If you’ve been single for any extended period of time like I have, you start to look back on all the men who have crossed your path throughout the years.
Memories from your time spent with them start to play across your brain like a rom-com film reel, but all this leads you to is the big “What-If?” game.
Suddenly, all these men who never truly blossomed into full-fledged relationships become your potential Prince Charmings, but the truth is, they most likely are not “The One.”
These men never materialized into your boyfriend for a reason, and keeping them around out of loneliness, or boredom isn’t benefitting anyone.
It’s time to say goodbye to the men who are blocking your heart and brain from the relationship you deserve.
The First Love
Thinking about your first love most likely brings a smile to your lips. He’s the first boy you called your own, the first boy to see you when you were sick and most likely, the first person you said, “I love you” to.
He was also the first person that threw you into gut-wrenching despair when you broke up, and left you listening to Dashboard Confessional in your bed for a week.
When your first boyfriend is in your life in your 20s, your heart can’t help but wander back to that magical time when you were carefree and in love. But beware: What didn’t work out for a reason way back when probably still won’t work out for similar reasons now.
No people are the same people they were a decade ago, and it’s a rare occurrence to find out that you’ve both grown into versions of yourselves that would play nice with one another. Your best bet is to cherish the memories and move on.
The One That Got Away
For me, the one that got away was my college boyfriend. A college dorm is probably the only scenario in which you’re virtually living with the person you’re dating right off the bat.
We wasted our days with inside jokes and mid-afternoon naps, walking to class hand-in-hand and sharing late night conversations when we should’ve been studying.
He saw me stumbling drunk from those freshman nights and hungover on those freshman Sundays. We learned how to navigate being away from home for the first time and what that freedom meant. For this invaluable growth, we helped each other through, he’ll always hold a special part of me.
For a long time, I tried my hardest to get him back, but it wasn’t in the cards because we broke up for a reason. Nostalgia has a funny way of creeping up on you and painting you a version of the past that never actually existed.
It’s easy to edit out all your fights and tears and create a montage of the perfect relationship set to a Taylor Swift song, but you need to let it go.
You will never feel the comfort of a familiar relationship right away when you meet a new guy, so there’s no sense in measuring a potential partner up to the impossible. Save a space for this special guy, but make room in your heart for a new, wonderful adventure.
Let’s face it: We ALL have that one guy we hooked up with time and time again. No matter how cool we played it, there was always a thought in the back of our minds that he would one day turn into a boyfriend.
We’ve expressed our feelings and pretended that hooking up was all we really wanted, even though any photo of him with a girl on Instagram made our stomachs turn.
We tried to decipher every single encounter with him to our friends until they cut us off, but nothing ever seemed to add up, and like a moth to a flame, we just kept going back.
There are millions of reasons a hookup never turned into a relationship. This guy might just be searching for something he deems “better” than you, and you don’t deserve that.
Who wants to be someone’s option when you could be someone’s desire? Wish him the best and let him go; you deserve a better situation than this and you know it.
The Forbidden Love
Thanks to Shakespeare, forbidden love is the most alluring, attractive relationship you can find yourself in, primarily because it could never actually happen.
He may have a girlfriend (or worse, a wife), or he's a friend of an ex, the guy your best friend is in love with, etc. The bottom line is you just can’t touch him.
Dreaming about a potential relationship is a lot less terrifying than actually starting a real one, and it is infinitely easier to blame being single on situations that are out of your hands than the fact that perhaps you just haven’t met the right person yet.
Maybe you’re closing yourself off to a great guy standing right in front of you because you’re stuck on the “what-ifs.” You don’t want to break up happy homes or break up any friendships.
Romanticizing a negative situation isn’t going to get you anywhere but disappointed. If you remember ninth grade English, things didn’t fare well for Romeo and Juliet; leave the forbidden fruit alone and focus on finding your own love story.
I may still be a single girl, but it took a long road to get to where I am today. I once held on to every one of these scenarios, and while they were all great guys, it was nothing but confusion and frustration for me.
I knew deep down, I was only entertaining the thought of them because I was feeling lonely and unfulfilled. I can’t say that I’m completely cured of my habits, but I’m definitely making progress.
The truth is, I longed for a fairytale ending so badly, that I thought that any of these guys would make such a great story to tell the grandkids. I could tell them I was the one to tame the wild hookup artist or that I drove a man so insane, he betrayed everyone just to be with me.
But life isn’t about forcing your experiences to fit a ready-made fairytale formula; it’s up to you to live the kind of life that writes the story you’re dying to tell.
I felt myself building a wall to ward off new guys because it felt awkward or scary, but that’s what dating is! Dating is awkward and, at times, scary; the trick is to really give someone a chance and be patient.
Learn from where you’ve been and who you’ve known to let in the person you truly deserve.
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