Q: Whenever I am dating a woman, I always feel the need to be the one in control. I tend to be very guarded. Conversations seem to always be about my superficial stuff, then the relationship usually ends, and I never really form a solid connection. I have begun to date someone I really care for, and would love to see this pattern change. But I'm a little scared about being more open. Thanks for taking the time to help.
A: There are real risks in trusting another enough to let your guard down, to let them see all facets of you and perhaps to even let them take care of you. What if they disappoint you? What if they can't give you all you need? These are painful questions to explore. Asking will absolutely bring up unfamiliar and sometimes anxiety-provoking feelings. The key is to not let fear stop your progress or halt you from taking action. By writing to me, you have taken the first step to ensure this does not happen.
Start by bringing your girlfriend into the conversation. If you really want to let her in, admit and own your vulnerabilities. The immediate benefit: she will begin to realize that your guarded behavior isn't a result of anything she has or hasn't done. The very real indication of commitment you display in revealing yourself will give her a big boost of confidence in the relationship.
Take the focus off yourself by consciously investigating your girlfriend's internal world. What are her interests? What are her goals? What are her opinions? From a selfish perspective, being open to her experiences can be liberating for you as well. After all, there is only so much time we can spend focusing on ourselves before we experience chronic boredom and dissatisfaction!
Trying to control your past relationships has been a powerful defense against intimacy and connection, which no longer serves you. Feel confident enough in who you are to make room for another's voice. This will inevitably strengthen your core identity while helping you mature. I think you will find that being brave in love goes a long way.
Thanks for the question. It is an important one.
Please send all questions and comments to "Ask Noah" at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a profitable and peaceful week,
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