#SAF Presents: Dating Advice For The Struggling 20-Something Vol. 3

The Mindy Project“
The Mindy Project

Have you gone on a bad date and need to vent? Is your love life reminiscent of a really bad romantic comedy except where it’s mostly sad and no one’s laughing? Yeah, we feel you. Dating is hard. Dating is weird. We’re not experts but we’ll try and shed some light on your current situation based on our own experiences. Send your dating woes and questions to koty@thoughtcatalog.com and Kovie, Crissy, and I might just answer it in next week’s SAF column.


 “I’m 21 years old and I am Single As Fuck cause I believe I am a couch girlfriend. This is the most degrading thing I have ever labeled myself but I have come to accept it only because I only hang out with this guy (who I’ve been seeing for 3 months) at night and we just sleep together. I feel like the biggest booty call sometimes because he just texts me or calls me whenever it’s most convenient for him. But I can’t help but go over his house. This has been ongoing for 3 months but sometimes he does show that he likes me or is interested only cause he wouldn’t keep me around if he wasn’t right? I know he’s probably not interested in ever being in a relationship; but what do you think? Should I get over him?”


Koty: Okay, this is cheesy as hell and I can’t believe I’m going to use this quote but whatever – do you remember the line from Perks Of Being A Wallflower where someone says “we accept the love we think we deserve”? Yeah. So, that’s what I’m saying to you. Right now. It sounds like you want more from this guy but you haven’t made an effort to deepen the connection (or maybe you have and I’m just not privy to it). You’re just accepting whatever he’ll throw your way. And that’s not cool. You’re not happy so it’s time to make some changes, babe.

You don’t want to be a couch girlfriend? You want more from this guy than just being his booty call? Then you need to put that out there. You need to create boundaries. I know it’s scary but you need to let him know what you want. Because if you keep just hanging out on his couch, answering his late night texts, that’s all you’re ever going to get from him. And you deserve more, so much more, from the person you’re sleeping with.


Crissy: First of all, girl, you are a genius for coining ‘couch girlfriend.’ Is that a thing? Am I old? Whatever. Your use of terminology in this whole situation is clueing me in to your savviness, which is ringing very ‘too savvy for a lame bro’ for me. My gut instinct here is to say that, yeah, he would keep you around if he wasn’t really interested. You might be mature enough to cut out those loose thread type people from your life, but this guy probably isn’t.

Who knows why he’s relegated you to the late night texts? I think it’s worth it for your own sanity to say something to him, like, “hey, we’ve been doing this for a while. Are you looking for anything beyond this?” That said, it sounds like you know how this couch bro is going to answer the question, so it’s up to you to get off the couch and get out into the world of other non-couch boys. Join Tinder, go out more with friends, whatever– put yourself out there and you’ll be surprised how fast this dude fades into the background. Just remember that his interest in you is not a reflection of your value. You’re valuable and you deserve someone just as worth it to bring home to your own couch.


Kovie: Hi lady! First remove labels from yourself that don’t serve any purpose other than to harshly judge yourself. We become the things we think of ourselves as. You’re young and given the general (deplorable) state of dating and relationships, it can almost feel that having someone in some shape or form is better than having no one. Is this how you’re feeling?

I want to challenge you in two ways. First, take some time to reflect on what you want from life. And then take some time to reflect on what you believe you deserve from love, from a guy who wants you. And then take some time to reflect on what you have to offer love and life. When all thee things tart being in sync with each other, it’s hard to settle. And be honest with yourself girl, are you settling?

The second challenge is to ask yourself, if a friend or a sister or cousin came to you with this story, and asked for your advice, what would you tell them? It’s sometimes easier to love others and to give to others, than to love and give to ourselves. I don’t know this guy’s side of the story but I do know when someone is into you, and I mean really into you, they want to see you a much a possible. And not just after dark. And perhaps this is a cliche but one that I have found to be true: You accept the kind of love you think you deserve. So again the question goes back to you: Do you believe you deserve more?


“I am one month away from turning 26 and have been single for almost five years. The first few were by choice, due to a horrible break up and lingering communication between myself and said ex-asshole. However, almost 5 years and 2,000 miles traveled later, I am still riding the dating struggle bus. I met a few guys after moving to a new city and nothing really stuck. I put myself out there online because I have friends it worked for and figured, what the hell! A plethora or weirdo’s, jerks, and “Well, I did look like my picture, 5 years ago,” later, here I am, still at square one. I’ve thought of every reason as to why I am sans boyfriend and every reason I chalk up comes back to something being wrong with me.

