The Pressure To Be Casual Is Ruining Dating For All Of Us

He's Just Not That Into You /
He’s Just Not That Into You /

I don’t understand the appeal of casual. In a world where crazy, deliberate, passionate, whole-hearted, and starry-eyed love exists, why is everyone trying to pretend like they don’t care about each other?

I’ve tried to conform. I’ve tried the perfectly calculated late replies to text messages — which my heart dips to receive — just to not come off like I was trying too hard. I’ve tried talking to multiple boys pretending that they’re interchangeable, purposely ignoring the ones that make my pulse race for fear of getting close enough and, eventually, hurt.

But I refuse to do this any longer. I can’t lie and say I look forward to having my heart broken. I’m all too familiar with that process, and no, it’s not all indie rock tortured love songs and lingering glances. It’s broken bits of glass shoved into every part of your skin when you see them holding hands with someone else. It’s your stomach tying itself into knots even a boy scout couldn’t untangle, and crying in the fruit aisle of the grocery store. It’s an imbalance of horrible that you can get stuck in long after they’ve stopped caring that they’ll never get to hold your hand again.

But it’s important to remember why you miss their fingers interlocking with yours in the first place. The first time they grazed your hand, setting every nerve in your body on fire, both of you worried about how to let go when your hand inevitably got sweaty. You can chase this feeling with a multitude of people. Grabbing at whatever hands are outstretched towards you, tucking every stray piece of hair behind every girl’s ear, repeating the sweet nothings until you’re blue in the face, but love is not a mass-produced commodity. Love is one of the few things in life that lives up to the hype.

In the midst of cold nights with a blanket hogger or that Valentine’s Day where you received a $5 dollar Starbucks card, it may not have seemed like it, but there’s nothing like giving everything you can to someone else and receiving everything everything they can give back. Even the worst moments in love can be better than some of your best without it. But more importantly: hidden in the pursuit of love are some of the best memories we’ll ever make. There’s no point in collecting people to throw at a wall like spaghetti to see which sticks; instead,try to genuinely find a connection with another person by tearing open your heart and fighting through the fear of it all spilling out. And remember that, especially when you are up on that pedestal looking so cool and nonchalant as a renowned breaker of hearts with barely any dents in your own. Nobody is keeping score. You can be talking to 50 people at all times — people who fill every need and ache you have — but still, each one of them wants to be someone else’s #1. They’ll stay only until they realize your limitations and will eventually move on to the person whose hand feels like home when the music stops.

Like a bad game of musical chairs, there’s a very good chance that the distance you put between yourself and the vulnerability love requires will leave you with nowhere to turn. When you try and you bruise and you crack, you move forward. In this world filled with the unknown, crazy, deliberate, passionate, whole-hearted, and starry-eyed love exists and it’s just as good as everyone says. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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