Playing Down My Feelings To Avoid Scaring A Guy Away Totally Backfired On Me

I thought it was a good thing to show my real feelings when dating someone new but I always ended up being labeled as “too much” and having my heart broken. I decided to start downplaying my emotions hoping it would change things but that turned out to be a terrible idea too.

I wanted to be the cool, carefree girl. I wanted to be someone free-spirited and fun to be around. I can be pretty intense because I like to feel everything, whether good or bad, and I love deeply. I figured my emotions were a dating liability; I thought guys wanted the fun, carefree girl so I really tried to become her.

I thought I’d be worthy of the chase. Guys would think I was worth chasing because I was always keeping myself out of reach, right? Well, not really. I played really hard to get even though it was difficult and I always felt tested by guys who were sweet and really seemed interested in me. They almost broke my resolve but I wasn’t going to let this go.

I was tired of always feeling more than the guy. I was always cursed as the one who loved more in a relationship and it always broke my heart. I was done with that. I wanted him to work hard for me and I guess I have to admit that I wanted to be the one who held the power.

Then a real test came along. I met a guy online who was really great and he seemed like the type who didn’t want to play any dating games. I stuck to my guns with him even when he proved to be even better than I could have imagined in real life. Instead of showing him the real me, I tried to be a bit aloof and continued playing hard to get.

It made me seem like a lazy dater. Here’s the problem with playing so hard to get: I started to be seen as lazy. I knew this was the case because the dreamy guy I went on two dates with texted and called regularly and I forced myself to take hours (if not days) to get back to him. It felt like torture to do this but I felt like it was important. I just didn’t realize it was making me seem like I didn’t give a damn.

He assumed I wasn’t interested. After two weeks of my games, he told me he thought I wasn’t interested in him. Wait, what? Although I was acting aloof, I did try to show some interest—OK, a tiny bit—but clearly that wasn’t enough. I was about to reply to his text, breaking my rule of waiting hours before replying, but then he sent me something else: “Goodbye.” He was done, and what sucked is that I couldn’t even blame him.

Hello, heartbreak. I was really hurt. I couldn’t believe things happened so quickly. The worst thing about this was that he hadn’t rejected me out of a lack of interest but because he thought I wasn’t interested in him. I really only had myself to blame.

I ruined everything. I texted him the next day because I needed to know more. Bad idea. He told me I was acting like some sort of zombie who really didn’t want him and he just wasn’t taking the hint. Ugh. I’d turned dating into a sick game and become the very thing I hated: I was all those guys who’d done this crap to me in the past. I didn’t want to be emotionally unavailable. I wanted to be loved, I was just afraid of being hurt for it.

I wanted to win but I lost. Forget the dreamy guy. Yeah, of course not getting him in the end was a huge letdown, but the really important thing I lost was myself. I was so used to pushing myself on the back burner and trying to be something I wasn’t that I was becoming that empty person.

I want to be rejected. Since the dreamy guy (and the nightmare revelations he made me have about myself), I actually want to be rejected. I want to be rejected for who I am, not for who I’m not because maybe, just maybe, I’ll end up being loved for who I really am. That’s the winning scenario, but I refuse to sacrifice my real self to achieve love. If I do that, I’ll only get a sick, twisted version of it.

The chilled girl has issues. I refuse to be the carefree, mellow girl ever again just to get the guy. There’s no way someone can be that way all the time. It made me come across as someone empty who didn’t have a heart. I definitely don’t want to be her. I want to be me, flaws and all.

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