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Maybe The Reason You’re Not In A Relationship Is Because You’re Scared

Love means vulnerability. Love means putting yourself out there. It means saying, “Hey, this is me—want to get to know me for real?” Love means I’ll be brave enough to show you inside no matter how uncomfortable that might be.

I have spent a good portion of my life thinking it was smart to avoid men. I thought it was smart to do the bare minimum when interacting with a guy because it made me feel safe. It made me feel in control. No reaction would be one that is unpredictable. No one would be able to hurt me. No one would have the room be disappointing. I wouldn’t have to put my heart on the line. I wouldn’t have to question whether the person I am is desirable enough or not. I wouldn’t have to face myself in that context.

Of course that’s not how I said it to myself. My narrative was always, “I am comfortable this way. I am not needy. I don’t need a man in my life. I am quite fine without love. It should come knocking at my door, make me feel secure and scoop me up. I wouldn’t have to do anything. I would just let the person who would love me magically make me open up to the idea of a relationship.” And I believed that for a long time, never making it my responsibility to make a move, to be approachable, and to do the inner work.

I used to blame the guy. He should smile. He should approach me even when I am not approachable. He should try harder. He should read through me as if it was a guy’s duty to bear this nonsense of a responsibility, as if it’s his duty to shatter the wall I built up to keep myself safe. Until one day, it hit me that I was being completely unreasonable. I realized I was sabotaging myself. I was the loser in the game. I was pushing guys away without realizing.

People are not there to save you. They are not there to do your inner work for you. They are not there to prove anything to you. We’re all equals here, especially if you want a healthy relationship. Effort is cool. Making a move is cool. And finding out whether the person likes you early on saves you a lot of time. You could get caught up in a loophole for years if you want scenarios to play out a certain way in your head. People are not actors in your script, they’re human beings. So yes, maybe putting yourself out there will be hard at first. It will be scary—it can even be disappointing—but so is living in your head without giving anyone a chance, without ever communicating properly. In order to be in a relationship, you must come to terms with the fact that you might get embarrassed, rejected, and hurt, but it also means you’re trying and in the pursuit of a great love. It will be worth it.

Use that heart and strengthen it. Earn that relationship. Be part of its success.

About the author

Amira Abdel-Fadil