For as long as I can remember I’ve been this way. I have always resisted the idea of dating and being in a relationship. And don’t get me wrong, I’ve had a handful of crushes growing up and a couple have been mutual. But my fear of dating is so intense that I panic and cope by becoming mean and closed off to make them change their minds.I’m sure the way I was raised has something to do with this fear. My dad was a neglectful drunk who burdened me with his marital problems. It had a negative effect on me and caused a lot of anxiety and depression episodes. Could I have developed PTSD from that? And because of his drinking I now have no meaningful relationship with him. I don’t even love him. I honestly fear ending up with someone like him. I also fear I’ve waited so long to get in the dating game that I feel a lot of shame and embarrassment.
I don’t know what to do about it. This fear actually effects me daily. Especially now because a coworker that I’ve been kind of interested in actually confirmed he’s into me. What makes the situation more awkward for me is that my sister works with me and has joked to me about him and it’s embarrassing. Like her doing that makes me more anxious about it. He and I are work friends but not personal friends. And he’s also 26 and I’m 19. The age gap doesn’t bother me but I know it’s a big deal to other people.
I worry that he will start asking me out places, and I’d be really into going, but my anxiety will take over and throw me into a fit of panicking and crying.
What can I do?