today's thoughts on dating

1. It's brutal. It really is.

2. All I can do is have faith that I'm making the right decisions. It seems like I'm having trouble getting anything off the ground lately, despite putting myself out there, meeting people, giving things a shot. But I'm not sure if it's a good sign or a bad one - that inability to get something meaningful going.

Here's what I want to believe: in the past, I entered into relationships very quickly, because I wasn't self-aware enough to know I wasn't making a good choice in a partner. I went from boyfriend to boyfriend to boyfriend to husband to boyfriend, etc., for, literally, decades, with almost no time in between. Now it seems like a handful of dates is enough for me to know, No, this isn't right. I have to believe that being more selective about my partners doesn't mean that I'm being unrealistic or unreasonable. I have to believe it means I'm more in tune with my needs, my values, my standards, and my expectations for myself - and therefore, quicker to see the holes in the boat. I have to believe that all this time that I'm spending being single, working on myself, is only going to pay off bigger dividends. Because the more in touch I am with myself, the more self-love I have and the better my ability to make myself happy, the more I'll have to give the right person.

But fuuuuuuck. The self-doubt can be a killer, when you tell someone, No, sorry, you're not for me. Because connecting with people feels really, really good. You want it to work.

3. I'm so grateful to have close friends that I can turn to for advice, perspective, support - and vice versa. Right now a friend is going through what will probably be a breakup, and it's a real heartbreaker for him. I feel for him tremendously, as I always do, because he's an amazing person who deserves someone equally amazing. The things I said to him are the things I have trouble internalizing myself sometimes:

Him: Fuck. ...Heartbroken.

Me: I know. There is nothing worse than being into someone who's not into you. Nothing worse on earth, ugh. But think about how good it will feel when you're with someone again who can't get enough of you. That's maybe a few months away, tops. You meet girls all the time. 

Some people are trapped in relationships where neither party has feelings anymore. They're married, maybe with kids, maybe loathe to break up their families but unable to feel happy in them anymore. That's a life sentence of unfulfillment. It's a relative luxury that we can keep trying people on to see if they fit. Because that's all dating is. Seeing if they fit. She didn't fit. It's always painful, but there's nothing more common or universal than that pain. 

Try to practice not hanging all your happiness on things that can change, like relationships. Cultivate taking joy in the whole process: meeting, infatuation, falling - even what you learn when it ends. And congratulate yourself on respecting yourself enough to move on when it's obviously over.

Work on feeling complete and whole without a girl. Love yourself enough so that a relationship is a bonus not a necessity. Focus on creating, learning, growing - whatever brings you joy that's not reliant on another.

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It's so much easier to dish that kind of advice than to take it, though, innit?