Why The Hell Are We All So Afraid Of Love?


It’s funny. My cousins found an eighth-grade yearbook of mine (circa 2003) at my father’s house and as I browsed through it, virtually every female comment ended with some grammatical variation of, “Love ya,” before their name.

It’s funny how when we — millennials, at least — were teenagers, the word “love” was thrown around so carelessly; and now, in our 20s, so many of us run for shelter whenever it’s brought up or begins to present itself.

They say nothing is scarier than a man who has nothing to lose. It can be argued that a man who isn’t afraid to lose is just as scary; especially when it comes to love.

Maybe it’s the divorced kid side effect of wanting the happiness I never saw in my parents; maybe it’s indulging in shows like Boy Meets World, Gossip Girl, and One Tree Hill; or maybe it’s just how I was wired at birth. Whatever the reason, I’m not afraid to continue to put myself out there; no matter how many times my heart may break or shatter.

It’s also not like I really have a choice in the matter. That’s just how I am.

I’m not conditioned to keep my feelings towards someone a secret, for better or worse. If I like you, you’re going to know; and if my demeanor and actions don’t make that obvious enough, odds are that I’ll tell you.

Because I’m in that minority (and even more so as a guy), maybe that’s why I don’t understand why so many people freeze at any sign of intimacy or commitment.

We let people in slowly, while gripping the crank for dear life for fear of letting the drawbridge to our inner-most feelings fall too much too quickly. We analyze everything from the context of a text message to the timing of it in the beginning stages of dating.

Text too much, too quickly and you’re a Stage 5 clinger.

Text with too much brevity or time in-between responses and you’ll let them off the hook.

It’s all about finding that line and straddling it.

Instead of planning cute surprises for the other person, we plan out carefully-crafted text messages and corresponding schedules in which to send them.

Because why come out and say, “Yeah, I’m into you,” when you can say, “Yeah, I’m here, but my life is not revolving around you.”

Even though the double standard makes it OK for me, as a guy, to have a slew of women at my disposal for sake of “keeping my options open,” I’d much rather devote my time and energy to one person.

Most guys go on a date with a girl and think, “I’ll add her to my roster,” while I’m thinking, “Would I want to see her again?” I’m not thinking that she’s just another number in my phone that has now become an option when I’m bored.

Sometimes I’m too simplistic of a creature for believing in and implementing (what should be obvious) things like: Asking for a number because I intend to call or text you, and sooner rather than later; or wondering while on a date if there’s more there than just this one night out; or the notion that if I’m into you and you’re into me, we should be together.

You should know within three dates if you want to see someone exclusively.

I don’t date as a sport. I play Ultimate Frisbee and wallyball during the week for that. I date for love. I date because I’m trying to find someone who is worth giving a damn about and who can make me delete my Tinder and Bumble accounts.

Yet I’ll still find myself worrying sometimes, “Should I wait to respond?” or “Is this too forward?”

More often than not, it doesn’t deter me. I’m going to do what my gut is telling me to do, but I’m also cognizant of the fact that not everyone thinks or acts the same way.

So the next question I find myself repeatedly asking is, “What the hell are we so afraid of?”