October 1, 2018

This is not a column for romantic relationship advice. If you’re looking for that, just know I’m literally the least qualified person on the planet to give that, so you won’t find it here.

This is not about romantic relationships, it’s about interpersonal relationships (I guess romance falls under that…yeah, it does…what I said earlier still stands).

Personally, I have a hard time with interpersonal relationships. A hard time establishing them, and a hard time maintaining them.

I say it’s because I’m terrified of commitment, but really, that’s not it. In all honesty, I’m afraid of abandonment.

I make it a policy of not letting people get close to me, because I know they’ll abandon me. Whether or not this is actually true, it’s how my brain allows me to see the world. So it’s how I act.

I have a huge problem oversharing –at least, when I feel like I’ve overshared personal information. I feel guilty, like I’ve betrayed myself by letting this person know too much about me. I feel guilty, like I’ve burdened them with too many details about myself.

In the past, I’ve felt abandoned. I feel like I pour so much of myself into a friendship and get little in return. I do my best to be available 24/7. I give advice. I feel for the person’s problems more than for my own. I care about their lives, their happiness.

And yet it feels like it’s always me reaching out. It’s always me asking how they are. Always me asking if I can help. I’ve come to the realization that relationships have to be a two-way street. It can’t just be me putting in the energy, both parties have to be invested.

So I stop reaching out, and the relationship drifts apart. And I feel guilty. I feel downright miserable, because I feel like it’s my fault. But I force myself to step back and say, ‘okay, the relationship fell apart. Why?’

More often than not it’s a lack of communication. I stop reaching out, and communication ceases. Communication is hard for some people. Hell, it’s hard for me. But it needs to be in a relationship of any kind, from friendship to romantic to parental. Communication is vital.

And if someone isn’t willing to put in that communication, isn’t willing to put in the care that I put in, is it really a relationship? Or is it just a one-way street?

I am bitter and cynical because I feel like I need to be. Buried within me is an optimist, but they’ve been wronged. They keep their walls high. When they peek through the window, let the walls slide down, they end up getting hurt.

I’m coming to terms with allowing myself to be vulnerable, to not see asking for help as weakness. It’s hard. It’s really, really hard. Humans are social animals. We need interpersonal relationships. It’s good for us to be vulnerable and open with another.

But we have to protect ourselves, emotionally and physically. I try to trust my gut when it comes to this sort of thing –the only problem is my gut is a terrible judge of character. It thinks the best of everyone, which I suppose is a good thing. But it’s led me to be hurt in the past. So I’m bitter. And I’m cynical. Yet my gut thinks the best of everyone. It’s an odd little dichotomy that I live with, and regret, daily.

This isn’t a column about relationship advice. There really isn’t a resolution here. It’s just an attempt for me to lay down in black and white how I feel. I’m trying my best.

Right now, it’s not good enough. So I try to get better. As I hope everyone does. If you really need to draw a lesson from this, I guess it should be:

Protect yourself. Keep your heart safe. Trust your gut.

But try to be open. Talking helps.

Do your best, and know, no matter what, you are good enough.