Because Jane Austen books have pulled the wool over our eyes about the Mr. Darcys of the world and dating a jerk is more like dating John Mayer than finding your 19th century romantic hero. Because it doesn’t matter how interesting, sexy or good in bed they are if they don’t treat you well or make you hate yourself. Because a jerk might be fine to hook up with, as kindness and hotness do not always correlate, but it’s hard to build a life around someone who makes you feel bad about yourself all the time, yells at you, belittles you, neglects your feelings or doesn’t even really know you. Because you should be able to smile when you think about them and know they are thinking about you.
Because everyone deserves a good relationship and someone who loves them in the right way, even Pol Pot probably needed a good cuddle or a kiss from his boo at the end of the day. Because love doesn’t have to be like a storybook or the movies, but love should make us wake up and look forward to getting out of bed and want to call back the person who leaves all those messages on your answering machine. Because you shouldn’t be worried that they will blow up at you if you don’t call them back right away or ever think to yourself, “Hey, is this person stalking me?” Because if your significant other reminds you at all of Edward Cullen in Twilight, you should run away. Because sparkly, undead creepers aren’t sexy.
Because when you were a little kid, you dreamed of that perfect person who you could share your life with, who totally understood you and who would one day hold all of your secrets. Because you’ve never run out of secrets to share with someone and should do so with the right person, someone who is worthy of the love you have to give. Because your wedding won’t be like what you always pictured and translucent unicorns won’t be pulling you up to a magic pumpkin and the ceremony will not be officiated by mice but that does not mean you shouldn’t be with someone undeserving of the fantasy. Because you didn’t spend all that time dreaming and wishing and putting childhood artifacts in your hope chest for someone who treats you like dirt.
Because we should expect a bare minimum of respect from our romantic partners and dating a nice guy doesn’t have to mean shacking up with the creepy, co-dependent guy from Girls. Because you should be in a relationship with someone who you would want your best friend or your sister to date and should hold yourself to the same standard. Because you shouldn’t be terrified that when you take this person home to your parents they won’t furiously loathe them or politely forbid you from ever seeing this hooligan again. Because a jerk probably won’t make a great parent, if you are into that babies thing, and the world does not need more bad parents.
Because the more we start doing to love ourselves and expecting that others value and appreciate us, the more we will feel loved and cherished in our lives. Because having standards and insisting on positive relationships in our lives is not a bad thing. Because you might hate breaking up with the jerk in the short run — the one who it hurts so much of the time to be with, the one who makes you cry, the one you wish you never met — but you will always be proud of yourself for making the right decision in the long run. Because the sooner you break up with the person who doesn’t treat you well, the sooner you make yourself available to be with the right one. Because, as they say, we accept the love with think we deserve. Because when you find that love, you’ll finally cry for the right reasons.