12 Signs Keeping Your Guard Up In Love Is Holding You Back

To an extent, it’s important to be guarded with a new love interest. After all, you don’t know them yet and they have to earn your trust. However, there’s a big difference between being guarded in a healthy way and building the Berlin wall around your heart. When you’re doing the latter, you’re not just protecting your heart from the bad things, you’re also keeping the good things out. Here are 12 signs you’re guarding yourself just a little too much.

  1. Playing the “cool girl” is your M.O. Acting like everything rolls off of your back and pretending nothing bothers you are things you do regularly. Your new sweetie does something that bothers you, like mentions an ex-girlfriend multiple times, but you say nothing. You just laugh and pretend everything’s okay. You think that playing the “cool girl” will be best for both you and your new lover, but really it’s just adding bricks to that wall.
  2. “I don’t care” comes out of your mouth a million times a day. A continuation of intending to be the “cool girl” means that you love to say the words “I don’t care.” Perhaps it’s a “hehe, I don’t care” or it’s a *shrug* “I don’t care.” Whatever context you’re repeating these words, you’re usually lying through your teeth. It’s not human to refrain from caring all of the time. This is a giant signpost that you’re trying to hide your heart. After all, if you let off that you cared, that would open you up to be hurt.
  3. Asking for what you want is a struggle. When it inevitably gets to a point where you’re uncomfortable with something, you still can’t ask for what you need. Like, it really bothers you that your partner always takes hours to respond to text messages, but you’re too afraid to let them know. You’re fearful that you’ll scare them away, they’ll be bothered by you, or that they’ll think you’re asking for too much. They can’t read your mind, though. The only way to get what you need is to break down part of that wall and ask.
  4. You said you’re okay keeping things casual when you’re really not. Deep down in your heart, you just want a nice relationship. You want monogamy and nothing else. Yet, you have an incredibly difficult time communicating this. Since you’re playing the cool girl, you pretend it’s okay when your partner says, “is it okay if we just keep it casual?” That stings badly, but you smile and nod your head saying, “totally!”
  5. Parts of yourself are hidden. Maybe you snort when you laugh, you really hate sports, or your ideal date is definitely not going to a bar. Rather than letting yourself be seen, you keep your guard way up and hide pieces of yourself. You’re terrified of rejection or judgment, so you think that pretending to be someone you’re not will make it hurt less if these things happen. In reality, you’re not just walling yourself off from hurt, you’re also keeping yourself from joy and connection.
  6. Everything is a joke. To deflect from actually being seen for who you are, you laugh off everything. You pretend it’s all no big deal and it’s totally funny. Like when your new flame makes a mean joke that hurts, rather than telling them to never to say that again, you nervously laugh and remain silent. Or when asked if you have any problem with them hanging out with their ex, you giggle and say, “no way! Go right ahead.” Deflective humor makes up many of the bricks around your heart.
  7. You have someone on the backburner in case it doesn’t work out. Not only is your guard up when you’re with this new person, you’re also adding bricks to try to keep yourself safe when you aren’t with them. You have that old guy who you know has a crush on you in your recent texts and Snapchats. You know it’s selfish, but you have him there for a rebound just to soften the blow if it doesn’t work out with your current boo.
  8. You have one foot in and one foot out. It’s nearly impossible to enjoy what you’ve got with this person because you’re only half in. I mean, it’s difficult to truly connect when your guard is up as high as yours is. Instead, you’ve got one foot out ready to run at the first sign of trouble in paradise. Anything to not get hurt, right?
  9. Suspicious bogs down your every step. While you’re supposed to be relaxing on the couch with your partner, watching Netflix and cuddling, your mind is spinning a mile a minute. After all, his cell phone has buzzed several times, so you’re creating stories in your mind about all the other women it probably is. You have a wildly suspicious imagination, feeding your desire to reinforce the bricks on your wall.
  10. Comparisons to your exes ring in your ears. As a safety cushion, you think about your exes. You know they’re in the past, but you can’t help it. You stay hung up on them to protect pieces of your heart from any more potential pain. Regular comparisons come popping into your head about how your new flame isn’t good enough because they don’t do what your ex did. Hate to break it to you, but this is just a way of defending your heart that just doesn’t help.
  11. You’re highly critical. To keep this new person at an arm’s length, you judge the crap out of them. They snap their fingers when they’re thinking or they snore when they sleep and you use these little things as money in the bank to help you when you leave. Everything is about protection and holding onto their flaws is like investing in insurance when it all falls apart.
  12. Fear takes the reins all too often. All of these things that you do to desperately try to protect your heart are completely driven by fear. You’re deeply afraid of rejection, being found out, abandonment, judgment, not being good enough, or not being extraordinary. All of these little actions and inactions just keep you stuck, lonely, and cold behind your Berlin wall.
Ginelle has been writing professionally for more than six years and has a bachelor’s degree in digital marketing & design. Her writing has appeared on Birdie, Thought Catalog, Tiny Buddha and more. You can follow her on Instagram @ginelletesta, via her Facebook page, or through her website at ginelletesta.com.