I was an insecure man. Except that my case was so bad, we can just call it what it really was: insanity.
I couldn’t meet a girl without obsessing over whether she thought I was handsome or charming enough. It didn’t matter if I had a girlfriend, or even a fiancée—I needed external confirmation of my attractiveness to make up for the inner security I lacked. And it made me do some crazy things.
Like cheat on a loyal partner.
And play the part of a homewrecker.
And obsess and obsess over relationships to the exclusion of everything else: progress in a career, most specifically. I ended up being fully dependent on my parents till the age of 25.
I had it bad. And with each relationship, it got worse—until it got so bad that I actually thought about checking in to a mental hospital after the last breakup. When the worst of it passed, I faced a choice: I could either latch on to another relationship and lose my mind (again), or I could figure out this business of being single, retain sanity, and possibly even grow as a person.
Though impossible-seeming, the latter option made me feel saner just thinking about it. So, I took my vow of relationship abstinence: one year. New me. Let’s go.
That was in 2014.
Now, saying you’re going to be single for a year and actually doing it are two separate things. Because making the decision to be whole doesn’t actually make you whole; it just gives you the chance to make better decisions. And to make better decisions, you have to overcome obstacles.
For me, that obstacle was Stephanie.
Gorgeous, 5-foot-11, athletic, hilarious, warmhearted, and lively, she was an all-around amazing human being. I could go on and on and still not describe the first tenth of how exceptional this woman was. Through a shared love of volleyball, we became close friends.
Steph and I hung out, ate dinner together, and did all the things that would normally have preceded a romantic escalation. But I was bound to my commitment. And even though I was tempted to take things further with Stephanie, I kept it friendly.
I still had the same insecure thoughts as always: Am I good enough? Does she actually like me? Am I’m handsome enough for her? But this time, things were different. I couldn’t just pounce on Steph to assuage my insecurity. I had to actually grow up. I did that by confronting my thoughts.