There are very few things that you can do deliberately, or willingly that have the power to change your life as love does. Few things are as exciting as meeting somebody you are attracted to: the racing heart, nervousness, anticipation, it’s all very exhilarating. You will be hard-pressed to find something more validating and euphoric as when you find out that the object of affection feels the same way about you. Then comes that complicated part; you start to fall in love. Love is scary! Here are the four reasons I was terrified to fall in love with John.
Too Good At Goodbyes
When I was falling in love with John, all my past failed relationships became frighteningly present. And I am not just talking about the time I walked in on “the love of my life” naked with another girl, no. I am talking about childhood relationships that scarred my yet unformed brain with seeds of distrust and betrayal. People that were supposed to love and protect me disappointed me. When every time you have loved, you have felt pain, just like Pavlov’s dogs, you associate absolute happiness with inevitable pain. These past hurts stood like Trump’s wall, between John and me.
The sub-heading above is the title to a Sam Smith’s song whose lyrics sum this, my number one fear of falling in love;
“…You must think that I am new to this,
but I have seen this all before.
I am never gonna let you close to me,
even though you mean the most to me,
‘Cause every time I open up, it hurts.
So I am never gonna get too close to you,
Even when I mean the most to you,
In case you go and leave me in the dirt.”
“Whoever Loves Least, Controls The Relationship”
Have any of you heard that one before in some form? Yup, if you are not out-of-your-mind gaga over somebody, its easier to say, “no thanks, I am busy.” Or easier to hear it directed at you. Early on in our dating, I was determined not to be the love-struck puppy that followed John everywhere ( I was). I wanted to be the indifferent cat that said things like, “Oh, you came over? I thought you would be out with your friends.” As if I didn’t know (or care) what his plans were (I did). I did not want to “like him too much.”
Furthermore, what if his feelings did not evolve at the same rate or in the same direction as mine? The fear that I would love John more than he loved me became an Olympic event competition for me. I would pick apart our interactions to analyze evidence of who loved who more. It was exhausting! And the more I won, the more I lost (John).
Family Or Fiancé
Y’all seen the Family or Fiancé show? I love it! Oh, the drama! The show is centered around a true premise. How often have you seen family stand in the way of love? It’s ubiquitous in love stories. It has been the theme of many Hollywood movies from the 1940s movie Love Crazy, Guess Whose Coming To Dinner (1967), to Meet The Parents (2000). The prospect of having to choose between my family and the person I was falling in love with was petrifying.
On the one hand, this could be my one real chance at love, but on the other, it could end up being just another “somebody that I used to know” situation. So when my brother, and by extension the rest of my family, disapproved of me dating John, I was ready to walk away. I could not bear the thought of parting ways with them. We were close, and I loved them to bits (still do). Making this decision was the closest I have ever come to breaking up with John (I will tell you all about the other times later. Make sure you follow.).
Am I Pretty Enough?
As if it wasn’t hard enough dealing with all the issues above, I was also beating myself up. Insecurities are a bitch, aren’t they? I can’t tell you how many times I resolved to break up with John because I WAS SURE he would break up with me. After all, why would he want me? I was not good enough. Every time we fought, or he pointed out something that I could be doing better, I took it as confirmation. A confirmation of what my self-defeating mind was whispering to me, “you are not good enough, he deserves better.” It didn’t help that John always seemed so at ease in social settings. People always seemed to gravitate towards him (including hot chicks). There were many times we would meet up with his friends at the bar, and I couldn’t get a word in. I felt invisible. John would turn to me occasionally to ask if I was ok, and I would nod reassuringly, but I wasn’t. I hated that I made him have to do that. I hated that the other girls seemed to have so much more to say than I did. I hated that I didn’t do shots of tequila, or cocaine, and would never fit in with the cool kids. I hated that I wasn’t prettier. I hated that I was in love with him. I was in love.
Do not miss next week’s installment as we continue to peel back the layers of our challenges and triumphs. Our relationship successes are very closely matched by our failures. Trust us, you don’t want to miss this.