Anxiety is an unwelcome visitor that lurks like a prickly beast on the back porch of our minds. We do not want it there, but nevertheless it keeps on showing up night after night, driving down property values. However, we do not need to let the beast of anxiety take over our lives. There are ways to take back your power.
Based on the number of anxiety based questions submitted to this column, it is a fairly common affliction. I do not know of a single person that does not do battle with the beast on a regular basis, one way or another. It is a beast that can be brought to heel, if addressed properly. Today we tackle some of the various ways that anxiety can come creeping into our lives and some techniques to beat it off of the back porch.
How Do I Deal With My Feelings Around My Failed Marriage?
“I have been in a marriage that should have ended years ago and now it finally has. I have a huge sense of failure about that fact, especially in regards to the children we have, but being authentic to who I am versus who she wants me to be has to matter…right? You think when you are young that if you have financial security and quality friends that life will be great and then you find out that is not always the case. I am one such example.
I spent a week away from my wife and was no longer stressed or having anxiety. I thought my anxiety was related to work, but no. It was not. It was related to my marriage. It was really eye opening. Now that we are finally separated, how do I get past this sense of failure about the end of our marriage?”-Divorced Dad in the Dumps
While a marriage ending is never a pleasant time for anyone, no matter how civil the separation may be, you absolutely did the right thing. Yes, even with kids in the equation. Some people are in the camp that when children are involved, parents should stay together no matter what. Even if they are miserable. I do not see how this is healthy long term. Two people trapped in a relationship that is not working for them, that are white knuckling it for the sake of the children, are creating an unhealthy atmosphere around them whether or not they are aware of it.
Kinky people marrying vanilla people and thinking that it will all somehow work out in the end is one of the most common conundrums that I hear. If you are kinky, it is how you are wired. You can deny it and pretend that it does not exist, but that part of you is not going to vanish. No matter how hard you try and suppress it. I know so many kinky people that reach middle age and finally realize they could no longer deny their wiring. They are now facing having to explore a side of themselves that has been locked away for an extremely long time. Not to mention the stress and anxiety brought on by a marriage ending. It is a less than desirable place to be.
Donning a fake mask to please someone else is inevitably going to end in grief and is an exercise in futility. It takes courage to be your true and authentic self. Being trapped in a marriage where you cannot be your authentic self is a form of suffering nobody should have to go through. It is incredibly toxic to be living a lie. Being your true and authentic self does not make you a selfish person. It is who you are. It is how you are wired. You are much better off co-parenting and raising children in an respectful atmosphere with less stress then attempting to pretend that your marriage has not gone off the rails.
Your time is the most precious and valuable commodity you will ever be given, and how you choose to invest that commodity counts for everything. Those that choose to invest it in a relationship where they cannot be their true and authentic self will inevitably regret that decision. This is a fact. You do not get back the time that you wasted living a lie. As painful as your current situation is, I promise that you will get through it. And there is a life with less anxiety and stress waiting for you on the other end of that tunnel.
What Can I Do About My Anxiety Around Feeling Judged For Being Kinky?
“ Even though I know that I am kinky, I feel too scared to explore it. I am so worried about judgment from my friends or family or potential partners. I do not want people to think I am some sort of freaky pervert. How do I let people know that I am kinky without them judging me?”–Scared and in the Closet
I have always believed honesty to be the best policy. The more that you are your true and honest self, the more you will find yourself surrounded by people that accept your true and honest self. You are keeping yourself in the closet because you are worried about judgement from friends or family or people that you may be interested in dating. In terms of honesty, the only people that you need to fill in about your proclivities are possible partners. Your friends and family do not need to know about your sex life. One’s proclivity for spanking does not usually come up around the dinner table. If you are worried about your parents judging you, factor in that an interest in D/s dynamics is not a frequent topic of discussion at holiday gatherings… in most families anyway.
The only people that need to know about your wiring are the people that need to know –potential partners. I cannot stress enough how important it is to be honest with potential partners about exactly what it is you’re looking for. Might some people freak out and judge you? Maybe. But why would you want those people in your life in the first place? Why would you ever want to interact intimately with someone who is uncomfortable with your wiring? By being upfront and honest, you have saved both you and them the most valuable thing of all: time.
I, like you, spent years denying my wiring, worried about being judged. I stayed in the closet much longer than I ever needed to. When I finally had the courage to come out, I realized that most people do not even care in the first place. They are way too busy living their own lives to bother being concerned about what you are doing with yours. As long as you are ethical and honest, feel free to live your life in the way that feels right to you. Don’t invest so much time in being concerned with what others think of you. That is wasted time.
When you are completely honest about what it is you’re looking for, you will vastly increase your chances of finding a partner that is looking for the same thing. Make no mistake, other kinky people are out there. You are not the only kinkster in the world, I can promise you that. I am always quite clear about exactly what I am looking for. I may not be a fit with 99% of people out there, but I will fit with some. Approach your relationships accordingly. Don’t settle for a situation that does not work for you. You are worth not settling for less than you deserve.
Why Do I Feel Anxiety Around People I’m Attracted To?
“ Whenever I find myself attracted to someone, I become so anxious that I feel paralyzed around them. I freeze up and do not know what to do or say. I have missed so many opportunities. How do I stop freezing up around people that I feel attracted to?”–Attracted and Awkward
Ah, the awkward attraction anxiety. I have been there. It is not a pleasant place to be. Being attracted to someone and not knowing what to do about the attraction is a challenging situation. Luckily, there is a cure. I have found the best way to explore an attraction is to let something happen naturally and not force it.
Stopping people in the street or grocery store to create an interaction because you feel an attraction rarely goes well. Seeing someone at a party that you are attracted to and trying to get to know them better can often be very painful. Trying to make small talk about mundane topics can easily go astray. My solution is to find an activity or an event where there is an overarching purpose for people coming together as opposed to just forced small talk. By focusing on a bigger activity and not trying to force an interaction, your natural self shines through. Whether it is volunteering for a cause or an activity like a beach cleanup, if everybody already has a purpose and a task to focus on, it is much easier to get to know people.
The more awkward someone gets about feeling an attraction, the more they can freeze up. An awkward anxious person can be very challenging to interact with. The more relaxed you are, the more people respond positively to you. It can be a case of fake it until you make it. Give yourself permission to relax and not become a tight ball of anxiety. People will respond to that. The more that you practice relaxing, the easier it will become
People often feel uncertain as to whether or not someone is attracted to them. Here is the clue: If someone is attracted to you, they will find reasons to have increased interactions with you. Be it a conversation, stopping by because they are in the neighborhood, finding a reason to reach out to you on social media, the more a person wants to interact with you, the more reasons they will find to do so. If someone is making no effort to interact with you, it is not because they’re playing hard-to-get, it is because they do not reciprocate the attraction.