Guest Post – Dating Anxiety

January 27th, 2012

Guest Post

Blogger Simone Grant first posted this yesterday. I asked  author Rachel Khona if I could repost this here and she gave me her permission. I also warned her that we can be a bit…blunt ’round these parts. She said she had no problem with us posting this.

“Are all guys assholes?” I’m sure many a woman would like to think so, but rather than leaving it to conjecture, writer Amber Madison decides to tackle that question head first scientific-style in her book of the same name. In it, she traverses this glorious country of ours interviewing men of all races, socio-economic backgrounds and ages searching for the answer to that much-asked question.

Her conclusion? No, of course not all guys are assholes, dickwads, or douchebags. Just as all women are not psycho. But like ourselves, they don’t always know what they want or if you’re the girl they want that something with, causing them to behave in all manners of bizarre, mysterious and weird as they try to figure it out. Or in my case they may severely lacking in self-esteem, mentally unstable, a pill-popping drug addict, or emotionally closed off because daddy dearest left the fam. The problem is not everyone is self-aware and we end up getting taken on someone else’s emotional roller coaster ride before we even know it. Feeling jaded and used, women end up chalking the guy’s behavior up to being an .

After reading the book, I decided to download the accompanying iPhone app, the “A-hole tester” to see if the guy I was dating, (we’ll call him Adam), had any subconscious predilections for assholery. After taking the 18-question quiz, it deduced that he only had a 10% chance of being an asshole. He was in the clear; for awhile.

Unfortunately I soon realized that while he wasn’t quite an asshole, Adam wasn’t all there either. Social anxiety and a long-standing relationship with popping anti-depressants made him one beer short of a six-pack. This is not to say all people with mental disorders or who take anti-depressants are batty, but in many a case it does and this one was no exception. Especially if the said party is unwilling to deal with it.

As I tend to attract all manner of depressed, bipolar, emotionally unavailable, and panic-attack prone, I couldn’t help but wish for a sister app called “Is he mentally stable?” As someone who has grown up around people who do have mental instability issues, the red flags that would signal someone else to run in the other direction often went right over my head. A mental stability app would surely be a service to someone such as myself. I imagined it would go something like this:

1.      Are any of his friends closet alcoholics?

2.      Does he exhibit any sort of nervous mannerisms?

3.      Does he take anti-depressants?

4.      Is he scared of the phone?

5.      Is he capable of telling you the truth or does he have serious avoidance issues?

Perhaps such an app would have prevented me from even bothering with Adam?

Or maybe I should have just paid attention to the signs.

Exhibit A:

I had invited Adam to a birthday party. He eagerly agreed to come and then try to slowly back out of it.

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It would be obvious to a blind chicken that he was full of shit. I knew full well that he was freaking out about coming to my friend’s birthday. Frankly, I thought it might have been too soon, but with our busy schedules it was the only night we could hang out that week. With his late hours, alternate weekends with his daughter, and my traveling, we had to make concessions in order to see each other.

Besides, I had suffered through meeting all of his very immature friends before we even had our first official date. We had met at a bar and coincidentally both happened to be going to Philadelphia the next day. For the entire weekend, I got to hear his best friends howling about Adam had been jerking off every waking second. Every time Adam tried to get close to me, his friends with hoot like a bunch of monkeys making fun of us for liking each other. So as far I was concerned, his ass could come to my friend’s very civilized and un-hooligan-like birthday party.

Now if I had been paying attention to the red flags, like the fact that he considers a raging alcoholic, who can’t stand his wife  a friend, I might have cut Adam out sooner.

But I didn’t. Like Pamela Anderson to a rocker, I kept going back to the kooks. Had he told me from the get go he didn’t want to go, I wouldn’t have cared especially as we had just started dating. But his inability to be straight with me was what was seriously pissing me off.

After these getting exasperated with the texting, I finally called Adam.

“What’s going on?” I asked.

“The train isn’t working and there are no cabs,” he responded.

“Can’t you call a cab?” I asked.

