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Dr Michelle Answers: Past Rejections Have Me On Edge, How Can I Enjoy Dating Again?

Black Ballad is celebrating Love Month, and each week in February Dr Michelle Nyangereka, a counselling psychologist, chartered member of The British Psychological Society (BPS) and a registered Practitioner Psychologist with the Health Care Professions Council, will be answering your relationship dilemmas. Grouped around a theme, the problems represent Black Ballad readers’ common concerns.

This week’s question:

I’m currently dating someone who is pretty amazing and things are going well, however I have anxiety that at any moment they will turn around and end things. It stems from past experiences whereby I’ve thought things were going well, or perhaps expressed that something feels off, i.e. not much communication, a need for more dates, and the person has either turned around and admitted that this isn’t for them or they’ve initially dismissed my concerns and then ended things not long after. So occasionally, when the person I’m currently dating is reassuring me, I get anxious that there’s a ‘but’ coming after it, e.g. ‘I like spending time with you but…’, ‘I’m enjoying speaking to you but…’, yet this hasn’t come. How can I enjoy dating and getting to know this new person without constantly feeling like I'm going to be blindsided?

Black women, in particular, are often in the dubious position of being simultaneously ‘too much’ and ‘not enough’. How have these past relationships made you feel? Do you notice this tendency show up anywhere else in your life? It is helpful to get familiar with the words, phrases, thinking patterns and emotions that arise when these feelings have been triggered. They may not completely disappear, but becoming conscious of them means that they are less likely to be in the driving seat of your relationships and life as unconscious reactions.