Ah, love. The world around us has a lot to say about it. Amid articles and videos and books, it seems that everyone has defined love to fit their own – rather narrow – view of it. Whether it’s dating, courting, or marriage, a few misguided ideas ring louder than others.
One thing that has held true, however, is that our culture has misled us in more ways than one, and we’ve picked up on that. Here are eight ideas that our culture around us has taught us to misconstrue about dating.
Everyone Dates at the Same Time
If you’re anything like. . .well, anyone, you’ve probably seen your fair share of shallow plot lines where each character in a show falls madly in love. Except for that girl. She doesn’t quite get there. The Late Bloomer, we’ll call her. She’s funny, she’s quirky, she’s probably someone’s best friend. But she just can’t get the guy.
Rather than the Late Bloomer being portrayed in a positive light, there’s almost always this unspoken disdain towards her. Why she can’t get the guy is never answered. Does she even want the guy? How does she feel about not being with someone? It’s almost as though show writers have thrown in a character and pulled out that part of the plot to avoid answering hard questions about loneliness and failed relationships. Everyone has different timelines of life. We’re born at different times, lose family at different times, die at different times. The fact of the matter is, we date at different times, too.
If You Aren’t Loving, Then You Must Be Unlovable
Souls weren’t created to be alone, so maybe that’s why it’s our first instinct to attack our own when another doesn’t connect with us. It doesn’t take much heartbreak or loneliness before you start questioning the why of it all. Whether we blame ourselves or the men we’ve been around, seems to be a mixed bag, but I think it’s safe to say that being unlovable is never the issue.
It doesn’t take much heartbreak or loneliness before you start questioning the why of it all.
Understanding we aren’t at the right spot in our life, that we haven’t grown enough, that we still have to find a part of ourselves before adopting someone else into our lives are all healthy responses to not being in a serious relationship. What’s not is assuming that once single, always single is somehow the rule of thumb.
Sex Is the Gateway to Love
You don’t trust him enough to have sex yet? Well, then he must not be the one. You guys haven’t slept together yet? The relationship is on the verge of fallout. If your relationship is on the verge of fallout because it’s reliant on sex, then it’s already fallen, you just haven’t admitted it yet. See, sex is a byproduct of love. It’s like the bow on a present. It’s a symptom and, therefore, comes after the fact. Sure, sex is a way of showing and sharing love, but it’s not the way.
It’s Always All His Fault
All too often I’ve seen female characters tilt their nose up and put the blame on the man. It’s easy to do. “He isn’t serious. He’s immature. He doesn’t want the same things. It just isn’t working. Oh, and it’s all his fault.”
Real issues are caused by real people, and real people tend to avoid finding fault in themselves.
Blaming the other person has become perpetually more popular, especially since the rise of stories that seem to be biased towards one side at all times. Real issues are caused by real people, and real people tend to avoid finding fault in themselves. I’ve seen one too many stories where the man ends up apologizing relentlessly only to be met by an equally faulty female who ignores his apologies and puffs out her chest. Don’t be that woman. There’s a difference between being a man’s doormat and finding the truth in the fact that we all make mistakes.
You’re the Only One Who Needs To Benefit
Mine, mine, mine. Me, me, me. It’s the song we all seem to sing. Well, it’s time to put the pipes on pause. Love isn’t a take-all, give none partnership. The attitude that it is explains why so many relationships fail. Dating, love, marriage, all of it is a two-way street. A rocky street, but two-ways nonetheless. Give and take doesn’t seem to be so popular among up-and-coming couples. I’m sure even you have had that conversation with a girl friend who asks well, what does he have to offer you? The question we should be asking is what do we have to offer him? We can’t direct how our relationships will go, nor how our partner will direct his part. The only part we can – and should – direct is ourselves.
You Can Only Ever Date One Person
If you’re reading this, then that probably means you have a deep dissatisfaction with what dating has become. More specifically, you probably hate the causal feel of things or the question of what happens next. We’ve all been there and we’ve all done our fair share to not stoop to society’s low. But somehow in the battle to discourage casual dating, we’ve discouraged. . .dating.
The best way to avoid real heartbreak is to know your boundaries and to stick to them.
No matter how much we’d like it to be the case, we can’t read the future. Our relationships aren’t written for us in the stars. And if they were, the message would be impossible to decipher. Which means some amount of trial by fire is needed. Whether or not we’d like to admit, dating will always be a bit of a gamble. Nothing’s promised, there’s no guarantee, and there’s no memory-back option for choosing the wrong guy. The best way to avoid real heartbreak is to know your boundaries and to stick to them. So long as the wrong guy doesn’t get the right part of you, no harm, no foul.
You Have To Date Everyone To Get To Know Them
Wait, should I be dating one person or everyone? Confusing, right? Finding that balance between dating every breathing thing and not dating at all for fear he isn’t your dream man is a slippery slope. Do you date to figure it out, or wait to figure it out? The fear of dating doesn’t benefit anyone, but that doesn’t mean you have to date every guy to get to know them. Fortunately, male-female friendships aren’t as taboo as they once were. In fact, they’re quite popular. And while this brings on a whole other host of issues both men and women (unsuccessfully) try to figure out, it does open one door – learning about someone without the pretense of dating.
Dating is a commitment and should be treated as such, and sometimes it’s too big of a commitment when you’re just getting to know someone. The opportunities to befriend a guy and get to know him will come across your path fairly easily. So long as you’re doing your part not to send the wrong signals, you can work towards setting up a concrete foundation. Whether it’s for a relationship or a stronger friendship will be told with time.
He Might be Your Husband Someday, So Give Him Everything
Hold your horses, hon. Remember what we talked about earlier? Relationships are a bit transactional and though that sounds like a commercial term for love, that’s just the way it is. It also means that while he doesn’t owe you the world, you don’t owe him sex. Or spending the night. Or crossing your boundaries. Or living with him. A man who is decent enough to sleep with should be a man who’s decent enough to marry.
Sex is a byproduct of love.
One way to look at the stages of your relationship is like an Advent calendar, each door being opened at the right time revealing new surprises. That’s your relationship. Opening a door later on, or skipping the others spoils surprises and ruins that all-important air of mystery we need to maintain to keep a relationship alive.
Sure, there are countless misleading representations of relationships out there, but that doesn’t mean that’s what yours needs to look like. Know what you want, when you want it, and strive for that. Remember, society doesn’t have your love life’s best interest in mind. Follow your heart and follow what you know to be true.
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