I’m Really Pessimistic About Love & It’s Not Good

I consider myself a generally positive and optimistic person, but it’s difficult to remain open when I get hurt over and over again. I’ve become way more jaded than I once was, but it’s not like it happened for no reason.

I’m not usually a cynical person. I’m loving and generous, and I truly enjoy helping others. I have a good life and I know it. I’m grateful for everything I’m lucky enough to have. The pessimism I feel when it comes to dating is contrary to my general nature. I just can’t help it anymore. It’s become a part of how I think.

I’m not like this in every area of my life. The truth is that my romantic life is the only area where I feel cautious and anxious. I’ve been hurt enough that it scares me to enter the dating world again. It seems safer to live happy and single than risk handing over my feelings to someone who could abuse them. I don’t trust men because they’ve taught me not to trust them.

My past has made me this way. It’s not that they were all bad guys — it’s that I trusted them and they let me down. I took my time and let my walls lower slowly. Once I was open and vulnerable, they took advantage or simply didn’t return the favor. It feels like betrayal when this happens, and it makes it hard to believe there are any men out there who won’t follow the same pattern.

It’s gotten worse with time. Ask anyone: trusting gets increasingly difficult with every time someone breaches it. I’ve been with men who wouldn’t be vulnerable with me in return. I’ve been with men who used my love to manipulate and control me. I’ve been with men who took the secrets I revealed and used them against me later. None of this happened overnight — it all built up and led me to where I am today.

I use my cynicism as my shield. I’ve built myself armor made of sarcasm to protect myself. If I don’t care that much, no one can hurt me, right? I have a very tough time opening up to guys now because of my past experiences. It’s a coping mechanism that I’ve developed over the years to brush everything off and act like it’s not a big deal. Of course, that’s all a huge lie, but what else can I do?

I’d rather stay safe than get hurt again. It’s not the healthiest thing to do, but I have my defenses up. The longer they stay in place, the harder it is to let someone in. I’ve grown comfortable in my safe emotional fortress. I want to be open and emotionally accessible — I really do. It’s just that I don’t want to feel pain either. It feels better to keep men at a distance.

I’ve learned the hard way that I don’t deal well with pain. Maybe it would be okay to trust and get burned if I bounced back easily, but I don’t. I feel very deeply and get hurt very badly. I’ve had such a hard time getting over love that I don’t want to deal with all that anymore. I want to be open and loving and trusting again, but I can’t risk it.

If I’m honest and open, men run and hide. The ironic part is that if I do make an effort to be optimistic and truthful, men are unnerved by me. They turn out to be emotionally unavailable babies who don’t want to deal with my honesty. How can I trust men when every time I bring up some real crap, they get freaked out? It’s beyond frustrating.

Being cynical sucks because it attracts all the wrong guys. I don’t want to let down my guard, but at the same time, I don’t like where it’s taking me. I either don’t attract anyone at all or I attract dudes who aren’t good for me. Either they’re super emotionally unavailable and jaded or they see my cynicism as a challenge to overcome. If they finally break me down, the challenge is gone and they’re no longer interested. No thanks.

I know my pessimism isn’t healthy, but I’m scared. Frankly, it scares me less to sabotage something that could be wonderful than to risk being let down once again. I don’t really believe I can find the man who will treat me right and stay when I show him my ugly side. I’ve been shown too many times that the opposite is true. I would love to believe in romance again, to find a man I can trust. I just don’t know if it’s possible.

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