The biggest problem with modern romance is the illusion of choice. Dating websites and dating applications have made it so easy to find people that no one is willing to compromise anymore. Don’t like how someone’s nose looks? Back to Tinder. Don’t like how they didn’t reach for the cheque immediately? Back to eHarmony. People are willing to throw decade long relationships in the trash for a chance to find someone new who fits every single one of their boxes.
And it doesn’t stop there. Our generation gets bored so easily. A friend of mine ended his 4 year relationship with his girlfriend because he was getting bored of being with the same person for so long. He literally ended it because he was bored, and I hope I’m not the only person who thinks that that is ridiculous. And it relates back to having this illusion of choice. I’ve seen many great relationships fall apart because the parties involved wanted to date other people just because they know they can. Just because a new person is a swipe away for them. People are so afraid of settling for less nowadays that they choose not to settle at all. No one is willing to build with someone anymore. Everyone wants instant happiness.
I remember when I was in my first relationship. My girlfriend told me she loved me after three months, and I remember thinking, no you don’t. I remember thinking there was no way she could love me after three months. Love doesn’t work that fast. She didn’t even properly know me. How could she possibly love me? It bothered me but that’s how fast people work nowadays. Sex after the first date. I love you’s after three months. And then cue the breakup after six.
I’d also be lying if I said I wasn’t envious of people like that. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t envious of people who can date around and never catch feelings for anyone. I wish that I cared less about people and didn’t try so hard for people who are only looking at me as their next Tinder match.
It’s tough. I think of myself as an old school romantic. I don’t like online dating. I enjoy meeting people in person through events or work or school or whatever. I think there’s something inherently sweet about approaching someone in public and taking the risk of trying to build a connection with them without the veil of social media involved. I like making large romantic gestures. I like giving a person my everything. I’m not going to half ass this. I’m all in, which I’ve found, can be scary for people as well. Some people get overwhelmed when someone tries so hard for them. It scares them because they’re not used to that anymore. Modern dating has lowered everyone’s expectations to the point where a romantic gesture of any magnitude seems overwhelming.
What a time to be alive.
When you trust someone, you’re essentially giving them a loaded gun pointed in your direction, with the hope that they won’t pull the trigger. More often than not, people will pull it, and you’ll load the gun up and hand it right back to them.
How many times does someone have to break your trust for you to stop loading their gun? How many times does it take for you to realize that you’re better off not trusting them at all? Or not trusting at all?
It’s a difficult choice to make. The person you trust is your comfort place, and they didn’t become your comfort place overnight. It took you time to develop that comfort with them, so when they break your trust, it hurts. And when they do it again and again, you start to lose that trust altogether. It gets to a point where you start to expect that from everyone you meet. Essentially, you shut yourself off.
For me, it’s always been difficult to trust people. I think of it as a character flaw. There are things that I’m very open about and then there are things that I’m not open about. I’ve met plenty of genuine people in my life that I was unable to fully trust. In retrospect, I should’ve trusted them over those that I did. So far, there have only been 2 people whom I trusted 100%, and both of those people broke my trust. The first person broke it two years ago and the second person broke it a few days ago.
What I’ve learned is that people judge, even the people you love. You can try your best for them but they’ll only see what they want to see. And it sucks especially when you care about what they think. Now, I’ve never been one to care what others thought about me. But there was one person whose opinion mattered to me. It still does. But I’ve given up on them because they gave up on me. They lied to me and judged my every move. They didn’t deserve to know me like they did. They won’t ever again.
Everyone has their own definitions of love. There’s familial love, friendly love, and romantic love. Each has it’s own different flavor. And everyone has their own ways of perceiving it and expressing it. A kiss on the forehead might be someone’s biggest expression of love while for another individual, something more intimate would be required.
Out of all, romantic love is what’s most sung about and written about. Humans crave romance. They crave the physical intimacy of another person who connects with them in a way that no one else does. And that can be difficult to find.
I thought I was in love with my first girlfriend. Looking back on that relationship, I realize that I wasn’t. I wanted to be though. I had this notion in my mind where I wanted my first girlfriend to end up being the woman that I marry. It sounds ridiculous but growing up on Disney movies will do that to you.
After my first relationship crashed and burned, I went on a tear of sleeping around with girls who didn’t mean anything. It was a way to escape it all. I didn’t want any sort of feelings. I didn’t want to be tied down and let down again.
Everything changed when I fell in love with my best friend. Everything that I’d been wanting to escape caught up with me in the blink of an eye. And it’s been all consuming. It gets scary and overwhelming at times because you can feel yourself changing. You start to show someone parts of you that you’d never dreamt of showing anyone. It’s not that you lose yourself to it, it’s simply that you start to put someone else’s happiness above your own, and no one likes doing that, right?
For the record, I’m not dating my best friend. She doesn’t feel the same. And that’s okay. Her lack of feelings haven’t deterred my own. Because when you fall for someone, there aren’t any strings attached. You don’t fall for someone with the criteria that they’ll fall for you back. More often than not, that won’t happen. And that can be painful but it’s a harsh reality.
