I used to be really naive about the guys I dated. I would always pick ones that had something “wrong” with them, and needed to be fixed in some way, and I would try really hard over the course of three months (or a year) to turn him into the person I wanted to date. I spent more nights than I’d like to admit crying on my pillow about some guy who dumped me after I put so much of my time and energy into making him the person I “knew” that he was inside. I got cheated on, I had to leave guys because I realized they would never be serious about me, and I was always being the desperate girl chasing after a guy who was interested in playing around.
But here’s the secret: on a weird level, I enjoyed it. Even though I would go through highs and lows of happiness, I was always excited by what was happening. It was thrilling, being able to be young and figure myself out with these guys who weren’t going to be serious with me. Every one of them taught me something, and sometimes it was just pure fun being with them, following them around their crazy lives. There was never a dull moment. And the great part of it was that it left me in-between times to be single — to date, to meet new people, to be myself. I was dating bad boys, and I wasn’t a bad girl, but I got to see what it would be like to be unserious.
And I like to think of it as doing a bunch of small jobs when you’re younger before you settle into a career. Yes, it sucks dipping cones at Dairy Queen or waiting tables or working at Macy’s, but it’s also a time in your life when you’re free, and you don’t have all of the pressures of a career and a “real” life. You get to have fun and make mistakes, and go out with your coworkers after, and not worry about staying out late. It’s not better or worse, it’s just a totally different time in your life, and when you’re settled in with your career and your adult responsibilities, you’ll look back on that “immature” time fondly.
I married pretty early in my life, but when I met my husband, I knew. You kiss enough frogs, and a Prince jumps out at you immediately. I knew that I could go into a relationship because I had lived that part of my life, and didn’t need to worry about regrets. We had kids and went pretty quickly into an “adult” lifestyle, and it all made sense in a way that the bad boys I dated never did. But I had to go through that night to know what sunshine looks like, and it made our relationship even sweeter. The bad boys are a distant memory, and I get to be with someone who loves me on a totally different level.
You shouldn’t go out of your way to try and get hurt. But you should realize that, when you get married, you have the whole rest of your lives together to be serious and responsible and loving. It’s important to take advantage of the time you have to learn and make mistakes and be young, and practice so that by the time you meet the good guy, you know what you’re doing. Bad boys are not marriage material, but maybe one day they will be, just not with you (because you’ll be long gone by then). But they do teach us a lot about ourselves, and they represent a different time in our lives. Not every relationship has to end in forever, except the one you choose to marry. And for that relationship, you want a nice guy. So take your time.