Part of growing as a human means being able to look internally and evolve.
For me, it means recognizing that over the last year, I’ve sabotaged almost all of my potential relationships.
I’ve really enjoyed casual dating. It’s been nice to go out, spend time with someone and be picky enough to cut things off if I don’t see it going anywhere. I’ve never been a casual dater. Just a relationship gal. So, this is all new territory for me. An old friend of mine once told me I needed to do that. That’s how you get over toxic boyfriends; you date. Maybe they aren’t the one. But by meeting “not the one” a whole bunch of times, you’ll also realize how much toxic boyfriend was also not the one. You’ll be able to look back objectively and go “man, that guy was a controlling prick. I don’t need that. I want qualities X, Y, and Z.” Sometimes I wish that I could message that old friend and apologize for not seeing it sooner. But he’s moved forward and so have I. We have mutual friends. Maybe we’ll check each other’s FB and see we’ve grown into cool people and reconnect.
But I’m off topic, aren’t I? Let’s bring it back in.
I’ve enjoyed my non committal dating. It’s helped me figure out what I do want and what I don’t. Then when I meet someone with these qualities, I can venture into a more serious relationship. But there have been times when I was really into the guy and when he pushed for us to be more serious (meet the kids, meet the family), I kind of balked and the relationships fizzled. I’m a bit gun shy. I don’t trust well. And it’s hard for me to let my guard down around men.
I was telling one of my good girlfriends about this today. I was getting to know a guy, and I was really interested in getting to know him better. But then he asked for more personal information and I instantly clammed up & asked to keep some boundaries. I gave a high level explanation about how important moving slowly is, and I’ve had some bad experiences with men moving too quickly and then becoming awful people literally overnight. I just need some more time to get to know him while I have my guard up. He said he understood, but I can’t shake the feeling that there is no more interest on his side. That sucks, because he was a really nice guy and I was looking forward to getting to know him a bit better.
I wonder if this is normal, that feeling of wanting to get to know someone, but afraid that if you let them close to you, they’ll become a bloody fucking lunatic, and then stalk you for years. Or is that just something I worry about? I know I’m capable of long term friendships. I know I can attract a partner if I wanted one. But I feel like I question my own judgement. I mean, I have a neon sign over my head that says “I attract losers.” Am I just assuming that I don’t know how to choose a partner because my track record is a who’s who of the mentally disturbed. But I’m probably cutting out really great guys because I’m so scared that someone is going to hunt me down, tell me they love me & they won’t take no for an answer, and pick out an engagement ring and then stop talking to me two weeks later with no explanation, then stalk me. Or cheat on me with a coworker. Or be abusive. Because that’s what I pick. I have a bad habit of falling too hard, too fast. I look through rose coloured glasses and all of the red flags just look like flags. Now I look through scared bunny glasses, assuming every one will hurt me, so if I stay behind the safe wall, that won’t happen.
Maybe it’s about balance. Maybe you need to have a combination of scared bunny glasses and rose coloured glasses. Maybe having that independent self and boundaries are important, so when the right person comes, they’ll respect those boundaries and I’ll be able to see if they have qualities “X, Y, and Z.” Maybe those boundaries are important because it helps me see what their intentions are before I’m in over my head and being dragged down, but so in love that I’m excusing the worst kind of behaviour because I’m madly in love and ignoring their true, horrible personalities.
Now I need to learn how to balance the scared bunny feeling and avoid the rose coloured glasses. Find the “look at someone through the regular, you wear them every day glasses.” The one good thing casual dating has taught me is that “the one” isn’t the guy that walks out, or the guy who doesn’t take no. He’ll be the one who stays, is willing to put inthe work, and look at you through human eyes, not rose coloured glasses. The good thing about all of the “not the ones” is that they’ll prepare you for the actual one, who’s worth letting your guard down for.
Maybe this is about trusting my judgment again. Letting go of this fear that only psychopaths and narcissists are capable of loving me because there’s something wrong with me. Maybe I need to start believing that really good men would be interested in me. After all, I like me. I have three jobs, three great kids, my bills are paid because I make my own money. I go to the gym, have no criminal record and most people like me. And I guess I’m kind of pretty. On the catch scale, I’m a solid 7.5. Maybe I’m holding myself back because I’ve allowed myself to believe that nice guys don’t want me, I’m just catnip for psychos. I think it’s time I let that belief system go. There’s nothing wrong with me & I am not unworthy of a great guy. Because of this, I can slowly learn that I don’t need to be afraid of every guy, thinking he’s just going to hurt me. But, it doesn’t hurt to keep your guard up a little. Because protecting yourself is never a bad thing.