My name is Amanda, and I am very f*cking single.
In fact, I am so damn single, I've successfully forgotten what it feels like to be in love, let alone in a meaningful relationship with someone.
Call me jaded, but it's true.
If things are going well with a guy I'm seeing, I run from it.
I run because I am so extremely terrified of falling head over heels for someone and getting the rug ripped out from under me.
But for some reason, that always seems to happen.
Maybe it's bad luck, or maybe it's just the men I've been involved with in the past.
But I can honestly tell you I have never confidently said "I love you" to a boyfriend and heard it back.
So now, I'm stuck in this bizarre dating limbo where it's all fun and games until I feel a deeper connection than I'm used to.
The second I feel like a relationship could work out, I start thinking about the reasons why it shouldn't.
This self-destructive path to romantic failure backfired heavily on me this winter.
Long story short, I met a guy a few months ago.
Let's call him Josh.
Josh was unlike anyone I'd ever met.
He just did things differently.
I can't even explain the way he talked or the way he examined the world around him. All I can tell you is I've never witnessed anything like it before.
We had deep conversations that constantly blew my mind, and he never hesitated to hold my hand when we were out in public.
It seems silly to admit it, but I felt like I was on another planet throughout the duration of whatever "thing" we had brewing.
After the first night I went out with him, I stumbled into my apartment alone and tried to convince my roommate he was an alien.
Yeah. He was that weird.
It was intriguing.
Josh was unique, and I loved it.
He was the "bad boy" I instantly fell for. (Mind you, I don't fall for people easily.)
In a perfect world, I would tell you we both lived happily ever after, traveled the world and made beautiful art together.
But this is real life, and I'll be perfectly honest with you: I f*cked it up.
Without even realizing it, I ruined what could have been a beautiful relationship before it even started because of my fear that something could go wrong.
I was scared to dive into something I wasn't familiar with, which stopped me from taking chances that could have led to greater things.
I was numb. I was jaded.
Now, I know there are many ways to ruin a relationship before it even starts. But I've figured out how to avoid them.
Here are five ways to avoid sabotaging your relationship:
1. Don't compare your current relationship with your past relationships.
He doesn't care about the way your ex treated you, and quite frankly, neither should you.
The past is the past.
Although learning from the mistakes you've made can be super helpful, you shouldn't dwell on what's behind you, especially in the realm of relationships.
Like F. Scott Fitzgerald has said, "There are all kinds of love in this world, but never the same love twice."
2. Don't be afraid to feel again.
I don't care how many times you feel the need to tell me you're a heartless bitch who's had her heart broken one too many times.
If you're meant to grow feelings for someone, there's no stopping it.
You just will.
If you keep yourself from experiencing love, you'll be eternally uninspired and pretty damn lonely. Love with all you've got, and risk the chance of heartache.
If you take a chance and let your walls down, the possibilities in a relationship are endless.
It could potentially be very beautiful for the both of you.
3. Don't be closed-minded to new ideas that are brought to the table.
This is a tricky one.
When you meet someone new, you want to be open-minded about his or her ideas, actions and habits.
Some may be great, and some may be terrible. But instead of judging them, you need to understand them.
If you aren't fond of something he or she says or does, say it.
If you find that something he or she says is different from what you're used to, talk about it.
Experiencing new things with one another can bring your possible relationship to the next level. So keep your mind open, and explore each other's weird thoughts and tendencies.
4. Don't overanalyze the situation. Just let it happen.
One of my biggest downfalls is I overthink absolutely everything.
I am the girl who analyzes the amount of time it takes for you to text me back, and then, I wonder how much time is appropriate before we see each other again.
I've never been this "crazy," but I've realized overthinking the beginning of a relationship is completely self-destructive.
By not overthinking what the last text you got from him meant or constantly wondering what's on his mind, you let things happen naturally.
If it's meant to be, it will be. So just chill the f*ck out.
5. Listen to your heart, and don't let the opinions of others sway you.
If I could give you only one piece of advice about love, I would tell you to listen to your heart and think deeply about what you want in a significant other.
I know, I know: It's easier said than done because you've basically got a posse of close family and friends standing by your side 24/7 and judging any assh*le who crosses your path.
I get it.
Yet, you must try not to let the opinions of others sway your opinion about a potential boyfriend or girlfriend. They don't know what goes on behind closed doors.
Only you know what's said and done. If you are happy with the way he or she lives his or her life, roll with it.
If you end up being wrong about that person, you've learned a lesson.
Do yourself a favor and take the chance that will make you happy. For God's sake, break down your wall and allow yourself to feel romance again.
If you don't, you'll never know what you could have had. You'll ruin a relationship before it even has the chance to begin.