What Scares Me Isn’t That Someone Won’t Love Me, It’s That I Won’t Love Them In Return

Love is complicated. There are so many stars that have to align perfectly for a relationship to work, which is why so many fail. I’ve been burned several times over, so it makes sense I’m skeptical that I’ll ever find something real — but it’s not for the reason you might think.

1. Most people worry that they’re not lovable…

For many, they’re worried that no one will ever truly accept them for who they are. Their scars are too deep and their flaws are too close to the surface. They aren’t worth the effort someone else would need to put in to truly see them and anyone who tries to peel back the layers will run away the minute they succeed. Maybe they are one of the ones meant to be alone; to watch others from a distance but never experience love of their own.

2. … But those are not my fears. 

I don’t lie awake at night wondering if I’m going to find someone who completes me. I don’t worry that no one will love me for who I am as a person. I’m not afraid that I’ll end up alone. Sure, I like all women have insecurities and self-conscious moments, but they make me human, not paranoid. I know that nothing I’ve been through makes me unlovable.

3. In fact, I know I’m a catch.

I’m happy with who I am as a person. I’m confident in who I am as a partner. And if we’re being honest, there’s no part of me that’s worried that no one will want me. I’ve never been a serial dater but my track record confirms that not only will someone be interested, but they’ll probably fall pretty quick. I don’t have any reason to think I’ll ever run out of options. In short, I’m not scared someone won’t want me.

4. What scares me is wanting them in return.

My problem isn’t being worried about whether or not someone will choose me. I’m afraid I won’t choose them. Because no matter how great a guy is and how much he should make me change my perception of love, it never seems to be enough. It’s good to have standards, but sometimes I truly feel like I’m never going to find someone who fits the bill. Yes, my ex set the bar pretty damn low, but it’s more than that.

5. Perhaps I’m too optimistic.

I’m surrounded by examples of just how beautiful love can be. I’ve seen so many people wait for the real thing when they easily could have settled for something less. I’ve also seen plenty who took what they could get and paid the price. But I don’t want easy, and I refuse to settle. I’ve been there, done that, and I don’t want to ever again be with someone who makes me less of a person. Less of myself.

6. I always think each time will be different.

The guy and I start off on the same page and I wonder if maybe this time, I’ll actually let my guard down. However, history has shown that before long they skipped ahead, and I can’t figure out why. Maybe it’s because I morph myself into whatever they want me to be. Maybe I’m good at understanding and then giving people exactly what they need. Maybe I’m just a breath of fresh air after a crazy ex of their own.

7. But it never lasts long.

What starts as giddy and innocent flirting becomes intense late night conversations and before I know it, I notice them staring at me a little longer. Holding me a little tighter. Talking about the future with a bit more certainty. As soon as I start to realize they’re sinking into my unintentional quicksand, I panic. Whether or not I know it’s happening, I start to pull away.

8. In most cases, it has nothing to do with the guy.

Which isn’t really fair, to me or them, but it happens anyway. They might be offering me the world, but it’s no match for my methods of self-sabotage. I dissect every little thing to convince myself something is missing. I drive myself crazy debating whether or not it’s worth sticking around.

9. I’m not sure why I do it.

Maybe I’m afraid to let someone into a heart that’s still healing from it’s last fatal blow. Maybe I’m scared that even though I’m what someone wants now, I might not be for long, or maybe I’m just worried that the kind of love they deserve isn’t something I’m capable of giving.

10. Everything happens for a reason.

Perhaps my outlook on relationships proves I’m not yet ready to try it again. So I’ll wait, as patiently as I can, and hope that one day, when the right person’s love comes along, giving mine in return will be the only thing that makes sense.

Ashley King is a writer.

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