I actually learned a few lessons from the first guy who took me out (it gets confusing if I say I dated him because he was never my boyfriend, we just went on dates for a month or two). I’ve decided to nickname him Liar since most of what I’ve learned from him has to do with lies and betrayal.

So naïve, young Me first started talking to Liar around Thanksgiving 2014. We started going on some dates, he would call me on his way home from work, and I even met some of his friends and coworkers. Maybe it was moving a little fast, but what did I know, this was my first time going on real dates with someone who actually seemed like they wanted to date me.

Now this was nearly 2 years ago and such a short amount of time, so it’s hard to get the timeline right but I’m doing what I can. One date was rock climbing and two of his friends came along. At one point, they wanted to video each other trying out new rock jumping tricks (because nothing counts unless you film it). I went to get Liar’s phone from the cubby and his home screen showed that some girl was texting him. I honestly thought nothing of it, he knows plenty of female co-workers, I sure he has friends of the opposite gender, it really wasn’t a big deal.

Perhaps at this point he had already told me that all his focus was on me and therefore, I had gotten off my dating apps and even stopped talking to Stubborn (yeah, he’s been in the picture for THAT long). I suggest this only because Liar kept reassuring me that this text message on his phone was absolutely nothing to worry about. He told me twice and then even had his friend message me to make sure I believed him. The amount of effort he took to cover his tracks was actually the signal that tipped me off.

Since we weren’t officially dating and I had no idea what the text messages were really about, I actually continued to see him for a few more weeks. I guess at that point Liar was getting a bit too comfortable with the fact that I had stuck around for more than 4 weeks and he needed a way to let me go.

I don’t remember how the conversation got started but suddenly Liar was telling me that his Aunt’s cancer was back and that he needed to focus on his family and he didn’t want to do wrong by me if he didn’t have enough time for me. Naïve, young Me felt really bad about his Aunt being sick; I truly wanted to help him through it and be an emotionally support system for him. He lied so smoothly I didn’t even realize this was him breaking things off with me!

I don’t know how soon after, but eventually I was filled in that his Aunt’s cancer was not back and this was just his way of getting rid of me. Who the hell lies about CANCER?!

Oh and he met up with some girl from the next state over. Anyways, it wasn’t till recently after I’ve dated much more that I figured it out. Liar just wasn’t ready to leave his comfort zone. He liked dating multiple girls, he liked thinking he was so cool and desirable, and he probably even liked the thrill of sneaking around. And of course, when you don’t commit then you can’t make yourself vulnerable to getting hurt.

I went on A LOT of first dates over the past 2 years. And I always found something wrong with the guy and I almost always TOLD him about it. (Yeah, I was that brutally honest bitch.)

It was a lesson I learned: hurt them first so they can’t hurt you.

Of course, that didn’t exactly work out like I wanted it to. I was wrongfully teaching those guys the same lesson I had learned while hurt. I was teaching them that if they put themselves out there I was going to make them regret it (or some other girl trying to stay safe in her comfort zone would). It’s the same reason people ‘ghost’ each other. There’s no hurt or rejection if you leave. But I was hurting myself by not allowing love in.

Relationships are hard work. We mess up a lot. But if you never get out of your comfort zone and allow yourself to be vulnerable, then you’ll never experience the love you gain when the gamble works out. There’s no pay out if you leave before all the cards are dealt.

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