I stayed single for such a long period of time because of my insecurities.
I didn’t think anyone was going to agree to date me. I didn’t think anyone was attracted to me, mentally or physically. I didn’t think anyone would settle for someone like me when they had a million other, better options.
I had a hard time imagining someone smiling at a text written by me. I couldn’t picture someone excitedly running to their friends to talk about me either. I thought putting myself out there and flirting with someone cute would end in me embarrassing myself.
I assumed everyone saw me the same way I saw myself — unattractive, undesirable, unlovable.
Even when someone showed interest in me, I convinced myself I was reading their signals wrong. I convinced myself they were only being friendly and they must treat everyone the same as they treated me. I thought it was impossible for anyone to fall for me. I didn’t think I was the kind of girl who would get noticed.
I stayed single for such a long period of time because rejection, on even the smallest scale, makes my stomach churn. I didn’t want to send a text and end up on read. I didn’t want to ask someone on a date and get turned down. I didn’t even want to smile at someone in case they looked at me weird instead of smiling back.
I was too nervous to introduce myself at bars, or even visit bars, so I kept to myself. I hovered inside my comfort zone. I told all of my friends about crushes instead of letting the actual crushes in on my feelings.
I wanted a relationship more than anything, but I didn’t do anything to increase my chances of getting into a relationship. I didn’t flirt with anyone. I didn’t join dating apps. I didn’t let anyone get to know me. I closed myself off. I locked my heart away.
I stayed single for such a long period of time because everything about relationships scared me. Letting someone see the real me sounded scary. Sleeping with someone sounded scary. Getting cheated on sounded scary. Getting dumped sounded scary.
It seemed easier to stay single than to get myself invested in someone who would most likely hurt me. I thought building walls around my heart would help protect me. I thought it would save me from pain — but that’s not the way it worked.
I ended up getting attached to people I never even dated. I ended up crying my eyes out over people who didn’t even know about my feelings for them. I ended up hurting myself by isolating myself.
I stayed single for such a long time because it seemed like the better option — but I’m slowly learning that’s not the case. I’m slowly learning wearing your heart on your sleeve can pay off. It can make you happier than you’ve ever been as long as you’re careful, as long as you let the right people inside.