I know I carry some leftover baggage from my previous relationship. I can’t trust, I’m not as open, I can be hard to read. The whole she had her heart broken shebang. When I do start chatting with someone I would say I unintentionally play that “cool girl” role because that’s just how I am. I like my own space, my friends are everything to me and I’m not going to toss them aside, I want us each to have our own separate lives as well as a life together. I’ve also always considered myself a tomboy that likes the dress up. I watch and play sports, have a vast knowledge of whiskey, and most of my closest friends in life have been guys. All of which seems fine at first, guys claim to love that mentality. Until they don’t…and I become too independent and hard to read. Or I, “don’t seem interested.” I mean, if I wasn’t interested, I wouldn’t be hanging out with you, dude. Do guys really just want someone ultra-feminine girl to sit there and laugh at their jokes and tell them they’re pretty? Because if that’s the case, I’m screwed. #EternallySAF. “


Koty: I totally get you. I’ve been told before that I “don’t seem interested” when I’m actually very interested. And I’ve had bad breakups. I know how hard it can be to trust again, how scary it can be to be vulnerable. But stop playing the ‘cool girl’ card. You can be the independent, whiskey drinking, tomboy all you want if that’s who you really are, but don’t let that idea of yourself create barriers from letting someone else in again. Let yourself be vulnerable. Learn to become comfortable with being a little uncomfortable. It’s okay to be a little unnerved once in awhile. And that doesn’t mean you have to be ultra-feminine. Be yourself but also be self-aware and conscious of your actions, meaning pay attention to the way you interact with guys or someone you’re actually interested in.


Crissy: Mmmmm, we’ve all been in this spot, or at least I have. You’re playing yourself. That’s the harsh truth you need to look right in the mirror at and face with a toothy ass smile. I’ve been ~detached cool girl who drinks guy drinks and likes guy things~ before, or at least I thought that’s who I was. Honestly, though? I was a big emotional wound who was bleeding all over everyone I met. It was gross. I went to counseling for other general mental health reasons, but it really helped me open up to people and see that I had a big interpersonal problem. You don’t sound like you’re at that level. In fact, it sounds like you know what your problem is: you’re suffering from being too ~cool.~

Dating is messy. Accept it. You’re going to have to make out with bad kissers and get curved by total babes who you kind of want to marry on sight. But you can’t keep everyone at a distance because you have it all together and fear the idea of falling apart. I’d bet money that your last breakup screwed up a lot of shit for you, whether it was a job, friends, school, the whole ‘shebang’ as you’d say– but you aren’t that girl anymore. You have your life together in a new way. Showing your interest and being vulnerable isn’t going to mess with anything else. Tell these guys you like them. Sometimes that’s all it takes. “I really like you” or “I can’t wait to see you again” can be the key to starting something (when they’re true statements, that is). I know it sounds corny, but you have to bet big to win big. Keep your own space, but keep dating and learn how to share it.


Kovie: Hi #EternallySAF,

I love that by the way. I might start using that. Well firstly, it’s easy to beat down on yourself when you have clear, tangible baggage that may be getting in the way of moving forward. But always remember: Everyone has baggage. The key, I think, to moving on despite it – is do not let your baggage become a burden you carry everywhere with you. Easier said than done right? But it’s worth it to reflect on your last relationship and maybe consider all the things you learned and how you can grow from it. But after that reflection, you move on. You let whatever happened, happened because you can’t change it anyway. It’s an everyday struggle and not something you do in a matter of hours.

The thing to always realize especially in moments where we feel like no one want us is that if you wanted, if you really wanted, you could be in a relationship – maybe with one of the people you met online that you didn’t fancy. But of course that’s not the goal. The goal is to be in the right relationship with the right person. And that’s a different path for everyone. But the key is of course is to be okay with the past and to work to be open to life today. Vulnerability is scary – you don’t have to tell me twice. I still consider it one of my weaknesses. But you know what? It’s also empowering. And the truth is, no matter what you’ve been through, the fact that you’e made it through, shows you’re strong and you’re capable of being open to life again. So hold onto that thought as you meet new people. And let them surprise you, and maybe even surprise yourself. Don’t feel the need to box yourself into a type of girl – you’re a human, with many sides to you. See that in yourself, and you’ll be able to let others see it too. TC mark

Related

More From Thought Catalog