My Fear of the Wrong Kind of Love

couplelookingunsettled Photo: Alanna Bagladi

I recently wrote about lost love, explaining the delight and anguish that comes with loving and being loved in return. I shared my hope that one day I could open my heart to accept love instead of running away from it.

But what if I never meet the kind of person I want to love forever?

When I think about the person I want to end up with, the possibility seems nearly impossible. That’s a dramatic statement, I know. But I love dramatic statements and sadly, I genuinely feel defeated by guys these days. My biggest fear is that I will always feel disappointed by potential love interests—so much so that I will never feel sure that “this is the one.”

Where are the book-reading, outdoorsy, athletic, open-minded, political, sarcastic, silly men who aren’t pretentious enough to classify themselves as “sapiosexual” on dating apps and don’t just want a “good girl”? I am a lot of positive things, but I’m self-aware enough to know that the men looking for a “good girl” aren’t looking for me.

I’m at a place in my life when I no longer want to be in a relationship unless I can genuinely see a long-term future with the person. After the fun, casual stage of the relationship is over, I want to know that our goals and dreams would realistically be able to include each other. If they don’t, it’s not painful for me to cut ties and walk away. I am too rational to give a shit at a certain point if that one overall truth is evident.

Now, I am far from the has-a-five-year-plan kinda gal, but I do know what my future doesn’t hold and that can eliminate most of the guys I’ve gone on first and second dates with over the last year.

I don’t want to have to convince myself I want to come home to him  at the end of the day. I don’t want to be looking at other men and thinking ‘what if.’ I don’t want to limit my expectations for myself based on their expectations or image of me. I don’t want to make my life smaller to fit into a cookie-cutter version of how a relationship should progress.

I want someone who would genuinely consider the possibility of packing up our lives and moving across the world for the next adventure if I decide on a whim that’s what I need to do. I want to spend the rest of my life with someone who shares my deep-seated, core values and liberal beliefs. I want to be able to devour books together in bed late into the night. I want someone like my dad, who will do the dishes without complaint after I cook dinner. I want someone who won’t laugh at a racist joke to be polite. Someone who will stand up for me when I call someone out on their sexist behavior. I want someone who will push me to be better and will tirelessly remind me how amazing I already am (and actually believe every word they say).

There is simply no place in my heart for someone who I don’t feel wholly equal to and comfortable around. There is certainly no place for someone whose company my family and close friends don’t enjoy. I refuse to be with a person who I would have to make excuses for.

That’s an aggressive amount of things I’m not willing to tolerate.

But I finally, finally am getting to truly know who I am and, more strongly, the woman I want to be. I cannot hinder my own evolution by sacrificing my expectation in this area.

So, yes, there is an excessive amount of things that are hard deal breakers for me and I understand how limiting it is as I prospect the future of my love life.  That’s what terrifies me.  These standards I’ve created burden me with the knowledge that I’m picky and impossible. This anchors the thought in my head of “oh my god, I’m going to die alone.” But what scares me even more is my thought that it might not be the worst thing ever to happen. So what if I never get married? I’m good at being alone. Not forever good, my fearful heart quietly reminds myself.

It’s easy at 24 to say that I’d rather be alone than settle for a dulled experience of love. My fear is that I’m going to wake up one day after twenty more long years of dating, exhausted, and simply give up on love because it will just hurt less.


Alison Burdick : Broke-Ass PR Practitioner. Netflix Binger. Obsessive Animal Cuddler. Devoted Shopaholic. Wanna-Be-Nomad. I Live By The Motto “Death Before Decaf.”