In an attempt to make relationships carefree, it seems we have created quite the debacle. With dating apps that allow you to browse people the same way you flick through TV channels, it's no surprise our generation is facing some serious commitment issues.
While most have accepted this fate and evolved into a species incapable of love, pain or regret, the mere few of us are still not quite there.
So many women still feel an enormous amount of guilt while partaking in any of the relationship social norms. Are we still succumbing to a double standard from our patriarchal society's past?
While only a five-letter word, guilt sometimes feels like a 50 lb medicine ball being carried around on our backs. We feel guilty if we move on too quickly, guilty if we indulge ever so slightly and guilty if we take the relationship lightly.
It sounds dreadful, so where's the escape button? The problem is, even if the reason for guilt varies, once you're succumbed by it, there is no escaping it. You need to ride the giant waves and just rest assured that you will be led to shore eventually.
Now I know I can't talk someone out of feeling guilty (believe me I have tried), but I can tear these crazy ideals apart by providing some perspective.
1) Miss or Dismiss
The first scenario is you meet a man who's great on paper, but you have absolutely zero chemistry with him.
You quickly move on and forget all about him until a week later when you catch yourself in no man's land. You start to miss him and completely forget how much he annoyed you.
You begin to feel a tremendous amount of guilt for dismissing him easily and not giving the relationship a real chance. Why are you so picky? Do you want to be single forever? Why do you keep doing this to yourself?
Breathe. He wasn't right for you. Just because he meets all of your checklist requirements doesn't mean you are compatible. Trust your gut and remember you just didn't feel those butterflies. You can't force a relationship.
2) Cling or Fling
The second scenario is you meet an attractive gentlemen, but due to both of your independent and stressful lives, you agree to keep it casual. You figure everyone's doing it, so why not indulge in a healthy fling? Things go well until, evidently, those guilty feelings start creeping up on you.
We are taught that ladies should have standards for well-suited men of high caliber, not flesh-seeking mongrels. So why are you okay with this? Why aren't you clinging to him? What's wrong with your morals?
Sheesh, at times we really are our own worst enemies. You crossed paths with someone, engaged in something informal and had fun during your courtship.
Regardless of the duration, that's all you should take from it: It was an experience. The truth of the matter is, there's no point in clinging to it because no matter how hard you try, you can never fake real intimacy.
3) Regret or Forget
Finally, the last scenario is you meet a nice guy, you don't exactly click, but you figure, why not give it a shot? Days turn into weeks and at this point, you know the relationship is hanging by its last thread but still you persevere.
Months later, when the relationship is definitely over, you can't get rid of the panging guilt that you let it drag on for as long as you did. You knew he wasn't the one and wasted so much precious time. You regret not putting an end to it after date number two and forgetting him instantly.
How could you fail at a relationship once again? Why did you do this? How could you allow yourself to settle?
I usually never discourage someone from trying a relationship out, but a relationship shouldn't be tedious work.
If it really is difficult and painful, you're doing it wrong. Your time will be better spent alone because you can't create feelings that don't exist.
The lesson learned is...
So kids, the lesson learned is in order to achieve a guilt-free existence, we must be selfish. Is that all there is? Yes. Similar to all walks of life, when it comes to love, be your own judge.
Don't let other people's views of what is right influence your decisions. Trust yourself and make sure each step you take makes you happy. That is the only path that will lead you straight to true love, whether it be a companion or yourself (cliché, yes, I know).
Photo Courtesy: We Heart It