The obvious difficulty in dating with insecurity is just putting yourself out there versus risking rejection and abandonment. There’s another challenge, though, with insecurity in relationships that extends beyond just getting into the dating scene. That challenge is letting our insecurity allow ourselves to become committed to something that really isn’t good for us or that we really don’t want out of love/relationships.
Growing up, I had a lot of insecurity. From the age of around 7 until I was probably 25 I had severe Psoriasis covering 70% of my body and a diastema (front tooth gap) that caused a pursed-lip smile any time I took a photo.
By the time I turned mid twenties, biologic injections like Humira had reached the market that cleared my Psoriasis up completely and then after my divorce, I decided to get corrective dental work done to fix my diastema.
After dealing with my insecurities, in hindsight, I didn’t realize how much those insecurities affected my life and the decisions I made – specifically in how I had approached dating. I just always assumed, given I had a girlfriend and subsequently a wife, that I wasn’t letting those insecurities affect my love life.
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
No, my insecurities didn’t stop me from dating. Instead, I think they just kept me from dating the right people for me – and probably marrying the wrong person, too – because I was dating from a position of desperation.
I had a mindset of scarcity, so a I clung to whatever seemed to accept me.
If you talk to people who have Psoriasis, most will agree they struggle to enter the dating scene. It’s difficult approaching people when you realize bringing up a skin disorder you’re hiding behind pants and long sleeves could be a deal-breaker.
In hindsight, I found myself dealing with a different sort of struggle, in that I didn’t have trouble approaching dating, but that the insecurity of my Psoriasis caused me to gravitate toward people that accepted me for it for no other reason than their acceptance of it. At times, the problem was compounded when those people were also dealing with severe insecurities whose desperation caused them to cling to me for similar reasons.
Two people loving each other from the basis no one else will isn’t a great foundation from which to build love upon.
There was this misperception that this was what unconditional love was, an acceptance of “flaws”. Except, we didn’t really love each other. We just loved the idea that we loved each other based on no else loving us amidst our loneliness and insecurity.
Acceptance of each other’s very noticeable insecurities seems like a basis for a healthy relationship, but that’s not necessarily true. Granted, I understand not every insecurity can be fixed with a treadmill, medicine, or some cosmetic work, but regardless I feel if we aren’t careful those insecurities will cause us to settle into accepting someone merely based on their unconditional acceptance of us rather than substantial compatibilities.
I would fall in love with the idea that someone was so accepting of my skin disorder that I would mistake that for unconditional love toward me…and thus a sense of love toward them for that and essentially only that.
I was quick to forgive infidelity, quick to forgive, quick to not just compromise but completely abandon my boundaries because “this person loved me when no else would”. If they were capable of that, than I owed them the same unconditional love by not leaving them.
Imagine an obese person staying in an abusive relationship because they just love the idea of being in a relationship and are so scared of being alone they accept the toxicity of a relationship under a guise they’re being loved despite being so flawed. They’re so scared of other people rejecting them, they’d rather remain in an abusive relationship. It’s an exaggerated situation compared to what I’m explaining and yet it happens in many forms to a lot of people.
My Insecurity Blinded Me From Red Flags
I would end up so caught up in the idea that this person I’m dating has the capacity to love me despite my Psoriasis that I would end up overlooking all these red flags as to the future sustainability adjusting out the existence of my Psoriasis.
My insecurities left me so lonely and depressed. I jumped at the first girlfriend that wanted me and I was so certain no one else would, that alone became my justification for accepting less than anyone deserves. I felt the same sense of desperation when dating after divorce in causing my rebound.
Earlier this year, after dealing with dual infection of strep and influenza, I had to come off my immune system suppressing drugs that kept my Psoriasis at bay. It flared up quickly.
And with the return of the Psoriasis, returned my insecurity and I went right back to dating out of desperation instead of confidently from a desire of what I really wanted from a partner – something more than just acceptance of my flaws.
The more insecure I became as it continued to flare, the more I subconciously began lowering the bar of what I wanted in a relationship.
I’d find someone and we would share nothing in common, live 3 hours far apart, lead entirely different lives, she’d have zero interest in my hobbies, or I would really not want 6 kids between us, etc….but she didn’t care the bed was covered in flakes sometimes or that once in a while I’d wear a shirt at the pool to hide my skin.
I had a perception that the majority of people out there are just shallow and would never accept me for my Psoriasis, so finding one that did accept it just caused me to put her on a pedestal of deserving the same unconditional love back when maybe adjusting out the Psoriasis I wouldn’t actually love her…and that’s unfair.
It’s unfair because I loved the idea they accepted my Psoriasis more than I actually loved them.
And it feels so shitty to say that because it feels like I was using people when I didn’t intend to, but that’s just being brutally honest in how that insecurity will ultimately result in us hurting the people that loved us so much as the perspective of what we feel we deserve in a relationship changes with our confidence.
I feel like when people date from a perspective of insecurity, we give so much weight to the idea people accept our insecurity that we forget to put any weight on whether that’s actually the right person for us, whether we’re being treated like we deserve to be treated, and whether if we adjusted out our insecurity if we would still want to be with that person.
If I lost 100 lbs would I still love them?
If I made more money would I still love them?
If I had bigger muscles and toned abs would I?
If I didn’t have acne, would I still date them?
If I didn’t feel socially awkward would I still want?
Those might be seemingly easy questions to answer when we’re so consumed with someone. But if course we would, we like to believe.
And yet, people lose weight and fall out of love.
People approach their insecurities, find a newfound happiness and no longer want the life they had. That would lead me to believe we don’t really love in those circumstance, we just accept the concept of love conditionally.
And the reality is, as my Psoriasis disappeared and my confidence returned, I realized just how much I had settled on. It’s an important lesson that my focus in dating needs to be on just improving myself and the insecurities I can control, but not settling simply because the dating pool seems so limited.
And when I do find the person I think is the right person, I need to ask myself, am I really love for better or worse or am I just accepting this from a belief there is a scarcity of options for me?
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