1. Overthinking every single situation.
I look back at my former self in past relationships and wonder what the hell I was thinking. I spent so much of my precious time overanalyzing every little detail of every word a guy said to me. I’d replay certain situations and conversations in my head over and over again and try to make logical sense of them. Why did he like that girl’s picture on Facebook? Does a one word response mean he doesn’t like me? If he hasn’t texted me in three days does that mean he’s found someone else to talk to? Eventually I learned that it never needed to be so complicated. If a guy genuinely liked me, I’d know it without having to ask or pick apart his every move.
2. Chasing the guy who was never going to stick around.
I’d constantly chase the guy who would show signs that he was interested but wouldn’t put any legitimate effort into me. I’d hope that if I was consistent enough he’d eventually recognize that I was interested in him and then he’d feel the same way. The more I’d chase, the more he’d pull back. Dating has become a giant game of tug-o-war. I’ve cultivated the belief that you must find someone who’s going to meet you in the middle. If you feel like you’re putting in more effort than they are then it’s time to reevaluate the relationship. You will never have to chase a guy who’s truly into you.
3. Waiting on a guy to talk to me.
After hanging out with a new guy I’d count down the minutes, hours, days until he’d contact me again. I’d drive myself crazy by playing the waiting game. If he didn’t make an effort to see me again I’d contemplate if I did something wrong or I’d just presume he wasn’t really into me. I could kick myself for believing these notions. What I should have been doing was focusing on my daily life rather than worrying about another person validating my self worth through a meaningless 5-character text message.
4. Acting like I was okay with casual relationships when I wasn’t.
Every girl wants to be the chill girl who’s down for one night stands and “just hanging out” with a dude. Keep it casual, right? You get the 10 p.m. “what are you doing” text message and think nothing of it because it’s become the new normal. Sometimes these types of relationships are fun and exciting and they’ll work out for the time being. I’ve learned that if you aren’t comfortable with just hooking up with a guy then you need to voice that to them. I’ve learned to always communicate what I’m interested in and what I’m not. Most guys will respect you for it and if they don’t then they were never worth your time to begin with.
5. Avoiding conflict by apologizing and agreeing.
In so many of my previous relationships I would apologize for things I didn’t even do in order to avoid conflict. I’d do absolutely anything in my power to steer clear of confrontation in the relationship. I’ve learned that you don’t need to agree with your significant other about everything. It’s called compromise. If you don’t agree with something they said to you or an idea they present, speak up about it. Communicate with each other. Don’t avoid conflict by sweeping it under the rug because I’ve found that those types of arguments will always resurface again in the future.
6. Dating for the sake of dating.
Casual dating has become more common than ever. Everybody dates everybody and there’s usually only a very small window where you can consider yourself to be completely single. Hanging out, texting, calling, snap chatting…we’re always connected to someone. I’ve come to the conclusion that we need to stop dating for the sake of dating. It’s okay to be single. It’s okay to not be “talking to somebody”. It’s okay to spend your nights solo. If you don’t see potential in your current partner, or if you’re not really that interested in them, then leave them. Being with someone for the sake of not being alone will never be beneficial in the long run.
7. On-and-off again relationships.
Break up, get back together, fight, break up, get back together. We’ve all been there before. And if you haven’t then good for you, because it’s an extremely toxic situation to immerse yourself in. Maybe you think you can change your ex and recreate the past into something different. You try, and try some more and for some undistinguished reason it continues to fall short. I spent so much of my time trying to make a relationship work that had failed so long ago. It becomes exhausting. A relationship requires work, but not the kind of work that leaves you feeling drained and helpless. There’s a reason why things happen they way they do and it’s important that you trust the process and move forward.
8. Worrying too much about other people’s relationships.
When you’re surrounded by couples moving in together, buying houses, getting married, and having babies it’s only normal to ask yourself, “Why hasn’t this happened for me yet? Am I doomed?” We’re under the assumption that if you’re still single you’re probably going to die alone. (Kind of a joke, but we’ve all heard that one before.) I’ve come to realize that everyone is different when it comes to romance. Some people settle down sooner than others. Some people find “the one” earlier than others. Just because it hasn’t happened for you yet doesn’t mean that it isn’t going to. I wish I told myself earlier that there are so many other things that I can be doing in my 20’s that don’t involve getting married or settling down with a partner. It’ll happen when it’s supposed to happen and by no means is it supposed to be race.