Obsession, anxiety, and how to control both?

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Magdalena
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19 Feb 2012, 7:29 am

I am a man in his twenties who, for all intents and purposes pertaining to this post, is gay (although I've primarily only dated women up until a year or so ago). I would've posted this in the LGBT forum, but that forum seems to exist more for dealing with being an LGBT aspie, than for dealing with dating issues per se.

And I'm posting this topic because, after having read through several of the threads in the "love and dating" forum, I've been sensing that I am definitely not the only one to have experienced what I am going to tell you about.

Anyway, there are times where I become very anxious over hearing back from a potential or actual romantic partner. I know it's not healthy to feel this way and that, most of the time, it would be bothersome to them if they knew about it, but I am finding that I am having trouble preventing myself from feeling this way.

For example, there are times where I'll check my phone or inbox, and if I find no new calls or messages from them (especially after I sent one to them, and even if they've been responsive to me in the past, or even after they've been involved with me), then I'll feel alarmed or paranoid for the future of the continued relations between them and myself and, on some occasions, I'll additionally feel a moderate sense of irritation toward them because of a.) their seeming failure to recognize and appreciate the effect that they have on me, and b.) the seeming fact that they don't feel the same way and aren't accepting of my enthusiasm toward them (or the prospect of a relationship with them that is enjoyable to both of us).

However, I almost always conceal these feelings from them, because history has taught me that there are almost always negative consequences to not concealing them. These days, while I acknowledge that the other person might know that I feel these feelings, they don't ever appear to know or suspect that I do. And as a result, there have been no crash-and-burn style conflicts or arguments, like there used to be.

I mean... I guess these feelings are obviously what some people would label as "obsession," but it seems like I can't help it. That is, whenever I'm in a situation where the other person might not contact me in response, my brain automatically responds with feelings of anxiety (or frustration and aforementioned irritation, in the event that I find that they do not respond back), even if it has only been a relatively short period of time since I contacted them. It is not a choice that I make. And therefore, I guess the only real solution is to learn how to control it as much as I am able to. Which I am 100% open to doing. And by "control," I mean either preventing myself from reacting this way, or by controlling the feelings in a way other than simply concealing and repressing them.

I understand that, especially after only a short period of time since I contacted them, they might not have gotten the message or had a chance to respond to it. Since having come to this understanding, I have made significant progress in assuaging these feelings of anxiety, etc. But sometimes they still remain, especially after longer periods of time.

I also tend to fantasize about life with the other person before any interaction with the other person has occurred! This causes me to start feeling as though I've experienced things with the other person that haven't yet happened. Which adds to the feelings of confusion whenever I actually interact with this person. In my mind, I've experienced them in ways (rarely sexually, thank goodness!) that I haven't experienced them in real life.

The (hopefully) obvious first question: are there any other aspies who experience anything like the things I have described above in their dating lives?

Do you find yourselves growing anxious or apprehensive over something as seemingly insignificant as a lack of a response (or several responses) from a potential partner?

If you answered in the affirmative to any of those questions, then have you found any ways by which to cope or control these feelings? If so, how?

So far, I've mostly dealt by trying to emotionally invest myself elsewhere. Which doesn't prevent the feelings from occurring, it just provides somewhere to "run," and only for the short-term- essentially, dodging the issue, which no one wants to have to do forever!



questor
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19 Feb 2012, 9:14 am

You sound like you are too "needy". It is contributing to your anxiety, which is leading to your obsessing about this. This is a turn off to a lot of dates.

You need to develop other, non romantic interests to occupy your self and your time, so you aren't constantly hanging over the phone/Inbox, etc. Here are some activities you can try:

- Hobbies
- Exercise
- Music--listen and/or play
- Volunteer/charities
- Clubs/activities
- Take courses
- Read
- Watch TV
- Surf the I-net

Remember, if you come across as too needy and obsessive about someone, it's a turn off, so back off a little, and give the relationship a chance to breathe. It is not necessary to spend 24/7 with someone else, and it isn't healthy to do so anyway.


_________________
If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer.
Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured, or far away.--Henry David Thoreau


Magdalena
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19 Feb 2012, 9:29 am

questor wrote:
You sound like you are too "needy". It is contributing to your anxiety, which is leading to your obsessing about this. This is a turn off to a lot of dates.

You need to develop other, non romantic interests to occupy your self and your time, so you aren't constantly hanging over the phone/Inbox, etc. Here are some activities you can try:

- Hobbies
- Exercise
- Music--listen and/or play
- Volunteer/charities
- Clubs/activities
- Take courses
- Read
- Watch TV
- Surf the I-net

Remember, if you come across as too needy and obsessive about someone, it's a turn off, so back off a little, and give the relationship a chance to breathe. It is not necessary to spend 24/7 with someone else, and it isn't healthy to do so anyway.


Wow. This list looks really, really familiar. lol
I appreciate it though, questor. :)



purchase
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19 Feb 2012, 2:11 pm

I've been thinking about this. Well I have an unofficial diagnosis of borderline personality disorder, first of all. I know these diagnoses have a large cultural component and whatnot and what's considered unhealthy in a more individualistic society would be considered okay in a more - for lack of a better word - tribally-organized, close-knit I guess society. But unfortunately I live in an individualistic society where you are taught that you put on your own oxygen mask first before helping others. So focusing more on others' needs than your own puts you at a disadvantage since everyone else isn't doing the same.

Now here is the problem. There are actually an endless number of people, I mean you could spend your whole life trying to meet everyone else and not do it. So other people are kind of dispensable. Unlike if there are say fifty of you and everyone not in the group is at war with you trying to kill your group. I believe that I am calibrated as if I live in a war zone/action movie of some sort and every person is indispensable and it won't really be worth living if the doctor in the group or the best fighter in the group or the person who does most of the hunting or whatever dies. So you care more about the needs of others than your own needs. Or rather what makes you happy is making other people happy. Your primary need is to make others happy. There is no "I won't accept this or that behavior from a person, just forget them if they're not interested enough to call. I need someone who cares about me." You can't afford to do that if you only live with fifty people. Or if your mind has gotten the completely wrong feeling that you only live with fifty people. You are adapted to adjust to the needs of others.

I really think this comes as a form of PTSD, I don't know exactly why some people are prone to it in completely "civilized" environments but somehow a war zone-mentality was built up in me and I need to get rid of it and start thinking of myself as a person with requirements like everyone else does. I actually value my life very highly, I think every moment of it is precious and it makes me really quite angry that a difference in relational styles has allowed me to neglect what is the same need everyone else has, in myself. Am I talking about something different here or is this something along the lines of what you meant?