Q: Hi Meredith,
Here's the scenario: I am a late-20s professional, hard-working woman. I have an 8-year-old son and a teen brother who live with me. Just me and my boys. I have been single for about 7 years by choice. After leaving my son's father, I decided to work on my education, my career, and to nurture my relationships with friends and family. I've dated on and off within those years, had a few short-term monogamous relationships (5 months max), and had a lot of fun being single. I'm a highly confident woman and I very much know my worth.
Being the happy, single gal that I am, I was taken completely off guard by an AMAZING man I've been dating for about 3 months now. He is more than I could have ever asked for. Our relationship thus far has been very successful and healthy. The problem is me. I'm a runner -- as in I run away from relationships. Which is why I haven't had any long term relationships in years. But he is honestly the first guy that I haven't wanted to run away from. He's good to me and for me. We fit. I want to stay, but every day I have to talk myself into not breaking it off with him. EVERY DAY. And he picked up on this from the beginning. He is loyal and a man of integrity. He knows my worth as I know his. But the anxiety I'm suffering from this is stifling. I just want to give up because I have way too much going on and I'm not sure I can care for another person, not the way he deserves. Why am I trying to sabotage this good thing by leaving? He has me flustered and confused with no plan and no way to prepare because I don't know how to do this love thing. It's turning me into a hot mess.
– Anxious in Love, Newburyport
A: You mention that you're worried about caring for him, but he's not another kid or sibling. He's a grown-up who can take care of himself. At three months, your only responsibility is to enjoy him.
You also mention that you're frustrated that you don't have a plan. I understand that single parenting takes some serious planning, but love doesn't, at least not right now. You just have to keep dating him. That's the best I can do for structure.
For the record, this kind of anxiety is pretty normal. Good relationships often freak us out more than mediocre ones. You must continue giving yourself the daily "don't run" pep talks because they're part of your process. Sometimes we have to train ourselves to be happy.
Whatever you do, please don't sit around and talk about this with him too much. Just repeat the mantra and let yourself continue this relationship. Deep down, that's been your plan all along.
Readers? How can she calm down about her future with this guy? Should she be this anxious? Should she talk to him about it? Help.
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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 new novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith here and on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.