing to do with you he just didn't want to be in that kind of relationship at the time, with you or anyone else. He even admitted that you were the best GF he's ever had so don't worry that it's something to do with you.
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 8 years
Firstly, you know you're being irrational, which is a good sign. So whenever you catch yourself having an irrational thought, don't put any value to that thought. Let that thought go. Irrational thoughts trigger irrational emotions, which all leads to psycho behavior. Please do not become that psycho girlfriend that people think are pathetic. I'm sure you don't want to become THAT woman. :) Also, understand that even though your ex-boyfriend left you, YOU TURNED OUT OKAY. You didn't turn into a pumpkin. Right now, you're in a promising relationship with a new guy. So even though you were abandoned (and it was painful), you made it out okay. So what if (and this is big if) your new boyfriend leaves you?? You've overcame that before, and ended up in a good place. So please, don't be afraid. The next time you feel Fear inching into your heart, you slap it across the face, and laugh. ;) :)
brutalcupcake brutalcupcake 8 years
I totally went through something similiar xD
CoMMember13630786602261 CoMMember13630786602261 8 years
I agree with Dear. The only thing you really can do it to just let it go. I have severe abandonment issues as well. My father left when I was 3 and my mother was married and divorced twice after that. Ive had numerous boyfriends cheat on me. I was in a relationship on and off for 5 years (we lived together) when I found out he was lying to me about his relationship with his sons mom. Needless to say that relationship ended. My current BF and I have been together for about 3 months now and pretty much up until about a week ago, I was constantly worried that he would cheat on me or just get bored with me. I still do sometimes, but I realized that if I use all my energy worrying about what could possibly go wrong then Im going to miss out on whats going right. I also realized that I made it through the first several times it happened to me, so Im pretty sure I'll make it through if it happens again. Now Im just trying to focus on enjoying what we have and taking it one day at a time. Good luck to you.
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