By day three, I’d had it. I had become fully enraptured by my phone, staring at it every other minute, clicking through my various messaging apparatuses. The Inner Bitch starts firing off, curious at first: Is he going to text? Is he losing interest?
Then, she picks up steam: He’s over it. You said something weird. He probably thinks you’re insane for having pinkeye — you’re 29. He is probably with another girl. As I’ve said, my inner critic can be a real bitch.
I’ve been down this road before — the anxiety spiral caused by a new relationship that isn’t quite on solid footing just yet. It’s exciting and glorious one minute and confusing and terrifying the next.
I’m still getting to know this man, this interesting and handsome man, and still learning his quirks and triggers. And even though I know better by now than to let the fear take over, sometimes it slithers its way in and stares me right in the eyes, daring me to make a move. And so, I do.
Years ago, that move would have been self-destructive. I’d have gone into panic mode and started doing damage control. I'd have sent the funniest, brightest, and most "perfect woman" text I could think of. Followed by several more texts.
I would have written him off altogether, had a little too much to drink, and then asked why he hadn’t been in touch. I would have given in to the many negative narratives I’ve gathered over time from terrible dating advice books, TV shows, or people who were just as lost as I was.
Today, I know better. I know that this fear isn’t about him. It's about me. It stems from where I am in this moment, and how I’m feeling about myself. Which means that fixing it is entirely on me too. Today, when I start to spiral into fear, I pick myself back up with these tools.
Here’s how to stop an insecurity spiral before it starts: