As a person who makes wholehearted attempts at giving relationship advice to people I don’t know while not currently being in a relationship of my own, I’ve found myself faced with this question by people I do know: what if you’re doing it wrong?
Seems fair. I wouldn’t exactly consider myself The Date Doctor by any means, but some of the best love advice I’ve ever gotten was from single people. Some of the worst advice I’ve ever given happened to be when I was in a relationship. Sometimes when you’re so wrapped up in something it’s hard for you to see what’s actually going on outside the death grip. Ok, so that’s a little harsh and I may be a little bitter. Sue me. (Don’t. I’m poor.)
In any case, the other day I was talking to a guy I met months ago. We lost contact due to the deletion of my Facebook page and because I recently reactivated it, he suddenly remembered that I exist. Funny, right?! So he calls me up at 5 a.m. the other night, drunk as hell. I answer because I answer any phone calls I receive at that hour assuming they might be urgent or at the very least entertaining. We chat about horoscopes, bread (?), and what’s currently happening in our lives. I tell him I’m writing a column about dating.
“Do you have a boyfriend?”
“Do you go on dates?”
“Not often… not really, no.”
“Ok.. I read an article on buzzfeed about writers and how they hate being asked what they do all day… so uh, what do you do all day??”
“Wait, you actually read buzzfeed?!”
Yeah, so I’m pretty cynical. Don’t sue me. Anyway, this conversation was a one way road to Negative Nation. He basically put down anything I cared about and I stayed on the line because… well, because I had nothing better to do. I think sometimes we do these things to ourselves because we’re afraid of what the alternative is being alone. In my case, probably binge watching Bojack Horseman and feeling free to unabashedly love astrology and not be judged for it, but still alone.
That conversation didn’t leave me feeling any better about myself so was it really the better alternative? No. Of course not. And the more I thought about it the more I realized that the feeling I was experiencing was all too familiar.
Gut feelings are kind of like the universal superpower. We all have the ability to be super men and wonder women because of this voice that lives in our guts or perfectly toned abs yet we ignore the shit out of it whenever it’s telling us something we don’t want to hear. If you’re anything like me, that’s 99% of the time.
I always want to believe that someone is just having an off day (coincidentally, every time we’re around each other!) or that I took it the wrong way when they said or did that super obviously crappy thing they said or did. I always want whatever relationship I’m invested in to be the last one I have to invest in. I probably put off the Scent of Settling because what I attract are people who can’t even reach my lowest standards, but who know that I’ll stick it out longer than I should.
If you find yourself relating to any of this, I’m both sorry for the fact that you’ve ever felt this way and happy you are reading this.
You’re worth way more than selfish people who suck you dry of everything wonderful you have to offer and give you little to nothing in return. You deserve better than people who expect you to drop the world when they decide to call, better than people who tear you down but demand that you stand tall, people who you know are not worth a moment of your time but who steal it from you anyway- through manipulation, lies and tactics a person who either does or supposedly plans to love you would never use. Don’t lower your expectations or your perception of your self worth for anybody who your gut tells you isn’t gonna be around when you’ve dropped the bar so low that it’s basically crashing into the fiery pits of hell. Because when you are left to pick that bar back up it will be extremely difficult. Not that it’s impossible; we’ve all probably been there, or will be faced with this type of emotional turmoil, at some point but the lesson here is to learn from it instead of repeating it. Because the longer you allow yourself to set the bar that low, it will eventually just burn into ashes. In all of these cases and more, you are always better off alone.
So just remember that loving yourself is not overrated or new agey bullshit, and that telling yourself that you’re a Beyoncé who will not settle for less than her Jay Z (insert any other ridiculous but powerful comparisons here) isn’t an exercise in blowing your ego up and it doesn’t make you delusional. We really truly all are amazing and deserving of the very damn best.
Screw your heart (sometimes) and listen to your gut. And every time it’s right, even when it hurts, reward it with a cheeseburger or something. It will make it all feel so much easier.
Celina Flores takes questions on all your love, relationship, dating, and sex concerns. Give her a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org.