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New relationship, grief and other issues


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Hi i'm new here :)

I'm 3 months into my first serious relationship, I've fallen for my closest male friend, and we have been so very happy. Despite being in my 30s, this is the first time I've felt so deeply for someone. We have so much in common and have great fun and care so much for each other and communicate so well. However in the last week or so I've started to feel panicky about it all every so often. I'm aware that these feelings of panic aren't about whether I care about him, and they are quite irrational. I feel scared that it will all go wrong, I feel scared that I will hurt him (his last relationship ended with him being badly depressed for a while), and I'm just scared that we are making a mistake. This is despite the very real feelings I have for him, and our real compatibility.

I wonder if this is related to the grief and depression I had after my father died two years ago - until the last couple of weeks, I have had such a positive last six months, feeling on an even keel, content, even very happy. Is it a fear of being left again, a fear of losing someone I love again?

How can I help myself from feeling this intermittent panic?

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Well - since you suspect that there is a link between your experience of grief after the death of your father and this panic feeling you have in the context of your new relationship, let's go with that idea for now and say that it is a real relationship.

It is natural to feel painful grief feelings when you lose someone special to you. Part of the pain is the loss itself, but another part is the realization that all realtionships ultimately will come apart in one fashion or another (if only ultimately by the death of one of the partners). This realization of mortality is itself frightening, and this is a sort of existential fear - you can't make it go away becuase it is built into the human condition. Until someone comes up with an immortality pill (which ain't gonna happen any time soon), we're all stuck.

So - here you are enjoying this great relationship, but in the background, lurks this existential fear that it won't last forever - in several varieties - that you will hurt your partner, or vice versa he will hurt you.

There are several ways to look at the situation, however. The fear of death and dissolution can cause us to want to stick our heads in the sand and not feel the anticiatipation of the loss to be, but a better reaction is to use the knowledge that it won't always be this way to *put yourself firmly into this moment; raise your awareness of the beauty of this day* and really enjoy what is good now.

You cannot control the shape of the future too much. But you can be present in this moment and not take it for granted, or be too worried about negative things that can happen.

With regard to the feelings of panic themselves, if they are really troubling, I would suggest that you seek out a cognitive behavioral psychotherapist and do a course of therapy for Panic Disorder. This will be based on exposure therapy techniques probably - exposing you to the feeling of the panic itself and to the thoughts that cause you to worry about it, and the trick is to hang in the feeling for a while until you realize that while it is uncomfortable to be sure, it is not going to kill you.

Hope this is helpful to you.


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Thanks for your help with this. I feel rather clearer headed about it and less panicky about how I've felt. I've come to realise that grief can indeed appear years down the line, and can affect our relationships. But we can't let it take over either, even if we acknowledge the effect it has had.

I do like the idea of "put yourself firmly into this moment; raise your awareness of the beauty of this day and really enjoy what is good now." :D

Thank you!

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