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Dear Scared,

See a Therapist

Come on, these could just be normal feelings.

I hate to cop-out by sending you into the mental health world, but you are expressing really specific issues that would best be worked out in a therapeutic environment, where the conflicting pressures of friends and family don't muddy your thinking.

Here's what I see from your brief statement.

You have a history of getting involved with men who "bully" (your word) you. My guess is that you like to feel safe and protected by the guy. He makes a lot of the decisions, he might buy you nice things or take you out, and at first, you feel cozy with the big protector.

Later, when you start to actually have needs that might diverge slightly from his, he puts his foot down. He's used to making the decisions, and he's used to you following along. When things don't always go his way, he gets mad, he blames you, he bullies you.

You also say that you are "feeling threatened and frightened of losing your autonomy."

Wow! Lots of questions.

Is he doing something to bring out your fear? Are you just worried that this one will be like the past? You need to work out specific strategies for creating a separate place for yourself in this relationship.

Yes, relationships mean giving up some of your autonomy. You can't always do everything you want to do when you want.

For a woman, at least, it does mean losing part of yourself.

But, it shouldn't mean losing yourself! That's a big leap, from giving up an occasional activity you enjoy to the total loss of self. If you are prone to giving up everything in relationships, take a step back and figure out why...

You certainly don't have to give up too much to be in a healthy relationship -- until you have kids, that is.






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