What Happens When You Finally Start Taking Control Of Your Love Life

by Sheena Sharma

Hi! My name is Sheena, and I'm a recovering masochist.

I've made a lot of progress this year. I dropped mean men like flies. And as a result, something incredible happened: I finally gained control of my love life, after years and years of being walked all over.

I'm slowly evolving into one of those girls I've always looked up to: the kind who spends Saturday nights in with her girlfriends, drinking boxed wine and baking cookies instead of schlepping across town to a bar in which her douchebag hookup buddy and his friends are spending their night.

Because that was, after all, my go-to routine: I was a flaming self-destroyer, impressive in stamina, unrelenting in determination.

I don't know why I was so reckless with my precious time. Why did I hand my time to guys who made me feel like half the girl I really am?

I suppose it was more the uncertainty of the hookup arrangement that got me hooked. His staying past the sex was a gift. His leaving was hurtful, but expected. I got addicted to missing someone, as if missing someone had to be my fate.

I got addicted to missing someone, as if missing someone had to be my fate.

I had a Master's in Fuckboy. The problem with fuckboys, though, is they always come back.

Take the other night, for example: I got a "u up?" text (OK, those weren't his exact words, but you get the gist). Six months ago, I'd have woken myself up, rummaged through my drawers to find a matching set of panties (or the next best thing) and scrambled to get the door, all in the dark.

When I think of doing all that now, I cringe from embarrassment. All that seems like a ton of work for a bed buddy and a *potential* orgasm.

Yeah, it turns out having a Master's in Fuckboy isn't anything to be proud of.

How did I break the self-sabotaging cycle? It wasn't easy, but I knew if I didn't try, I'd never see the change I wanted to see.

So I stopped answering those late-night texts. I started doing more things I love. I stopped messing around with dummies who didn't deserve me. I started realizing my worth.

And in an unexpected twist of fate, I feel clean, like a heroin-user-turned-straightedge. Like a girl whose donut-binge diet turned into a tea and turmeric detox.

Somehow, I surely (though very slowly) crawled out of the hole where men did whatever they pleased with me. I'm in control again.

It turns out having a Master's in Fuckboy isn't anything to be proud of.

Control feels nice. Different, but nice.

The only unfortunate byproduct of not being at the beck and call of the drunk 4 am-texter (aside from foregoing the "we're-too-smashed-to-cuddle" sex) is that my love life is a little less... well, eventful.

Because that's what happens when you stop spiraling and start taking control of your love life: Instead of falling into situations, you step into them with caution.

You pick and choose the good ones from the bad ones. You learn which people are worth being vulnerable with, and which people will just take advantage of vulnerability.

Yes, a controlled love life is more boring. Why? Well, you can actually sort of anticipate what's going to happen next in the story, as opposed to sitting on your bed with baited breath, waiting for a text that may never come. But boring trumps being treated like a rag doll.

Boring is also limitless. Boring means my heart isn't half-closed off by some half-relationship thing.

My heart is open — more open than it's ever been before — to let someone in fully. I never know how I'm going to meet my next leading man, or when or where. But I know that, when I do, I'll be able to give him a fair chance.

Taking control of your love life means being happy for once. It means waiting for the person you know you deserve, but it also means sleeping most nights with a teddy bear instead of a real person while you wait.

It means still messing up every now and then. That's just a part of growing up.

It means being patient and resilient. If you don't have those two qualities, it means learning them.

And most of all, it means being kind to yourself.

Sheena's back, baby. And this time, she's callin' the shots.