The emotional cost of dating can be excruciating.  Even before we meet someone we may unconsciously believe ‘no-one will ever love me’, then when someone/anyone is interested we can become all jittery, then wait for the phonecall all the while worrying/anxious – ‘Will he call?’

Your stress grows every hour, at times turning into an irrational fear.  ‘Why doesn’t he call? ‘What did I do wrong?’ ‘Doesn’t he like me anymore?’

Then he does call, so you are on cloud nine for a few days then… you haven’t heard from him again (it’s only been half a day) so it begins all over again ‘ Will he call?’

Then once there are expectations, either conscious or unconscious, are in place, we are constantly disappointed.  ‘How dare he?’ ‘Why did he do that?’ All the while you are adding to your stress.  Most of the time, the poor guy has no idea why you would be stressed.  You were fine the last time he saw you.  You may also get angry as he said something stupid or hurtful, especially when you know he shouldn’t have said it. Or, he finally calls after five days of not calling and does not even apologise. Or, after a few months he does not publicly acknowledge you as his girlfriend!

At times you are sad as he seems so far away emotionally.

Other emotions felt are sheer happiness at being in love and even joy to be alive.  Then even this doesn’t feel quite right to share with your best friend as she is going through a hard time.

The bottom line with all of the above is that we all feel emotions.  Of course we can learn to control them.  Part of this control is to feel and express them.

Unfortunately women can tend to dwell in the emotion and get more emotional, often looking to their girlfriends for validation.  Men on the other hand are determined not to feel any, and when they do they go back into their cave.

Typical substances to suppress different emotions include:

To suppress fear, people drink alcohol ie get drunk!

To suppress sadness, often people turn to cannabis, ie get stoned.

To suppress anger, the substance of choice is cigarettes.

Remember it is also not good to dwell.

An emotion prolonged turns into a mood.

A mood prolonged turns into an attitude.

An attitude prolonged turns into an outlook on life (I’m just like that).

So to turn this life of turmoil around into a valuable lesson, successful steps include.

1                     Express the emotion.  This may be by watching a sad movie to make you cry, or watching a comedy to make you laugh. Or swim laps or work out with a boxing bag to release your anger.

2                     Learn how men and women are different.  My highest recommendation is the book, ‘Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus’.

3                     Have a confidant to discuss your feelings.  I do not recommend processing your relationship from within.  Seek outside counsel about your feelings in your relationship from someone who is successful in that area or who has training.

4                     When you feel sad, angry, fearful at an inappropriate time – flipswitch – think of something wonderful – this could be a peaceful scene.  Dr Robert Anthony recommends that 17 seconds is enough to release the unwanted emotion.

5                     Don’t worry, be happy.  Choose to live in the moment.

Where are you in your journey?  Drowning in the bottomless pit or joyful at reclaiming your life?