It’s easy to get emotionally attached to things. Sports teams, television characters, a favorite shirt, a really, really good burrito – boom! — suddenly you find yourself emotionally invested. If we can develop sentiments for overpaid athletes who don’t know we exist, fiction people in a scripted world, inanimate objects and delicious foods, imagine what we’re capable of feeling for other human beings that we actually know in real-life.
Obviously everyone’s personality type is different. Some people develop feelings slowly, some quickly, others keep guard to avoid vulnerability; it all depends on the individual. One unfortunate guarantee is that when we officially have those undeniable thoughts, we’re susceptible to being destroyed emotionally. Psychologically manhandled, leaving us oblivious and confused, wounded significantly enough to leave permanent scars. Defenseless is a position we willingly take when we see fit. Getting emotionally invested in another person is a ‘hope for the best’ type of deal, and the worst-case scenario features a sensitive person’s ultimate kryptonite. The boogeyman of the dating world, the destroyer of hearts – the person who is able to change their mind about you on a whim.
For most of us this isn’t fathomable. Most people can’t be all in emotionally today at noon and all out by 8PM, but the switch yielding type can. They have a gift, or perhaps a curse, of being able to genuinely not give a damn unexpectedly. Did they give a damn to begin with? It’s hard to believe that the connection you thought you had was nothing more than an Oscar-worthy performance by a wolf in sheep’s clothing, but it sure seems possible when you’re distraught and the only person you want in that moment will have nothing to do with you.
It makes you question yourself – what could you have possibly done wrong to make a person care so, so little out of the blue? These troubling thoughts haunt you while you lie around miserable, waiting on a call, a text or a knock at the door that would arrive to heal your aching heart. It never comes – at least not when you need it.
The on/off switch type people are emotional terrorists, but sometimes you’ve got to wonder if they have their reasons. I’m not saying it’s excusable or even that it’s explainable, but we can’t always sum hurtful actions up to crazy or heartless — at least we shouldn’t. Maybe they experienced something that changed them for the worse. Perhaps they’re a victim of past abandonment that created the icebox their heart currently resides in. Sometimes we fight fire with fire, or in this case, coldness with coldness, and it’s possible that’s all they’re doing.
Even if a sensitive, heart-on-their-sleeve wearing loving type tries to convert to an emotionally shutdown individual, it’s not the same. It’s not authentic. All you can do if you actually care, is pretend that you don’t until eventually, you learn to cope with how much you truly do care. The tough outer appearance of an on/off-switcher, with the insides of a romantic comedy climax scene.
If you’re not an on/off switch person, you have to be wary of them. Knowing that even though everything is fine right now, it could change in an instant is unnerving. We don’t want to be on edge, watching what we say, telling ourselves not to feel, talking ourselves out of love. It’s the risk we all take, hoping for big bucks, no whammies. A chance at love with the possibility of running into our worst nightmare. As bad as it feels when that happens, it’s important to remember in great detail how horrible of an experience it was. Then in the future, not only are you somewhat impervious to heartache, but also more considerate of others’ feelings, regardless of the situation.