Are We Out of the Woods Yet?

out of the woodsI’m in a new relationship, and I really– really– like this guy, but I’m worried too. I’m never sure if I’m saying the right thing, if problems from my past relationships (or his) will haunt us, if things will work out. I keep wondering, how long am I going to be afraid of falling in love? 

Your questions make me think of the Taylor Swift song, Out of the Woods. Have you heard it? In the chorus she sings:

Are we out of the woods yet?
Are we out of the woods yet?
Are we out of the woods?
Are we in the clear yet?
Are we in the clear yet?
Are we in the clear yet?

Good. 

The woods for you are these worries. The dark forest is this pain you still carry (and it seems like he might carry too) from a mended broken heart. And these woods are filled with all sorts of fears– of shadows, of wolves, of what kind of love you could be capable of in the clearing.

Except here’s the thing– it’s not as simple as just walking out of the woods and into the clear and saying “good.” In my experience as a Bethesda couples therapist, the clearing can be just as fraught with danger as the woods. Even though they’re “in the clear,” even when the current relationship is healthy and safe, many couples still behave as though every furry animal they see is a wolf. They still operate under the assumption that this relationship won’t work out because shadows of past relationships are still lurking.

Couples therapy can help. Individual therapy can help. We can learn more about these woods you find yourself in and what kind of tools and skills and directions we need to walk out of them unscathed. And then we keep learning about the clearing, and we pay attention to the new surroundings and the new challenges that being vulnerable in the open can bring. And hopefully, at the end, we’ll say “good.”

If you or someone you know is struggling in a new relationships, we hope you send them this post. The individual counselors and couples therapists at Emily Cook Therapy in Bethesda can help!

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