So there’s this boy… Mental illness and relationships

A few months back I met this guy who was extremely flirty from the moment I met him. Recently though he has been extremely forward about his intentions. He tells me that I look good ALL the time, he hugs me just a liiiittle too long, and he walks me to class. To many girls, he would be the perfect match. For some he would be a “prince charming”, I mean who DOESN’T like being told that they look good, right? Wrong.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, its nice to hear every once in a while that someone thinks you look good. But for someone who is in the process of recovering from an eating disorder, I get really uncomfortable when people comment on my body. Even when people are complimenting me I feel so awkward when the conservation turns to the way that I look. A few months ago I loved getting complimented on my body, but it wasn’t really me, it was the eating disorder voice in my head. At the time, compliments were like a lit match in the middle of a dry forest: they sparked a fire within me that drove my eating disorder and caused me to go to extremes to keep losing weight. Since then, I have gained a lot of weight so even when people comment on my body in a good way i feel really self conscious.

On top of that, I am really uncomfortable with people touching me if I don’t really know them that well. This probably has something to do with the fact that I was sexually abused as a child and I have simply never been able to shake the extreme discomfort I get when people touch me. And this isn’t limited to people who don’t know me very well; there are times when even my best friends or my parents cannot touch me without me feeling anxious and panicky. So for someone who really doesn’t know me to come up and give me a big hug and then refuse to let go is really not a good thing. I felt trapped and I really just wanted him to let go. I tried pulling away three times but he still wouldn’t let go. I didn’t want to me mean and shove him away but at the same time I was starting to feel extremely uncomfortable.

There has only been one person whom I have been romantically involved with who I have been comfortable with extended periods of hugging, cuddling, etc. And even with him I was still really self-conscious about my body. The difference was that he would let go and give me space if I needed him to. He understood that if I am feeling anxious and I don’t want to be touched that he should let me calm down. And on top of that, we started out as best friends before we were ever romantically involved so I was already extremely comfortable with him. This new guy barely knows me and I certainly don’t know him so I dont want him all over me!

To be fair, the new guy doesn’t really know my story so he obviously doesn’t understand that he is making me uncomfortable, but I am not going to share my deepest secrets with someone who I have talked to a grand total of 6 times! I feel like he should try to get to know me on a personal level before he tries to become romantically involved. And to be honest, at this point I am not even remotely interested in dating him. I can’t picture myself dating him because I dont know him at all. I have a lot of trust issues as a result of my past so I cannot even begin to trust someone enough to start a relationship until I know them extremely well.

That said, I really don’t know that I am ready for a relationship anyway. It has only been a month since my last romantic involvement ended. The last guy who I liked ended up breaking my heart because I did not realize how attached I had become until after he decided to start seeing someone else. Not that it would have changed anything even if I had told him sooner since we were just “casual”, but it still really hurt me. While I am doing okay now in terms of getting over him, the pain of losing that support definitely contributed to my relapse into self-harm. I don’t think I am emotionally stable enough to start seeing anyone else. Not to mention the fact that it would not be fair to drag someone else into all of my mental health struggles.

I feel as though I should boycott any romantic relationships until I am more emotionally stable. After all, how can I love someone else if I am not even capable of loving myself at this point in my life? I am already feeling overwhelmed as it is right now with school, work, friends, family, and life in general. I don’t think it would be healthy for me to add another potential source of stress to my life. While I realize that relationships can be a tremendous source of support, I also know from experience that I tend to push people away when I am at my darkest points so it would be unfair of me to drag him into my issues and then push him away and break up with him as soon as I hit my low points. Its a terrible cycle in which I go from completely being infatuated to absolutely distrusting someone. Its not healthy for me and it most certainly is not healthy for the other individual either. So for now its probably best if I remain single.

My mental health is definitely having a negative impact on the stability of my relationships 😦

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