There are days where I have tried so hard to get over it. There are days where I have hated myself for it. I have felt pathetic over my feelings on more occasions than one. But as Barney Stinson so eloquently stated, “I couldn’t stop loving her anymore than I could stop breathing”. The feeling will always remain. And when in the future she ends up with someone better, that’s alright because I want her to be happy, even if it’s not with me.
I spoke to a friend recently about his life. It was an easy going conversation centered mostly around relationships. My friend, who we’ll call Carter, had his first real relationship in high school. It lasted 2 years, and it ended bad, as often relationships do. It ended because his girlfriend cheated on him. Carter didn’t take that well. He loved her and it hurt him to the point where he tried to take his life. He woke up in a hospital and has since then, thankfully, turned his life around.
It was unreal for me to hear that. It was unreal because I’ve never know anyone who has actually ever attempted suicide. I’ve read articles about it, heard songs about it, I’ve even had a friend of a friend of a friend who knew someone who’d tried to commit suicide. But this was the first time I’d known someone so close to me who’d attempted it. And that shook me a little.
It made me remember being in the hospital and fighting for my own life. It made me bitter to think that Carter had just tried to take his own life away by choice when I hadn’t even had one.
Life is painful and it’s hard. And there are days where it’s so difficult to keep going. But suicide is not the answer. A permanent solution to a temporary problem is never the answer. Confide in your family and friends. Talk about what’s bothering you. People are willing to listen. Someone is willing to help.
Never forget that you are important. You are valuable. You matter. Don’t you dare let anyone make you feel like less of a person.
I think I’ve found that asking for help is one of the hardest things to do. And I don’t mean asking for help on a school paper, or asking for help on how to fill up gas in your car. The kind of help I’m talking about is when you feel alone and terrified. I’m talking about when life comes crashing down on you and you realize that you’re all you have.
Sometimes, it can all boil down to a matter of ego. Your ego is what keeps you from reaching out to people. You think asking for help is a sign of weakness. It becomes hard for you to swallow your pride and admit that you don’t know where you’re going anymore or that you don’t know what to do anymore.
Other times, and this is the worst I think, you don’t ask for help because you asked before and you got hurt. You opened yourself up to someone, someone who told you they’d always be there. You showed them the absolute worst parts of you, they took one look inside, and they were out the door. It’s hard to mentally recover from something like that. It’s hard to move past something like that.
I’ve been on both sides. I’ve been there where my ego kept me from asking for help, and I’ve also been there where I trusted some people I shouldn’t have. All you can do after is move on. You can hold your head up high, admit your mistakes, and just move on.
Because at the end of the day, one fact remains the same, and that fact is that you can’t go through hardships all by yourself. You can try. You can absolutely try but it’s close to pointless. Everyone needs a little help sometimes. There’s no shame in asking for it.
We all deal with grief in our own ways. The loss of a loved one is incomparable to anything. Some of us lock ourselves away from the world. Some of us seek out a hedonistic lifestyle to make up for what we perceive to be an unjust hand dealt to us by the universe. Some of us find comfort in the loved ones that remain to us. It’s different for everyone, but one fact remains the same, and that fact is that it hurts.
Last week, I lost someone close to me. It was someone who I’d been meaning to call. I kept putting it off for one reason or another, the latest reason being my MCAT. They passed away before I ever had my chance. And needless to say, I didn’t take it well.
The first four days after their passing, I shut myself off completely. I stopped using my phone. I locked myself away from the world. I didn’t cry. I thought I would cry but I didn’t. I just wanted to be alone. It took a friend to bring me back, but as the days have gone by, I haven’t felt like myself.
I don’t know how to explain it. I just know something’s wrong. A part of me feels like it’s missing. I’ve been trying not to think about them. I’ve been trying to drown myself in my studies, work, and in my friends. I’ve been keeping busy so I don’t have to remember them, because if I remember them, I’ll break. And I don’t want to break.
Too much has happened these past three months. It’s hard staying strong. It’s hard having to pretend that everything is okay. It’s not okay. And I don’t know if it’ll be okay ever again.
Have you ever been in a state of complete and utter confusion? Have you ever been unable to think properly? Have you ever been afraid to speak because you think you’ll say the wrong thing? And have you known it was all because of one person?
It’s hard to explain.
Have you ever felt so vulnerable that it scares you? Have you ever started doing things that you wouldn’t have done in your wildest imagination? Have you ever found yourself putting someone else’s happiness above your own? Someone who wasn’t family?
It’s humbling and painful.
Have you ever wanted to know every detail about someone else’s day? Have you ever wanted to wake up next to someone so bad? Have you ever just wanted to lie with someone and listen?
That’s not normal.
Have you ever looked yourself in the mirror at those moments? Have you ever missed the person you used to be? Have you ever missed not feeling anything for anyone?
You haven’t, have you? You don’t miss that, do you?
Or maybe you do. Who knows?