I Fall In ‘Love’ With Strangers Because It’s Safer That Way


I should probably stop calling myself a romantic. I get a pass because of all the poetry. People just assume. But somewhere inside, I guess I am that romantic. It’s this nauseating thought that, no matter what happens, none of this is worth it if I don’t have someone to share it with.

I don’t know how I can be so into the idea of partnership but so freaked out by the shot at something real. Am I secretly afraid of commitment? Am I lazy? Did I watch one too many romantic comedies and now wrongfully think I should wait until Matthew McConaughey rescues me? Because that’s not happening. He’s busy doing car commercials. And looking kind of creepy, if we’re being totally honest.

I wasn’t always this closed off.

I used to fall in love with, you know, real people. I’d get high off touches and first kisses and promises of a future. I’ve seen glimpses of tomorrows in a few men. And I’ve cared deeply. So deeply.

Is this part of getting older? Do you graduate college and suddenly stop having the energy, or the desire, to date?

Am I okay?

I joke about being single. And then someone reminds me it’s a choice I’ve made. They’re not wrong. I turn down real life prospects frequently. I get mad when someone in a different time zone doesn’t text me back, but refuse to acknowledge someone right in front of me. I’m not fair. I’m a walking contradiction. I’m hungry for things that don’t exist, but am afraid of the stuff that’s within reach.

I don’t like being this way.

I have missed being with someone. I have missed being in love more than anything.

The simple solution would be: go out! Meet people! Don’t cancel your plans!

But what happens when you do those things and everything inside feels empty?

What happens then?

In that case, I can’t blame being flakey or afraid to commit. Then, I have to blame myself. I have to blame some newfound inability to feel romantically towards someone who actually wants me too.

Instead, I chase after men who are impossible to reach. I like strangers on the street. Baristas, bartenders, men I won’t ever have to get to know. They can remain fantasies. Handsome faces on my TV screen.

I won’t have to be reminded I’ve forgotten how to feel. I won’t have to be reminded, when it’s real, I become a distant, cold thing.