Confession: I’m so tired of dating; I’m utterly exhausted.
Dating was difficult before a pandemic, and now it’s gotten even more confusing. Who knew you could still get your heart broken during a pandemic. It’s hard enough handling social distancing with a partner, but when you’re single, it makes it that much harder to stay positive and not drown in isolation. The pandemic has put up yet another barrier to stand beside fear of the unknown, making it harder for people to meet and connect with someone new.
Throughout my twenties, I’ve observed a growing, common fear around commitment, which is incredibly frustrating to realize while simultaneously reaching the level that comes right before a committed relationship—over and over again.
Recently, I met someone when I least expected it, and I was so sure that this was different, but I was so wrong again. Sometimes I wonder why I’ve had to go through so many disappointing and toxic relationships, only to arrive at a place with nothing more than when I started.
Who else has been here? Tired of introductions, tired of getting your hopes up, and tired of putting that wall down one more time, only to get tackled to the ground yet again. It’s debilitating, grueling, and leaving me more hopeless each day.
Alright, so that was one way I could have looked at where I am right now—the more comfortable way. I started this article by following negativity down a rabbit hole, seeing only the bad and letting it crowd my perception.
This begs the question, What if I took my mind on another route, a more uncomfortable path?
You see, it’s easy to focus on the negative—and create a narrative that makes you a victim. It’s easy to write down, yell out, and question: Why me? But does it help anyone? No, it doesn’t, least of all you.
So how do you change the narrative so that it benefits you and perhaps removes that stormy cloud above your head? Well, for starters, stop asking yourself, Why is this happening to me? Instead, always ask yourself, How am I going to learn and grow from this?
At 29 years old, I cringe at some of the things I said or did in relationships in my early twenties. I made those embarrassing mistakes, and sometimes I made them more than once. But then I stopped making the same mistakes, made some new ones, and grew along the way.
I’ve evolved to a place where I’ve let go of hatred, grown empathy, and make every effort to practice acceptance. Is it frustrating to face a failed relationship? Sure, but I’ve learned to handle it much better than I would have years ago, and I see that as a pivotal personal accomplishment.
Think of how much more energy you could give to your present if you stopped replaying your past. Looking back blinds you from everything standing in front of you and all the possibilities in the future. The trouble with acceptance is that sometimes a place that feels familiar feels safer than the unknown. So we travel back to exes and people that hurt us, trying to rebuild something with new pieces that don’t match up.
So, I’m here to remind you that no matter your age or experience, it’s always possible to find love again—and you deserve to find love again.
I want a relationship, but I know that I don’t need one. If I could give my younger self one message, it would be to stop waiting for a relationship to make you whole or happy. Understanding the difference between a need and a want is precisely what’ll ensure you end up with the right person, instead of the idea of the wrong person.
I may not have a committed relationship, but I have countless friends and family members I would do anything for. When I write, I get to share my voice and connect with people from all over the world. I have an abundance of relationships I’ve sustained over the years while welcoming new people into my life. There is no shortage of expression and human connection. Worrying about the absence of a romantic relationship does nothing but distract me from all of the other significant relationships in front of me.
You’re not alone unless you choose to stay trapped inside a story that lives inside your head that makes you the victim and everyone else the persecutor.
There’s no perfect equation to accepting hard truths, so take your time to feel the bad. But once you feel your way through it, leave it behind. It serves you no purpose moving forward; it only acts as a hindrance.
Sure, the second half of this article was more challenging to write and acknowledge, but I feel a lot better than I did after complaining in the first half. But both halves got me here.
I’ve said goodbye to what hurts, and now I can clearly see what’s in front of me and what could be up ahead.