Ivo de Bruijn

Why Putting Up Barriers In Love Is Holding You Back

I hate to be that stereotypical person who says they're afraid of love because the last person (or three) burned them, but hey, I am.

Commitment is a scary word. It requires opening up to another person, baring your soul and asking them not to judge you for your flaws but be loved in spite of them.

Besides, I like being single. I answer to no one but myself and am free to spend my time any way I like.

The only problem with being single, however, is it can hold you back. When you've gotten comfortable with your single life, you start putting up barriers to protect it.

I am not lying when I say I like being alone. However, I am also not trying to date anyone or put myself out there.

People who love me have stopped asking if there is anyone in my life because they've gotten so used to my answers: "Not interested," "Not now," "My career is more important and takes so much of my time." Plus, I'm a single mom… the list goes on.

As you can see, the excuses are free-flowing. How could I possibly fit another person and their needs into the big picture?

It's necessary to have a healthy relationship with yourself before you even consider adding another person into the equation.

If you aren't comfortable being alone or think a relationship will solve the void or other problems you might be experiencing, ignore this article. Focus on yourself and learn to be comfortable in your own skin. (Only you can complete YOU.)

However, if you've already checked those boxes, then this is for you (and me), my single, secure sweeties.

Be honest with yourself. I bet if you dig down deep, there are reasons you choose to go the path less traveled.

As many excuses as I have (that I completely believe in, mind you), I know the root of my being single is my fear of opening up and being vulnerable.

I have been burned way too many times, and the last time was at the hands of a really good person (or, at least I thought he was).

I know the root of my being single is my fear of opening up and being vulnerable.

It was easy to understand where things went wrong when I was involved with obvious red flags. The heartache was my fault for not choosing better.

But what about when the person was actually a great guy, and he still screwed you over in the end? That one is a little harder to digest.

I started questioning my judgment again. I thought I was obviously missing a key component in being able to make sound decisions when it comes to love.  So, I unofficially decided to give up on it.

I told myself I would just fuck around. In my mind, it seemed so much more fun and easy to have no feelings involved. I get what I need and keep it moving, AND I get my valued alone time, too. It's an ideal situation.

Spoiler alert: That's not really how life works, not long-term, anyway.

Plus, I am way too loving to not get caught up in emotions. So, I'm back at the drawing board yet again.

Here is what I've realized through the incredibly drawn-out emotional roller coaster that is my love life:

Relationships and commitment are not always easy, but they are worth it. They teach you about yourself and who you want to be.

Despite the difficulties I went through in each of my breakups, each of those people enriched my life, forcing me to be a better version of myself as either a result of their love or the pain they inflicted.

I fought that much harder to be the person I want to be, and I only find myself grateful after the dust has settled.

Strength and resilience are not found on perfect, sunny days. You are going to meet a lot of people, and some people might even seem like they were meant to be there with you. But then, they leave.

Despite the scars this might leave behind, they do heal over time. And they leave lessons embedded with the wisdom that you got through it.

You survived. There is something powerful in knowing you will be OK, no matter what.

There is something powerful in knowing you will be OK, no matter what.

Hell yes, being vulnerable is scary. It's risky because you are opening yourself up to potentially fail.

You have to ask yourself an important question, though: Do you want to play it safe and leave things at "what if?"

I cannot bring myself to regret any of the relationships I had. Because I know if I felt something as deeply as I did — the love, the heartbreak — then I was living.

If you're afraid to face the reasons you avoid love and relationships, you're just playing it safe.

You won't get hurt, but you also won't experience the magic of new love. And the aversion to risk is likely to spill over into other areas of your life, as well.

Why meet up with your friend and her other group of friends? You don't really know them, and you can just stay in and watch Netflix instead.

Why volunteer with that interesting nonprofit you discovered? How could you possibly be an asset?

Why go for that promotion at work when you're so comfortable in your current job?

All this adds up to is missed opportunities and a missed life.

Dare to get brutally honest with yourself about your barriers and the reasons behind them; give yourself permission to let down your walls and live life to the fullest.

No one deserves it more.