Just Because I’m Protecting My Heart Doesn’t Mean I Don’t Want Love

I used to be the girl who was totally open to love. I thought every man I met had the potential to be “The One,” but I was naïve and ignorant. I’ve actually dated, fallen in love and had my heart broken since then, and while that optimistic outlook isn’t completely gone, I’m a lot more guarded with my heart. I’m still open to love, but here’s why it may not seem that way:

  1. My heart’s been through a lot. I’ve been through some seriously traumatizing breakups. I may have moved on and healed, but those scars didn’t just disappear. Every man that broke my heart left his mark and I don’t want another scar. My heart is damaged enough already, and that’s why from now on I’m going to do whatever I can to protect it.
  2. I’m ready to settle down. I’m over the game; I want something real, so until I find what I’m really looking for, I’m going to hold my cards close to my chest. I’m protecting myself from the casual guys, the guys who aren’t looking for anything serious. I want to settle down, so if we don’t want the same things then I won’t waste my time.
  3. I need to know he’s worth the risk. I’m not going to give my fragile heart to another man who’s just plain careless. Been there, done that. Before I leap too fast, I need to figure out if a man is worthy of my love. I won’t risk my heart on a guy who doesn’t have real feelings for me or doesn’t know how to treat me right. If there’s going to be a risk, then I better make sure the reward will be worth it.
  4. I’m terrified of getting hurt again. I can admit that. I’ve loved and I’ve lost and honestly, it was hell on earth. I survived heartbreak but just barely. I never want to feel that kind of emotional pain ever again. I’m not afraid to fall in love; I’m afraid of what happens if that love isn’t everlasting.
  5. Wearing my heart on my sleeve didn’t do me any good in the past. Once upon a time, I wasn’t afraid to be vulnerable. I said exactly how I felt and I thought that being honest and upfront about my feelings would be a good thing. Boy, was I wrong. The more guys knew about how I felt, the more they would take advantage of my love. I’ll never let myself be that vulnerable again.
  6. I’m trying to learn from my mistakes. Greeting every new relationship with arms wide open has gotten me into trouble in the past. I’m not going to keep doing the same things over and over again expecting different results. I’m not keeping myself from love; I’m just using my knowledge of the past to protect my heart in the future.
  7. I don’t just give away trust. He has to earn it. I’m not going to have faith in a man I just met; I’m well aware of stranger danger. If a guy likes me, then he won’t be afraid to work to earn my trust. It takes time to build a good relationship and if he doesn’t think I’m worth the effort, then he’s definitely not worth my time.
  8. Slow and steady wins the race. I’m taking my time. I have no interest in rushing into another relationship. I won’t say it’s love until I really mean it. I’m going to take falling in love one step at a time. I want to really know a man before he hears those three precious words come from my lips. I’m playing the long game here.
  9. I want to spot all the red flags. I won’t let another heartbreaker blindside me. I’m keeping my eyes wide open from now on. I want to be able to see the signs rather than being distracted by getting hot and heavy too soon. I refuse to ignore the warning signs. If a man wants the benefit of the doubt, he has to earn it because I’ve been screwed over way too many times.
  10. I’m waiting for Mr. Right. I’m not going to settle for Mr. Wrong just so I can escape the horrors of the single life. I’m not closed off to love; I just want to love the right guy. When the right guy does come around, then I’ll be ready to jump in 100%. Until then, I’m going to protect my heart and keep it safe for the guy who won’t break it.
Kelsey Dykstra is a freelance writer based in Huntington Beach, CA. She has a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing from Grand Valley State University and been writing professionally since graduating in 2013. In addition to writing about love and relationships for Bolde and lifestyle topics for Love to Know, she also writes about payment security and small business solutions for PaymentCloud.

Originally from Michigan, this warm weather seeker relocated to the OC just last summer. Kelsey enjoys writing her own fictional pieces, reading a variety of young adult novels, binging on Netflix, and of course soaking up the sun.

You can find more about Kelsey on her LinkedIn profile or on Twitter @dykstrakelsey.