What Meeting the Right Person at the Wrong Time Taught Me About Dating
By Vivian Castro
If you're anything like me, you're a sucker for a good love story. Especially the ones you get to be a part of. I've been a hopeless romantic for as long as I can remember. In turn, I've had my fair share of love stories. However, my last long-term relationship really took an emotional toll on me. It left me scarred and completely paranoid. Since then, I haven't been able to open up to anyone, and at some point it made me physically ill just thinking about getting emotionally attached again. For a very long time, I let that fear terrorize almost every aspect of my life. But eventually, I realized that I couldn’t let one bad experience keep me from putting myself back out there.
It's been almost a year since the breakup and I made the conscious decision not to date until I felt absolutely ready, instead of jumping straight into another relationship like I had been doing since high school. I feel I've been doing a really great job of allowing myself to heal in a healthy manner. I've learned a lot about myself as an individual and have a newfound love for the freedom that comes with being single, which is something I think everyone should experience at some point in their life.
Like I said, I have always been a head-over-heels, hopeless romantic. So at this point in my life, it is absolutely liberating to say that I don't want any type of romantic relationship. However, I recently met someone with whom I found an undeniable connection. I figured it would happen sooner or later, but I was not expecting it to happen this soon. Not to mention that she didn't fit the description of "my type." I never saw myself with someone older than me, let alone somebody with kids. But I guess if "my type" was the kind of person I was meant to be with, one of my past relationships would have worked out. Anyway, back to my point. Regardless of my newfound fear of relationships, I gave it a go because she brought out unanticipated feelings in me. Everything was going great until a petty, little argument ended it all. We haven't spoken in almost a week.
I've been told time and time again that love finds you when you least expect it. Though I feel it is much too soon to call this love, I have to agree. Especially considering that we met at work, which at any other point in my life would have been a deal breaker. I didn't walk into that job expecting to meet someone who would drastically change my current views on relationships. But something about her was absolutely compelling. Maybe it was the way she made me feel safe enough to trust again. Or the fact that we had such similar mentalities, which made communicating so much easier when we had slight disagreements. Whatever it may have been, I can honestly say I had never experienced so much patience and understanding with a potential partner. It was definitely a fresh change from what I was used to, but also scary and overwhelming to feel that vulnerable again.
Though I made my stance on relationships, and any type of commitment, very clear from the beginning, I can't help but feel like I'm missing an opportunity to be with someone who actually understands me. But at the same time, I'm a little relieved because I know I am nowhere near ready for a relationship of that magnitude. It wouldn’t have been fair of me to continue courting her knowing that I’m not ready for anything exclusive. And I know that at this point in my life, I'm bound to mess it up. (I guess I kind of already did.)
Needless to say, I'm not very proud of the way I let things end. However, my pride and fear of rejection are keeping me from doing anything about it. I’d much rather keep my pride intact than to have my feelings hurt. Especially at a time in my life when I'm trying to figure things out for myself and learning to be more independent. This just goes to show that I still have a lot to work on before I decide to permanently involve somebody in my life, especially somebody with kids. But if I've learned anything from this experience, it's that despite how many times you've been hurt, heartbroken, or lied to, you should never be afraid to put yourself back out there. You never know, people might surprise you. You might even surprise yourself. I certainly did. Even though the hopeless romantic in me didn’t get her happy ending, I’m glad I allowed myself to experience something so amazing. It might have been short-lived, but it definitely put things in perspective. So next time you find yourself in a similar situation, do yourself a favor and take that leap of faith.