It stems from a fear of rejection.
I'm 32 and I've been single for a year and three months now. I've spent that time working on myself, both internally and externally.
Feeling confident, strong, and independent, I started screwing around on some dating apps. I wasn't on there to meet anyone, really. I just wanted to laugh at ridiculous pictures and see what's currently out there. I have too much going on to really date someone.
Then I connected with a man who actually replied. He was a grown adult, older than me, with a real job and similar interests. He was pro-active, polite, and funny. He was everything I thought I wanted. He asked almost immediately when he could take me out.
Then, I freaked. Internally, of course. I thought I was ready to find a mature man because I'm finally happy with who I am. I thought I was ready to go on a date with someone who has his sh*t together. And I'm not. I'm so not.
I never did go on a date with that guy, though I did give him my number and we talked a bit. He called me, which I found charming, but then later, he told me he had accidentally dialed me. Womp womp. I found enough flaws with him in the first 24 hours to convince myself I didn't want to go there after all.
I was looking, digging, hoping to find an excuse to opt out. I did.
This little episode brought me to a sobering realization: I'm terrified to date a grown-ass man. Though I do feel better about myself, and I know that I'm growing every single day, I'm still insecure when it comes to guys.
It's stupid when I stop to think about it. I know that I'm a great person and that I have more than enough to offer the right partner. Still, I'm afraid that some stranger will look at me and think I'm "less than." Why do I persist in feeling this way despite my growth in self-confidence?
I can attribute it to a few issues: First of all, my ex is the one man I've ever dated that had his sh*t together. He had a real job and real ambitions. I respected him. In the city of Los Angeles, where Peter Pans abound, it's rare to find this kind of guy.
It was great — except he wanted commitment and marriage and a family. I don't know that I want those things, and it scared me away. Now, I think I'm afraid that every single guy I meet who has his life in order will want me to settle down and pop out some babies.
I'm also not quite where I want to be with my self-esteem yet. I'm perfectly happy when I'm single and not looking because I don't have to navigate the world of men who might not want me. I don't have to deal with rejection and have the strength it takes not to take it personally.
I surround myself with people who already love me and think I'm awesome. I never have to worry they'll dismiss me for not being pretty enough or skinny enough or right enough.
If I start dating again, I have to draw upon inner strength that I'd rather apply toward other pursuits. I want to focus on developing my career and my personal life, not worry that some guy I think is awesome won't think the same back.
I don't deal well with love problems. It's obvious from my past. I know I can't fix that if I simply don't date at all but it sure feels tempting.
Frankly, it sucks to realize this about myself. Do I seriously want to keep dating younger men who idolize me and don't want to settle down? Maybe. Actually, now that I write that out, it doesn't sound terrible. I'm a sucker for hot young guys. (I'm sure it stems from some weird parental issue I need to work out in therapy.)
So why am I such a commitment-phobe? It's complicated. Humans are screwed up and intricate. I hope that if I find a mature man who is emotionally evolved and into the idea of traveling and adventuring with me that I'll take a chance.
I obviously have substantial work to do. I've come very far but if I want to get everything I deserve out of life, I'll have to push myself even farther outside my comfort zone.
I want to be in a place where I don't take it personally when a relationship doesn't work out. I want to be strong enough to say no to someone who doesn't fit exactly what I need. I want to embrace dating and new romances as fiercely as I've learned to embrace the rest of my life.
I want to see a man who has his sh*t together, smile, and say "hell yes!"