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Old 01-29-2013, 01:31 AM
Octopus Octopus is offline
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 38
Question Irrational break-up fear

hello all,

first of all i want to say i'm happy to have found this forum and have been super enthusiastic about reading up on polyamory info, especially the life stories & blogs section has been absolutely fascinating! btw, i'm a queer cis-female in my twenties. hi *waves

this isn't specifically a poly question, as so much just looking for general advice.

me and my partner have been 'officially' dating for a couple of weeks now, and started sleeping together about half a year ago. we are in an open relationship & interested in polyamory, but both at the moment not actively looking to date or sleep with other people.
that part is all good and happy.

some background: this is my first 'serious' partnership, or rather my first relationship full stop, in years. i'm in my twenties and the first relationship - my only other serious one - ended in a disastrous breakup which left me devastated for weeks (as i suppose, most 'first love' breakups do... ^^). in that relationship, there was a sort of pattern of 'they pursuid me first, i was sort of resistant, then i fell for them, we were happy for a while, then they lost interest and broke up'.

now while rationally i know that there is no reason to suspect the same might happen, at the back of my mind i am stilll applying this 'scheme'. as it is the only relationship course or 'graph' or 'pattern' i've witnessed first hand, something in me believes that this is the way it must always go. so then i pick up things that happen and sometry to fit them into that scheme - basically thinking destructive thoughts like 'since we are happy and i now started letting go of 'resistance', being more vulnerable & open & loving, that must mean they will lose interest soon and break up.

i guess years of monogamous and patriarchic bs conditioning made me subconsciously also subscribe to the whole women are from venus&men from mars shit -- attracting & pulling back/retracting, or if you are approaching your partner that must mean they're pulling away and the only way to avoid that is to pull away yourself.
frankly, i now think that's a load of crap. i think to foster a healthy relationship, one must open oneself --- not pull away.

so to pull this ranting together... these are my questions.
1) i am terrified that we might breakup, even though i am happy in the relationship and as far as i can tell my partner is too. there are no bigger problems or issues. how do i overcome irrational fear of breaking up and instead learn to build confidence & trust in my relationship (or partner)?
2) how do i learn to stop comparing relationships to each other, stop negative/destructive thoughts, etc...?
3) why is this all so confusing?

thank y'all for reading through this pile o' crap...
have a loverly night

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Old 01-29-2013, 02:07 AM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 6,350

Hi. Welcome!

In reading your post, I feel like all relationships come with a clock attached. Even going out to "til death to us part" is an ending, right? So could take the bull by the horns and prepare for the best endings possible.

Maybe tell your partner something like:
i am terrified that we might breakup, even though i am happy in the relationship and as far as i can tell you are too. Are you? Am I aware of your wants and needs? Am I meeting them?

I don't want to be treated like I was in previous break ups. Please talk to me -- hopefully it will not be needed. But please talk to me about how you want to be treated and how I want to be treated if we should find ourselves contemplating breaking up. Hopefully we have a conflict resolution method in place we both can do that can help us solve whatever it is but let's say it is unsolveable. And we have to think about breaking up.

I want to to be treated respectfully like _______. What would you want it to be and how do you want to be treated?
Sometimes knowing there's a plan for how to deal with conflict, and a plan for how to deal with breaking up can help soothe fears. Expectations for being treated well in relationship -- regardless of what is actually on the table -- can alleviate the fear of being treated badly. The sharing of vulnerable creates emotional intimacy, which also can help alleviate the fear of being treated badly.

And if everyone is feeling all kooshy in there communicating their wants, needs, and limits... You up the odds for staying together AND you are keeping it real. Both help with relationship confidence.

how do i learn to stop comparing relationships to each other, stop negative/destructive thoughts, etc...?
Since you seem to recognize that you do it... could decide to stop feeding that wolf. Feed the other one instead, and consistently choose behaviors that feed the other one. In your thought pattern, you talk pattern, you behavior pattern -- YOU choose the wolf you want to feed.

If unable to do it alone or with partner support and you need professional help, get help. Maybe there's a Recovery chapter near you. Or maybe you want one-on-one counseling. Explore your options there (which BTW, is you choosing and action to feed the white wolf and not the black one.)

thank y'all for reading through this pile o' crap...
You are welcome.

I hope that was a joke. But even so... stop talking down to yourself like that. You are human. You are not crap. You are not a joke. Could strive to talk about yourself EVEN TO YOURSELF in self respecting ways.

These things matter to your well being and long term healths.


Last edited by GalaGirl; 01-29-2013 at 02:38 AM.
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Old 01-29-2013, 02:19 AM
nondy2 nondy2 is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 109

Hi there,

I read your post quickly. I hope I got it all!

