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Shy GirlWild Guy

Dear Philippa,

After being divorced some years I am in an exciting relationship, but I am so shy and reserved that I find it difficult making conversation with my boyfriend. This makes it uncomfortable for both of us. What should I do?

�Michelle, South Africa


Dear Michelle,

Although you say that you are shy and reserved you describe your relationship as exciting. I wonder what that means. If you are having trouble verbally communicating, could it be that the excitement in your relationship is physical and that you have difficulty talking to your boyfriend about this? On the other hand maybe your boyfriend is just an exciting chap who introduces you to all kinds of new experiences and people. Whatever the case, it sounds like you are both having trouble dealing with your shyness.

My definition of a good relationship is one in which you can be totally yourselfknowing that the other person accepts and likes you just as you are. If you are someone who is shy and reserved, this is especially important. You need to know it is OK for you to be on the quiet side and that the person you are dating likes this quality in you. When you feel it is safe to just be yourself you are more likely to open up.

Sometimes we are attracted to people who are so different than us. If we are shy we may enjoy having someone who makes our life more exciting. The more outgoing person likes introducing the shyer one to new things while earning admiration. This can be true of the emotional as well as physical side of a relationship. But after a while the novelty can wear off and the outgoing one wants someone who will participate more.

Often shy people see themselves as less valued than more outgoing people. If shyness is impeding your life you may want to seek counseling to help you gain self-esteem and learn ways to maneuver better in this world. But I hope you don't feel you have to change yourself to hold your boyfriend's interest. It's not like you behaved one way when you met him and turned into someone else.

Have you ever thought that you could be in a stimulating relationship with someone who is somewhat more outgoing than you, but who understood and cherishes your quiet spirit? Wanting to get rid of the discomfort you feel when communicating is normal, but being a quiet person is not a deficitin fact some men consider it an asset.

Yes, a relationship can be both exciting and comfortable. I used to think chemistry and comfort were mutually exclusive. I've since learned they are not. You can have someone in your life with which you have plenty of attraction and thrills, plus feel like you can be yourself. Then, Danielle, you may surprise yourself and come out of that shell and show your wilder side.



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