I’m Great At Relationships But Terrible At Dating & I Don’t Know How To Fix It

Relationships have always sort of fallen into my lap. It’s not that I’m lucky, I just usually end up being with someone I already know. The truth is that the idea of dating someone totally new absolutely paralyzes me. I know I need to get over it and put myself out there but I’m really struggling.

  1. I’m worried about players. I’ve heard enough horror stories about getting screwed over by guys who are just looking for a booty call. If I make the effort to go out and date, it’s because I want to meet someone I’m compatible with and who wants a real relationship. I’m not looking for just a fling and I’m nervous that is all I’m going to end up getting if I meet up with someone I met on Tinder.
  2. Opening up to someone after being hurt is intimidating. Once I’ve been burned, I tend to develop a sort of extra skin. I subconsciously build up a wall and find myself not giving too much information about myself to someone I barely know, even if there’s some mutual interest there. I feel like before I can talk about myself, even simple things, I already have to have a certain trust level there.
  3. I don’t handle failure very well. With a string of bad endings already under my belt, the idea of adding even one more is daunting. I know that’s the only way to learn and grow is to not be afraid to fail, but it makes the process so much harder when it’s all I know. I wish I didn’t automatically have the mindset that it’s all going to blow up in my face but I don’t, so when I’m having to make conversation with a new guy over dinner, I know I need to push that completely out of my brain. It’s not easy when the nerves are already present.
  4. I’m not sure I want to lose my freedom. One thing I can count on when a relationship ends is the little bit of relief that I no longer have to answer to someone. If I want to stay out late, make spontaneous plans with my friends, or even eat ice cream for dinner, I can. Sometimes I get set in my ways and when I think about trying the dating scene again, that stops me. I understand I can be with someone and maintain that freedom but when it’s a new relationship, I tend to completely let that part of myself go for the sake of making myself available.
  5. I’m afraid of rejection. Even if I’ve had my share of it, it’s something I’d rather not face again. Rejection comes with the territory of dating but given that I’m already rather insecure about how many trainwrecks I’ve had, the last thing I want to do is meet someone I could see myself being with only to find out he’s not really that into me. I worry it’ll just set me back again and again.
  6. I don’t want to become too dependent. I find that if there’s a spark between myself and a guy I like, I can latch on really easily to just the barest idea that we have a future. I tend to give up a lot of my own identity to make sure that I’m exactly what this person wants. With each breakup, I have to go back and rediscover who I am and that takes some time. I worry that if I keep putting myself out there, eventually I’m going to lose myself completely after putting in all the work to get myself back.
  7. I’m not sure I always have the time to devote. Even though I give up a lot of who I am to be with someone, I also struggle with managing my time. I want to be able to come and go as I please and that puts a certain stress on me if I think it’s being taken away. Sometimes I take the opposite route and I pull away and force myself to be distant as to not appear too available. If it’s someone new, they won’t already know this about me and I’m afraid I’ll come off as flaky.
  8. I feel like I’m never enough. It seems like many of the times I’m on the receiving end of the breakup speech, it’s because I didn’t do something right or I wasn’t exactly what the guy needed at the time. No matter how they spin it, I always end up blaming myself. It’s tough going through that repeatedly and I just want to finally be exactly what someone else needs and have the feelings be mutual.
  9. Maybe I just have bad judgment. Since I tend to think that every relationship’s ending is my fault, I wonder if it’s because I just can’t read the signs. It’s possible I just drift towards emotionally unavailable men and that gets me in trouble.
  10. I’m actually afraid of getting what I want. Where I have had so many failures, the big surprise of my life would be if one of these relationships was actually the be all end all. Once I have something, that also means I have something to lose and to me, that’s a really scary risk. I know in the long run it’s totally worth it but it’s still a risk and I just have to be sure I’m brave enough to take it.
jordan is a writer from salt lake city who enjoys a good steak, her dog, and conversations about how radiohead is awesome. she hopes to be a talking head on some VH1 pop-culture show someday and can curate a playlist for any occasion. when she grows up she wants to be an olsen twin.