I hope this isn't all too assuming. I can Totally relate. I am now 43, and have had four or five major relationships. In two of these relationships, I was utterly preoccupied with being left, constantly. This led to a lot of angst for me and my partners. It led to constant anxiety on my part. My first boyfriend died very young. My second boyfriend left me after 3 years during this time I lost considerable weight and went through umbareable pain.
As I have matured, I have come to deal with these feelings. To own them, and to know that they aren't based on the reality of the relationship at hand.

What I found, and this was key, that these feelings derived from my relationship with my PARENTS - the fact that my father abandoned me and my mother was neglectful. I realized that I was transferring these feelings onto my partners. Did you have a good family life? Is there any possibility that these feelings go back further than your break up?

Also, with my third boyfriend worse case sernio DID happen. He rejected me. We were madly in love, but he didn't want to be poly with an already married woman. He wanted a very conventional relationship with someone his age (who he is now getting married to). I worried the entire two years of our relationship about his leaving. I talked obsessively to everyone about it. However, It happened, he did leave and I'm OKAY - good in fact, in love with someone else and still married. So try not to worry and look to your past.
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Old 01-29-2013, 05:35 AM
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Anneintherain Anneintherain is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Seattle-ish
Posts: 826

I'd just keep reminding myself it doesn't do any good to suffer consequences before something has happened. What if 20 years from now you wake up and you are still together and you realize you made yourself miserable for no good reason on a regular basis? If it ends, it ends, and things usually end for a good reason, even if it's not a fun experience.

What advice would you give him if you found out he was worrying about the same thing? Take that advice too. I imagine you might feel a bit insecure because you've been involved for awhile but the relationship bit is new, do you feel that if it was a lasting relationship it would've been official long ago? If that's the case, i'd recognize that becoming a "formal relationship" means you two made an intentional choice, and chose it instead of just falling into it, I tend to think that could make it a better bet for long term success.

I find I don't compare myself to other people if they are nice. If they are not nice to me, I compare. If I find myself comparing, I just say "Stop it, that's not helpful" Redirect your thoughts whenever you find it happening, and if you compare something negatively, follow it up with a positive compliment about each person too.

I find things less confusing when I read, and there are lots of great suggestions on the book and article sticky
Happiness will never come to those who fail to appreciate what they already have.
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Old 02-13-2013, 12:11 AM
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nouryia nouryia is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 206
Default There are never any guarantees in relationships...

But I must admit, the less grounded nature of my secondary relationship does sometimes cause me certain irrational insecurities. My primary relationship isn't perfect and has had ups and down over the years but there is a certain comfort in it because it's the 'official' one. We share a home, bed, kids and other responsibilities. I think in my head, the secondary love can be more easily threatened by new (or even existing) partners because we don't share anything concrete (ie. we live apart and just 'date).

Since there is no way for either of us to join the other because we already have primary families, it feels like we're at the mercy of the primary partners schedules or various other family duties where a secondary partner just isn't included... Being somewhat in the closet to some relatives doesn't feel great either, but it's reality. And sometimes it sucks, but the love makes it worthwhile.

I guess the key is to fight off the bad thoughts and concentrate on the good.
I tried being reasonable. I didn't like it. ~Clint Eastwood~
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Old 02-13-2013, 01:11 AM
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Derbylicious Derbylicious is offline
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Join Date: May 2009
Location: Victoria BC
Posts: 1,603

Focus on the now and how you're feeling. Try not to think too much about what may happen. It will make you crazy and there's very little you can do about how the future will transpire anyway. Keep talking with your partner. Talk about your hopes and dreams as well as about your fears. Be happy with yourself and become your own primary (there's a great deal of strength in knowing that even though your preferance it to be with someone that you'll be just fine all by yourself).
Everything will be ok in the end. If it's not ok it's not the end.
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Old 02-14-2013, 08:53 AM
Cleo Cleo is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Europe
Posts: 485

Hi Octopus,
I suffer from irrational break-up fear too. It sucks. Welcome to the club
Here's what's working for me (somewhat, because after 4 years, I still get anxious and restless every now and then, but the attacks seem not to last as long, and I seem to able to calm myself down much faster)

I don't think, actually, that break-up fear is irrational. After all, there is a possibility, always, that a relationship will end (either because you, or the other person, or you both, desire it to end).
For me, telling myself that my fears are irrational, doesn't work, because it feels like I am denying reality, and then when something real happens that is a sign that a break up is actually a possible reality (like when my BF started dating again) it hits me double as hard. While when I know, and realize, that all things can change and that like GG says all relationships have clock attached, it becomes easier to deal with reality.

And that, for me, makes it easier to start building trust and confidence. Also: I ask all my partners to reassure me of this: that they will let me know if they no longer want to be with me. Kind of 'no news is good news' and I will ask them this again, every now and then, if I need the reassurance. I don;t think there's anything wrong with feeling fear sometimes and telling your partners you need reassurance, as long as it doesn't turn into needy and clingy and dependant behavior.
Cleo - forties straight female
Ren - husband of 20 + years
Bo - BF of 3 years
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breakup, fear, new relationships

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