This one should be fun…I am the exact opposite of an expert when it comes to boys and dating. I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing, but I’m pretty sure everyone else is just guessing at it, too. How can anyone honestly know what they’re doing when it comes to relationships and dating?
There’s so many stigmas and stereotypes when it comes to dating that I think, for a long time, I concentrated too much on that. If you read my last blog, Learning to Love You, you know that for the majority of my life, I thought that boys were the answer to my happiness. I thought that I would be unhappy and a loser until I got a boyfriend. But the kicker is that I am SO BAD at dating. I cannot flirt to save my life. I could talk to a brick wall if I had to, but when it comes to boys that I’m supposed to be flirting with, I’m basically a mute. I’m more guarded than I think anyone really needs to be, and I run when things get hard. I’m REALLY good at that. Honestly, I’m just plain scared of dating. Boys scare me (okay, maybe not boys—the emotions that go with boys and dating), and that’s definitely shown in the past relationships that I’ve had.
Every relationship I’ve had in the past has ended in one of three ways. I get scared and run (told you I was good at that). A guy leads me on for months on end and then tells me he doesn’t want a relationship (bonus points if they got into relationships right after). Or I date a guy for a while, and then he completely ghosts me out of nowhere.
Obviously, my track record is not that great. The only thing I kept thinking throughout all of this was that it was all my fault. I mean, the only thing that all of those boys and relationships had in common was me. I had to be doing something wrong. I wasn’t pretty enough, I wasn’t outgoing enough, I wasn’t accomplished enough, I just wasn’t enough. I was just waiting for a boy to make me happy and make me feel good about myself. After the last disaster ending, I gave up. I felt defeated because half of the people I graduated high school with were getting married, and I was over here trying to decide if a guy was ghosting me. I’m not really sure what sparked it, but I really started to take the time to invest in myself and start to love myself without affirmation from boys. And even though I was finally able to feel comfortable with who I was, I still wanted to have a boyfriend.
Then, sometime this last fall, three of my friends and I decided that we were going to stop actively looking for relationships. The majority of our lives were spent looking for guys and relationships. And we were sick of all of it. So, we decided that if something was meant to happen, God would make it happen. We had girls’ nights all the time and stopped finding potential in guys that there just wasn’t potential in. Then, right after New Year’s, God made it freaking happen.
We met through a mutual friend, and even though I was three minutes late for our first date (on purpose—I didn’t want to be waiting on him) and even though he’s an Alabama fan (don’t even get me started—go dawgs), things have been great ever since. He treats me exactly how I know I should be treated, tore down my walls, chases after me when I try to run, and talks me down when I’m having a panic attack at two in the morning. I’m not saying that we’re getting married any time soon, but I know that this is the kind of guy that I always imagined.
I could sit here and say all the stereotypical things that everyone says when it comes to relationships, but I won’t. Sure, there are plenty of fish in the sea, but I know it doesn’t feel like that when you’re the only one in your friend group without a boyfriend. You are supposed to be yourself, but it’s hard when you’re trying so hard to impress the cute guy in front of you on your first date. You could put yourself out there, but a lot of times, actively looking for it doesn’t really work.
It’s important to be comfortable with yourself without being in a relationship. Don’t be the girl who needs a man. You are a strong, independent woman. (I say this way too much. It’s basically my mantra.) Yes, I am immensely happy in my relationship now, but he is not the sole reason for my happiness. Be happy with yourself. Find happiness in other aspects of your life, too. Heartbreak is hard. It feels like the end of the world anytime any relationship ends. But you WILL get through it (strong, independent woman, remember?). Don’t accept anything less than what you know you deserve. You don’t have to put up with anyone’s crap. You can’t fix anyone. That is not your job. Be ready and open for relationships, but I don’t think you have to actively go find one. Not being in a relationship does not make you a loser. The person in the friend group who isn’t in a relationship is usually the one that everyone goes to for relationship advice, so you must be doing something right. If you’re friends don’t like him, he’s probably not good for you (I learned that the hard way). Honestly, just stop thinking so hard about it.
The relationship you need to worry about and the most important relationship you can have is with God. I think that’s another one of the biggest reasons why I accepted all of these things about myself and was able to see what I deserved. I worked on my relationship with God—and still am working on it—for a long time. God is the only one who can complete you, and He is the only relationship that you NEED. When it’s time for you to meet the right person, it will happen. I know that it hard to believe sometimes, but it’s so true.
Dating is hard. Relationships are harder. But the next time you think that you have no idea what you’re doing, remember that no one else does, either. Make your own happy, and don’t wait on a relationship to do that for you. Love yourself first. Someone else is going to love you, too.