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I came back on the dating scene a few years ago right after a divorce and just a blink before my 30th birthday. I thought dating was going to be fun and easy; a few nights out and some perfect outfits and boom, I’d have a boyfriend…not so much.

After three years of “dating” I’ve come to realize this new thing that people are doing. Once upon a time people who had endured some serious emotional trauma would be the ones with a wall up that you have to love down but oddly enough, this painful process has migrated to seemingly well potential mates. Somewhere between 2002-2012 people have decided that being super guarded was part of the dating process.

Each man I’ve stumbled upon out here has admitted in one way or another that being unnecessarily guarded was part of their technique to seeing who was worthy of their love. Huh?! You see, if a woman put up with their lack of vulnerability, very slow progress, and other silly ass antics, she was (tired as hell but) the one! Call me crazy but that seems like the perfect way to attract a woman who either lacks self-esteem or just so desperately wants a man she’ll sign up for this crap.

There are a few problems with this:

1. Two emotionally healthy people do not have to battle each other to earn vulnerability. The person doing this is clearly showing that he or she is going to want that cat and mouse thing going long after the relationship is secured. Dangling the next step of your relationship just in front of the other’s face.

2. This hardly ever works in favor of the guarded person. Any healthy partner is going to call your bluff and go to where the love flows freely without all this silly ass strategy.

3. The guarded person is left thinking they were valid in their actions because the other partner left them. Ex: “I have this guard up because as soon as I let it down, I get left”. No joker, people are tired of your shit and that’s why you keep getting left.

If you have put yourself on the dating scene and are ready to accept love, please be ready to be vulnerable on Day 1 not Day 192. If you can’t see yourself doing so, there are some other self-love exercises you need to employ first. And if you find yourself in a situation with a person who does this, RUN. You shouldn’t have to prove yourself worthy enough to be a partner through a series of challenges. It will literally drain you to deal with this person. Go to where the love is.
Written by Teneice B. Teneice is a lifestyle consultant, vlogger, and professional shit talker as well as the founder and creative director of Plain Tee Blue Jean, a progressive apparel line for men and women. All of her brands are housed on teneice.com.

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