Although it’s mildly embarrassing for me to admit that I have seen (and kind of love) this movie, here goes: there is a quote in The Wedding Date that says, “Every woman has the exact love life she wants.” And, in part, I think that’s true.
In part, because I think it’s true of men, too, but also because sometimes, you know it’s not so much the love life you want, but the one you’re perpetuating. What, deep down, you think you deserve at this point in your life. What you’re satisfied to settle for.
This is not an injunction against anyone. Sometimes people aren’t ready for a relationship, and they acknowledge that. There’s nothing wrong in that. Sometimes people don’t want a relationship, and as baffling as that might seem to the lovestruck fool who’s pining after them, it’s where they are in their life. Whether you spend your time chasing after the person who has not and will not commit to you, or you burn every bridge you can the minute things so much as begin to go south, or you actively work every day to keep your relationship strong and healthy — these are all choices that are up to you.
If you’re single and you don’t want to be single, friends will tell you to sign up for dating websites, or download an app, or go to singles’ nights and events. It makes sense to be proactive about it. But in order to get to the point where anything actually happens, there’s one very simple thing you need to do.
Be honest with yourself about what you truly want.
It’s challenging and uncomfortable to admit the truth about what you want, because what if you don’t get it? Or what if it shows up in a package you weren’t expecting? Or it’s not all you’ve hoped it would be? But the truth doesn’t have to breed unrealistic expectations. It’s just the truth. Let it go freely and be vocal about what you want. Even more importantly, take the pressure off it being the end all be all. Whatever is your truth today might not be your truth tomorrow. And that’s okay But it is what you need and want and are looking for and would like to change right in the here and now.
Whether that truth involves being honest about how you’re unhappy about the current state of your romantic affairs; about how you are happy with them (because you’re allowed to be this, too); about how you like someone and are curious as to the possibility that they might be able to like you, too — whatever it is, you have to admit it to yourself, and by extension, to other people, too.
Because other people aren’t going to be able to guess your motives. They’re not going to inherently just know that you know they’re the one for you. And that’s not their responsibility to guess at what you’re trying to say or how you feel. Few things in this world are cut and dry, but telling people exactly how you feel clears away some of that questioning and disbelief.
Is it scary? Yes. Of course it is. But most things that are worth doing have their risks. Almost everything has a risk. And it’s up to you to decide which risks are worth putting yourself and your heart out on the line, and which aren’t.
It’s so very easy to let a crush burn because you didn’t take the chance to see what could be, to not say hi to the stranger at the bar because going up to strangers scares you, to bail on that date because of any arbitrary reasons that might spook you, to hold out for ideals because you still think something “better” is out there for you. But own up to these truths, because they, not the circumstances in which you find yourself, are what are holding you back. Because these are your actions. These are what you did — or really, didn’t do.
So be honest about what you want. Be honest about the fact that you like someone, or that you have a certain idea of your “dream person” in your head. Be honest about the fact that you think someone’s cute and that maybe you’d get along. Be honest about when something gives you a red flag, rather than simply disappearing off the grid and never answering a single text ever again. Be honest when someone hurts your feelings, and when they make you feel like the only person in the room. Be honest when you want to clarify where you are, when you want to take things further, when you want to go “Facebook official” and aren’t sure if they do, too. Because if you can’t be honest with this other person, can you really be in a solid relationship with them?
After all, the foundation of any relationship is honesty and trust. So set that framework now.
And if people recoil, if they think it’s weird that you’re being radically honest, it’s because we live in a world that is conditioned to be wary of honesty. To think there’s manipulation involved, that there are strings attached, that there is an ulterior motive. That’s on them to reconcile. All you have to do is know that you’re speaking your truth, and hold yourself accountable to being honest about how you feel, and trusting that if you do that, everything else will fall into place.