“I don’t have the number for a cab and it’s raining so I probably won’t get one.”

It was as though I was dealing with a 10-year-old. It reminded me of the time I stole a Smurfette pin when I was six and I did everything in my power to convince my mother that I did not in fact steal the pin. She saw right through my cockamamie story. And I saw right through his.

“Maybe we should just hang out another night then.”

“No, no I’ll come!” Nothing like reverse psychology.

“Great.” I hung up the phone.

He did finally make it over. But if I had been smarter I would have nipped that in the bud a lot quicker. Turns out Adam had social anxiety, a real and serious disorder that causes people to become very uncomfortable in social situations. I tried to be understanding, but his anxiety quickly unraveled soon thereafter. He couldn’t deal with smallest of issues without turning into a blubbering nervous mess. And as much as I would have like to see myself as the June to a man’s Johnny or the Sharon to an Ozzy, the reality is most of the time that shit just doesn’t fly.

When it finally ended between us, I was bummed. I kept wondering what I had done wrong, in spite of the fact that he made it clear that he was missing a few marbles. Suspicious that he hadn’t really told me everything that was really going on, I did what anyone would do; I googled him. What I found shocked me:

[redacted]

The message was posted a year ago on a forum for people with borderline personality disorder. The proverbial icing on the cake? He’s a therapist. Now it all made sense.

I realized someone who is mentally unstable with no desire to change is not going to do so no matter how fabulous you are. Their issues are more likely due to their own esteem than anything you’ve done.

So is he an asshole? Is he just not that into you? Maybe he’s just not that into himself.

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11 Responses to “Guest Post – Dating Anxiety”

  1. dimplz Says:

    It seems like Rachel was trying to test Adam to see what lengths he would go to be with her and her friends, and when he failed the test, she decided he was an asshole. As she mentioned, she thought it was too soon herself, yet she complained about him not going the extra mile to be with her.

    Ladies, if you are at the beginning of a relationship, leave your “couple time” separate from your “friend time.” Placing all these expectations on someone when you’re not sure if they are going to be around in a month or two is an exercise in futility. You’re much better off keeping your friendships and relationships separate until you become serious.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 1

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    • Howard Says:

      This micro-analyzing of the guy and not themselves after the fact is so typical. Tell you what ladies, you have been doing that a while and it’s not working. How about micro-analyzing yourself and why you missed signals or were attracted to the wrong things in the first place? What do you have to lose? You really can’t do much about how varied the pool of men are, but you can surely do something about yourself.

      I am always amazed at how many decent looking guys, well educated, good manners and desperate for a relationship, are out there getting discounted. My experience has always been one of beign discounted when I meet women in normal situations. Women seem to make up their minds before I even say a word about who and what I am. Funnily enough , when I was younger and met women in situations where they met me as a track star it would be the opposite. Another situation is where women come up on me in a social situation where I am the center of social attention holding people in rapt attention. In those situations women would pedestal me too. And that is just a bunch of nonsense. How about being blank when we meet someone, not assuming anything?

      That ASSUME word is like the giant monster men have to get past. Years of training have allowed me to quickly get past that, if I want to. And that last phrase “If I want to” is very pertinent. Trust me, the players in life always want to, and they are even better than me at getting past any initial discounting.

      The one thing I will say is that the concept of an A-hole tester is good in principle, if women started with a blank slate (no discounting or pedestaling), knew how to work it and actually took its predictions properly. This article is probably a good example of that not happening.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

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  2. Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

    I’m not sure how she learned of his SAD. I’m inferring that he told her.

    I tried to be understanding, but his anxiety quickly unraveled soon thereafter. He couldn’t deal with smallest of issues without turning into a blubbering nervous mess.

    The whole reason I wanted to post this was because of the topic of SAD. I think people would be surprised to know how many people suffer from SAD. I suffer from it, and it can be really awful. However, it is quite manageable and treatable.

