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Dating in a World Built for Failure

“Tell me what you hate about me. Whatever it is, I’m sorry. I know I can be dramatic but everybody said we had it”

– Illenium and Jon Bellion

Hollywood Depictions

I used to sit out on the roof of my house looking at the stars wishing for a magical movie moment to happen. In the movies you see couples that have an instant connection and everything ends happily ever after. However, love rarely goes that way in real life. We are given false images of what we should be looking for in our relationships. These movies have set many of us up for failure, including myself.

I used to think it was my fault none of my relationships worked. I went into every relationship with the hopes that he could be “the one”. Everyone says love happens when you least expect it. Even in the movies, the main character falls in love with someone they never thought they could love. So in my life I was always expecting it. Looking at every person I dated as an opportunity for a relationship.

Looking back I realize this was the reason for the end of many of my relationships and even why some never evolved. I never wanted to pass up an opportunity, just in case that guy was the one. I jumped into many relationships when I definitely wasn’t ready, or didn’t even really want to be in one. Now I know that many of the failures were on my end, but many of the failures came down to the horribleness that is dating in the 21st century.

Lessons I’ve Learned From Dating

Don’t be in a relationship if you really aren’t happy with yourself. I entered a few relationships at times in my life when I still felt unfinished. In next week’s blog I’ll go more into detail about my more serious relationships, but this week is all about the ones that never stood a chance. I went into one particular relationship simply because the guy was kind. Before him, I had dated guys who just seemed to feel indifferent about me.

This guy was a breath of fresh air. Until it got more serious and I realized I wasn’t happy where I was in my own life. I was on the hunt for my dream career, and it was something I wanted to achieve on my own. I figured I can’t be there for someone else if I’m not happy with who I am. So when he asked me to go on an all inclusive free trip to Italy, I kindly declined. I could not let someone take me on a free vacation when I knew he wasn’t the person for me. In today’s dating world many people would have gone on that trip and broke up with them after. It would have been easy to just walk away and never look back.

Another piece of advice, don’t spend years hoping your friends will one day fall in love with you. I wasted years waiting for my guy friends to finally wake up and realize I was the one for them. I would hear them talk about wanting a girlfriend and I was like “hellloooooo” but it was just wasted time. If a guy wants you, he will show it. You won’t have to beg for his attention. Don’t waste your days waiting for someone who most likely does not feel that way about you because if they did, it would have happened already.

Problems with Dating Now

Dating in the 21st century is the worst! No one texts back, everyone ghosts and after one fight people move on to the next. There’s been buzz lately around how social media changes our brains and the way we look at the world, and this has leaked into online dating. When we have so many options and only interact with people through a phone it makes it easier to not get attached to emotions because you don’t see them up close and in your face. This can lead to terrible heartbreak.

I was dating a guy in college for a few months who worked in the cafeteria in my dorm. Everything seemed to be going really well until, radio silence. One day he just stopped responding to me. After a few days of nothing I finally confronted him at work and he said he would come up and talk when he got done. Instead he just never came and I never heard from him again. He completely ignored me and acted like we hadn’t been in a relationship. He never apologized when I would see him on campus. Just boom, done.

It’s easy to just move on these days without even a glance back. With this convenience comes destruction. During winter break of my junior year of college I went to a party with a lot of people from high school including a guy I had a huge crush on. My friend somehow hooked it up and we were headed back to his place. After a lot of effort on his end, we hooked up and when it was over he asked, “So is your friend coming back to get you?” I just stood there shocked. I called her tons of times but no answer. He made it pretty clear I couldn’t stay there so instead I made the awful walk of shame home. I felt degraded and unwanted walking back into my parents house after being clearly used for one thing.

This Needs to Change

We have put ourselves into this never ending cycle of disrespect. Men find it unattractive if a girl doesn’t have high self-esteem but then treats us like our feelings don’t matter. They expect us to just move on and get over it. However, each time a guy ghosts us, he only hooks up with us but won’t date us, or breaks up with us without warning, our self-esteem plummets. I have spent my whole adult life trying to build myself back up. I let too many guys make me feel like I wasn’t good enough. Many boyfriends left me because it’s “so much work” dating a girl who constantly needs to feel reassurance.

I told myself I will not be in a relationship until I feel happy with where I am and who I am. Now I feel far more confident. It took years of damage control and self discovery. Even though I am better I still feel negative self talk float in. Luckily now I have a boyfriend who is there for me every step of the way. We will always have self doubt but we need to change the way people look at dating to help decrease it.

Next time you’re on your dating app and you start talking to someone, really think about what you want and be up front with them about it. If you just want to sleep around, hey do your thing, but don’t do it with someone you know truly likes you. If you want a relationship but the other person just wants to hook up, don’t lie to yourself that it’s okay. We need to be true to ourselves and true to others in order to help get rid of the broken hearts.

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