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Thread: struggling with relationship issue

  1. #1

    struggling with relationship issue

    hello all, this is my first post. sorry to dive in at the deep end like this but I've been reading the forum archives and I would appreciate other people's opinions on my situation.

    To cut a long story short, there's a girl I really like who I think may be interested in me but I clam up and feel really bad when I'm around her. This might seem like a question for an agony aunt but the reason I'm posting here is because I suffered from severe depression a few years ago and much of it was centered around relationship issues - it was meditation that helped bring me out of it and my practice has been helpful in all areas of my life ever since.

    This time however, I seem unable to distance myself from my emotions. Whenever she's around (we work together) I lose all focus and feel entirely overwhelmed. I get this horrible sinking feeling in the middle of my chest and literally feel crippled. This isn't a crush, or love at first sight, or any other positive feeling/state. It's a *very* unpleasant feeling. Like the pain of unrequited love or breaking up with someone you love. That in itself strikes me as odd - I barely know this girl so any attraction is mostly physical - why such strong feelings for someone I hardly know?

    when I'm sitting, the same thoughts & feelings come up and generally I'm able to take a step back and let them be. I'd give anything to have that kind of control in a "live" situation when she's around but I feel completely overwhelmed. Afterwards I beat myself up: I avoid the one person I'd really like to get to know. It doesn't make sense.

    I'd really appreciate any advice or insight tat anyone can offer


  2. #2

    Re: struggling with relationship issue

    Hi Rob
    welcome - I write as someone who has been with my wife for nearly 27 years.
    Your feelings appear normal to me- just performance anxiety. Try and be brave & ask her out for a walk, a coffee or a chat - just keep it light & be genuine. If you can't do that - write her a letter. If you can't do that - just let it go, don't ruminate & eventually the feelings will fade.
    Good luck & tell us how you get on
    Best wishes

  3. #3

    Re: struggling with relationship issue

    A couple of suggestions. Meditation is good, but don't overlook other avenues of support, such as a counselor, in-person support groups, online support and research. It sounds like you suffer from a form of social anxiety, which may be related to your depression.

    Here is a link to a website about SA:

    The great thing about Buddhism is that it doesn't rule out support through other means. The point is to end suffering. Part of the eightfold path and the Dharma is to use the "raft" that gets you to the other shore. Buddhism isn't in competition with science, and so embraces scientific methods as a way to also end suffering.

    Much metta,


  4. #4

    Re: struggling with relationship issue

    Howdy Stranger,

    I second Jamie and Jools' guidance, especially the suggestion that you may want to talk with someone, a counselor, about social anxiety.

    Whether you ask her out or not, hey, if it doesn't work out ... you will get over that. My dad told me that when I was 17, and it sure was true several times in my life (until, of course, I got married 17 years ago Never got over that! 8) )

    The principle teaching of Buddhism on this is that emotional attachment is suffering. That is especially true for the "attachment" part of the equation, i.e., wanting something and needing something to be any way other than "just as it is" (for example, wanting the girl when she does not want you). It is really only a problem when you feel mental stress because you want X but life gives you Y.

    If you want X, but accept and embrace when life gives you Y ... NO PROBLEM. But if you want X, and regret and feel lack because life gives you Y ... PROBLEM.

    We learn that our emotions and thoughts are a problem when we become trapped by them, or when they run to excess. In our Shikantaza Zazen we learn to drop thoughts and emotions, allow them to quiet, settle and still. We come to realize that our mental world has aspects of a fictional play which we create for ourselves, a story whose script we write (maybe not the objective facts and events of our life, but our mental reactions and responses to those facts and events). Change the thoughts and emotions, and the story greatly changes.

    Good luck and keep us posted. Maybe some of the other romantics in this Sangha will have some guidance for you.

    Gassho, Dear Abbey

  5. #5

    Re: struggling with relationship issue

    Hey Rob.
    Welcome to treeleaf, hope you find this place helpful.

    as for relationships i can tell you one thing i know that is true for me.
    relationship is a game and it is a very delicate one with no rules to guide you. i for one dont like that game, so i dont play it.
    the best pick up line in my opinion is just to come over and say " hi " just be yourself. as for the feelings and thoughts that rise up when you sit its just that dont get attached to it and in the end you will understand how your mind works and where are those things coming from. if you take a step back you indulge in it in my opinion so you should just let them go and sit.
    when you are with her you should just be there with no thought of what she will think or what will happen. nothing bad will happen and if it happens, well it is just life and it happens.

    i wish i could give you the answer to your question and make it all alright, but the truth is there is no such great answer... so let it be.

    hope it helps.
    thank you for opening up and sharing it with us.

