Auntie SparkNotes: Am I Just Scared of Relationships?
Dear Auntie Sparknotes,
This is going to sound strange, but I'd rather sleep around than be in a relationship, and I'm not sure what to do about it.
I'm a senior in high school and have recently entered a relationship and it scares the hell out of me. I'm used to bootycalls, drunken affairs, and mutually meaningless HNDing. Feelings and emotions tied to a single person? No thank you.
But a guy who has been a part of my friend group for a while has been "talking" to me for months now and finally got the nerve to ask me out. And while I like him and get butterflies spending time around him.... I hate those feelings. I'm not an open person and being involved with someone is something entirely new to me.
Is it wrong if I call things off before they even begin? I'm scared not to try out a relationship, because entering college without ever having been in a relationship before could potentially be dangerous (i.e. falling in love with the first boy to show any affection towards me). But every nerve in my body screams "NO!" at the prospect of hanging out with my boyfriend, every single time, and I'm awkward and uncomfortable while I'm with him although truthfully I do like him. Maybe it's just because it's foreign and new to me, but shouldn't I not force myself into anything I'm uncomfortable with? I'm not sure whether to stick it out through this phase of dread or to call things off to spare myself. It's all so confusing. All of my friends are dying to enter relationships, and here I am with a great guy who genuinely cares for me and I'm wishing I was single and untied down emotionally or physically. Am I just a huge scaredy-cat who fears emotion, or should I listen to my instincts and get out of this while it's still new?
Well, this is interesting: I have literally no idea!
I mean, none. At all! Because unfortunately, Sparkler, I'm not inside your head, which is the only place you'll ever find the answers to your questions. (And despite your best attempt at describing to us what it's like in there, your letter is more or less a giant pile of contradictions and loose ends and, occasionally, assertions that makes no sense. See: The suggestion that you need to "try out" a relationship because of the potential dangers of inexperience—dangers which, apparently, magically wait to manifest themselves upon your arrival at college.)
As it is, based on your letter, it sounds like one of three things are happening. As follows:
Possibility #1: You're emotionally stunted, closed off, or damaged in some way, and you've been using sex as a Band-Aid for your various issues with intimacy.
Possibility #2: You're generally immature, a bit image-obsessed, and so in love with the idea of yourself as a freewheeling commitment-phobe that relationships give you the heebie-jeebies because you think that they're supposed to.
Possibility #3: You're a perfectly well-adjusted person who just happens to prefer casual hookups to committed romance for the time being—and you've just learned exactly how much the theoretical value of having a boyfriend pales in comparison to the reality of having a boyfriend you don't actually like that much.
So, which is it? No, really, I'm asking you. Only you know why you opt for casual sex over the various other options available to you. Only you know if the drunken affairs and mutually meaningless hookups are something you genuinely desire, or something you use to escape. Only you know if you have trouble getting close to people in other areas of your life, not just romantically, and if you shy away from deep connections with your friends or family. And only you know not just how you feel about boyfriends in general, but how you feel about this boyfriend in particular. (Hint: You devoted three hundred words describing your fear of commitment; you devoted less than half of one sentence to the guy you're committed to. I'll let you think about what that might mean.)
And if you sit down with the preceding paragraph and spend some time honestly answering the questions it raises, you should be able to figure out on your own whether you have a problem, or just a preference... at which point you'll be able to make your choice, whatever it is, according to what you want, not what you fear.
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