The first thing you have to know about loving a girl who is guarded, is that at least initially, you will likely not know that she’s a guarded girl.
Cautious. Tentative. Shy. Secretive.
You’ll come up with any myriad of synonyms to describe her, but none of them will be “guarded.” They might be words that praise her self-sufficency or perhaps touch on how you find her difficult to read. But none of them will have anything to do with the fact that the distance she puts between herself and everyone else, has to do with self-preservation. With protecting her heart.
With being guarded.
At first, she’ll just seem hard to get to know. More little shrugs and starts of stories rather than all out tales with no detail spared. You’ll think that maybe she’s simply more careful and methodical with her thoughts and actions than a girl who’s less reserved, who’s more impulsive. And to a certain extent she is.
She is difficult to get to know, to learn about. She is calculated with her words and thoughtful with her actions. She is cautious, she is tentative, perhaps shy and even secretive.
But she can be all of those, and still be a girl who’s guarded.
Because all of those things, all of those traits, they are an effect of being guarded.
They are an effect, an aftermath, of being hurt.
And when a girl is hurt, and hurt enough, she becomes a girl who’s guarded.
Loving a girl who’s guarded will not happen overnight. She won’t be the girl who stays up until sunrise with you spilling her guts and her heart all over the sheets and letting you get lost in her after the first glance. She won’t be the girl filled with wild nights that extend into mornings or who’s ready to love you and leave you and be okay the next day.
Because a girl who’s guarded is a girl who doesn’t trust love. And doesn’t trust your love. And doesn’t trust loving you.
And most importantly, she doesn’t trust herself.
A girl who is guarded is a girl who has loved and loved deeply. She’s put her heart, her soul on the line in the past only to come back empty handed. She’s risked everything for something, for someone and come back not only empty handed, but scarred. She’s gone all in and instead of coming back with someone’s everything, she’s lost her own and theirs all at once.
See, a girl who’s guarded isn’t incapable of loving.
She’s just making sure she doesn’t love the wrong someone ever again.
Instead of handing over her heart again with no questions asked and with a side of blind hope, she’s making sure that when she passes it to someone they know how special it is. Instead of leaping without being sure that someone is going to catch her, she makes sure that if she starts to fall she can catch herself. Instead of trusting someone simply based on their words, she’s making sure she fully understands what they mean when they speak, what they do when they promise, before making up her own mind whether or not to believe them.
Instead of putting her faith in others, she’s putting it in herself.
The truth about being guarded, and being a girl who’s guarded, is that there’s an element to being that which can never fully go away. You may love again, you will trust again, but there will still always be a little voice in the back of her head telling her, “Remember that time when…”
So when you love a girl who is guarded, you have to be louder than that voice.
When she thinks she shouldn’t be herself, you have to encourage her to be open. When she feels like she can’t trust her decisions, you have to put her mind at ease. When she’s convinced that she’s utterly unlovable, you have to love her anyway.
And when she feels like she’s starting to fall, you have to be there to catch her.
When you love a girl who’s guarded, in the beginning she’ll simply seem difficult to read.
Cautious. Tentative. Shy. Secretive.
But once you open her up, once you earn her trust, inside you’ll find one of the most beautiful stories you’ve ever had the privilege to read.
And that is worth more than anything.