I Might Sabotage Something Great Just Because I’m Scared Of Getting Hurt

Dating has made me cynical. Sometimes everything seems wonderful in the beginning, only to turn into a huge pile of crap later. Lately I prefer to just ruin it first before the guy does, which obviously isn’t healthy, but feels better than sticking around and getting heartbroken. This is how I start down the path to surefire disaster:

  1. I don’t give guys a fair chance. After all this time I guess I assume too quickly that they’re going to be jerks. It seems like every time I don’t assume it, they turn out to be, so I don’t know how to approach dating anymore. I want to be more optimistic, but most of the time I’m too scared to go there. I start judging them before I give them the benefit of the doubt.
  2. I make it all about the superficial. If I keep it shallow, I don’t have to feel things. I tend to respond to my surface attractions first, going after the guys I find physically appealing, because I won’t lose a piece of myself that way. It becomes a stupid game — if I can attract hot men, I feel good about myself, but I don’t actually want to act on any of it. I want the self-esteem boost with none of the risk.
  3. If I find myself caring, I pull back. It’s difficult to put myself in a position of vulnerability with a man anymore. The longer I’m out of a relationship, the harder it is to get back in. I’d rather make sure nothing happens emotionally at all than get hurt again. If I like someone too much, I immediately draw back and my heart shuts down whether I want it to happen or not.
  4. I start searching for any little excuse not to get emotionally involvedIf someone seems to good to be true, he probably is. If he’s wonderful, I start looking for any flaws I may have missed. I’ve spent too much time ignoring red flags in the past, so now I’m hypersensitive. It’s too hard to deal with the problems later on when I already care about a man too much.
  5. I feel myself blocking off my emotions. Sometimes I literally feel like I’m outside my body watching myself like a scene in a movie — that’s how strong my emotional defenses are. I can separate myself entirely from my feelings if it seems like I’m in a danger zone. I’m working on changing it, because I’m definitely afraid I’ll lose something wonderful because I can’t let go of my past.
  6. I make up silly scenarios in my head. I decide that I can predict the future and I tell myself all kinds of reasons that it will never work. Instead of just letting everything play out naturally, I make up stories to convince myself that I should stop while I’m ahead. It’s so easy to psych myself out — the difficult choice would be to continue on with someone even though I’m scared.
  7. I convince myself that there’s no one out there who’s right for me. I can be very cynical at times, and it was my default for most of my life. It’s unfortunately easy for me to go there instead of being optimistic when it comes to men. I don’t feel like there’s much to be positive about, and I have a hard time believing I’ll find the right guy who truly loves me for who I am. I decide for them whether they really like me without giving them a say, which is totally unfair.
  8. All my old issues creep back in as soon as I like someone. I think I’m doing really well when I’m single, but in reality it allows me to avoid any of the crap that comes up when feelings happen. It’s so much easier not to deal with my problems at all than to confront them and work through them as I go. I know I need to do the work, but I’m so afraid of getting my heart broken again. I’m either a wide open book or completely closed off, so I run away from great men.
  9. I act weird with guys when I’m freaked out. I start acting strange and they have no idea what’s going on. I can’t expect them to read my mind and know that I’m scared they’ll hurt me, and it’s not like I’m going to say that — I’ll sound insane. Instead I get super deep into my head and screw myself out of dating anyone at all.
  10. I wonder if I’m better off single forever. It’s a lot easier being single, that’s for sure. I don’t have to worry about anyone else’s emotions or problems or needs. Still, I do secretly long for the right person who will fit into my life and be worth all the trouble. My defense mechanisms are strong, so he’ll have to be patient with me. I hope I have the strength when I finally find him to fight all my demons and overcome them.
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.