“Why is dating so damn hard?” These not-so-complex words form quite possibly the most complex question for any single dater.
When I was a little brown-eyed girl, blushing over my crush on the sixth grade playground, my little heart could not wait to fall in love and be blissfully happy. As I traipsed around in braids and overalls, I was unaware of how severely sheltered from the harsh reality of the dating world I really was.
Instead, I fiercely believed in fairytale love stories. Through my wide brown eyes, the world of romance seemed to be filled with laughs, love and kisses.
Most of all, it seemed like it would be easy. I would meet a boy I like, he would like me and we would live happily together forever. My naive, dreaming-of-love brain never fathomed that hand in hand with relationships are work and hard times.
Sometimes, lovers fight. Sometimes, guys do not like you back. Heartbreak and baggage can complicate the way you love in every single relationship.
Before, during and after any romantic relationship, it never fails to shock me how hard dating actually is. I blame this on the fact that during my formative years, I was absolutely positive my love life would be a fairytale. It would be easy and exactly how it was in the Disney princess movies I simply could not stop watching.
I would later discover that the one simple concept I based my love-lusting eyes upon could not be further from the truth. This was the notion that I would meet a boy I like, he would like me and we would live happily together forever. As optimistic as these words are, they could not describe relationships any less accurately.
After taking a brief stroll down memory lane with a guy who is a constant relationship struggle in my life, I once again found myself contemplating the question, “Why is dating so hard?” As I was hashing through the complexity of my current dating situation while snuggling in my bed and talking to my twin sister, she said, “It doesn't have to be. You need to find someone who just doesn't pull all that sh*t on you, and who won't let you go.”
I have heard words like these on countless occasions, and they are definitely ones that frequently console broken hearts. However, on this night, I decided to question them.
In all of our fantasy worlds, dating should not be hard. We should be able to find someone easily. We should be able to find someone who falls in love with us, won't let us go and just blows all the other hard as sh*t relationships out of our dating waters.
But is that realistic? Is it even possible to have a successful relationship without a little bit of struggle?
As a severely hopeless romantic, I've always hoped I would find my knight in shining armor who swoops me off my feet and never ever lets me go. But herein lies the “I would meet a boy I like” concept.
The universal truth is, we do not always like the people who like us. Some of the guys who have sought to make me their fair maiden are wonderful, amazing men. But for whatever reason, they were not for me.
Certainly, a relationship with a man who praises the ground I walk on could make for a very easy relationship, but as I lay my head to bed at night, would I be happily in love forever? Can you be happy in love with someone just because he or she loves you? My opinion is no.
Unrequited love is described as loving someone who cannot and will not love you back. This unfortunately happens to people all the time, and it disproves the second part of my childhood hope for love: the part where I hoped “he would like me back.”
You can fall in love with just about anyone, but that doesn't guarantee your feelings will be reciprocated. You simply can't be happy in love with a person who doesn't love you back.
Finally, let's get to the “live happily together forever” part of the young, naive romantic relationship concept. Even if the first two parts check off perfectly, this doesn't set you up for a sure-fire, fairytale ending.
Life happens, relationships take work and most importantly, people change over time. These facts of life create all sorts of waves that can rock even the happiest relationships.
When I look at the positive and healthy relationships I am surrounded by, I see they've been filled with struggle. The reality is, people don't always hit it off right away. People break up, people cheat and people make huge mistakes.
But when it comes to someone they truly love and want to be with, they come back from these missteps as stronger and better lovers. Sometimes, they come back swinging, and they are more sure than ever of what they want and the people they want to be with.
They just needed to learn the hard way. In my opinion, it is the struggles that can make the most beautiful and long-lasting love stories.
As wonderful and pain-free the “easy” and “perfect” relationships seem to be, I have to wonder if they are as strong as the relationships that survived the hard times and overcame the extreme obstacles. Would the easy relationships be able to handle anything at all if the tide turned? Above all, among the millions of love stories out there in the world, can anyone say with absolute certainty that there is one “right” path to happily ever after?
Clearly, my hopelessly romantic head had no idea what I was in for when it came to the romance world. The reason dating is so hard will forever amaze me, but it seems there really is no simple love story.
I may not end up on my easy path to love. But if there's one thing I do know, it's that the bumps and bruises will be well worth it if I find my knight in shining armor who fits right into my sixth-grade love fantasy, even when we have to work at our relationship.