I have always had a fear of love because of past relationships. I was cheated on twice while I was pregnant, and so many other times that I lost count. It left me feeling inadequate and unwanted. It left me unable to trust.
When I am afraid of love, I ask a million questions and have a million doubts: What if he doesn’t love me the same way I love him? What if I get rejected? What if I’ve moved too fast? What if I’m too needy? What if he’s using me?
I have noticed that when that fear of love starts to boil deep inside that I become too clingy. I try to spend every moment with my guy so that I know what, when, and where he is all the time. I freak out if I see him talking to another girl. I act a lot like the “needy girlfriend” that Kara talked about in her piece this week. Once I stayed in a relationship with a boyfriend who had cheated on me but the problem was that I never really forgave him for cheating on me and could no longer trust him, so I instead tried to watch his every move.
Lately I’ve realized that’s not the way to do things in a relationship of any kind. Just like I want my “me” time, he does too. It doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s going to cheat on me. He needs to spend time with friends and family just like I do. I need to find the balance of spending every second together and barely seeing each other—not too smothering, but not too distant. I need to find ways to slowly build a trust that can calm my fears.
I’m also realizing that it’s okay to be honest about my fears and questions, like Carrie wrote about this week. I grew up thinking that keeping your emotions, especially your fears, to yourself in a romantic relationship was a strategy to protect yourself. The people I knew who had been divorced taught me to keep yourself guarded so that you don’t get hurt.
To this day I’m terrified of sharing my fears. I’m afraid it might make a guy think I’m crazy. I’m afraid it might make him run. I’m afraid it might make me push him away out of fear of rejection.
But I’m learning that real love is a love in which two people share their true selves with each other—and being open and honest about fears and struggles is part of that. In my head that sounds really complicated. But it might be as simple as writing a letter or asking a conversation-starter question like, “Can I talk to you about some fears I am struggling with?” Sharing my fears about love with the person I date might help be the first step to us overcoming them together.