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The guy I'm dating doesn't believe I have social anxiety, does it matter?

Tagged as: Dating, Health<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (9 November 2017) 9 Answers - (Newest, 8 December 2017)
A female United Kingdom age 36-40, anonymous writes:

I've been on a few dates with this guy. I feel a bit of a spark but I am worried about something he said to me. Part of me feels that if I liked him enough to date him I won't worry about what he said.

I told him that I suffer from social anxiety (I have real trouble in certain situations, e.g. mainly speaking to people in authority, interviews, presentations). He doesn't believe me because he says, socially anxious people don't start their own businesses or go speed dating (which is where I met him).

Part of me thinks I am not going to get everything in a boyfriend. He has his good qualities he is intelligent and comes up with things in conversation which I find interesting. He will if we've talked about something send me information he's found online that is related to that topic, he is engaged in my interests he knows I have a thing about photography and filming and will happily stand around while I film and take photographs and even take me to places where I can entertain my hobby.

Considering he has at least some qualities I like should I overlook his denial of my problem. I can't necessarily get everything from one man, and ultimately I have to sort out my own problems I can't lean on someone else. If I wait around for the perfect man I think I'll be rather disappointed.

View related questions: engaged, spark, speed dating

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A female reader, aunt honesty Ireland +, writes (8 December 2017):

aunt honesty agony auntOP don't worry about him being sympathetic. Honestly he doesn't understand anxiety and that is why he won't have sympathy. Personally I don't want people to have sympathy for me when I am taking an anxiety attack. I prefer to deal with it myself. It is hard for people to understand it. Don't feel like you are different because you have anxiety lots of people live with it from day to day. Accept it is part off you learn how to cope with it things will feel much better. I would rather someone look at me and feel proud off how strong I am coping than to look at me and feel sorry for me just because I suffer with GAD.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (20 November 2017):

Hi its the person who asked the question. I think it was symptomatic of a wider issue which was him not really listening. I pulled him up on this and we had an argument, we are no longer seeing eachother.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (10 November 2017):

Hi thanks for your answers I have been diagnosed with generalised anxiety disorder and mild depression. Part of my generalised anxiety includes anxiety in social situations. I've had therapy for both conditions and at the moment I am attending an organisation that offers a peer mentoring scheme. I am also reading a book which claims to have cured people of their social anxiety. Over the years I've worked hard to overcome my anxiety and I am a lot better than I used to be. However I still sometimes have physical symptoms and mind blanks because of my anxiety, part of me feels if that happens he won't be very sympathetic.

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A female reader, aunt honesty Ireland +, writes (10 November 2017):

aunt honesty agony auntOP a lot off people suffer from the things that you mention (including myself), so why let it define who you are? If you want to label it as social anxiety then that is okay, but he obviously views social anxiety as something else, which yes is okay as well, you can both agree to disagree. Have you been diagnosed and are you getting any help over coming your anxiety?

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A female reader, chigirl Norway +, writes (10 November 2017):

chigirl agony auntDo you have a diagnosis? And he dismissed it? In that case, boot him. Do you not have a diagnosis, and have just diagnosed yourself? If so, keep the guy and go see your doctor for correct diagnosis.

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A female reader, Youcannotbeserious United Kingdom + , writes (9 November 2017):

Youcannotbeserious agony auntOne person's definition of social anxiety may not be the same as another's. He obviously has a very fixed idea of what it is and, as far as he is concerned, you don't fit that description. Perhaps he has known someone in the past who has suffered from the condition much more severely and thinks that it is an "all or nothing" disability?

To be honest, a lot of people (possibly more than not?) are not totally comfortable in the situations to which you refer. However, most would not say they suffered from social anxiety because of that. Unless you are VERY uncomfortable in these situations, I would not worry too much about it.

While I don't believe in compromising too much where our tick list for a partner is concerned, I do believe sometimes you have to take a cold calculated look at things and decide whether they are going to be important or cause problems in years to come. If you feel his refusal to acknowledge you have "social anxiety" is part of a bigger problem, then this could cause you problems in the future. In your shoes I would sit back and observe the bigger picture.

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A male reader, Cerberus_Raphael Sweden +, writes (9 November 2017):

Cerberus_Raphael agony auntI'd say it does matter. In fact, depending on how severe it gets, it's pretty important that he understands social anxiety and that it doesn't mean just being afraid of people and things.

Are you getting help for it? Making any kind of progress in dealing with it?

Depending on your answer to those, this may actually be something you can overlook, but it might not be.

Honestly, for now, I wouldn't overthink it (which is something you might do a lot, evidenced by what you've written and how. I'd advise you to do your best to be mindful of your thoughts), I'd just continue doing what you're doing. If you run into trouble with it and his misunderstanding of social anxiety causes him to be unsupportive, then come back to this question and really decide whether or not this is something you *want* to overlook.

I hope that helps.

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A male reader, Allumeuse United Kingdom +, writes (9 November 2017):

I think rather than denying it, he was playing it down, perhaps it was a clumsy way of saying you have the courage to do things in spite of it. I'm with Denizen- its not a defining feature of you, so why are you so protective of it? Is it diagnosed? Take it from me, what you describe as making you anxious makes you part of a select group of about 90% of all people. You should be proud of yourself for feeling the fear and doing it anyway- That group of people is much, much smaller

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A male reader, Denizen United Kingdom +, writes (9 November 2017):

Denizen agony auntYou seem to be protective of your shortcomings as if they are some important feature of your character. Most people with some form of disability tend to play it down, ignore it. You on the other hand want it recognised as an identifying feature of yourself.

Get out there and enjoy being together. You have a life story but you can change it if you want to.

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