Just like an annoying cold, catching feelings can be unpredictable, and at times toxic especially if you didn’t see it coming. However, our humanistic ways keep us trapped in these unwanted emotions and sometimes you just can’t help how you feel.
Sadly, reality isn’t like a Nicholas Sparks movie where the guy still stuck around and built you a damn house. I’m pretty sure only half, maybe less than half of the relationships in the world, end up how we would want it.
Now, I’m not a cynic. I do believe in true love. My parents have it. I was fortunate enough to grow up witnessing and admiring a whole, healthy and happy marriage.
I consider myself lucky because some people don’t get that. They are the epitome of “meant for each other” or soulmates or whatever you want to call it.
I’m not saying any of that doesn’t exist. But as a millennial in her prime, I watch many of my fellow peers try to find themselves in other people. And when they don’t get what they are looking for, they indulge themselves in self-destructive habits.
Again, I acknowledge the fact that we are human beings, susceptible and vulnerable to unintentional emotions that come out of nowhere. I, myself, would admit that I’ve been there. I’ve felt pain, hurt, longing, rage, jealousy, betrayal… all that stuff that unfortunately comes as an unwanted package of a relationship or a breakup.
But during the years where I wasn’t labeled as someone’s girlfriend, I learned that even though you sometimes can’t control how you feel, you can control what you can do.
I’m not saying I’m the Dr. Phil of modern day relationships. I’m definitely still learning and adapting to this complex social culture of the 21st century, especially as I lunge back into the single pool.
But from my experience and from “heart to hearts” with my fellow girlfriends, there are five easy ways to sign yourself up for a heartbreak:
1. Don’t make them your entire world.
Whether you were in a long-term relationship, a short-term relationship, a booty call, or someone’s rebound, if you put him or her on a pedestal, you’re basically putting that person and their priorities in front of your own.
If you’re married, that’s a different story. But if you’re not yet committed to the right person, why would you let your world revolve around someone else?
This generation needs to take advantage of the fact that we have to be selfish at this age. We have to look out for ourselves and to do what’s best for us.
Don’t make that one person your everything because you could lose everything in an instant.
Build something for yourself, have plans for yourself that don’t involve that other person, network with others to build more quality relationships other than with that person. You’ll earn more respect and admiration when someone does come along and see that you’re self-reliant, ambitious, and independent.
2. Don’t sacrifice your self-respect.
Getting hurt by someone is one thing. But pursuing a relationship you know is toxic or isn’t going where you want it to go — that’s shame on you.
At that point, if that person ends up hurting you, you can’t blame anyone (not even that person) but yourself.
There are obvious factors that make a person a “booty call.” For one, if they avoid being seen alone with you in public or in broad daylight, then there’s something wrong there.
Sure, that person can promise things, be charming and funny and flirty, and give you the attention no one else had. But at the end of the day, if they aren’t willing to commit to you, you’re at a loss my friend.
Also, don’t be in denial and say you agree to this whole “no strings attached” bullshit if deep down inside you hope it’ll eventually turn into something more.
Unless you genuinely do want no strings attached, own up to the fact that these one-off, cheap, low quality type of hookups are, well… just hookups.
Don’t justify your actions or their actions because you’re blinded by your infatuation. Be aware if the person is moved by lust or physical connection because I guarantee that if that’s the case, the relationship isn’t going to go anywhere.
Don’t settle to be anyone’s easily accessible”comfort item.” And even though I said to avoid the fairytale fantasy of love in the beginning of all this, there is such a thing as a whole, healthy, and happy relationship (my parents, remember!).
In order to come across a lasting, quality relationship, you need to start recognizing your self-worth and stop settling for anything less than what you deserve.
3. Don’t fall for unrequited love.
There’s that saying, “we always want what we can’t have.” But in the case where you keep chasing someone who won’t reciprocate the feelings you want, then that’s just irrational obsession.
There’s a terrific video by Matthew Hussey, a dating coach and New York Times Bestselling Author, where he explains that it’s just unreasonable to be attracted to someone who doesn’t want you back.
He calls it “masochism” — which may be a harsh description, but it fits the profile of those who wrap up themselves in this stupid idea of unrequited love.
There’s a sense of idiocy in people who still long and care for someone who never or will never have anything to do with them. You can call that “unconditional” but eventually, you’re going to pour everything into an empty shell and then have nothing left. You’ll be stepped on and walked all over – a door mat. Why would you do that to yourself?!
You can’t just say that you’ve loved a person for so many years when the other person never felt the same way. This is a self-destructive habit I was talking about earlier!
Maybe it’s psychological or maybe it’s a self-esteem issue, but it all goes back to the idea of your self-worth.
To avoid battling this childish mess, uphold a sense of dignity. If you preoccupy yourself with chasing something that doesn’t meet your level of expectations, you’ll not only chase away that person but you’ll also chase away the other opportunities for something real and genuine.
4. Don’t constantly make yourself the victim.
It’s healthy to cry it out, to vent to friends or family, and to recognize the pain and deal with it however you may feel (we’ll blame fallible human nature for those questionable decisions).
But once you’re done coping, you need to move on. Stop throwing yourself a pity party.
I want to tell one of my friends that people stopped sympathizing because it’s been months… years even! After a while, the pain that was initially caused by someone else becomes self-inflicted if you don’t start doing something to move forward in your life.
Posting uplifting quotes is cool, I guess, but actually do something to make him regret his decision to treat you that way. I get it, depending on the situation, things take time, but don’t make yourself a victim forever. Take it upon yourself to learn from your mistakes and strive for better.
My all-time favorite feminist, screenwriter/ producer, Shonda Rhimes, had wrote, “People like being around whole, healthy, happy people.”
If you’re just going to keep complaining and sulking, you’re going to be a damn drag to be around. Iron sharpens iron, so surround yourself with people that inspire you to be and do better. Cut off the unnecessary people if you have to.
Be strong to make others strong. Be an inspiration by showing the world that you can stand up after you’ve been shoved to the ground.
5. Don’t keep trying to search for “the one.”
As cliche as this sounds, a lot of people fall in love with the idea of a relationship rather than the actual person.
If you become preoccupied with trying to just be in a relationship because everyone around you is in one, then you’re settling for an eventual disappointment.
You can blame it on society, culture or whatever, but the more you stress yourself out on trying to find “the one,” the more frustrated you’ll be.
Most of the times, girls (and sometimes boys) don’t even know what they want! Figure that out first, set standards for yourself, and discover what you need in a partner.
Once you find that out, don’t go looking for it in people, look for those qualities and traits within yourself. It’s only then that you’ll just naturally attract the one.
Stop trying to impress people or trying to prove something to others. Focusing on yourself is the best thing you could ever do for you.
Rather than trying to find “the one” in other people, find “the one” in yourself.
Ladies, don’t be that princess waiting around and longing for her prince charming. Be that boss ass queen that attracts her king.