Friday, April 10, 2009

My latest phobia

So I mentioned tattoo-girl last time. Almost as much fun as the dating is the coming up with nicknames for these girls. In my Year In Review post (on whose resolutions I know I'm only batting about .500, learn to cope by smoking or playing online backgammon) I mentioned a few girls that I haven't written about yet, including BabyMamaDrama and LawyerNotALaywer. Now there's tattoo-girl, MidwestFarmersDaughter (really makes me feel alright), MadeInTaiwan, and GenericAsianGirlBecauseICan'tThinkOfABetterNickname. Unfortunately for you, dear reader, I can't write about them until it's over. It is merely a matter of time (when, not if) before this blog is discovered, therefore it's so much better for my sex life if conjugal relations are already off-the-table with the individual(s) in question. (and yes, I've done it on-the-table)

What I can write about is a problem I've never experienced before: Fear of Commitment

I find myself afraid of commitment for the first time in my life. Interestingly, reading about it online, people who fear commitment most often also crave it. It's this weird dichotomy that causes discomfort. I've always known that I have a fear of committing to my job- I like to think that I could totally switch careers at a moment's notice without getting boxed into a potentially-limiting careerpath. I don't really consider that a fear of commitment though, it's more specifically fearing a lack of options. But fear of commitment to a relationship is something I don't ever recall feeling, and I don't like it. There are all sorts of websites that explain that it stems from stuff like fear of losing ones freedom, space, identity. For others, it stems from a fear of losing something more tangible, like money. A lot of people experience commitmentphobia as a result of previous failed relationships, accompanied by a fear of abandonment, and it would be tempting to blame my divorce (5th anniversary is week after next) for this but I don't think that's the case. I mean, I've been in a committed, long-term post-divorce relationship and didn't feel like this.

But what if, subconsciously, I knew that I had nothing to fear from that relationship because I thought, subconsciously, that it would never work out? That is, if I'm in a "safe" relationship, I have nothing to fear. (But since I never thought about it until now, the more likely explanation is that it really WAS a safe relationship and I had nothing to fear.)

So why am I feeling this way now? It's true that I've been spending a lot of time with tattoo-girl. And although I've also spent a lot of time and remain friends with LawyerNotALawyer, I really don't see any future for that relationship. It's also true that I've always been afraid of abandonment, failure, and other related issues. But that stuff has never stopped me from pursuing a relationship before. I am on the verge of a relationship with tattoo-girl and I find myself having self-sabotaging thoughts about ending it (or at least limiting it) before really giving it a chance.

I think I've mentioned this before, but my ex-wife told me that I "settled" for her, so I guess it boils down to being afraid of settling again. I am curious to see what else is out there, which is probably just a case of 'the grass is always greener' syndrome. The attention that I've been getting lately has definitely boosted my confidence, something else with which I don't have much experience. Perhaps I'm just nervous about having confidence.