Do you feel that?
Ah yes, love is in the air my friends. Or, if you’re single like me, the smell of discounted Valentine’s Day chocolates is in the air as well. As I mentioned last week, these next few blog posts are going to be centered around the theme of love, or lack thereof in my case. Listen, I might sound super bitter about being single, but I’m actually not. Don’t get me wrong, I used to be. But, over these past few months of being single I’ve realized that, sometimes, it’s actually really nice to be by yourself, and I’ve been way less stressed out since embracing the single life. Since Valentine’s Day is this week, I thought we could dive deep into my experience and outlook on love and relationships.
*Cue “Love Hurts” by Nazareth*
Now, let me start this off by saying I’ve never been in love. There are many reasons for this in my opinion, some of them pertaining to myself and my own issues, and others pertaining to the men I’ve happened to come across in my dating history. No, I’m not going to sit here and bash my exes, but boy could I ever with the majority of them. The reason why I wanted this week’s blog post to be centered around this topic is because I’m as confused as ever when it comes to love, dating and relationships, so not only can I utilize my blog as a healthy place to vent but it would be nice to maybe get some feedback from you guys with either some love life advice, or some experiences of your own that help me to feel like less of a disaster when it comes to the subject of love.
Let’s start by going way back to before I ever even entered the dating scene. Like I mentioned in my last post, I didn’t have my first experience with romance until I was just shy of 19 years old. Like many teenage girls, I of course spent far too much time daydreaming about boys and falling in love with that special someone. As awkward as I may be sometimes, I really do have quite the mushy and romantic side and always looked forward to experiencing that side of myself with someone special. However, the unfortunate part is, in the times I wasn’t daydreaming about love, I spent most of my time feeling completely hopeless about it.
Growing up, there were two main narratives that were depicted to me by the media. You were either the fat, goofy girl who no one took seriously or you were the fat girl who had some magically endearing quality about her that caused the main hunk to take a chance and graciously ask you out on a date. Those fictional storylines quickly became a reality in my own life.
As I was navigating through the mess that was being a teenage girl, I genuinely believed that I was not worthy of love or affection. I truly convinced myself that anyone who would ever be crazy enough to take a chance on me would be doing so out of pity or because they were tired of putting in effort to try and get the girl they actually wanted, so settling for the fat girl would be good enough. I was always so hyper aware of being “the fat girl” that, when hormones started to kick in, I was incredibly anxious around boys and tried to avoid interacting with them all together.
As I got older the media slowly but surely started to shift their perception on plus size women to something that was more accepting and inclusive. Plus size girls were no longer just seen as the goofy side-kick, but they were starting to be appreciated for their beauty that emulated far beyond their size, beauty that had always been there. Dating apps also became increasingly popular as I got older. Dating apps were no longer just for middle aged lonely people to waste their money on, but it was for the average young adult looking to connect and date.
I originally got Tinder out of curiosity. I’m a nosy person and I wanted to see what was out there. But, I did NOT think I’d be getting any matches. If I did, I was under the impression that the other person swiped right because they thought it would be an easy match from the desperate fat girl. When I met my first boyfriend at 19, I was skeptical at first. However, even though it was a very short relationship, my eyes were opened. Here was a guy who was attracted to me, enjoyed showing me affection, brought me around his friends and family, and told me I was beautiful without a motive behind the expression. For the first time in my life I felt worthy of someone’s romantic interest, and I felt hopeful about finding that special someone and building a future with them.
Alas, those feelings ended quite quickly. Even though I was not in love with the guy from my first relationship, I was so heartbroken when things ended. They ended in a very odd and not so nice way, which seems to be a pattern in the relationships I get myself in to. I’m not going to lie, it was rough, and the way that relationship ended still affects me to this day. I didn’t take this breakup lightly and it put me in a really bad head-space for quite some time. You have to understand, I was 19 and this was the first boy I did anything and everything with. So, when things ended, I really didn’t know what to do with myself or the emotions I was experiencing.
One thing you should know about me is, I’m a spiteful bitch, and I can fully admit it. It’s not something I’m proud of, but it’s something that just ends up occurring naturally with me. I tend to have an “I’ll show them” attitude when it comes to situations like this, which usually ends up biting me in the ass in the end. This is exactly the attitude I had when it came to relationships ending, and it’s ultimately the thing that has led to my downfall when it comes to dating.
After that first relationship ended, I was extremely hurt and felt very foolish and very vulnerable. So, out of spite, I convinced myself that the only way to get over my first boyfriend was by moving on as quickly as possible to the next person. It was almost like I was chasing a high, in some sense? Like I had waited so long to feel the way that my first boyfriend made me feel, that I needed a quick fix once things ended with him.
This caused me to get into relationships with people that I didn’t know all too well, and people who ended up not being the best for me and my well-being. Luckily, however, with many of the guys I talked to I had a pretty heavy guard up, so lots of my relationships were relatively reserved. That isn’t to say that I don’t have exes or experiences that I regret.
From that point on, my dating life pretty much went as follows: I would meet a guy on tinder, look past any red flags or points of contention with them, and try to make things work as best as I could. However, because I was still so new to this and so self-conscious in relationships, I would focus on their best interest instead of my own and they were more than happy to take advantage of that. This lead to one of two outcomes. The first outcome was getting myself into situations that I didn’t want to be in/was uncomfortable in. The other outcome would occur if I didn’t play in to what they wanted, which would cause whatever guy I was seeing at the time to ghost me and pretend like I never existed in the first place.
