Anticipation, as Carly Simon sang way back when, can break your heart while you wait for that call (or, these days, a text) from that special someone. If he or she is slower than you'd like, it can make you a little bit anxious and sometimes crazy. Those reactions can make or break a relationship.
The silly feelings you get at the start of a relationship are so energizing (and anxiety-producing) that I would never want to give them up for the reassurance or even a guarantee of love. But still, you want to know that the one you are sending your energy to is sending some back.
Some anticipation is a mandatory step in the dance of love. Without it, I don't think we develop a feeling of vulnerability, and though being vulnerable can be uncomfortable, it's a necessity if you want to be in love. That is, being vulnerable is both a curse and a gift.
That may be hard for some to relate to. Many people loathe that squirmy feeling and hate that their hearts are now open and so can now also be broken. But if you don't take the risk of opening your heart and soul completely, you won't love (or feel loved) completely.
Holding yourself back out of fear of getting hurt is understandable. A person may reach this place for many reasons -- most of them unpleasant -- but it's usually a choice to stay there.
No one likes feeling insecure. But you can choose how you respond to being vulnerable, for it's really a state of mind over which you have some control. You may want to remind yourself that being vulnerable is part of the process of falling in love. You can also find constructive outlets for your thoughts and emotions.
Talking with friends can help and be fun. As long as the relationship is not abusive or inappropriate, professional advice isn't a necessity. After all, though it may be difficult, what you are feeling is perfectly normal. Exercise or puttering around the house can also be a good use of the excess energy that anticipation can bring.
This may also be a good time to keep a journal. It's a safe place to put down thoughts about your feelings, a good way to release your angst and something you will enjoy looking back on after you've spent a few decades with your loved one.
Anticipation is also an energy booster. You may have the strength to move mountains or create the ultimate date night. Anticipation increases your creativity, and don't be surprised if you get a poetic thought or two. You will find new ways to bring joy to your lover and to yourself. It is amazing how much life force a growing love can give you.
In any new relationship, there is always an element of risk, and that may be what the anticipation is about. Let it keep you on your toes, so you can dance the night away with the one you love.
(Dr. Barton Goldsmith, a psychotherapist in Westlake Village, Calif., is the author, most recently, of "100 Ways to Boost Your Self-Confidence -- Believe in Yourself and Others Will Too." E-mail him at Barton(at)BartonGoldsmith.com.)
(Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service, http://www.scrippsnews.com)
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