There is a quote by Gloria Steinem that goes, “The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.” Now, ain’t that the truth? As much as everybody likes to pretend to be a truth-seeker and lover, oftentimes when we’re faced with the difficult truths of anything, we have negative reactions from denial to hostility. Admittedly, capital T truths are hard to come by – some people don’t even believe in them. But luckily for everyone, I am not one of them! Jokes aside, when it comes to dating, there are just some universal acknowledgements or facts or truths that we all have to deal with. And they might piss us off, but eventually they also set us free.
1. Being single or being in a relationship is in your hands.
You know, there are probably not as many things in life that you get to choose as you think there are. But your relationship status is one of those things you do have a say in. Now if you think you are single because of x reason or y reason, I guarantee you that someone with the same reason is in a relationship. If your sole purpose is to be in a relationship at any point in life, not only are there countless ways to make that possible thanks to technology, you can literally always lower your “standards.” Yes, I know you’re thinking, “Why would I do that?” Well if being in a relationship is the goal and there’s no other way, that’s an option. Bottom line: Your relationship status is your responsibility.
2. Being in a relationship is not going to make you happy in and of itself.
Relationships are great! Love is great! Date nights, long walks, and staycations with Netflix on repeat are wonderful with your person. But you know what? It’s not the be-all and end-all of life. Most importantly, to think that merely being in a relationship is going to make you happy is setting yourself up for disappointment. It’s a wonderful thing, seemingly ordinary but also spectacular, when two people meet and fall in love and want to keep being together. But guess what? You’re still dealing with people who are imperfect by nature, so good luck to all of us. Moreover, have you never met couples who are miserable and who make each other and everyone around them miserable? Woof. Proof that it’s about the person you choose, not the relationship itself. Choose wisely.
3. You’re not single because “all the good ones are taken.”
If you’re single and you say things like, “All the good ones are taken.” Does that mean you’re not one of the good ones? (And is that why you’re actually single?) Unless you live in a small town where literally everyone you know is taken and you’re the sole bachelor or bachelorette, chances are you are exposed to thousands if not hundreds of thousands and even millions of people who are single and ready to mingle too. (Some of whom might be great.) Stop being such a martyr and go out there and find people and if you’re still out of luck, then leave where you are and look elsewhere. All the good ones are not taken but you might need an attitude change and some fresh perspective.
4. You’re not single because you’re a “nice guy” or “good girl.”
Ah yes, the whole “I’m a nice person” and girls/guys only like assholes. Firstly, you probably overestimate how “nice” you really are. Secondly, “being nice” (as opposed to being good or kind, for example) is severely overrated. Look, I’m not here to tell you that good things happen to good people because if you’re an adult, you know by now that’s not always true. Good things happen to all of us. So do bad things. Randomness, as one of my professors once said, is [actually] the great equalizer. Anyway, the point is nobody has to like you, regardless of how great you think you are. And deeming that some people don’t like you because of your “niceness,” is just a way to make yourself feel better. Either figure out what you can improve on to be on the radar of those you want, and/or maybe expand your horizons.
5. The reason why it didn’t work out with [insert name of person you’re still pining about] is probably (see: 99% likelihood) because they’re not interested in you.
Rejection sucks. Oh boy does it suck. I would rather get trampled on by a bunch of angry squirrels than be rejected by a guy I really liked. And indeed there is no perfect way to handle rejection. Do you. Even though in my opinion a good cry, a far run, a delicious meal, and great sleep tend to do the job. And the worst part of rejection is that we tend to think that if we were more of something or less of something or did this or didn’t do that, then things would have changed. And in theory, maybe. In theory, maybe the person will eventually get back to their senses and realize what they’re missing out on. But the truth is more than likely, they’re just not that into you. It sucks and it’s always going to suck when it happens. But when it’s all said and done, do you want to be with someone you have to convince to be with you?
6. If you’re losing friends because you’re in a relationship, chances are, it’s not your friends, it’s you.
So I asked some “grown ups” (LOL) – meaning people my parents age about whether they lost friends when they got in their relationships. A lot of them said well, at the time, in-person community and communication was really important so it seems more likely to happen now than “back in their days.” Interesting. While it’s easy to blame technology for everything under the sun, we are not robots or complete animals. We have agency. It is difficult to strike a balance between career and relationships of all kind, and indeed it is a lifetime balancing act. But in the end, people need to know that they matter to you. And you do that by communicating that to them with your words and actions. And well, if you don’t, you’ll soon find yourself with not only less friends but less solid friendships.
7. You attract what you are, not what you want. And you will accept what you think you deserve.
This is pretty straightforward beyond what you might initially think of, superficially. If you want someone kind and smart and caring, you might want to make sure that you are all those things too. And I mean that sincerely. People have a tendency to overestimate how they see themselves. (Shocking, I know!) So always try to be the best you can be for yourself, and so that you can attract the best of your best. But even more than that, recognize always that when it comes to dating and relationships, the kind of love that you “settle” for is the kind of love that you ultimately believe you deserve. In the end, we all have to compromise and negotiate our way in the land mine that is modern dating. But what kind of love are you “settling” for?