Over the years, I have been asked time and time again, “How are you still single?” Usually I respond with something along the lines of not wanting to settle. A few years ago, I was out for a dinner with a few couples, and of course the conversation turned into my dating life. One of the husbands blurted out, “Well then, there must be something wrong with you!” I was quickly offended. In my mind, it wasn’t me. I wasn’t the reason I was still single. Then a few weeks ago, a guy I was dating asked, “Do you have baggage?” I quickly replied, “Baggage? Me? No! I’ve never been married, and I don’t have kids.” He said, “I meant emotional baggage.”

For some reason, that really struck a nerve inside me. Maybe it was because he was smart enough to know that there was an underlying reason for the way I was acting. Maybe it was because his question felt more like him telling me I have emotional baggage. Maybe it was because I knew I had already ruined things with him. Regardless, I went home and began questioning everything I had ever been through in life, which is A LOT unfortunately. I reflected on the impact each event had on me, how I dealt with my feelings, and what I had learned. I dove down so far into this emotional abyss that I truly didn’t even know existed inside of me. I realized that I never once processed any of my feelings, and in turn I didn’t learn anything from these events, or the impact they had on me. Instead, I pushed my emotions so deep down to the point of almost no existence basically making me emotionless. In an attempt to be strong, I pretended that I was ok, and ignored the fact that I wasn’t ok at all. I put a smile on my face, and I buried all of these raw emotions, or so I thought. The truth is, these emotions were overflowing at the surface, and they would completely consume me once there was a trigger.

As I reflected on dating and relationships, I came to the realization that I am guilty of self-sabotage when it comes to matters of the heart, and there is a very clear pattern.

-       We would meet, hit it off, and decide to continue dating.

-       I would think he is someone special simply because I actually liked him. (It’s not often that I like a guy enough to date.)

-       I would put him on the highest pedestal in my mind, which meant I immediately set him up to fail.

-       The moment he did or said something wrong… I would shut down, put up a wall, and go into defense mode.

-       I would call him out on whatever it was that he said or did, which would take him completely off guard and immediately turned the vibe negative.

-       I would walk away telling myself he’s a jerk, and I deserve better.

-       I would put a smile on my face, and I pretended I wasn’t upset.

-       I would throw myself back into the dating pool.

-       Eventually, I would meet another man I actually liked, and then the self-sabotage would begin all over again.

It was a vicious cycle I was unintentionally creating, and I have completely self-sabotaged the possibility of having a meaningful relationship with every man I truly liked. Truthfully, these men never actually stood a chance.

Now that I am aware of what I was doing, I can honestly say I am already a changed woman. I now understand why certain things men have said or did triggered my reactions. I have processed my raw emotions, and I have let go of the reasons for these triggers. I am continuously doing the work to ensure that I will not self-sabotage any potential relationships going forward. I will allow myself to think things through, and I will be more mindful of my reactions.

I’m not going to lie, this was a very difficult journey within, and to say I was an emotional mess is a serious understatement. I am a true believer in there being a reason for everything, and sometimes you just have to do the work to figure it out. In this case, I am the reason, and changes within myself needed to be made.

 Be the reason… what does that mean to you?