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I always expect the worst

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  November 18, 2010 08:45 AM

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Q: Meredith,

I am a 33-year-old guy who has been divorced for about a year and a half, and now I am having the same problem over and over. For history, while I have no proof that I was cheated on in my marriage, I think I was. The fact that someone (a friend of mine) moved in with my ex a month after I left makes me think so.

Now, anytime I meet someone I am interested in, I seem to have the same problem. Whenever I am with that person, I am funny, charming, confident, and very easy to get along with. But when I am not with them, I start thinking too much and can't get out of my own head. I seem to fall for people fairly fast and believe I come off too strong.

Just recently, I met someone I really like. She is successful and confident, and I think she would see any insecurities on my end as a turn off. She tells me how "we are quite similar" and that she enjoys my company, and that "the comfort we have had since day one has her a bit hesitant." The only word I hear is "hesitant" -- and now I'm just waiting for things to go bad. What is maddening is that my fears only take over when she's not around. What can I do?

– In My Head in New Hampshire

A: Ah, heads. Annoying, aren't they?

Your problem, IMHINH, is that you think that you're unique. You should see what's inside of my head. I imagine that when I'm dating someone, it looks like Alcatraz or "Labyrinth" in there.

We're all a wreck when we're lonely and dating. We're all preparing for potential loss. The only thing we can do is distract ourselves when we get super crazy. I highly recommend "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" marathons on Logo. That show is a real anxiety killer. I also recommend hanging out with friends as much as possible. They're a good reality check.

Yes, you have every reason to be extra insecure, but don't assume that this confident, successful woman doesn't have her own list of what-ifs. Perhaps she goes home after dates and stews about all that could go wrong. I wouldn't be surprised if that's what she means when she says she's hesitant.

It's all about distractions and remembering that even if it goes sour, you're going to be OK. You've already been through the worst of it.

Readers? How do you get out of your head? Is it normal to sit around expecting the worst? Does this fear of failure mean that he hasn't dealt with his divorce? Discuss.

– Meredith

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ABOUT LOVE LETTERS: Welcome to Love Letters, the place for love advice (giving and getting). Globe relationship columnist Meredith Goldstein and Boston.com readers are ready to take your letters and tell you what's what. Have a question? Click here to submit or email us at loveletters@boston.com.
Blogger Meredith Goldstein

Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.

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