It always starts the same: a great first date with a lot of laughing and maybe sharing a secret or two. The next day comes the “I had a great time, when can I see you next?” texts. A second date gets set and then it happens; the panic sets in.
That little voice inside my head starts to shout “RUN!” It starts to whisper things like “did you really have a great time or was it the wine?” “He’s not as tall as you’d like, I bet there’s someone out there who is taller.” “He’s never read Harry Potter, clearly he’s not your soulmate.”
Slowly, that voice starts to get louder and louder until it’s the only thing I can hear. All that I can focus on is my fight or flight instinct that’s kicked in, my desire to cut this guy off, nip this in the bud. I can’t think of anything other than being back on my own, not having to worry about anyone else but myself.
I call it The Art of Self-Sabotage and I am it’s master.
I live in this strange paradox where I complain about how lackluster and hopeless the dating scene in NYC is, but then the moment I meet someone with potential, someone who could be a “something,” I bolt like a bat out of hell.
It’s taken me a long time to learn to love myself, to come to terms with who I am as a person and to own it. t’s taken me even longer to realize that I am someone worth loving. Despite these affirmations, however, I still exist in a place where letting someone in is not easy.
Letting someone in means all my cards are on the table, I’m vulnerable and being vulnerable means you can get hurt. I don’t like getting hurt. What’s more, I’m still trying to overcome deep seeded insecurities from my pre-teen days, insecurities that have come between me and some really great guys.
I am shallow. I am the first to admit that I am shallow. I have nice friends that like to say that I’m “picky” and I am, but when we come down to it I care a lot about what the other person across the table from me looks like. Deep in my subconscious is that pre-teen Jenn that thinks having an attractive boyfriend validates my own attractiveness. It’s as if how good-looking the person in my Instagram photos with me is that somehow means that I’m worth something. It’s bullshit, but it’s my Albatross. An Albatross that’s something that’s hindering me from letting anyone in.
All it takes is one annoying tick, or way they pronounce a word, or way they chew their food for me to go from yes to no. I know how to run, I’m good at running, running is what I do. I can complain and bitch about how dating is ruined by stupid apps, and it is, but none of that means anything if I can’t let the person I find in.
I self-sabotage. I let the small things get into my head. I let my insecurities dictate my dating life. I bitch about being single but when there’s a chance to change it, I panic and hide. I am a product of my own mind and if something doesn’t change soon, I’m going to be 40 with 40 cats.
I need to find a balance between what I really want and what my pre-teen self is telling me I should have. I need to learn that sometimes the best people are the ones you least suspect. I need to get the hell off of these dating apps. I need to not focus on dating because it’ll drive me mad. Most importantly, I need to stop self-sabotaging.
Besides, sabotage is only cool when Olivia Pope is doing it.