I’m Fearless…Except When It Comes To Being Vulnerable In Love

I’ve gotten really good at facing my fears over the past couple of years, but there’s one that I still can’t seem to shake—my fear of making myself vulnerable in a relationship. Just the thought of going there gives me major anxiety. I know it’s making my love life impossible but I don’t know what to do.

  1. I’m outgoing in general but with guys, I’m shy AF. I’m sure this is confusing to any guy I’m into because I’m sending the opposite of the signals that I should be. I really don’t want to be this way and I try to change but every time a situation arises where I might have to get real, I get super awkward and run away. I hate it.
  2. I use my humor to defuse potentially vulnerable situations. If I sense that things are moving towards a space that makes me feel insecure, I immediately halt any chance of that happening by making a joke or doing something stupid. I don’t ever wonder why the guys I like don’t like me back—they probably don’t even know I’m into them.
  3. I get scared that I’ll have to feel something real. I know in my heart that this is dumb because it hurts just as much to hold something inside. Still, it seems better to pretend I don’t care at all than to be actively rejected by someone. It certainly isn’t a mature way to behave but it’s my instinct, so clearly I have to do something to fix it.
  4. I can handle almost any situation but I can’t navigate the beginning of a romance. It’s terrible. It’s even worse when it’s someone I’m gradually getting to know in a friendly way. You would think that makes it better, but in my case, it doesn’t because I’m unsure of what his intentions are. At least on a blind date I know we’re there to date each other!
  5. I’m always terrified of getting hurt. I’m scared to let a man in because it could either lead to great happiness or great pain, and I’m always positive it’ll be the latter. I want love but I don’t want the risk associated with it, and it’s pretty much impossible to have one without the other. I’d rather stay safe in my little bubble than deal with feelings.
  6. It’s like as soon as I let a guy see me, he runs away. I suppose part of that is my fault— I’m not open from the very beginning – but who is? The fact that guys take off as soon as I finally let my guard down certainly does not make me want to continue going there. It feels like some sort of cruel trick every time.
  7. I am pretty terrible at picking the right guys. I guess if a man was right for me, I’d feel more comfortable being myself, right? Maybe I’d be able to let him in sooner than the others. I just hardly ever meet men I really like so when I do, I tend to ignore the red flags and jump in impulsively. I don’t give the relationship time to grow naturally.
  8. I’m confident in life but ridiculously insecure in romantic situations. I feel good about myself most of the time. I know who I am and I like who I am. I know I’m not perfect but I own my mistakes and try to do better. If I start to like someone, I might as well be tossing all that self-confidence out with the trash. Suddenly I feel like I’d never be good enough for anyone I want.
  9. I trust myself but I don’t trust men. I hold back my feelings because, quite honestly, I don’t trust any man to handle them with respect. It takes a while for me to determine if a guy is going to be appreciative of what I’m doing when I become vulnerable with him. It’s not to be taken lightly and yet so many do.
  10. I will try and conquer just about anything else, but I won’t go on a date. I love a challenge, but not so much when it involves my heart. I’ll give all my love and effort away to just about anyone but falling for someone seems different. Instead of getting excited about dating, I dread it. That’s going to be a problem if I ever want love again.
  11. I’m so good at keeping my walls up that it’s scary. Getting to know me is basically like peeling a very tough-skinned onion. I’m so used to having to be strong about everything that I hardly know how to be vulnerable at all anymore, with anyone. I’m not even completely raw with my closest friends. It kind of sucks.
  12. I’m brave enough to fight my demons but I don’t want to reveal them. I do a lot of work on myself to make sure that I’m handling my crap and making progress with the state of my mind, but I have a hard time talking about all that to others. Most people seem to have a difficult time just listening without judgment or opinion, especially guys—they want to help and fix things.
  13. I don’t want to have feelings for someone and then be rejected for who I am. I’m so scared to care about a man and have him not feel the same way—I try not to take it personally but it feels like a rejection of who I am as a human being. I know it’s not that simple, but tell that to my psyche when I’m feeling vulnerable.
  14. I’m getting worried that I’ll never be able to conquer this fear. I have worked on my other fears and made great progress, but not this one. I’m starting to freak out a little that I’ll never learn how to fix it and I’ll be stuck in this stupid cycle forever, wanting to be emotionally intimate but too messed up to go there.
A former actress who has always loved the art of the written word, Amy is excited to be here sharing her stories! She just completed her first novel, and is also a contributor for Elite Daily, Dirty & Thirty, and Thought Catalog. Amy is the founder of What If Journey and can be found on Twitter @amyhorton18. You can also visit her website at amyhorton.net.