If you’ve ever been on the internet, which I’m assuming you have because you’re reading this article, you’ve probably read all about what kind of person you should date. Writers give dating advice left and right about who to date, who not to date, when to date, who you can date but could probably do better than so it’s probably best to just stay single, etc.
Do any of the following sound familiar?
- Date A Woman Who Reads!
- Date A Scorpio!
- Don’t Date A Dick!
- Date A Guy Who Kisses Your Forehead!
- You Should Date A Funny Girl!
- Wait For The Dude Who Cares About You More Than His XBox!
- Maybe Don’t Date At All!
- Stay Single Until Trump Is Out Of Office!
(Okay, that last one isn’t actually a bad idea.)
And after we’re instructed who we should date, we’re told what it should feel like.
- It should feel like glee.
- You should feel nothing but giddiness and butterflies.
- You should feel safe, almost like you’re coming home for the very first time.
- It’s should feel easy.
- It should feel simple.
Now, this is all well and good. It’s important to find out who you would be most compatible with and feel the happiest spending your life next to. But my question is, where’s the how?
Once you find your person, how are you going to love them? How are you going to make them feel safe and supported and appreciated?
How are you going to take care of the Man Who Kisses Your Forehead when he gets sick? How are you going to help your Scorpio if they lose their job? How are you going to support the Woman Who Reads if she finds herself struggling with depression? How are you going to act lovingly towards The Man Who Loves You More Than His Xbox when he’s really pissed you off? And what are you going to do when The Funny Girl loses her mother unexpectedly? How are you going to help her work through her grief?
I’m guessing you haven’t thought about these things.
Because when we think about love, we tend to think about the “good” stuff, and the good stuff only. We tend to think about how it makes us feel and who it looks like. We picture the butterflies, the sweating palms, the giddy feeling when you first realize you’re falling. We think about blue eyes and witty jokes and passionate makeouts. We think about reaching over to hold his hand for the first time.
And love is those things. This is true! It’s beautiful and comforting and it’s like nothing else. But it’s also more than that.
To love someone is to see them as the person you fell in love with, even though they’ve just hurt you deeply. To love someone is to go out of your way run an errand that you hate doing because you know they’re totally overwhelmed with work. To love someone is hold their hand when they’re sick and aren’t sure if and when they’ll feel better. To love someone is to try and believe them again after they’ve completely broken your trust.
The thing is, loving someone is not always easy. Relationships take work, hard work. Going through the tough shit in life and finding out who’s worth fighting for will let you know you’ve found your person, not butterflies.