man and woman standing side by side during daytime

It’s Time To Change The Narrative Around Dating

Boy meets girl. Boy falls in love. Boy proposes. And then they live happily ever after…or so every rom com and young adult book I read growing up told me.

As I have grown older and had my own trials and errors in the dating world, as a cis hetero woman, I have continued to observe a few themes that I cannot get behind.

Why do we (women) romanticize unavailable men, always claiming bad timing?

I, for one, do not believe in the right guy, wrong time thing. Our society tends to romanticize “the one who got away”. We often pine after men who say, “I really like you, but I’m not ready for a relationship right now.” Let’s be honest, that is code for “I’m just not interested.” If someone really wants to be with you, they will make it work.

I think it is time we stop chasing the closed door. If someone does not respect us to give us the time and energy we deserve, let them go. Even better, let’s open the door for them!

Along that same line, why do we (women) feel bad when a guy ghosts us?

It is very easy for us to blame ourselves when a guy ghosts us. But being ghosted has nothing to do with us. It does not mean that we are unattractive and unworthy of love. It just means that that guy was not the right one. I know it sounds cheesy, but I truly believe that what is meant to be will be. The right guy will stay.

Why do we (women) complain that there are no good guys left when there are plenty of nice, available men right in front of our noses?

I believe that we are all destined for the greatest love. And so I do not believe in staying in an “okay” relationship. However, I do think that sometimes there are men we find attractive but are not interested in because we also find them “boring” – they do not give us the same thrill as men who leave us hanging, who hardly text or communicate with us, who are always busy. These “bad boys”, also known as avoidant daters, give us an adrenaline rush when they finally reach out to us (if they even reach out first; if you have to always text first, he is not interested). A good guy will actively pursue you and will never keep you guessing. But this feeling of security does not give us the same high. That high, once we are used to it, is addictive and hard to break free from. There are plenty of good guys out there – we just have to be open to them.

Why do we (both men and women) romanticize men who continue to pursue a woman who is obviously not interested?

However, there are clearly times where we are not interested in someone. And that is okay. But what is not okay is when men continue to pursue women who are clearly not interested. I have had men continue to chase and pursue me even after I explicitly told them I was not interested. I have been harassed through social media with messages blowing up my phone, even after I stopped replying to them. But in pop culture, we often see a man’s persistence in dating rewarded. In many movies, such as Dead Poets Society, an attractive girl is not interested in a guy who will just not leave her alone. Despite her desire to be left alone, his continued pursuit is eventually rewarded by her going out with him or even falling in love with him. This scenario is seen as cute, even attractive. “Wow he must really like you; you should be honored!” sort of thing. But what about us on the other end? What about how we feel about him? No means no. But our culture tends to praise the determined man who knows what he wants and will stop at nothing to get it.

I have seen these themes consistently since I entered the dating world, as well as throughout social media and pop culture. But it is time to stop feeding these ideas; it is time to change the narrative around dating.

About the author
I am: local coffee shops. carolina pines. maps & airplanes. wanderer. Follow Courtney on Instagram or read more articles from Courtney on Thought Catalog.

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