New Relationship Nerves? Why You Can Stop Obsessing

You're Only Human

So what's the best way to soothe these new relationship nerves? Turn the tables. "At this stage of the relationship, you should be figuring out what you think of him by observing his actions and what they reveal about his character," says Tina Tessina, PhD, author of It Ends with You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction. "Focusing all your energy on what he thinks of you feeds your obsession. Actually, it's not only obsessive, but also narcissistic -- like trying to look at yourself through his eyes. Trying to alter your own traits through guessing what he will like and not like will not lead to a real relationship."

Plus, most men enjoy getting to the heart of the relationship and finding out who a woman really is. Ben Tallins, a 34-year-old pilot, was relieved when he finally saw his girlfriend eat a Big Mac. "I was worried that she was anorexic. To me, eating is fun, and I want to be with someone who feels that way, too."

The moral of the story: It's not a secret from (nor a big deal to) your boyfriend that you urinate, snore and get pimples. Bill Wilson, a 35-year-old lawyer, sums it up best: "I want a girl who doesn't intimidate me by being perfect. This may be hard for anyone who knows me to believe, but I've got flaws, too."

Quirks Are Cute! If You've Got 'Em, Flaunt 'Em

Remember the Sex and the City episode when Carrie and Big are in bed together and she accidentally lets one rip? Mortified, she grabs the covers, wraps them around her body and runs out of the room. Big cracks up because he didn't see her farting as disgusting, but endearing. (Plus, we're betting that he does it, too.)

And it's not just flatulence that makes a modern girl wary. Anxiety can arise over anything. Stacey Egen confesses, "My giggle is just like Goldie Hawn's on Laugh-In. It's very distinctive -- I always thought in a bad way." Consequently, for years, the 29-year-old Web designer's self-consciousness caused her to stifle her sense of humor and not react to a new beau's jokes. "When relationships broke up," she says, "I assumed it was because I'd finally been found out -- my giggle was obnoxious; therefore I was unappealing. That is, until Stan confessed he was uncomfortable in the relationship because I seemed so inhibited and never laughed. The irony made me break into a chortle -- which made him break into hysterics." And you know the rest: He thought her Goldie Hawn giggle was sexy! The two are presently preparing for a life together, which they hope will be filled with love and -- of course -- lots of (distinctive) laughter.

Take Me as I Am

Rhonda Findling, MA, CRC, author of The Commitment Cure says, "Insecurity comes from a fear of being rejected and abandoned. Rather than working on understanding and lessening anxiety, [we] create obsessions as an attempt to control a situation. You think if you don't pee too loudly or eat too much, he'll stick around. In reality, you can't control him."

Here's what you can do. Relationship therapist Suzanne Lopez suggests getting over your anxiety by creating a list with three columns for Feelings, Fears and Facts. For instance, Feelings: I feel overweight; Fears: I fear that I'm not good enough; Facts: We've had our sixth date. He calls every day. He says I have a beautiful body. Seeing the truth laid out in black and white can take the sting out of insecurity and help you break away from negative thoughts. Lopez recommends putting that energy to creative, rather than destructive, use: "Paint, take a walk, call a friend."

Then laugh out loud, eat a burger if you want, and if you still feel the need to obsess about something, obsess about all the time you wasted needlessly obsessing. 'Cause if he doesn't appreciate the fabulous quirks that make you you, there's a different great guy out there who definitely will.

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