1. You distance yourself from the prospect of love.
Love? What’s love? It’s not something you’re interested in finding and right now you’re definitely not going too. Your friends don’t understand why you won’t go on a date with that cute guy at work. Your family wants to know why your really close girlfriend is just that, a friend. It’s because right now, the thought of getting hurt makes you want to punch yourself in the gut so you distance yourself from it instead.
2. You make self-deprecating jokes.
Oh, you think I’m pretty? Well, you should really see me when I take all of my makeup off then. Seriously it’s scary. Accepting a compliment from someone that you could potentially be interested in is a no go. No way. One compliment could lead to two and who knows maybe even three. So, you put up a block with a self-deprecating joke or two to keep from accepting a meaningful compliment from someone you hate to admit you find a bit hot.
3. Sleeping around.
You show up at brunch in the same clothes as you wore last night and your friends give you a consistent head shake. The same look you’ve gotten since things with your ex ended. You’ve had a string of weekend boyfriends or girlfriends and that’s totally OK with you. But your friends don’t get it. You could literally have your pick of anyone but you choose to spend your time with people who are temporary. It’s because if people are temporary they don’t get the chance to know you on a scary intimate level. They just know how you look naked.
4. You don’t go on real dates.
What’s a real date these days anyway? You ask your friends that question and roll your eyes when they ask you the last time you went out on a real date was. You counter them with that answer because you kind of don’t remember the last time you went on a date. You grabbed a drink with that one person 20 minutes before you headed back to their place. That counts… right?
5. You idolize your ex in every conversation.
How can you move on with someone new if you’ve already had the best and lost it? And it hurt. Fuck did it hurt more than anything. Because you were in love once and it didn’t work out. That’s pain is enough of a reminder that it’s never going to feel the same way again so there’s no point in trying anyway. No one is going to be your ex. (Pro tip: that’s probably a good thing).
6. You say you’re not ready, even though you’re probably ready.
It’s been maybe months or years since your last relationship ended but you say you’re not ready to get into another. Your life is pretty perfect anyway. Great job. Amazing friends. Numerous hobbies. What more could you want? But the truth is, if you’re willing to admit it, you’re probably ready to meet someone new. You don’t need someone but the thought of someone being in your space probably wouldn’t be the worst thing. Then you remember how much your last break up sucked and you put the walls up all over again.
It doesn’t matter if people don’t understand why you’re trying to protect yourself, you have to be the one who decides to open themselves back up to love. In order to save yourself, you’re going to do everything in your power to fight falling in love again because of the pain it brought the last time around.
But love will hit you when you least expect it and not give a shit if you’re scared of getting hurt. That’s just the way the world works whether you like it or not.