You should never enter a relationship with someone who treats you like a backup plan. You should never lower your standards out of fear of appearing too picky. You should never call someone your boyfriend because you are lonely.
At the same time, you should not stubbornly stay single when you are interested in someone. You should not keep your guard high because you are worried about getting hurt or because you have too much on your plate right now to focus on a relationship or because you have a feeling this person would only be a temporary placement in your world.
You should give yourself permission to feel, to love, to express. When you date someone, even the wrong someone, you are learning about the process of growing alongside someone. You are seeing which kind of personalities mesh together and which clash. You are witnessing firsthand what works and what fails miserable.
When you date someone, you learn more about yourself, about what matters the most to you when it comes to love, and what direction you should head in the future where relationships are concerned. Even the shortest relationships will teach you which traits you appreciate in a person and which traits you could do without.
Staying single can backfire on you. It can keep you inside of a bubble. It can take away opportunities to grow, to develop into someone with a clear vision of what they want from their future.
Even though you are perfectly capable of surviving on your own, even though you do not need someone else in order to experience happiness, even though there are much more important milestones than marriage, sometimes staying single is not the right option. Sometimes you have to allow yourself to leap into the unknown. Sometimes you have to place yourself in situations where you might have your heart broken.
It’s scary to date someone, to put all of your energy into them, to risk getting hurt by them, but it is also rewarding. It could lead to an epiphany about yourself. It could lead to your own version of a happily ever after.
Before you push away the next person who shows the slightest interest in you, you have to stop to ask yourself whether staying single is the answer. You have to consider the possibility that your best move is not running away. It is running into their arms.
Of course, you should not date someone who makes you feel insecure. You should not date someone because no one else good is around. You should not date someone just so you can say you are in a relationship. But if you are interested in someone, if they stir the butterflies in your stomach, if spending time with them makes you happy, then take a chance on them. Give love a shot.
The worst that can happen is you learn more about yourself and what you should aim to acquire in the future — and the best is that you uncover your soulmate.