Jane Austen Vs. The All-You-Can-Eat Buffet

Do you ever feel like you have some area of your life under control, only to be blindsided by evidence to the contrary? I am currently feeling overwhelmed by insecurity, and while most people I know deal with insecurity regularly (it seems to be a fairly unifying human experience), I usually don’t worry too much about what other people think. So what’s going on this week to get me feeling all sorts of insecure? Well, I don’t know, but what’s this blog for if not to dig into those uncomfortable questions? So here I go…

I went to a concert with The Leo on Friday, spent the night at his place, then we hung out for most of the day on Saturday (brunch, lounging around his apartment), parting ways around 7pm. We enjoyed one another’s company, talked and laughed and cuddled and kissed a lot. It was great, but there were a few points at which I felt like he got annoyed with me. You should know that I’m an insufferable smartass, and while I can definitely “do serious” as needed, my default mode falls somewhere between gentle teasing and witty banter. I recognize that this (read: my personality) can be a lot. When I notice that my hilarious comments are falling flat, I back off. But I still notice.

Following our lovely weekend together, our already-pretty-terse weekday text conversation grew even more abbreviated, with me initiating contact for several days in a row. This, in combination with the perceived moments of annoyance, joined forces and morphed into full-on paranoia. He’s bored with me. My charm has worn thin, and he’s trying to figure out a way to gently dump me. Or, worst of all, He never considered me seriously at all — I was just for fun. That’s what I always am, and now the fun is over.

Even writing down my internal monologue makes me cringe. Who is this pathetic chick with all the insecurity? Can someone tell her to get her shit together and shut up? But there are two problems with suppressing my feelings and forging ahead:

1.    Even if they’re unfounded, my feelings have a source, and it’s worth exploring what that source is.

2.    I could be right, and it’s worth exploring what that reality looks like so that I don’t get in the habit of ignoring my instincts.

So let’s talk about the first reason. I spoke about all this with The Confidante this morning, and he kept coming back around to one reality: dating is hard. Relationships are hard. It’s not always clear what comes next. And I know it’s trite to lament the state of modern dating, but I’m gonna do it anyway. Dating today involves this weird dynamic of “who can play it cooler?” that drives me up the wall. If someone likes me, they’ll rarely convey that information explicitly. There’s not a ton of risk in not making your feelings known because the 24-hour All-You-Can-Eat Buffet of online dating ensures that there’s more where that came from*. But I’m in the Charlotte Lucas (of Pride and Prejudice) School of Thought when it comes to showing your cards: Guys aren’t mind readers. Subtlety is a lost art. Make your feelings known. Live without regrets.

If my feelings of insecurity are unfounded (i.e. if The Leo is happy as can be and would be really confused by all of this), are they possibly rooted in my very-human desire to always understand the nature and status of my relationships? Is it just because I am not as good at being uncomfortable as I like to think? These are valid possibilities, and I’m not sure yet which (if any) is correct.

The alternative to all this self-exploration is that I’m, in fact, right. The Leo’s interest may be waning as he gets a more complete picture of what I’m like in person. I faced a somewhat similar situation when I began to notice that I was a lot more into The Teacher than he was into me. I was right about that, and this feels similar, so my gut is rooting hard for option two.

The specter of rejection, whether real or imagined, provokes my defiant streak, which in turn urges me to run before he can disappoint me. Insecurity whispers that he’s not that into me. Objective investigation (if such a thing is possible) leads me to conclude that there are signs of this relationship’s imminent demise.

But enough with all the speculation! Going back to my Jane Austen reference, what would Charlotte Lucas say? She’d probably roll her eyes and tell me I should talk to The Leo, the source of all the mysterious relationship vibes. So that’s what I’ll do. I just texted him to see if he had time for a phone call after work. I’ll be back here tomorrow, either saying that my paranoia was exactly that or making a sad announcement that I’m back to the drawing board. To be honest, I’m not sure how I feel about either of those two outcomes, but I am proud of myself for digging into what I’m feeling, then stepping outside the endless mental loop of introspection to have a real conversation with the person in question. This, my friends, is progress.

*The Confidante introduced me to this analogy, and it’s depressingly apt.

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