Fear of dating, fear of starting a family

Dear Candy,
I’ve never really dated because I was born with so many physical defects. But with pressure from my family and longtime friends, should I take them up on just getting out there and meeting other people? I’ve been made fun of my whole life for the way I look, and the thought of sharing myself with someone else is even more terrifying.

— Scared and Scarred

Dear Scared and Scarred,
I agree with you on your premise that dating takes courage. When you put yourself in the arena of dating, you also put yourself in the arena of possible rejection. There is really no safe place when it comes to a decision around dating or not dating.

If you decide to date, there’s the risk of being hurt. If you decide to not date, there’s the risk of being lonely. But do take to heart that there are people in your life — family and friends — who love you and want the best for you. That tells me you have the skill set to make and keep friends. Interestingly enough, these same skills are used to date, connect and form relationships on a romantic level.

You have the skills. Do you have the courage? I believe the decision to date or not to date is up to you. You have a history of living a courageous life. You have managed to make long-term friendships and survive the meanness of peers. The important thing is for you to continue to make yourself happy and live a life of meaning.

When your family and friends see your happiness and fulfillment, they will embrace whatever decision you make.

Good Luck, Candy

Dear Candy,
About five years ago, I had a miscarriage, and haven’t been able to fully bounce back from the pain ever since.
My current boyfriend and I are marrying one another this summer, and I’m beyond elated to spend the rest of my life with this amazing person. As much as he wants children of our own, my fears on the outcomes of having another child are too strong for me to give in to the ideal life I once had for myself. Please help, Ms. Candy, because I just want to have the happiest life and marriage possible.

— Idealist No More

Dear INM,
The loss of a child through miscarriage can be traumatizing. One of the less-recognized forms of post-traumatic stress disorder results from the trauma of having a miscarriage. While a period of grieving and sadness is expected after losing an unborn child, it’s important to recognize when normal grieving ends and clinical PTSD begins. Grieving for more than five years and feeling the pain as if it was yesterday are two symptoms of PTSD.

You have more healing to do. Healing does not mean forgetting. Seek the help of a therapist who specializes in PTSD. You have been hurting too long.

— Congratulations on your upcoming marriage, Candy


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