I won’t lie, both of these outcomes have REALLY affected me to this very day. I’m not just being dramatic when I say this, but every “relationship” I’ve ever been in has ended in either a bad situation or a ghosting that would leave me completely blindsided. In fact, whenever I would run to my friends with a new breakup story, the next words to come out of their mouths would be, “What the hell…why do these things always happen to you?!”
So, needless to say, your girl has a little bit of hesitancy when it comes to opening her heart up to a new relationship. Even when I did open myself up to a new relationship, I was extremely skeptical and just expected things to end in disaster eventually or expected whatever guy I was involved with to only be interested in getting me into their bed. After countless failed relationship endeavors, I was back to square one. I had completely lost hope in relationships or finding that special someone.
Even though I can 100% confidently say I have not been treated well in 99% of my relationships, I do have to take the blame in some areas. My main problem is the fact that I’m an extremely self-aware, over analytical, and anxious person. I’m very observant and I’m also quite the people pleaser, so once I get some insight on how the person I’m dating acts in different situations or around others, their mannerisms, their attitudes and just their overall personality, I tend to act in a way that compliments those attributes. However, with many of the guys I’ve met, we were completely different people who didn’t naturally mesh well. So, I would basically put on an act and never truly be myself, which ultimately led to bitterness on my end because I was miserable having to constantly uphold a façade and hated the fact that the other person didn’t know anything about the “real” me.
I was also that “we need to talk” type of girlfriend. Since I was so new to relationships and each one always seemed to move so fast, I was always on edge wondering when something was going to go wrong or if I was doing something wrong in the relationship that I didn’t even realize. Any lengthy period of time where there was little to no communication and every one-worded answer would send my anxiety in a spiral, which would result in a lengthy text message from yours truly asking if we were all good.
I tried to make it as casual as possible, but I’m totally aware as to why a guy wouldn’t be thrilled to receive those types of text messages every month or so. Eventually, this led to me believing that those “we need to talk” texts acted as the demise to each of my relationships, so instead I would bottle up every feeling of doubt or concern I had and not say anything at all. Instead of voicing my concerns or asking questions, I would obsessively think of the things that were bothering me over, and over, and over which resulted in many breakdowns in the privacy of my bedroom.
As you can probably tell by now, I’m not so good when it comes to handling emotions in a relationship, in terms of both my own and the naturally shifting emotions of my partner. Sometimes I wonder if things would’ve been different if I would’ve been able to experience love and relationships like the average person. You know, like people who have their first kiss at 12 in the school yard, their first date at 15 and their first love shortly after that. I’ve made some stupid and careless decisions when it comes to dating, but I sometimes wonder if that’s partly due to the fact that I never had things progress naturally.
From my very first relationship, everything always seemed so rushed. Sometimes I wish I could go back and tell young me to stop stressing, stop worrying about catching up to your best friends or your peers and to just take things at my own pace. Sometimes I wish I could go back and tell myself that I am beautiful and I am worthy of love, and that I will find it someday if I’m patient and mindful in my decision making. I wonder, if I could go back and tell myself that, would things be different in terms of my love life today? Would it help me to avoid certain situations that led to me being so “damaged”, or were those situations part of my path all along?
I’ll be completely honest, I’m more confused and discouraged now more than ever when it comes to love and relationships. I have plenty of days where I feel hopeless, days where I’m overwhelmed with feelings of doubt and begin planning how I’m going to afford a house on my own and the different dogs I want to keep me company. I still have days where I kick myself for decisions I’ve made in the past, thinking things were all my fault and that I’m the burden when it comes to the relationships I’m in.
However, as sad as this blog post may seem, it does have somewhat of a happy ending. I have come to a point in my life where I’m okay with being single and being on my own. Truth be told, I’m actually really comfortable and happy being alone and I’m able to have a great time in my day to day life all by myself. Like I said in my body positivity post a few weeks back, at the end of the day you’re always stuck with yourself, so I’m very proud to be at a point in my life where I’m comfortable flying solo.
I’m also extremely happy to say that I’ve been able to take all the failures in my love life and turn them into lessons to learn and grow from. I can easily pick out the flaws that I’ve brought to the table in my past relationships, and in my next relationships I believe that I’ll be able to deal with things in a more healthy and productive manner, both for my partners sake and my own.
The thing that I’m happiest about though, is the fact that I definitely know what I will and will not stand for in my next relationship. There are still things that I’ll definitely have to work on, like my confidence when it comes to voicing my opinion in certain situations, however I’ve been able to see the reoccurring patterns that I should have never stood for in the first place and I refuse to allow them to take place in my future relationships.
Dating and relationships are tough, and I don’t think anyone necessarily has the right answers when it comes to the topic. Although I have my days of doubt, I do believe and look forward to finding not only a boyfriend or a first love, but a life partner one day. A person to grow with, learn with, experience new things with. That person who, as corny as it sounds, is your best friend and the love of your life. But, if that doesn’t happen to be a part of my path, I think I’m okay with that too. I’d be more than happy to be the cool aunt with a bunch of dogs and a kickass condo. I guess only time will tell.
Thanks for reading!