I’m Terrified Of Being Vulnerable & I Don’t Know How To Let My Guard Down

Admittedly, I’m somewhat emotionally unavailable these days. I don’t want to be this way and I wasn’t always, but like many other women, I’ve been hurt one too many times by people I let get close to me. Even though I know I need to learn how to let my guard down again if I want to find love, I’m downright terrified of being vulnerable. Here’s why:

  1. I know what it’s like to have my heart broken. I’ve been down that road before and I never want to go down it again. My heart didn’t just break, it shattered into a million pieces that I’m still trying to put back together. I allowed myself to be vulnerable and I found out that opening myself up is the biggest risk I can take in life. For me, it definitely didn’t pay off.
  2. In my experience, most people can’t be trusted. I’m dealing with some pretty serious trust issues, and it’s not just in my love life — it’s in my life in general. I’m afraid to trust friends and family, let alone a lover. I’ve been burned way too many times in the past and it’s not exactly easy for me to put myself back in the line of fire.
  3. I don’t want to give a man the power to break me. By keeping myself locked up and my vulnerability in check, I feel in control. If I let someone through my barrier and over the walls I’ve put up then I’m completely out of my comfort zone. The more I let a man into my heart and into my life, the more I let him see the real me and the more attached I feel to him. Just like that, I’ve given him the power to break me.
  4. I’m afraid of falling back into depression. My last breakup did a number on me. I didn’t just take some time to feel sad and then get over it. I fell into a deep depression. I didn’t want to eat. I couldn’t sleep. I didn’t even see a reason to get out of bed. I’m better now, but I’m still afraid of slipping back and being vulnerable again feels like the easiest way to do just that.
  5. I’m an extremely private person. I don’t like people in my personal business. I’m not active on social media because I don’t need everyone I’m acquainted with to know every daily detail of my life. I believe in a private life, which today is practically unheard of. The fewer people that know the intimate details of my life, the safer I feel.
  6. I’m trying to protect myself. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. I’m choosing to learn a lesson here. Once upon a time, I was the woman who wore her heart on her sleeve, but not anymore. I let my emotions pour out, and the harder I fell for a man, the harder he’d crush me in the end. If being vulnerable is the exact thing that puts me at risk then I’ll do whatever it takes to protect myself, especially controlling my vulnerability.
  7. I don’t know if I’m ready for another relationship. How do you know when you’re ready? I feel like I’m still healing from the last time I let a guy hurt me. I was vulnerable before and I’m just not ready to take that risk again. I want to find love, but I’m not ready for heartbreak.
  8. I’m not afraid of falling in love, I’m afraid of falling out of it. Being in love is the most amazing feeling in the world. In the past, I’ve had the pleasure of opening my whole heart to a man. It felt wonderful to be so open and vulnerable with another human being — that is until it all came crashing down. Falling in love isn’t the problem, but falling out of it is the scariest fate of all.
  9. I want to be looked at as strong, not weak. I’m a strong, independent woman and the stronger I’ve become, the harder it is for me to let people in. I don’t want vulnerability to allow someone to take that strength from me. I’ve been weak before, but I don’t ever want to be the girl whose happiness or sanity depends on a man ever again.
  10. I know how to let someone in but I’m worried I can never get them out. I didn’t do well getting over my last relationship. I let a man into my heart, but then I never really figured out how to get him out of it. Being vulnerable with someone is trusting them to know me inside and out and love me anyway. I let someone in on my secrets, my emotions, and the deepest thoughts in my mind, but once they’re in there, I can’t push them out. I can’t erase the memory and that’s the scariest thing of all — they know the real me and with that, they can destroy me.
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.