For a while, I didn’t believe in true love or soulmates and I thought that every relationship had an expiration date. I thought everyone would eventually leave me, so I did it before they could (and missed out on some amazing guys in the process). Now I’ve met an incredible guy that I’m falling head over heels for. How do I know? Because I have to fight the urge to run away from love every day — here’s why:
- Fight or flight is basically my default mode. I know that running away would not only hurt the guy I’m with but also myself. Still, I’ve been guilty of it way too many times. Instead of sticking it out and working through my fear, I’ve just shut down because I was so terrified of being hurt. My heart has been broken so many times that I can’t trust it won’t happen again. This time, I want to push through the fear and fight for love instead of throwing it away.
- The what-ifs are paralyzing. Everyone thinks about the what-ifs and could bes, but I get downright paralyzed by them. Before I can get excited about how great this relationship could be, I get caught up in everything that could go wrong instead. Is he playing games with me? What is his end game? Does he really like me? It cycles through my brain rapid-fire, and before I know it, I talk myself out of a relationship that could be exactly what I always wanted.
- I doubt my ability to trust. I’ll admit that I’ve thought guys were “The One” before when really they were anything but, and then I was crushed when it didn’t work out. Because of this, I doubt my judgment when it comes to guys now. I have a constant playback of all my failed relationships the minute I start to think things are going well with my current guy. I think, “Am I naive? Is he trustworthy?” I don’t trust myself and in turn, it makes me not want to trust him. When he found out about all my hesitations, he didn’t walk away like I thought he was going to — instead, he gave me a hug and a kiss. Maybe I need to relax a bit.
- I know if something seems too good to be true, it usually is. This is a major reason I always want to run away from love. I’ve never been shy about voicing my urge to flee. There have always been moments where the Earth stopped and I feel like things are way too good to be true, which kept me from enjoying them. I’d feel myself start to get all mushy and lovey and I’d have to rip myself out of this seemingly cheesy rom-com moment to remind myself this wasn’t real. The difference is, this guy saw that and instead of getting mad or grilling me with questions, he tried to put my fears to rest — and that made me fall harder for him.
- I struggle with being vulnerable. True love requires both people to be completely vulnerable. The older we get, the harder it gets as we experience more heartbreak and disappointment. I expect the same things to happen with this guy as has happened with all the rest: I’d let him in, let down all my walls, and right when I least expected it, he would devastate me. But why should I turn down the opportunity to let someone love me the way I have always wanted to be loved? I’m the only one standing in my own way of finding love, and I don’t want to do that anymore.
- I can’t figure out if there are actually red flags or I’m just nuts. Every relationship is going to have its roadblocks, but why create problems that aren’t there? Because that makes it easier to make an emergency exit, of course. In the first stage of dating, it’s easy to question certain things, but being able to communicate and work through those issues will form a powerful foundation for the relationship. In the past, I’d work through issues with a guy but still dwell on it long after because I obviously just wanted something to be wrong. Now it’s hard to tell sometimes if there are actually red flags or I’m just nuts.
- His imperfections scare me. Everyone has flaws — it’s part of being human. In the past, certain flaws have scared me to the point of an anxiety attack and I would use this fear/anxiety as an excuse to run. Yes, they were genuine concerns, but I didn’t want to have a conversation about them because that would mean I would likely get over them and not have an excuse to run. With my current guy, his imperfections still scare me but in a poetic kind of way. I look at him and all his faults and think they just make him beautifully human. He accepts his faults, works on them, and wants to become a better person — for himself and for me.
- I know that I deserve love — I just have to be brave enough to go get it. When it really comes down to it, I’m not running away from love — I’m running away from the possibility of having my heart broken again if things don’t work out. Screw that! I deserve love. I now recognize that running is not an option. Running used to be a scary thing, but now wanting to do it but staying anyway is a sign that I love him enough to want to stay.