I've always been a bit sarcastic and dry. It's hard for me to open up and admit I'm a closet hopeless romantic.
I'm definitely cool with being single... but at the same time, if my soulmate came around, it's not like I'd tell him to go away.
This is why I hold back:
I act cool, but I'm a softie at heart.
I have to protect myself because I haven't in the past. I went all in with guys who didn't treat my heart with the respect it deserves.
Now, I'm very particular about who I open up to... and it takes me a while.
Once someone breaks through, there'll be a ton of romance. But that takes time.
I act cynical because I'm scared of getting hurt.
I'll be the first to admit I'm a complex lady. I really AM super easygoing and chill. I don't care about grand, showy, romantic gestures.
I'm not into traditional ideas of romance and marriage and all that jazz. What I don't often tell anyone is I do want a deep emotional connection with a special guy who truly understands and accepts me.
It takes me a long time to reveal that about myself.
I hate rejection, so I don't like to date. But I do want love.
Obviously, this is a problem. If a guy tells me he's not into me, I'll act super cool about it. I won't chew him out or get upset.
I let it go.
I can't make someone like me, but the rejection still stings a bit. I try very hard not to take it personally, but it seems easier not to date at all. On the other hand, I'll never find love that way.
My tough attitude kills my prospects.
I'm strong, but I'm still human.
I can be perfectly fine on my own, but still want a partner to share my life with.
Yes, sometimes it's a struggle to decide what the right balance is for me. I greatly value my space, and a lot of people don't understand that.
They often assume that because I'm a bit of a lone wolf, I don't want romance or love. That couldn't be further from the truth: It'll just be on different terms.
I don't need a man, but I'd like one.
Growing into a place where I don't feel like I need a man in order to be happy is one of the biggest personal achievements of my life.
That doesn't mean I don't want an emotionally mature, amazing guy as an equal partner by my side. It bugs me when people assume I hate men and have no desire to have a boyfriend just because I have a strong personality and don't accept less than what I deserve.
Even when I'm happy alone, I do miss love.
I'll be the first to say my life is pretty amazing right now. I'm busy, motivated and focused.
I love everything I do. I know not a lot of people feel that way, so I'm very grateful.
But although I'm very content and probably too busy to date anyway, I miss intimate conversation, cuddling, sweet gestures and, of course, sex.
I think I could let down my walls for the right relationship.
It's difficult for me, and I know I'm a tough nut to crack.
If a guy thinks I'm worth it and he's up to the challenge, I know eventually, I could let him in: He just has to earn my trust and affection first.
I am a decisive and independent woman because of my past experiences. I need to know a man isn't going to screw me over, but I am willing to open up for the right person.
I sometimes worry my toughness will keep me from finding a great guy.
I am who I am and I like myself, but I know I could stand to be less guarded. It's tough for me; I'm working on it.
I'm aware my defensive feelings toward men don't define me.
When I worry I'll never find love, I try to remember the right man will see through my walls and stick with me.
I don't know if I'll find someone who loves me the way I am.
I'm a great girlfriend, but at the same time, many probably see me as a difficult person to love. I have high standards and a strong personality.
I'm honest and sarcastic, and definitely an alpha female.
I love hard, but I also constantly challenge my partner to grow and develop in the relationship. I haven't found many men who are up for the work, to be honest.
I won't settle for less, so I might end up alone.
I have so much love to give the man who understands me.
When I finally find the amazing unicorn who fits my life just right, I think I'll be so excited and grateful, I'll love him harder than anyone would ever think I could.
It might not look like traditional love to the outside world, but if he gets me and I get him, that's all I'll need.
I won't need this tough shell to protect me any longer, and I'll blossom in the one area I have yet to embrace.
A version of this post was previously published on the writer's personal blog.