"Don't be so intense!" is a phrase I absolutely hated to hear from any man I was dating.
More of a demand than a request, it's the kind of command that makes me angry and sad at the same time. You knew I was intense before dating me, and you asked me out anyway. Now you're asking me to change? Why'd you date me in the first place!?
These guys were right about one thing: I am intense. But that also means I’m energetic, talkative, and adventurous.
Still, phrases like that slowly chipped away at my self-esteem. It got to the point where I started to see my spirited personality as something negative. So I tried to change myself. Of course it didn't work, and eventually those relationships ended.
If I was going to be in any kind of meaningful relationship, I was going to hold out for that special man who would see my intensity as an asset and love me for it. And it paid off. I met someone different, and this time, I returned to being myself. For the first time, I was not afraid to be me; my so-called intensity was something that he appreciated.
As we got to know each other, he told me he completely loved the way I am and he never wanted me to change. I then realized how much I really wanted that in a relationship. I deserved somebody who would say those words to me and mean it, not somebody who would try to change me after dating. There's nothing that makes me happier than being with someone who truly accepts me for who I am.
So many things have changed since my younger days. But it’s not my intensity; it’s the types of relationships in which I invest as my true self. I’ve learned to only let myself be with a person who accepts me for who I am—and who always helps draw out the best in me. I will never settle for less. As we would say in Mexico, "Más vale sola que mal acompañada."
Better to be alone than with bad company.