To Care, or Not to Care, that is the question every person actively dating is forced to ask themselves daily. However if you’re a carer you’ve probably already realized there is exactly zero point in going through this daily test because you have no choice.
My name is Sunah Bilsted. I am a carer. And I don’t know how to stop.
Managing the percentage of care or not care is one of the more elusive challenges when it comes to getting to know someone. Care too much and a fragrant waft of desperation flies around you like a gaggle of zombie cartoon birds. Care not enough and you feel like a robot living in fear, mechanically pushing people away with rationalized aloofness.
Carers tend to have a habit of falling in love with people who prefer dating people who don’t love them. And in a confusing turn of events, so do the NOT carers. EVERYONE seems to love a not carer. Oh, the gladiator like challenge you take on, to be so wonderful, so amazing, so fucking cool, that you alone can change their distant nope persona into a loving hells yes persona. Society idolizes not carers too because for some peculiar reason, apathy mimics confidence. It’s almost as if caring is an insecure act of weakness and I’m so above caring cause I’m too busy being awesome, it is an act of high self esteem. We’ve all heard that feeble nugget of advice: “Just act like you don’t care” or “Just act like you have somewhere else to be”. And you see it work for them. They act like they don’t care, they get the job. They win the relationship. They win life.
What do you do if you just can’t fake it? What if you have nowhere else to be??
Everyone has a friend that excels in not caring and they have an endless stream of suitors. Who cares if they’re actually fulfilled, you’ll simply revel at their effortless ability to snare people into their web, I mean lives. And you’re secretly or perhaps not so secretly jealous, but you have long accepted that they’re perfect and are incapable of insecurity and you; well you drink insecurity like whiskey. Or diet coke. Or whatever shitty thing you slurp down in a desperate attempt to pad your void. You sit there and listen to their advice, breath held, eyelids wide, almost fluttering, but you know that their addictive wisdom will never work on you. Like an iPhone that drowned in toilet water for one precious moment too long. There ain’t enough rice in the world to dry out your need to care too hard, too soon.
But nah, screw that! You’re real! You don’t play games. And if people want to play games then you don’t want them! But you do. You do want them. Can you have them authentically? Can you be yourself and also create healthy boundaries? Yes!
But only if you address your own anxiety. Because maybe, just maybe, love and anxiety feel like the same thing to you.
“Anxiety is love’s greatest killer. It makes others feel as you might when a drowning man holds on to you. You want to save him, but you know he will strangle you with his panic.”
– Anais Nin
You don’t want to be a strangler! You just want to love. How is that a bad thing?
If you’re early on into getting to know someone, and you’ve spent one or more days wondering about how their day is going instead of yours, then you care too much.
Pointers to Maintain a Healthy Carer “non-strangler “ balance:
- You’re not in control. So stop trying to be. So often we reach out, call, text too much, or make it your part time job to ‘like’ all their dumb Instagrams, because in some weird way, we are trying to control the outcome. You feel vulnerable just being, just living with your feelings, so an action, any action, temporarily alleviates the worry. But action borne out of trauma, will usually result in more trauma. When you feel like you need to connect or you might actually die, check in with yourself first. If it feels like a game, an attempt to get the imaginary upper hand, or even if you just want attention. Stop. Do something else. For yourself. Like your own Instagram pictures if you have to.