After watching my millionth episode of Sex and the City, I have to say I blame all romantic comedies for my dating expectations. Dating is hard, especially mid-twenties when you sort of want Mr. Big, but you’re still in the Channing Tatum and ridiculously good looks phase. It’s times like these I want to be a nun, or a cat lady.
Having been married at a young age, entering back into the dating world halfway through my twenty-something years of life has been eye opening, liberating, and traumatizing all at the same time. You know the friend you have that seems to have awful luck in the romance department and always provides horror stories for good entertainment? Yeah, that would be me. It’s like a completely different world than when I was in high school, and my idea of dating was talking to a boy on the phone and then he asks me to be his girlfriend and that was that. There were rarely any first dates because you already knew each other from school so it was less awkward and seemed harmless.
So when was it exactly that everything changed? When did this thing called dating become such a game? It’s not enough anymore to just like someone, now you have to worry about an entire list of criteria to meet. Why do I feel like I’m going to a job interview for a first date? It’s just so awkward. Social media and dating apps make it seem so easy, you can just tap on a picture or swipe and BOOM! You’re supposed to meet the love of your life? How about the love of your next 5 minutes before you receive another match. It’s become so easy and so shallow, and you end up updating your Facebook relationship status quite a bit more frequently than you’d like. Social media makes it look like you’re missing out on something wonderful when you see your friends posting couples pictures and your 400 photos are either of your lunch or the endless amount of wine you drink. I’ve found so many twenty-somethings are in such a rush to find someone and settle down. Don’t get me wrong, I was once among those. I had a picture in my head of everything I thought I wanted and I couldn’t wait to be married and have kids. In the midst of the rush though, I lost sight of myself. I became so consumed with “titles” and this fantasy, that I forgot to live.
It might sound like I’m bitter or judgmental, but the truth is I’m just a girl who fell in love with the idea of love and then everything changed. I was convinced that dating and marriage would turn out to be like the romantic movies and I didn’t want to be the only one of my friends to not have someone. I waited for my “Carrie and Big” moment, and I’m 25 and still waiting. It’s hard to actually find something genuine in this day and age, and I don’t know about you, but my time is scarce and it’s valuable. Over the past couple of years I’ve learned some major life lessons from dating. Ladies, If they’re on multiple dating sites.. RUN. LIKE. FORREST. You run and don’t ever look back. Oh, and if they tell you they “Just want to be friends for now..” yeah, that’s NOT a challenge, that’s actually a way of letting you know you are going to be one of a few options. It’s a headache and then some.
If you find yourself, like me, tired of the crap served on a silver platter then vow to yourself to do better. Learn who YOU are first, and learn to love yourself. I mean really and truly LOVE yourself. Every single quirk and imperfection, OWN the hell out of it. Don’t worry about being the only friend who is single because that is a blessing in disguise for now. Don’t let yourself be fooled into thinking that dating should be a game, and you have to win someone’s affection and commitment. Don’t let the social media pictures make you think you’re missing out on something because those pictures you posted of your pizza for lunch are freaking awesome. Life will go on regardless of whether or not you are single or in a relationship, but what you make of the time passing is completely up to you. Refuse to give in to the game that so many are playing, be a rule breaker.
Life is not a Pinterest board; relationships are more than a journey to have the perfect wedding.
I can promise you this, happiness is not a destination it is a journey. Don’t look for it in someone else, look for it in the mirror. Set your standards high and fall in love when you’re ready, not when you’re lonely. Everyone’s story is different and everyone’s ending will be too. If I’ve learned anything though, it’s that there’s no deadline on love. Enjoy your life and when it comes, it comes. Until then, do yourself a favor and subscribe to Netflix.
And maybe buy a jar of peanut butter. You’re welcome.