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Sex + Relationships

How I overcame imposter syndrome in my relationship

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

When I was dating, my biggest challenge was differentiating between my personal desire to be in a relationship versus the societal pressure telling me that I should be seeking one out. Seeing my friends meeting people and pursuing romantic relationships instilled the idea in me that I should always be active on dating apps, committing to going out on first dates and presenting the version of myself that is worth dating.  

Before my current relationship, I had been in some talking stages, however, they fizzled out before anything resembling a relationship began. I had a lot of doubts getting into my current relationship, not because there was anything wrong with my boyfriend as a person, but rather I did not know if I was capable of putting in the energy of a healthy relationship. Simply put, I did not want to be the reason that the relationship ‘failed’. I use the term ‘failed’ very loosely as I have now come to realize that a relationship ending is not a failure, but instead an opportunity to learn from something that simply did not work out. Now that I have gained a lot of emotional stability surrounding self-doubt, I would like to reflect on what was initially holding me back from making a commitment.  

Men are sometimes the worst and my TikTok algorithm seems to agree. I have found myself on TikTok where it is often women and men sharing stories about how the bar for men is on the ground. Although I felt societal pressure to pursue dating, my friends and I had a lot of terrible experiences where men seemed to cause more headaches than it was worth. When I met my current boyfriend on Tinder – yes, I know, it seems like a recipe for disaster–I expected a few messages to be exchanged and then nothing to come of it. When he seemed like he wanted to get to know me I was surprised, but I still put no expectation into the ordeal. As we started going out on dates, I would have a lot of fun and looked forward to seeing him again. Throughout the initial stages of dating, I questioned my feelings a lot. I could not differentiate whether I wanted to see him because I liked him or if I liked him only because he was interested in me. I would constantly keep my attraction at a distance by telling myself that ‘he is just a stranger and you do not know him’. While that is true, I had to let go of the idea that he was looking to waste my time when he had expressed that he wanted to be in a relationship. I was essentially expecting that because it was going well, it would end soon enough. 

The idea of my friends and family knowing I liked someone was also very embarrassing for me. Telling people that I was dating someone always brought about more questions like “what is his name?”, “what does he do?”, “how did you meet?” etc. I now realize that these questions made me uncomfortable because verbalizing my relationship meant that it was real. Talking about my boyfriend meant that he was now officially a part of my life and that was scary. Oftentimes, after telling someone, I would think “well now if our relationship ends then people will think it was fake”. I understand that is irrational because people really do not care. By that I mean others are not analyzing when, if or how a relationship ends. If they are, then that is their problem, not mine.  

I still sometimes doubt my ability to maintain a healthy relationship, but I know that ultimately, I am doing the best I can. My journey of working through self-doubt is not over,however, I have learned to be more cognisant and address my patterns of overthinking and let me say that it is not easy. As contradictory as it sounds, I am grateful for my relationship as it has helped me wade through some of the tough conversations of self-reflection. Oftentimes, I believe such practice is pushed aside, sometimes because it is easier to ignore and sometimes because we are not even aware of that it has to happen.  

Lia McGinnis

Wilfrid Laurier '24

Lia is a second-year Political Science major at Wilfrid Laurier University. Alongside her studies, she spends her time making Pinterest boards of her dream home and planning her life after retirement. It's never too early, right?
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