I’m a 21-year-old woman. Needless to say, I’m confused about what I want in life, especially when it comes to love and relationships.
I’m not that experienced when it comes to the world of dating, but I thought those kinds of things would come naturally. Nothing sounds more natural than the concept of “falling in love,” so I never thought about all the complications and uncertainty that came along with it.
F*ckboys and unrequited love were not the kinds of things you learned about through rom-coms, Disney movies and Judy Blume novels. But growing up in a broken home, with an unfaithful father, actually made the transition much easier for me. There really wasn't any believing in "happily ever after," and I assumed life would be much simpler knowing that.
Drake’s song, “Trust Issues,” became my life’s anthem. It didn’t just apply to my love life. It soon spiraled into the mantra I had for any kind of relationship I formed.
But I was wrong in thinking that not trusting people would make things easier for me. Not trusting people was hard work. Being paranoid and walking on eggshells around everybody was tiring.
I think this is because, deep down, I really care a lot about people. I want them to open up and talk me. I want those around me to know I’m there for them. I want people to trust me.
Despite my unrealistic desire to have people open up to me without my opening up to them, I learned trust isn’t a one-way street. It became difficult to form meaningful relationships with people when I constantly shut them out, for fear of them finding out who I truly was and leaving anyway.
The thing that made it so hard for me was having such a big heart to give, but being too afraid to love someone who didn't feel the same way. So, I convinced myself that I didn’t want love. In actuality, I just didn’t think I was worthy of it.
But those fears didn't turn out to be true. I met someone who I tried to push away. I pretended not to have feelings for him. But the more I acted like I didn’t care, the harder I fell for him.
It was a constant struggle to both keep my guard up and want to give someone all I had to offer. It was an oxymoronic roller coaster of emotions, and it was fueled only by my own self-doubt.
Because of said self-doubt, I never allowed myself to enjoy the moments I had with this person. I never indulged in the feelings I had for him. I didn’t enjoy what it was like to be in love, even though it was completely real and stood right in front of me.
Instead, I shied away from affection. I dismissed any notions of a relationship, even though I secretly wanted one. I pretended my relationship with this person meant nothing to me. But it really meant everything.
Even though it’s over now and I don’t regret the time I spent with him, I do regret being so scared all the time. I regret not being vulnerable enough. I regret trying to play the game, instead of letting those feelings come out naturally and dealing with them head-on. I bottled up my emotions until I cracked.
I really regret letting my lack of trust in people overshadow how easily I’m able to love someone. Loving someone doesn’t make you weak, in the same way being cold and untrusting doesn't make you strong.