    I was diagnosed with Clinical Anxiety as a kid. I’ve mentioned before that I struggled with a particularly stressful bout of it this past year. For the most part, it’s easily managed. I take Inositol, which is a natural supplement, I watch my caffeine intake, I make sure to get enough sleep, I make sure to work out and exercise. If you were around me whenever I was having an attack, you wouldn’t know anything was off unless I told you. If anything, my friends bore most of the brunt because I would stress out to them. I think for everybody it’s different. Much of what I experienced was internal and I knew how to get through it without any sort of major issues. But it’s hard. And it’s pretty common. It is not something that renders us “unstable.” (Again, everybody deals with it differently.)

    I would bet that a lot of people who cancel dates last minute or who get super nervous before dates actually suffer from some form of anxiety.

    I also think the main problem here was that the author told her friends that her new guy was coming for this party and was embarrassed that he was late or trying to cancel. I know for me that the idea of walking in to a room full of people I don’t know can paralyze me with anxiety. While I don’t think i turn in to a blubbering mess, I know inside I am freaking out. If I don’t get enough sleep the night before or have something go wrong, it affects my whole day. I get through it, though.

    Just food for thought.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

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  3. Selena Says:

    Are you referring to GAD – Generalized Anxiety Disorder Moxie? SAD is Seasonal Affective Disorder – which describes those suseptible to depression in the Winter months- too many days of grey skies, not enough light.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

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  4. Saj Says:

    I suffered from SAD for years as a teenager and only through baptism by fire by working in the service industry was I able to slowly get over it and even that took years.

    What’s comfortable and fun for the OP can be a nerve wracking nightmare for someone with this disorder. Forget public speaking! Walking into a party full of people where you know nobody but one person and you are expected to be impressive can make you feel sick to your stomach. I’m really surprised at the lack of compassion she showed Adam and assumed his trying to get out of it was a personal slight against her.

    Someone with Social Anxiety Disorder is like dealing with an extreme introvert. One on one or around known people it’s fine but large groups full of people you don’t know or sorta know is rough. The guy actually showed up! That’s props that he did try to get out of his comfort zone but still it wasn’t good enough.

    He’s better off with someone who’s more compassionate and not so hung up on her date impressing her friends.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

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  5. Robyn Says:

    The fact that some one is taking anti-depressant medication should not be considered an out & out negative / red flag.
    Quite often depression can be a biochemical and / or congenital (inherited) condition that the person – quite genuinely – could not “prevent”.

    The fact that some one has recognized that they suffer from a medical condition (depression being but one example), has taken steps to have it correctly diagnosed and treated, and is managing their condition appropriately is way more of a plus than a minus, in my book.

    It shows that they can take responsibility for and manage their life, and deal with whatever ups and downs may come their way.

    That being said, when some one clearly has a problematic condition, but refuses to seek treatment and / or exacerbates their condition by their chosen lifestyle or behaviors – that is most definitely a big red flag.

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  6. Bree Says:

    I liken this to Big & Carrie post marriage on Sex & The City The Movie.
    When Carrie wants to continue to be out and about and be the social butterfly that she is and Big is content to sit home, chill, veg and watch old movies and there the breaking down of the relationship slowly begins and it begins to unravel with that one thread.
    Bottom line is relationship are all about Compromise. If you cannot do that then you will forever be single and need to stay that way until you can Compromise.
    While watching that part of the movie toward the end what I was thinking was – Carrie should have really thought this through before she married Big. I think she fell in love with his character “Big” and the idea of who he was and their love story more than she did with him as a man. If Carrie is going to be unwilling to compromise and be more settled with him, (especially considering the fact that he is an older man) she doesn’t need to be with him. Other option is to settle her azz down and be less of a social butterfly and love and accept him for who he is, even if it’s not a lot like her.
    To the OP either leave this man alone and find a man who is more sociable like you or accept him as he is, don’t pressure him to go to parties, events, and to meet your friends and learn to accept his world and his life as he knows it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

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  7. myself Says:

    I can’t tell what the purpose of this story was other than to make fun of someone with a social disorder.

    Why would anybody attach their real name to a story like this? The author comes off insensitive and mean-spirited.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

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