In VTV’s latest installment of “Talk Dirty to Me with Sara Starkman…” our relationship expert discusses some tell-tale signs of being emotionally guarded.

Let’s face it. We’ve all been burned by past relationships. And while some of us are extremely emotionally resilient, finding the strength to love time and time again (a la Kim Kardashian), others take years just to open up enough to let someone new into their hearts, and even then it still might take some work (a la Khloe Kardashian). Having your guard up after recent soul squashing is completely normal and healthy. You need time to regain strength (read: get full use out of that boxing class pass) while also allowing yourself to gain perspective, realize how things could’ve been handled differently, and, most importantly, work towards forgiveness and moving forward. But that last part right there is where things get tricky.

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A lot of us don’t use that post-grieving period to reflect, mature, and grow. Instead we use it to get drunk, become whore-y (totally a word), and block out any and all memory of the pain so as not to think about it and wind up back at that initial phase when not showering and stuffed crust pizza were basic daily staples.

So what happens once a significant period of time has lapsed and you still can’t quite make a new relationship work? When every time you get involved you tap out at the three-month mark, that is, or if you can even nab someone at all? Well, it’s simple. Introspection begins (unless you’re totally deluded and self absorbed and in which case I can’t help you) and you wonder: Is it me? Am I just totally doomed? And I’m here to tell you that the answers to those questions are: yes it’s you; and, yes, at present you’re doomed. And I’ll tell you why…

1) You so desperately want things to be different from last time that you opt for being the “laid back partner” and swallow all emotions so as not to stir the pot. Worst idea ever. That ish will explode.

2) You play off any acts of intimacy as a joke. This is basically a giant slap in the hoo-haw to your significant other. Pulling away or refraining from developing intimacy might be in an attempt to protect yourself from getting hurt, but in the end you’re just hurting the other person. Not the best trade off.

3) Your highly critical, “too-cool-for-school attitude” is infectious in a way that’s less like infectious laughter and more like a viral infection (gross). Energy is palpable; it shifts and changes everything around us. People will sense your noncommittal attitude and run for the hills.

4) Your I-am-so-amazing-and-I-laugh-loudly-all-of-the-time schtick is intense. When anyone is trying desperately hard to be someone they’re not, it’s usually quite apparent to those around them. No one wants to start dating someone who needs to pretend to be someone else – it’s creepy… seriously.

So what’s a lass or lad to do? The main thing would be to address your issues. Communicate with your partner or at least discuss things with someone you trust in order to try to progress. Work on your self-esteem, spending time alone and being truly happy. When that’s done, your walls may be slightly less difficult to penetrate (insert dirty joke here). If not, seeking out some form of therapy is always a great option. Remember, there are plenty of fish in the sea, and if you want to find the right person you need to be able to be happy with yourself first… just be patient (queue corny music here).

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Are you too emotionally guarded? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @ViewTheVibe.