Most of us seem to be single.
I don’t mean ‘most of us’ as in the majority of the population (although a quick google search just informed me that 43% of Americans over the age of 18 years old identify as such, so close enough).
I mean ‘most of as’ as in, the majority of the people who lament about love on the Internet.
We talk about dating. We talk about hooking up. We talk about defining things and setting boundaries and popping questions and breaking up before things ever even really began. We talk a LOT about what’s wrong with the dating scene.
I mean, you know – nobody actually cares anymore. Nobody puts in the effort. Chivalry’s dead, Chivalry’s misogynistic, one-night stands are the new relationships and sexting is the new one-night stand. We can’t even get off our phones and get together in real life.
And I get the griping. I do. Our dating culture is a shitshow and I’ll be the first one to admit that.
But it’s time we stopped blaming each other.
Because the truth is, none of us are really making an effort to change things.
We all want that big, all-encompassing love. We want the fire, the romance, the sparks and the never-ending passion. We want the person who both challenges and supports us. The one who will never stop trying.
And yet none of us are willing to step up and be that person.
We won’t message first on Tinder. We won’t ask people out on real dates. We won’t double-text, won’t pick the phone up, will not state our actual intentions – sometimes ever – because we’re all too concerned with seeming ‘chill.’
We’ve gotten so wrapped up in protecting our egos that we’ve forgotten what it means to love freely. Or even how to let ourselves feel.
Because the truth is, the kind of love that all of us are aching for isn’t the kind that plays by the rules.
It isn’t the kind that only finds you if you use the exact right emoji and wear the perfect thing on the first date. It isn’t the kind of love that cares if you laugh too loudly or text too quickly or sleep with them before the third date. It isn’t the kind of love that judges or minimizes or sizes you up against the plethora of other opportunities that exists out there in the dating-sphere.
Because it’s the kind of love that actually involves you.
The kind that gets to you. The kind that exists outside of phone screens and rapid-fire judgments and awkward first-date questions about what you like to do in your spare time.
It’s the kind of love that two people choose to go all in for. The kind that makes the details irrelevant
But here’s the kicker about this kind of love – someone has to be willing to go all in first.
And none of us seem to want to do that
We all want the sure-thing love. The TV-sitcom love. The kind that’s zero risk, high reward and doesn’t require any gamble. We want other people to charm us and captivate us and sweep us off our feet and make mad dashes to stop us at the airport.
But we won’t do those things for anyone else.
We won’t put ourselves out there to be vulnerable and persistent and possibly a little embarrassed. We won’t show our feelings without a guarantee of reciprocation. We won’t let ourselves be bare and exposed in the hope that it will win someone over and perhaps that is why it never does.
Because the truth is, people fall in love with honesty. They fall in love with passion. They fall in love with people who know what they want and then go for it, because their ego isn’t threatened by a single disappointment or rejection.
Maybe that guy you have secretly been crushing on hasn’t considered the possibility of you and him together – but he would if you would first express interest. Maybe the bartender you’re endlessly pining after hasn’t been complimented in a while. Maybe there are a limitless number of people out there who would be happy to fall in love with you if you’d only make the first move, take the leading step, take the first move and leave the door open for them to walk through.
But first you have to actually try for them.
First you have to put your pride down, gather your courage up and be the one who puts their heart out on the line. You have to be the one who gives a damn. The one you have been waiting to meet.
Think of how many people out there you may have fallen in love with had they picked up the telephone, professed their shameless attraction to you and made the choice to make you a priority.
And now think about how many people may have fallen in love with you if you had done the exact same.
Because the truth is, if you want that big, passionate, all-consuming love, you’re going to have to go after it. You’re going to have to fight for it. You’re going to have to be willing to put yourself out there in a way that could potentially humiliate or break you.
And at the end of the day, it might.
But if you’re not willing to stick your neck out for love, than you’re never going to meet anyone else who is willing to, either.
And frankly, if you’re not willing to give out the big, scary kind of love you’re searching for – then maybe you don’t deserve to find it at all.