I only recently began to think about this when it hit me just a couple of days ago, and I have only spoken about it personally with two of my girlfriends. Many of my readers will probably want to slap me upside the head and call me absolutely crazy afterward, but rest assured it is a fear that I am no longer trying to hide in; instead, it is a fear that I am both willing to embrace and overcome.
It took root after what I consider my first real heartbreak at sixteen, and then manifested itself in the years that followed. Throughout my junior and senior years, as well as my freshman year of college, I took interest in several guys that I probably either should have just stayed friends with or kept at a distance. It was nice and exciting at first, but eventually their true colors come out and they would cut off communication from me. While in retrospect it was probably for the best, it did initially hurt.
And the middle of all that, there were the guys that only pursued me for the sake of sex; those were the toughest situations because most of the time I had no idea how to handle them. There would come a point where they'd get the hint and leave me alone, but it still left me with a twinge of disappointment. More so, I was frustrated because at the time, I didn't understand why they (or any other creeper, for that matter) would want to prey upon me, specifically.
It got to where I realized that for the past three years, I have been going through this kind of cycle; I meet someone, I get to know them, and then it turns out to be a dead end, one way or the other. Sometimes it's because they turn out to be not who I thought they were, and sometimes it's because it just doesn't go anywhere.
And that is where my fear comes in; I have had a fear that I will never be able to break that cycle, and that I will never be able to have that experience of genuine and true love.
The hardest part about not being a romantic relationship isn't necessarily that I don't have anyone to do things for me. That is a factor, but only a small one. On the contrary, I want to be able to do thing for a man as well; to be there for him, to take care of him, and be able to tell him how I feel about him.
I want to be wanted and pursued for the right reasons.
And that will not happen if I keep my fear at the forefront.
But this is not one I feel I can face by confrontation, at least not in the traditional sense. However, I have come up with a few methods/ways to shut down this kind of unhealthy thinking.
Surround yourself with good and positive people
I used to think that when I met a guy, not talking to anyone about it made everything a lot easier; I wouldn't have to deal with endless questions or suggestions. I could do what I personally thought was best for me, and if it went down hill I could quietly move on. It turns out that not discussing it made it a lot harder; after a while it felt like I was keeping secrets, and my insecurities usually overpowered my confidence.
It's important to have a good sounding board to lift you up, and help keep things like self-doubt and negative thoughts at bay. Find people who will give you unbiased advice as opposed to just spitting out cliches or saying that men/women suck. In that case, sometimes there will be only be a few to confide in, but having a few is better than having none.
Personally, I am also trying to spend less time using Facebook and Twitter. From people posting depressing statuses about relationships or it seeming like everyone but you is constantly getting into one, it can be (and often is) a real downer. Overall, frequently relying on social media for guidance is not the best way to go.
Trust Your Instincts
This is a given, yet almost cliche. There have been instances where I doubted my own intuition because of the way things turned out, but what I was really doing was doubting my sense of awareness.
Intuition isn't just about that tiny little voice in the back of your mind, but also about how you feel when you're with someone or in a specific type of environment. If you don't have a particular good feeling in either circumstance, perhaps you should slow down or hit the brakes before going any further.
That is, don't overthink the situation, blame anybody, or wonder day in and day out what might be or could have been. When you think too much, you lose sight of what relationships are really about. When you blame past loves or yourself for what you can't change, it just causes more heartache. I understand how easy it is to say "So and so hurt me and that's the reason I can't get over it." But after a while, the only person that is holding you back from anything is yourself. At some point, you have to let it go.
I can't speak for those who don't believe in God or don't identify with certain Christian beliefs. But personally, I have found that prayer and reminding myself of God's presence in my life has been helping ease my fear, little by little. It has helped me to see that I am never alone, even though there are times when I feel like it.
Lately, I have been trying to ask God for peace in what I am currently experiencing, and peace is the sense that everything will be all right.
At the very least, everyone can have faith in the fact that if it doesn't kill you, you will be fine. Have faith that even though a relationship might not have worked out the way you wanted it to, at least you gained experience and insight. Have faith that you will overcome your fears and get to the place that you want to be in.
I have also learned not focus on the setbacks, but the progress; this year in particular, I made a list of important qualities that not only do I want in a significant other, but what I want between the two of us. In turn, that list has helped me to keep my distance from guys that haven't been good for me. Both of those things are huge steps.
Love, or at least right kind, is not meant to be feared or denied. It is a blessing, a gift that should be both welcomed and cherished. I don't know about the rest of the world, but I'm not going to rob myself of it because of my past mistakes, or what I have seen from the mistakes of those around me. I am not those people, nor do I have to be.
As the saying goes, it's not about destiny, it's about choices. One can either choose to live in fear, or they can choose to live in joy.
I choose joy.