Guys seem to have this thing about "fixing" or "saving" girls. I guess it makes them feel protective and masculine.
Don't get me wrong: I'd love to be cared about, but I don't want to be seen as weak or in need of fixing.
I tend to overshare, which gets me into trouble sometimes. I'd rather know if a guy is going to run away from my flaws sooner rather than later.
My past doesn't define me, but it does reflect on my present self. I am who I am because of my past. I can grow and change, and I've moved past everything. That doesn't mean my past disappeared, though. I've learned from it, and I use it to push myself forward and to avoid repeating past mistakes.
I was a loner for a while. I let my past define me and dictate my future. It was a constant effort to remind myself to be happy, dammit, and to push certain intrusive thoughts from my mind.
It took four years for me to even look a man in the eyes. Four years passed before I could ride in an elevator alone with a man without having a panic attack.
When I finally started dating again, I believed every man I came across needed to change my perception of men and dating. I needed to find the exact opposite of what I had before; I needed my new guy to be perfect.
Obviously, that was never an option.
I figured out pretty quickly that I wasn't going to find a perfect human, but I could absolutely find someone who would listen, understand and not pull my triggers.
My past didn't need to be a constant topic of conversation, assuming my new guy wasn't scared off by it. If he was, then he wasn't someone I needed to be spending time with in the first place. All I needed was understanding.
Understanding that, like everyone, I have triggers, so please don't pull them.
Understanding that, like everyone, I have fears, so please don't torment me.
Understanding that, like everyone, I have boundaries, so please don't push them.
Learning to trust again was my biggest challenge. I had to remind myself that not every man is out to get to me.
I also had to remind myself that, while I probably would get hurt again, my fear of getting hurt couldn't be the reason I backed away from relationships. I will get hurt, but this time I'll get back up.
This time, I'll know when to leave.
This time, I know my boundaries.
I'll still get hurt, but I'll enjoy my time with another person who listens and understands.
That's all I need. Someone to make me feel safe, loved and like more than an object. I need to fall in love: the reciprocated, crazy kind of love.
I need love where one can't possibly imagine hurting the other. Where one misses the other deeply when they've spent just a day or two apart. Where one will do anything to keep the other safe. Where one may not relate to the other, but makes an effort to understand and nurture.
I don't expect to fall in love tomorrow, but I hope and pray for understanding from everyone I meet and share my story with. I don't need advice, ideas or game plans. I need a calm listener.
I need to be understood.