We’ve all heard those reasons for why a relationship just won’t work out. They become more and more entertaining each time. “It’s not you, it’s me,” “The timing just isn’t right between us, it should come more naturally,” “I have a lot going on right now and won’t have time to do anything else,” or even better, dropping off the face of the earth without saying a word. I’ve pretty much heard it all. It feels fantastic. Like a giant slap across the face.
I’m not going to lie, even though it becomes more and more hilarious, it still completely sucks each time. It’s like deep down you’re secretly hoping it’s going to work out between the two of you, but portraying it on the outside like it’s not something to put all of your efforts and energy toward. After hearing these excuses from each different guy it’s pretty much an instinct now for me not to get high hopes, only to get let down in the end. I’ve learned to maintain realistic levels of expectations while dating throughout college.
I’m not saying I’ve completely given up – that is the last thing I want to do. To me, completely giving up is a sign of weakness that I couldn’t bear to handle. While I do think it is important to focus on your goals, your academics, and your career, especially in your early 20’s, it is also important to find what you like and don’t like and gain relationship experience.
There are plenty of fish in the sea, and I know it’s cliché, but I always like to believe that the person you’re meant to be with is out there, and that all of these bad experiences will all end up being worth it in the end as it leads you to who you’re truly meant to be with.
I think it’s healthy to give yourself a little bit of time to be upset, but not to constantly dwell on one person who clearly is not worth your time. Once you get knocked down you have to get back up.
Honesty, patience, and keeping an open heart are key components of having healthy relationships and gradually moving on to someone better.
While nearly everyone I knew had boyfriends throughout junior high and high school, I didn’t have my first real boyfriend until I was 18 years old, right after I graduated high school. I absolutely loved having a companion, someone who just wanted to go out and do things and have fun, like spending warm summer days at the lake, going swimming, going hiking, or even watching movies and being lazy with. But I had no idea what it was like to be in a relationship, I had never been in one. For my whole time through junior high and high school I thought the only reaction to a possible relationship meant dropping off the face of the earth without saying anything. It was weird to adjust to. A guy who actually wanted to spend time with me for who I was, who wanted to take crazy Snapchat selfies with, post about our fun outings on social media, and treat me with respect, I felt it too good to be true. Throughout the entirety of the relationship, I always knew deep down “this is great, but this is not the guy who I am meant to be with.” Deep down in my gut I always knew it wouldn’t work out between us, but I just couldn’t imagine the thought of losing someone who respected me as much as he did, and loved spending time with me. As the relationship ended during move-in week of college, I felt as if I had hit rock bottom. I didn’t think there was anyone else out there for me, yet somehow I still knew that it was ridiculous how upset I was getting over him, he clearly wasn’t worth my tears.
As I spent the first semester of college focusing on school, meeting new friends, and keeping up with playing tennis, I realized that I had temporarily given up, and I didn’t like that feeling. As I changed my attitude and dated more throughout second semester, I learned so much more about dealing with rejection, maintaining an open heart, and never giving up. As guys came and went leaving the common excuses for why they couldn’t commit, I realized it was nothing that I did, it was all them. From dating guys with low self-esteem and many insecurities, to guys so self-absorbed with their own lives and schedules, or even just total douchebags who didn’t know how to treat a lady, I learned not to take any of these things personally.
As we all get let down here and there, maintaining realistic levels of expectations and an open heart guide you closer and closer to “the one.”