Iss. 6 || August 7th, 2022

F/O Affection Anxiety and Some Tips to Alleviate It


(Not me trying like seven different times to figure out how to phrase the title. Whatever, you get what you get)

Worrying about my F/Os liking me back is, luckily, not something I struggle with very often. Usually, it only happens when I'm already feeling down or self-conscious and my brain is looking for another way to pile doubts onto me. However, recently, the last two or three characters that I've gotten really attached to are way different than the types and tropes I usually fall for. This has been kind of stressful for me, because I'm much less confident imagining myself being with them, or us doing things together, or even us getting along very well. Which is a really disheartening feeling!

It took me a month or two to figure out exactly what it was about these characters that was making me so nervous. In my case, I realized that they're much more serious than characters I usually like. They have a lot more emotional trouble, and a lot of very serious and bad things happen to them, which affects their personality. Most characters I like are very outgoing and cheerful, so no wonder I was having trouble keying into them - my main problem that was holding me back was the worry that by imagining us going on cute dates or having fun together, that I would be disrespecting how serious their character arcs are.

Sometimes, it can be hard to truly imagine and create self-ship content if you and your fave have very different personalities. It can also happen when your fave is a villain, or a very rude character - anything that might make it hard for you to really believe that they love and care about you. But they do! Sometimes, it's just harder to convince yourself of this, and it can be an upsetting feeling. I don't know if any of these tips will help to reassure people, but I thought it might be nice to write down a few ideas while I'm dealing with this lack of confidence at the same time.

1.) Think about their love language

Maybe your F/O just shows how they care about you in a way that's more subtle than what you're used to. Maybe they aren't very touchy-feely, but they compliment you often, or they like to spend their downtime with you. Maybe they're the type of person to get you gifts simply for the enjoyment of surprising you when you aren't expecting it. Maybe they're extremely coarse and sarcastic to everyone, but they soften their attitude around you. Not everybody expresses love and care in the same way - if imagining your F/O being really mushy doesn't feel quite right, take some time and figure out how they can show they love you in a way that still feels in character for them.

2.) Think about the other people in their life

If you can picture how you interact with your F/O's friends, family, etc., or just other characters in their life, it may be easier to imagine how you spend time with them as well. It'll also help to cement you as an actual presence and feel like less of an outsider if you're worried about that! The more comfortable you get with the world your F/O lives in, you'll feel more attached to them, too. Or maybe imagine them hanging out with people you know, if you'd like! Focusing more on the experiences around you instead of just on the specifics of your relationship might help open things up and help you think of things in a new light.

3.) Focus on the good

Maybe you feel comfortable doing some things with your F/O, but not others. In that case, you should focus on what does feel real, comfortable, and approachable, and in time other pieces will fall into place. You can think about the hobbies you like to do together, places you like to go, things they would like to talk about that you would love to listen to. Like any relationship, things don't happen all at once! There's plenty of time for you to get to know each other, and with time, lots of those small worries and anxieties will just be things of the past.

4.) Seek out content

If your F/O is fairly popular, you might get lucky and find some of those headcanon posts that are always floating around on Tumblr. Or maybe you could grab a blank list of questions and fill it out yourself! If you have friends that are familiar with your F/O, you could have a jam session and talk about them. And there's always the option of looking for fanart and fics, too, if they're out there! It can get draining trying to fulfill an F/O relationship entirely on your own. Having outside sources can severely reduce that level of stress and give you more time to just enjoy it instead of constantly being on the hook to Create.

5.) Fake it 'til you make it.

You know what? You can also just screw all these steps, because your F/O DOES love you, and thinks you are just the coolest. Sometimes you have to just shake off the self-doubt or worries of making them 'out of character', because the best reassurance is to go out and have the sweetest, cutest, most fun day with them ever. At the end of the day, this is YOUR relationship, for YOUR benefit. You have no obligation to adhere to what other people think your F/O should act like. Just have fun with them and be secure in the knowledge that they love you so much they can hardly stand it!!



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