What I’ve Learned From “Dating” at 20

April 11, 2017

I’ve done my fair share of dating and been in plenty of unlabelled ‘relationships’, and this has essentially allowed me to mull over what makes a good one. Whether the experience has been negative or positive, I’ve definitely pushed myself to jot down some really important notes that have managed to come into play in the present.

Some relationships just don’t work out.

There are several factors that contribute to a relationship not working out – sometimes it might not even be the people themselves. Situation, timing, and where you are in life severely impacts your ability to work out a common ground with someone to even begin a relationship in the first place.

When someone says they don’t know what they want, they really don’t.

I spent a long time sticking by someone because I was persistent and patient. Now these words usually have positive associations to them, and are traits that people should proudly strive to have – but not in this case. Really listen to what someone says – some people have a problem with being straight-forward and go through life playing the hinting game, and they don’t even know they’re playing this game themselves. When someone says they don’t know what they want out of a connection with someone, it usually means that deep down inside, they’re infatuated with the idea of something or that they’re infatuated with you playing a part in their life a few years down the line when things become more convenient for them.

There are going to be people you end up unconsciously developing non-genuine relationships with.

I viewed most of my reasoning for dating in the past to do with filling some sort of void. It takes months/years to break free of this sort of co-dependency complex. This usually means you’re still figuring yourself out and haven’t developed any purpose or self-identity at the moment. As Nietzsche said (I did my philosophy paper on him during my first year at university!):

 “The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.”

There are people who are overwhelmed with the self, and one of those people might be you. What I took from this message is that being lonely and frightened sometimes forces you to realize your own shortcomings. It may take the right person, time, or a situation for you to truly develop an aspiration or something to really strive towards. It’s probably wise to begin a journey of mindfulness if you find yourself struggling to invest in you.

Everyone you develop a relationship with will teach you an important lesson.

Here are some I’ve learned all the way from the beginning:

  • People aren’t mind-readers.
  • There’s a reason why this person is with you (positive or negative).
  • If there are things about this person that tick you off every day, it’s a sign.
  • Opposites attract, but there’s such a thing as being TOO opposite.
  • Not being able to communicate is an ugly quality.
  • If the passion isn’t there, it isn’t there.
  • You’ll eventually realize what you do not and do want in a relationship.
  • Misunderstandings are a thing
  • You can’t change others.
  • Being heart-broken strengthens you.
  • Being guarded can be a bad thing.

What a good relationship looks like.

I had lost all my zeal for creativity, my drive and ambition until I found it again this year. Your partner should be able to act as your muse and motivate you to lead an active life. A good partner shows affection, pride in you, and allows both of you to be number one priorities in each other’s lives. Conflicts are normal and are resolved quickly and straight-forwardly. Feelings are expressed freely. Words are patiently understood. Your relationship should contribute to your life, not take away from it. You recognize your capacity and your need to be love, and are mindful of the balance between devoting yourself to your partner, and devoting yourself to you.