Dating is exhausting.
You go through one person after another low-key hoping for wild success, but instead, you rack up one epic-as-hell failure after another, only to have nothing to show for them. I mean, you do walk away with poignant lessons, but you certainly don't have the man candy to show off like your successful friends do.
I've recently been beating myself up because nothing romantically significant has been going on in my life. (Yeah, I'm the kind of person who takes that stuff to heart.) I haven't been in a real relationship since my douchebag ex, who doesn't really count because he was such an epic jerk that I refuse to acknowledge the once-unshakeable hold he had over me.
Having gone on so many dates and having nothing to show for it has made me feel like I'm what's wrong. Where is he? I keep thinking to myself. And when I'm not thinking that, I'm thinking, What the hell am I doing to keep men away? Is it a physical flaw that I have? Or worse, is it a personality flaw?
Am I single-handedly f*cking up anything that could possibly be real because I'm too enveloped in the issues that haunt me day-to-day?
I've watched my friends begin to couple up and settle down after having sifted through a quarter of the men I've sifted through, and it makes me wonder what the hell is wrong with me that I can't just find someone and be happy with him.
My friends make it look easy. They're on the fast track to love, and I'm on the slow path. Someone somewhere decided I'd have to go to hell and back before finding a guy who likes me as much as I like him.
But listen to me, jaded single girl: I am you. I know it's hard not to take things personally when you feel like you've got a bad case of bad luck in love. But every wrong person you date gets you that much closer to the person you've been waiting for, and cleaning out the men who don't fit is really just your way of fine-tuning yourself. I know this because when I started out dating, I had almost no sense of self, and I am now so much closer to the woman I've always wanted to be. If you think about it that way, it isn't so depressing.
Some were meant to find "the one" early on. They found them in college, or through friends of good friends or, ever-so-rarely, they were high-school sweethearts. The rest of us are on a lazier path to love. A path that winds and has obstacles to climb over and takes its sweet time.
We were meant to fall in love, fall out of love unharmed, fall in love again, end up heartbroken, be alone for a while, find and stay with the wrong person for a while, and end up alone once more -- which is where I am now.
But all this muck is our rite of passage, because, hey, we're complex girls, and love is complex. And we're clearing out all the wrong people so we can finally get to the right person.
So please heed my words when I say that it isn't you. I know you're fragile and I know you're tired and I know that all you want to do is give up faith. I know that you think that maybe love just isn't in the cards for you, and that sometimes, you enter a really, really dark place where voices inside your head tell you that you're ugly, unworthy and unloved. (It saddens me how even the prettiest girl can feel ugly and invisible just because she doesn't wake up to a "Good morning, beautiful" text every morning.) That place can be so dark that you don't talk about it with anyone.
But, see, everyone else went through that, too. They, too, thought they'd die alone -- and then they met the person who changed that forever.
You just haven't met that person yet. For your own sake, you've got to stop punishing yourself for having bad luck. Because that's all it is. Luck.
And if you don't stop tormenting yourself, you will enter a scary place and it'll be that much harder to crawl out. You don't want the person of your dreams to meet that mopey, jaded girl, do you?
We all doubt there's someone out there for us ... until we find him. Your coupled-up friends know it, too. They'd just can't remember what life was like before they met "the one." And you can be jealous of them, or you can look at them as you patiently wait your turn. The choice is yours.
I choose the latter, because I truly believe that anyone can find love. Even you and me.