How Trying To Protect My Own Heart Has Made Me A Savage In Relationships

April 11, 2016  |  

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Whatever Rihanna does, women want to try it. First, it was her Good Girl Gone Bad-era bob, and now it’s the relationship savagery she crooned about on Anti. But long before she spit the infinitely tweetable “Didn’t they tell you that I was a savage” line from “Needed Me,” I was swearing off anything more than faded love. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize my bad girl behavior until I swatted away my last fling.

To be honest, my perspective on relationships shifted after one too many heartbreaks. I was viciously played and toyed with mindlessly, and while I’d chalk it up to my lack of self-worth at the time, these men were also just awful human beings. When I was getting cheated on and lied to, I felt powerless, and I vowed never to love that way again. So I’ve gone out of my way to ensure that.

Since those days of low self-esteem and falling hard, I’ve been on a mission to protect my heart above all else. And in this case, that includes playing the field and keeping men at bay.

My way of dusting off the past and glo’ing up is quelling my emotions: I get close enough to enjoy the fruits of my flirting but never allow myself to feel anything potentially damaging. What’s worse, my disinterest in a guy never stops me from enjoying his attention. That is until I feel him getting especially clingy and have to bail for the exits.

Is my newfound outlook on relationships a revenge of sorts? Not entirely. It’s more so about self-preservation. Sure, I consider the feelings of the men I date but never more than my own. Choosing not to get too attached to certain men comes with a healthy dose of heartlessness, and while it can be fun, it can also be hurtful to those who clearly want me to want more. However, I can’t say that I feel bad about it. Do I wish I could enjoy the company of a guy for more than a few months or care enough not to ghost? Absolutely. But it’s just never that deep for me.

Low-key, it’s empowering. It’s an expression of my self-worth and my unwillingness to conform to traditional expectations of women. We’re supposed to jump for joy when a man shows interest, think of him as husband material soon after getting to know him, and desperately want a princess wedding. We’re supposed to play coy, shy and expect a man to be the one to make his interests known.

Nah.

I’m aware my anti-Ayesha Curry behavior might hinder me from being truly vulnerable, and maybe I’m blocking my romantic blessings. But as of right now, I’m OK with that. I imagine if I ever find love again, I’ll be blindsided, completely swept off my Nikes without warning. For now, however, I’m good. And I’m not trippin’ off of the game I’m kickin’ to any guy.

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