I Want To Meet Someone But I’m Not Sure I Know How To Be In A Relationship Anymore

Being single for a long time has a way of changing you for better or for worse. During all my time alone, I developed a lot of single-girl habits and forgot about how to behave when I’m actually with someone. Now that I’ve found a great guy, I don’t want to ruin it — I just need him to be patient while I get the hang of this whole relationship thing again.

  1. I don’t know how to ask someone out on a date. Inside, I’ll always be a 14-year-old who looks to “Dawson’s Creek” for love and dating advice. Perhaps playing it safe was the reason why I was single for so long. Even if a guy asked me first, I still had the whole, “Is this a platonic thing or a romantic thing?” thought rolling around in the back of my head. Maybe he liked me, but maybe he was just trying to be nice.
  2. I’m not sure how things become official. How do you know when you’re official? Obviously it starts with a conversation, but it’s a conversation I can never muster the courage to have. Really, dating is all about courage and confidence — and when you’re single for a while, both of those things tend to be in short supply.
  3. I don’t know when it’s appropriate for him to meet my parents. I always assumed that when you met your partner’s parents, things were super serious, but it’s tough to introduce a brand new person into your relationship. When your dad meets a guy, you know that he’ll ask a million questions about that guy — and if you’re not sure if that guy is on the same page as you, things are just bound to get messy.
  4. I’m too invested in my own independence. Really, independence is fantastic. It’s nice to be able to function by yourself. The problem, as I’ve learned, is that if you enjoy solitude too much, it can interfere with your ability to even make plans with someone. If I want to see a certain movie at 8:00, the extra step of inviting a guy seems a bit unnecessary. I’d rather make up a lie to myself about why he wouldn’t enjoy the movie than ask him directly about it.
  5. I’m a little bit more negative than I’d like to be. Long spans of singlehood don’t really do much for your self-esteem, especially if you’ve tried to put yourself out there and had lackluster results. While single AF girls love to view ourselves as happy and optimistic people, sometimes that enthusiasm just isn’t there. For example, some days I’ll get upset that I don’t look as cute as I did a full decade ago. Why? Because, I’ve used this as an excuse for singlehood before, and when I’ve convinced myself of something, it’s often hard to drop.
  6. I’ll probably doubt his feelings. When someone does say “I like you,” it hits extra hard. And while that sounds incredible, it’s sometimes not so great. I pretty much have a shield up at all times to avoid pain, so even if the words are truly kind and meaningful, I’m bound to overanalyze and not totally believe them. This is especially true since my last breakup was extra painful. In general, it’s kind of hard for me to let my heart out into the open again.
  7. Sometimes, it might be hard for me to compromise. I mean, it’s been my way or the highway for a while now. And while I know that that’s super unhealthy in a relationship, sometimes it’s hard to change these behaviors and thought processes overnight. I know relationships have to be 50/50, but I need time to get there.
  8. I might let my nerves get the best of me. Dating is scary, and hey, I’m out of practice. I don’t know what’s changed since the last time I was actively dating and I’m afraid I’m out of touch. In fact, while trying my hardest not to screw up a possibly good thing, I feel like I might do that anyway without even realizing it. Needless to say, it’s a lot of pressure.
  9. I’m scared I’ll do something that’ll make him realize that he doesn’t actually like me. I don’t have many big secrets, but whenever a guy expressed interest back in the day, I acted like one day he’d just wake up and realize I was some huge fraud. Or, maybe he liked me for a reason that was slowly fading. Even today, sometimes I feel this way with friendships, and it’s a total self-esteem issue. I usually get over it, but it tends to take a little longer than it would for most people. I’m a work in progress when it comes to relationships, but at least I’m working on it.
Karen Belz is a New Jersey native who is currently living in Maryland. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Speech Communication with a focus in Broadcasting and Print Media Studies from Millersville University of Pennsylvania. Since graduating, she has written for sites like LittleThings, HelloGiggles, and Scary Mommy and is currently an e-commerce editor at Bustle.

When she's not writing, she enjoys making her phone run out of memory after taking too many photos of her dog. You can find her on Twitter @karenebelz or on Instagram @karenbelz.