Dating Is Really Hard Because Bad Experiences Have Left Me With A Ton Of Baggage

I don’t know what it is about me that attracts the worst kind of men, but even though I try to go for the right guys, I always end up with people who do me wrong. I try not to bring all those negative experiences from my past into new relationships, but I’d be lying to myself if I said I was successful. The truth is that I’m a bit of a mess because of my horrible dating past, and now I’m worried about it ruining my future.

  1. I’m constantly waiting to be screwed over. Every little thing a guy does is a sign that he’s nearly ready to reveal that he’s been sleeping with five other women or that he was just using me to get back at his ex. Or at least, that’s how I see it. I can never relax even in happy relationships because I know from experience that even a guy who seems perfect can wake up one day and tell you that he wants to see other people. It’s happened so many times that I have a hard time believing there’s a guy out there who WON’T surprise me with some terrible revelation.
  2. I never trust a guy’s words. It’s obviously a bad idea to ONLY rely on a man’s words when his actions don’t back them up, but I’ve been lied to and betrayed so many times that now I have a hard time believing anything a guy says to me. Is she REALLY just a friend? Did his phone REALLY die in the middle of our texting convo? Does he REALLY see a future with me? We all deserve a man who will put his money where his mouth is, but by never giving a man the benefit of the doubt when he makes me promises, I come across as a paranoid psycho.
  3. I always try to be perfect. When I’m single, I’m outspoken, unafraid, and yes, even a little offensive at times. I embrace my flaws, both physical and otherwise, and if someone doesn’t like me, I’m fine telling them to GTFO. When I’m dating someone, though, every negative thing my exes have said about me comes to the front of my mind. Suddenly I transform into someone who’s scared to stick up for myself in an argument and gets self-conscious about all the imperfections on my body. The confident woman this guy fell for in the first place is replaced by a timid perfectionist, and I’m sure it’s a bit of a turn-off.
  4. I overanalyze everything. In past relationships when I was cheated on or ghosted, I’d go back and replay all our old conversations in my head and re-read all the texts we exchanged, desperate for any clues I might have missed. Even when these things came totally out of the blue, my mind will try to rationalize it and assume that his emoji use in one text was a clear sign that he’d lost interest in me. My search for these “signs” carries over into new relationships as well, and even when things are going fine, I’ll drive myself crazy wondering if I’m about to be dumped because a dude sent me a smiley face instead of a kissy face.
  5. I worry about attempted manipulation too much. After dating way too many manipulative guys, I’ve learned to spot the signs of a manipulative partner pretty fast. In fact, I’ve become SO attuned to them that I often assume that guys are trying to control me even when their intentions are totally innocent. My desperation to catch this behavior early before I get trapped in a manipulator’s web causes me to end things with good guys who might just have a single strange personality quirk.
  6. I’m wary of female friends. How many times have I heard it? “She’s just a friend.” “Why are you worried about her?” “Trust me, she’s not even my type.” Funny how so many of the guys I’ve dated have ended up cheating on me with these girls who supposedly weren’t threats. I know that I have lots of guy friends who I have absolutely no attraction towards and that it’s idiotic of me to assume that every guy wants to hook up with all his female friends, but my past has turned me into one of those overly jealous girlfriends… even though I try not to show it.
  7. I assume the worst. He took more than five minutes to respond? He’s going to ghost me. He’s going to bed early tonight? It’s because he’s having sex with some random girl he met at a bar. I’m basically a pro at making mountains out of molehills when it comes to dating. The thing is, the end of so many of my relationships have happened because of seemingly insignificant things like a delayed text response or a slightly early “good night” message. Now, any kind of inconsistency is enough to throw up excessive red flags.
  8. I build and maintain high emotional walls. I’m an onion with layer upon smelly layer that guys have to get through in order to truly get to know me. I used to be an open book, but after letting myself be vulnerable to the wrong people too many times, I’ve learned my lesson. Unfortunately, this means that I often deny genuinely good guys the chance to truly see me for who I am, and my distant nature often pushes them away.
  9. I get paranoid whenever things seem to be going well. The most heartbreaking ends to my past relationships have come right when I thought things couldn’t get better. I never get ghosted after a period of arguing and emotional distance — it always happens after an amazing weekend when I finally start to think I could see a future with this person. Because of this, even perfect moments make me sick to my stomach, stirring up fears that this is the last happy memory I’ll ever have with this dude before he reveals his true nature.
  10. I feel like I’m undeserving of love. After being screwed over time and time again, my own love for myself has taken a major hit. The rational side of me knows that I’m a catch and that no man in his right mind would let me go, but the other side — the one I can’t control — wonders if it’s because I’m actually unworthy of a guy’s care and affection. My lack of self-confidence shows when I’m dating someone, and it’s definitely not a good look.
Averi is a word nerd and Brazilian jiu jitsu blue belt. She's currently hanging out in Costa Rica with her cat and a lot of really big bugs.