People keep coming at me with these questions that are so none of their business. They keep giving themselves the right to invade my privacy and disregard how uncomfortable I feel when they ask me how come I’m not married yet.

The biggest cliche of all is their intro—when they tell me how smart and beautiful and successful I am, and how now is the perfect time to put the crown on my life and get married.

Because of the person I am, I have a hard time telling people to mind their own business. I find it difficult to explain why I am still single or why I have zero interest in welcoming any man into my private life whatsoever.

Mostly, I have no idea what to say or how to respond, so I smile and shrug my shoulders. It doesn’t make them shut up, but by the time they ask another question, I’m already 7 feet deep in depression and anxiety.

See, I am not single because of toxic men out there. I’m single because of the toxic man I had in my life.

I’ve lied to myself so many times and so well that even I trusted myself. I trusted my own lies—that’s how good I am in running away from my problems.

I told myself I’m too busy to have anybody now in my life. I prioritized my career over finding love in life for a while.

I said to myself how I’m going to postpone any kind of relationship because I’d rather now focus on making my life good. Somebody new would just occupy my mind, and I’d be unable to make my dreams come true.

I told others I’m really searching and that I have a few guys in my plan, but there is nothing serious going on and if there are any changes, I’ll let them know.

There is no reason for them to ask me the same question every time they see me.

As soon as I find myself hubby material, they’ll be the first one to know. Little did they know that dating for me was sooo off the table.

As I was growing up, after a few relationships, I had to ask myself what the hell was wrong with me and why can’t I keep somebody in my life.

I know I function on my own perfectly and that I’m perfectly happy alone, so why can’t I be with somebody else and share my happiness with them? It got me thinking…

I have always had more male friends than female, since forever. They were really that—, I never saw them as anything more than friends and I was super comfortable having them around me.

If I ever saw any one of them falling for me or sending me signals, I’d pretend I didn’t see it. I’d close my eyes on it and continue like nothing ever happened.

It’s not like I’ve given up on love right away. It’s not like I haven’t tried finding ma’ man, but something was just off.

I didn’t run away instantly when I met somebody new.

It wasn’t like that. I am able to be attracted to men and I do want a man in my life. Here and there, somebody shows up in my life, somebody that I could picture my life with.

And then I start daydreaming and imagining what our life together would be and what kind of a man he is and how he’d treat me right and I make him perfect in my mind.

Everybody seems perfect from the distance.

Once we try something, the moment we get close I start noticing even the smallest flaws of that person and it’s instantly done—which is good, to be honest, because it was much worse before.

I used to engage myself in a relationship even though I knew it’s not going to happen. I engaged even though I knew it ended before it even began.

I’d give him a chance, we’d be ok for a few months and then I just waited for a mistake or an excuse why we can’t be together anymore.

See also: The Harsh Truth About Why I Haven’t Given You The Chance

Woman looking into the distance by the water

I was one of those girls who’d regret giving somebody a chance the minute they did it. But I was too stubborn to give up when I realized it.

I allowed myself to be deceived that this time, things will work out.

Things were never gonna work out because I am broken. And I can’t dance the tango with somebody until I fix myself and learn how to dance with somebody else.

The minute I gave somebody a chance I’d regret it. It’d result in losing a friend or me turning into an ass.

I’d put my walls up and I’d just wait for an open window to get out of the relationship.

I’d leave only broken people behind me and that was the thing that was killing me. I had no idea why was I unable to have a functional relationship or how could I be so emotionally damaged and unable to love back the people that loved me.

One night I sat down and I confessed to myself I have a problem. I just knew I couldn’t continue making myself oblivious of what I’m doing to others and to myself.

I analyzed my life and then it hit me: I was one of those girls whose relationship with her dad made a deep scar on her emotionally.

I was one of those girls who had a toxic dad. I was one of those girls who was under the influence of one toxic man for far too long.

See also: To My Toxic Dad: You Were Right

I left so many broken men behind me all because the one that should love me ‘just because’—didn’t. I made myself walk alone through life because the one man that should show me how love feels like—didn’t.

The way he treated women in his life made me realize how women should not be treated.

He set up my standards so high so the moment I saw just a tiny trait of my dad in the man I was dating or if he did just one thing that my dad did, I’d distance myself. I’d run without ever looking back.

I realized no man will ever be good enough for me. I realized—because of the love he didn’t give me, the love I deserved but didn’t get—I will never allow myself to trust another man. I’ll forever search for him in other men just to run as far away as I can from them.

I didn’t have a toxic boyfriend because I had a toxic dad and that was enough to never give another man a chance in my life.

Even if I have a hard time trusting men, I believe in love. I just hope someone will eventually come to convince me I was wrong for thinking there isn’t anybody out there tailored just for me.

I believe he’ll realize what I’ve been through and see the scars I have on my heart.

I will be patient enough and wait for a special one to rock my world and make me feel I am not guilty of all the shit that happened to me.

With him, I will truly be myself again and find that peace in my heart I have been craving for such a long time.

Even though my dad didn’t show me how love feels, there will be a man that will.

I’m Single Because One Toxic Man Was Enough For My Whole Life