Dear 100 Hour Board,
Recently in my first relationship and, well, I'm bad at relationships. I have a hard time just relaxing and getting to know someone better and having fun. Rather, I'm too busy being stressed bc they like me more (a fact we are both aware of), because I don't know whether or not I'm marrying them, and if we're around people I'm easily embarrassed. How do I learn to relax, enjoy, and not freak out about the future quite so much?
relationships are not my forte
Disclaimer: Like you, I am somewhat recently in my first relationship. I can't say that I'm doing everything, or anything, right, or how this will work out. Hence I don't have much experience, but the things below have helped me become more comfortable with the issues you mention in your question. I hope they help you too.
First, I feel like you have some misconceptions here about the timeline of relationships. Here are some truths I've found about relationships:
No one is a failure if their first relationship doesn't end in marriage. I've seen it work in some cases, but the majority don't have love at first relationship.
Some people date for just a few weeks or months (the record I've heard is 11 days) before getting engaged. I think these stories get passed around so often we forget that some people date for years before engagement and that's perfectly fine.
And don't think that even if this relationship doesn't work out, that means you'll never marry the person. Apparently a lot of people break up and then later get back together and marry.
All this is just to show you a few examples where people didn't know what would happen in the future and everything turned out alright. That is to say that not every relationship—probably not even most relationships—progresses from first date, first relationship, engagement, marriage, baby in the baby carriage. As I learn about other people's timelines, it's amazing to see just how few people follow the "traditional" courtship. Sometimes people will say "...and the rest is history!" and we think that everything was smooth sailing from the time they met to the time they married. In truth, the "history" part usually contains a lot of confusion, fun, work, love, service, and freaking out. Hopefully learning about and gaining perspective with real relationships can help you understand that it can be fun and enjoyable despite the uncertainty. Here are some other thoughts:
Pray. Almost every night when I first started dating, and now every so often, I will talk about the relationship with my Heavenly Father. You might try praying about receiving comfort, about being calm and able to enjoy the time you have with your significant other, or about if it is right to continue the relationship. I've never received more than a feeling of "you shouldn't break up right now," but that is enough to fulfill my need for certainty until the next time I get on my knees.
Communicate. You say that your S.O. knows that they like you more. I'm hopeful that means you two communicate well. Keep this up! Or, establish good communication if you don't feel you have done so. The beginning seems to me the best time to have the awkward conversations because you know it's something new and not as committed as a more serious relationship might be. Tell him or her that you're not entirely sure of your feelings, but you enjoy spending time together. Tell him or her that you'd like to keep things low-key until you're more sure of yourself.
Set guidelines for physical affection and how you'll act around people. It might be hard for you to display physical affection when you're unsure of your feelings. This point goes along with the one above—while you're being open about everything, make sure you discuss what you're comfortable with physically. Let him or her know that you'd like to go slowly. It took me a month to be okay with kissing, and another month to actually like it. Also, I totally know what you mean by being easily embarrassed when the two of you are around people. I couldn't invite my boyfriend to ward activities for a long time because it was too weird and embarrassing and what if people teased us? I still have a hard time putting pictures of us on Facebook because what if people ask me questions I can't answer like "Are you guys going to get married?" (This has happened. You guys, if I knew we were going to get married, we'd actually be engaged.) It's hard to be proud of a relationship you're unsure of, so going slow really helps with that. Try not to compare yourself or your relationship with others (the examples above were meant to help you understand how futile comparison can be). Try going to fun events with just the two of you for a while, and then work in being around your roommates, being around his or her roommates, being at each other's ward activities, etc. As you communicate with your S.O., be honest but kind. Instead of saying "I don't want you to be there," say "I'm not ready to have my boyfriend/girlfriend at my ward prayer just yet." This shifts the motivation from being "I'm embarrassed by you" to "I'm unfamiliar with relationships and would like to keep some things the same for a while." Adding "yet" also gives the comforting feeling that someday you will be okay with it, but right now you're still progressing toward it. Plus, regardless of how you feel about the person, it's a big change to worry about two people instead of one. Your S.O. should respect your desire to continue to do some things independently.
Tell your S.O. the things you like. He or she would probably appreciate knowing the ways that they can be more attractive to you. Obviously, we're not setting out here to change anybody—you shouldn't date someone to change them, etc., etc. However, I've found that saying nice things such as "That shirt looks great on you! Do you think you could wear it to our group date next week?" or "I love it when you style your hair that way!" or "I think, to make tonight's date special, maybe we could dress up or something. I'll wear makeup and you can wear cologne or whatever you want to do," can be really helpful.
Date to learn and to serve. I'm tempted to say "Date to learn, not to marry"; however, I do believe that eternal marriage is a worthy ultimate goal. The problem is when we don't have any short-term goals, which makes the long-term goal seem vague and unreachable. As you said, dating is for getting to know someone and having fun. Make those your goals, not marriage, for now. Were you two friends at all before dating? If so, or even if not, try to at least do things for him or her out of the love you have for them as a friend. Maybe you'll come to love them as more than a friend, maybe not. That's not your goal right now. Have fun, and know that it's okay to make mistakes.
Finally, try not to worry about how you're "supposed" to feel. Hollywood really makes everything confusing, doesn't it? You sound like you have a good head on your shoulders. I think the best way to learn to relax is to give it time and not try to propel things faster than they need to go. After a while, when the two of you have grown more comfortable around each other, you can revisit the concerns you mentioned. Good luck!