There is something wrong with me.
I push back anyone who seems even the smallest bit interested in being in a relationship with me. This is because the very few times that I have opened myself up to the possibility of love, I am abandoned or hurt in some way. For it seems that only I can be met with an invitation to move in to “this isn’t working” in two weeks flat.
No one appreciates a victim. No one enjoys a complainer. No one likes it when people overlook their own flaws. This is why I have come to the conclusion that there is something wrong with me.
I am not a magnet for bad people, but instead I ignore any red flags leading up to a relationship.
I have to remind myself that it isn’t a certain type of person that you attract, but instead that they are falling for a front that you have so carefully designed.
I am always reluctant and guarded when I first meet someone and there is a very precise reason for that- I value myself. Though value can seem as if am placing a measurable worth on my being, it extends much further than being rooted in economic structures. I value myself because I can recognize that I am invaluable.
In essence, I respect my body, my intellect, my emotions and all other parts of myself. I am aware of what my strengths and weaknesses are and yet I downplay or hide pieces in order to seem approachable. Being approachable is key. For some it means finding someone to cure their loneliness. For me, it is in defense.
I know what engaging in a tumultuous relationship will mean for my mental health, and as someone who suffers from anxiety I act in such a way to eliminate any possible triggers.
However, when people seem to hold the same respect for me that I have for myself, I fall fast and I fall hard. I am trusting to a fault. I am impulsive. I am in awe and caught up in the splendor and revitalization a new relationship promises. All previous walls are torn down, and any façades are revealed.
I am genuine and unfiltered and uncool. This switch scares them off and for that I don’t blame them. I don’t know how to be authentic from the get-go because all unwritten relationship guidelines tell us not to be. It is clingy to express too much interest. Communicating what you want makes you seem aggressive. Make sure to reveal parts of yourself in small increments. Opening up about flaws isn’t seen as sincere nor a way of building a human connection. We are taught to act in form, and for a society that claims to despise conformity, so many of our systems are built around it, especially dating.
There are numerous social laws that dictate how we should participate in our day-to-day lives. There is no room for freedom of romantic expression when so many people are fearful of being themselves in order to lockdown a second date. Those who don’t follow these rules either scare or intrigue us, but either way they are the exception and most people rather not risk a life alone in order to follow suit.
How do we break the oppressive mold of dating? Do we call for more honest communication? Less shaming for those who act with self-knowledge? First, I believe we must recognize that there is a problem within ourselves and the many ways in which we are reinforced in this script.
Who knows if I would have ever been able to prevent myself from a world of hurt if I had been honest.
I do, however, know that I would have had many more fulfilling interactions with people that would have provided a platform for learning more about who I am and satisfying any social connections I was trying to form.
Dating is exhausting, and it is setting most of us up for failure. Seeking a connection with someone is daunting and a vulnerable process, but we are taught to take all vulnerability out of the equation. We should be able interact by marrying self-respect and humility. It is okay to know what you want and be vocal about it. It is okay to be firm in your beliefs about relationships. It is okay to be real- awkwardness and all.