    Gassho, Daniel.

  6. #6

    Re: struggling with relationship issue

    thank you everyone for your very thoughtful replies. I had an ah-ha moment as I was reading them. I was so caught up in trying to make my meditation "work" in that situation that I neglected a far simpler explanation - social anxiety.

    By the way, those of you who mentioned that that's what it could be were absolutely spot on. I saw a therapist a couple of years ago and that's one of the things we worked on. Long story short, I made progress with my therapist and was able to do so again today. I somehow plucked up the courage to ask her out and she said ..... no

    I'm disappointed but also relieved that I now know for sure and can move on. I learnt a valuable lesson too: sometimes you can try too hard to be a Buddhist and take the Buddhist point of view on everything. Until this morning that was a hindrance not a help.

    now is the time to practice awareness. even now there are thoughts of "maybe she didn't mean it" or "maybe she'll change her mind". Also, I'm feeling rejected and there are plenty of negative thoughts about the girl in question and about myself - feeling hurt makes me see the worst in others - and it would be easy to let my mind run away with this. The same person that was the object of my affection just a few hours ago could become someone to be feared and disliked! All for the sake of one conversation.

    I think lots of metta is in order. thanks all for reading and for your earlier replies.



  7. #7

    Re: struggling with relationship issue

    Hey Rob

    and welcome to Treeleaf!

    Somewhat late reply. :-)

    Somehow the girl managed to push all the right buttons, the areas in which you so wisely see plenty opportunities for growth! 8)

    I guess practice helps us to distinguish between the people and the buttons (our own issues). It just occurred to me that we without realising it maybe pushing someone else's buttons!


    Irina (the Button Pusher)

  8. #8

    Re: struggling with relationship issue

    Hi Irina

    that's a very insightful comment.

    I'm taking the rejection very hard to be honest but as you suggest, that's down to my own issues. All she did was turn down a date - not exactly a crime. It makes me wonder how others might have been affected by one of my "insignificant" (insignificant to me) comments or actions in the past.



  9. #9

    Re: struggling with relationship issue


    Put that girl down!

    Two traveling monks reached a river where they met a young woman. Wary of the current, she asked if they could carry her across. One of the monks hesitated [because of the Vinaya rules for monastics], but the other quickly picked her up onto his shoulders, transported her across the water, and put her down on the other bank. She thanked him and departed.

    As the monks continued on their way, the one was brooding and preoccupied. Unable to hold his silence, he spoke out. "Brother, our spiritual training teaches us to avoid any contact with women, but you picked that one up on your shoulders and carried her!"

    "Brother," the second monk replied, "I set her down on the other side, while you are still carrying her."

  10. #10

    Re: struggling with relationship issue

    Jundo, thank you

  11. #11

    Re: struggling with relationship issue

    there's a saying, at least here in sweden, that there is a lot of other fishes in the sea, and who knows, that fish might catch you...

    May the force be with you

  12. #12

    Re: struggling with relationship issue

    Well, Well, Well... Let me tell you, social anxiety is very hard to deal with.
    I've yet to attend counciling sessions but others tell me I need to. Anti-anxiety meds help you deal day to day.
    And this is how I've come to understand how the meds work... Your brain is LAZY! and if you stop using the chemicals for happiness and well-being, your system stops making them or at least as much. Well, the meds either stimulate or replace those missing chemicals... NOW, here's the trick. Now that the chemicals are back, you need to use them! And thats where the counciling comes in. Or at least a community, to teach you to use your happiness again.
    This does reveal an interesting thing I stumbled upon during meditation. You are not your brain. You are not even trapped inside your brain! You isn't really even you if you try to find you. I know. I know . Buddhist mumbo Jumbo.
    But it makes sense to me.
    I've rambled on. and I hope it makes sense!


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