Maybe you shouldn’t stay single until you find the perfect person for you. Maybe you should put yourself out there, test the waters, date the wrong person to learn more about yourself.
Maybe you should give yourself a chance to explore your options, so that you have plenty of experience (and zero regrets) once you’re married. Maybe you should make a point to taste what else is out there before you stumble across the person you’re going to be with for the rest of your life.
That doesn’t mean you should date the first person who comes along. That doesn’t mean you should go back to the ex who hurt you before. That doesn’t mean you should settle for someone toxic, someone who is going to make your life a living hell, someone who is going to bring you more pain and disappointment than the single life would provide you.
But if you like someone and they like you back, you don’t have to make sure that all of your future plans line up exactly. You don’t have to turn them down if you want three kids and they aren’t planning on having kids. You don’t have to take dating so seriously when you’re this young.
It’s okay to agree to dinner and a movie with someone you’re not sure if you have chemistry with yet. It’s okay to sleep with someone you’re pretty sure you’re never going to see again. It’s okay to date someone you’re probably going to break up with in a few months.
It’s okay to date placeholders on your path to your forever person.
As long as you choose options that make you happiest, as long as you stay honest, as long as you don’t string the other person along while making promises you know you can’t keep — then there is nothing wrong with dating someone temporary. There is nothing wrong with creating more exes.
As romantic as it sounds to save yourself for the love of your life, maybe your forever person shouldn’t be the only person you ever press your lips against. Maybe you should have other experiences to compare that dream kiss to, so you know that your love is real. So you know that you aren’t just assuming you love that person, because it’s the first time you’re feeling such an intense emotion.
Maybe it’s okay to look back on certain relationships and tell your friends you can’t believe what you were thinking. Maybe it’s okay to have regrets when it comes to your exes, because your old loves teach you about what you need from your new loves.
Maybe you should listen to your heart over your head every once in a while. Maybe you should give that guy you aren’t sure about a chance. Maybe you should get your heart broken more often.
Maybe that heartache will lead you toward the person you truly belong with.
Maybe you should take more risks when it comes to relationships, because love isn’t meant to be safe.