How Insecurity Killed All of My Romances. ~Melissa Petty

Via Melissa Pettyon Oct 2, 2013

mind on fire

I have dated a lot and for the most part had a lot of fun doing it.

I wasn’t one of those girls who dated “the same guy.” But, as soon as it became “serious,” things got complicated (or at least I made them complicated).

I admittedly spend a great deal of time living in my head—it’s a strange habit for someone as seemingly extroverted as I am. I’m not moody or withdrawn, just very analytical. I like to figure out what makes people tick. It’s a great game to play when people watching, but is a sure death sentence when trying to foster a new relationship. The real, honest-to-goodness truth is that you can never really know how people function.

That fact didn’t stop me from trying, though. In recent months (after my last post-mortem relationship analysis) I realized a startling fact about myself: I am insecure. I have found that throughout my life I have used my analysis of people to identify what I thought they needed from me and tried to fill that void. I did this without ever taking into consideration my own personal needs and wants.

I wanted to be wanted so badly, that I tried to make myself indispensable.

Somewhere in my brain I had evaluated myself as “not enough,” so I became the girl that I thought they needed me to be.

When I was 23, I became a follower. This guy was not a bully by any stretch of the imagination. But, he was particular, and I was naive. I let him steer the ship. He criticized small things, unintentionally making me feel like I needed to try harder. He barely ever touched me. He told me I was too skinny. By the end of our relationship, I was barely eating due to anxiety.

I promised myself I would never be that girl again.

When I was 24, I thought I was in love. I spent several months attempting to convince this man that he wanted to be with me. I enmeshed myself in his life. I became the quickest, wittiest, brightest version of myself in hopes that he would fall in love with me too. I assured (and reassured) him that his uncertainties were understandable, and that I was ok with him taking his time. But in all earnestness, it killed me. I smiled through it. I convinced myself that he was worth waiting for. I begged him to change his mind when we broke up.

I knew I didn’t want to be that girl anymore, either.

When I was 25, I was a glorified babysitter (for lack of a better term). While this boy was very fun, I quickly realized that the party wasn’t stopping. He was sweet and meant well, which is why I stuck around, but I found myself in many ways acting like the grown up. I folded his laundry. I took care of him when he was sick. I was his perpetual designated driver. I made excuses for him when he routinely chose his friends over me. I was Wendy to a tribe of Lost Boys.

I sure as hell never wanted to be that girl again.

It took a great deal of introspection, but I decided to put myself in a dating time-out. I was able to reorganize the way that I saw relationships and myself in them. I gained a greater understanding of how and why things “went wrong.” I realized that my friends were full of shit when they told me the failure of my relationships “wasn’t my fault.”

When I let insecurity guide my choices I allowed myself to be twisted and contorted into unfulfilling and unrealistic versions of myself. The reason that despite my “best efforts” my relationships were doomed to fail is because I wasn’t really present.

The girl that those guys dated wasn’t real and on some level they could all see it—even if I couldn’t.

A few weeks into my first relationship with this new personal framework is a strange and unfamiliar landscape. I have nowhere to hide. It is absolutely terrifying, in that exhilarating, “what the hell comes next?” kind of way. It is because the honesty I’ve developed with myself that I can be honest with him. I feel more comfortable in my own skin than ever before.

I’ve found a comfort in embracing my insecurities and trying to move past them than I ever would have found in hiding behind them.

 

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Ed: Bryonie Wise

About Melissa Petty

Melissa Petty is a yoga teacher, coffee lover, beer enthusiast, amateur blogger and merry maker living in Columbus, OH. When she is not on her mat, Melissa enjoys cooking, snuggling her sister’s kids, and enjoying her amazing city and all it has to offer. Melissa received her 200 hour training from ShivaShakti Sythesis RYS under the guidance of Janice George and Connie Phillips. In addition to the two wonderfully strong women, Melissa counts Tara Powers and Josie Schweitzer among her local yoga heroes and inspirations.

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2 Responses to “How Insecurity Killed All of My Romances. ~Melissa Petty”

  1. loneseabreaker says:

    Brilliant, honest and heart felt post. I admire your honesty and bravery, to recognise your own responsibilities in your relationships and take ownership of them.

    I too am on a dating time-out, the most recent of many, many attempts. But I'm determined to make this one worth it and not just throw away my efforts the minute a guy shows his interest in me. I've spent far too much time throwing away my own needs, wants and values in a desperate bid to be lovable, valuable and wanted by some guy. And like that Radiohead song lyric, "you do it to yourself, you do and that's what really hurts."

    I need to feel lovable and valuable to myself, as I'm going to spend the rest of my life with myself.

    I'm so glad I read your piece today!
    Best of luck x

  2. D.M. says:

    This couldn't have come at a better time. Everything you wrote resonates with me. I don't know why so many of us independent, attractive, intelligent, articulate, and confident women become so insecure in relationships. Men put you on this pedestal and I for one immediately get anxious because I feel they don't see me as a real person and fear the relationship is doomed if I show any signs of being imperfect. I then allow those insecurities to manifest and the relationship understandably evaporates and I'm left trying to figure out what I did wrong so it doesn't happen again. The next time is always different, but has the same outcome. I've always hoped to meet someone who would love me for who I am, not for whom they have idealized me to be. I'm a definite "work in progress" and it's good to know I'm not alone.

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