My mind is constantly racing. Unfortunately, this leads me to constantly worry about what people think of me, what the spot on my left arm is, or what that person meant when he said “Nice shirt” earlier this afternoon. I should be absolutely ecstatic that I found a woman to marry who can deal with this garbage from me on a daily basis (and I am). I guess I just feel bad that I didn’t warn her from the get-go that, when dating an over-thinker:
1. You need to say what you mean
In today’s world, communication comes in many forms. A text message or email can come across in a much different manner than it was intended, through no fault of the sender. Even in person, saying “I’m fine” can send an over-thinker into overdrive, leading to an inner monologue consisting of questions like “Is she really fine? What can I do to help? Did I do something wrong?” when, in actuality, the person really is just fine. It’s always important for people in a relationship to have an open line of communication, but it’s even more imperative if one of the two is a chronic over-thinker.
2. You’ll end up making most of the decisions
My wife definitely gets annoyed with me because I put too much of a burden on her to make decisions. But I can’t help it. When she asks what I want for dinner, my first thought is “Whatever I say, she’ll agree with, even if she doesn’t want it.” In truth, I really don’t care what we eat, as long as she’s happy. Same with making plans on a Saturday. Because I over-think every situation, I’m incredibly indecisive. However, I’ll follow her wherever she wants to go. On some level, she’s accepted this, but I also can tell when she’s tired of being the one to make all the plans.
3. You’ll make us paranoid if you try to surprise us
Don’t be a sneak and try to plan a surprise birthday party for us. Either one of two things is likely to occur: We’ll be driven absolutely insane by our own (unnecessary) paranoia, or we’ll end up figuring out (and thus ruining) the surprise. Of course you mean well, but just know that when you’re a half-hour late coming home and won’t tell us where you’ve been, we’re going to assume the worst (even if, like I said, it’s unnecessary to do so).
4. You’ll get random texts about random thoughts
I should probably be ashamed to admit this, but it took until about two months ago for me to realize the slogan “Trust Sleepy’s for the rest of your life” is a play on the word “rest.” I’d heard it a million times, but one day it just hit me. Of course, the first thing I did was text my wife to not only gloat about the world-changing epiphany I’d just had, but also to laugh at myself for being so random. Finding the sub-Reddit “Shower Thoughts” made me realize I’m not the only one whose mind is constantly bombarded with outside-the-box thoughts. My wife, on the other hand, probably isn’t so happy I made that discovery.
5. You can laugh at us, to a certain extent
My wife’s usual response to those random texts is: “Sounds like you have too much time on your hands.” I can definitely laugh that off, because I know she’s joking (and also because I know it’s kind of true). But when I’m having an absolutely atrocious day that ends with being ignored by a cashier at the supermarket and getting cut off by a guy blowing through a stop sign, I need some sympathy. Deep down, I know the world’s not against me, but in the moment, it certainly feels like it. Let me blow off steam and come back to Earth before you laugh at me!
6. You’ll have to keep us off WebMD
I alluded to this in the intro. I’m no hypochondriac, but it’s specifically because I avoid looking up symptoms I’m currently having on the Internet. But I know last week when my arm was tingling for more than a couple hours, I started to worry. I mean, I could have just pinched a nerve or banged it wrong, but what’s this bug bite on my elbow? What if it’s blood poisoning? How am I going to pay for a hospital visit? (Yes, these are all thoughts that crossed my mind in some manner or another). I’m glad my wife was there to remind me I cut up jalapeño peppers earlier in the day, and it was most likely just a residual sting from the juice. Whew.
7. You’ll have to force us to let go of what’s bothering us
Revisiting that “the world’s against me” mentality that comes with being an over-thinker, you’ll need to remind us to let things go sometimes. I realize the person who cut me off didn’t mean to personally attack me, and the cashier who ignored me wasn’t specifically ignoring me, but at the time, it sure felt like it. My wife always brings me back to the reality that it was the other person who’s a bad driver, and the other person who’s a bad cashier. It’s certainly a good thing to have someone to allow us to see things objectively.
8. You’ll have to alleviate our irrational fears
Life is full of “what-ifs.” An over-thinker’s life is full of way too many “what-ifs.” “What if my degree is worthless? What if we can’t have kids? What if we can’t afford a house?” There are way too many problems in this world, and over-thinkers somehow worry about all of them. It’s good to have someone there to tell you that it’ll work out. It’s also good to have someone there to help you realize you’re thinking ten years into the future, when you haven’t even decided what you want for dinner that evening.
9. You’ll have great conversations
Being an over-thinker isn’t just about worrying too much. Over-thinkers, by nature, always have something to talk about. During dead times in conversation, they’re always thinking of some other insightful (or at least totally random) factoid to discuss. Not only that, but we love to listen. Since we’re constantly over-thinking things, we’ll often want others opinions as well. The more we know about a person, the less we have to guess about them, and the less we over-think about their motives.
10. You’ll always experience new things
Being indecisive means we come up with too many good ideas, and have a hard time narrowing it down. This goes for movies to watch, books to read, places to visit, etc. Though our experiential backlog is most likely gigantic, we will most likely never run out of fun activities to do. Remember, though, it’ll be up to you to actually decide which activity we choose. If you leave it up to us, it’ll be dark before we make a decision.
11. You’ll become more open-minded
Over-thinkers tend to see things from a variety of perspectives. Because of this, we’re able to share differing viewpoints with others. We’re also open to other perspectives that may jibe with ours. We rarely judge others (because we’re too busy judging ourselves!), so you can be free to voice your opinion on any and all things. We won’t get offended by it; we’ll just use it as a talking point to base our conversation around.
12. You’ll help us live in the moment
Nothing is better to an over-thinker than experiencing something so visceral that our mind actually stops racing, and we’re able to live for now. On my honeymoon last year, as we were walking along the beach, clouds started to roll in, and it started to drizzle. Within minutes it was downright pouring. It made no sense to run back to our hotel, since we’d be soaked regardless, so I pulled my wife close and made her stay right there on the beach, hugged up as closely as possible to each other. In that moment, nothing else existed but us. I’d known for some time that I would marry her, but in that moment, when the only thing on my mind was her, I knew I was right.
Featured photo credit: Flickr via farm8.staticflickr.com