But for real though.
I recently overheard a conversation between two of my college-aged peers during which one commiserated to her sympathetic friend about her guy troubles. Basically, they were a “thing”, but then they broke up, but he says he still loves her and she loves him, but he won’t get back together with her and he keeps changing his mind. And so then he calls her at 4 AM to pick him up because he’s drunk and they end up sleeping together, but they’re still not really together, you know? Oh yeah, and this has to be kept a secret from all of their friends, who are totally clueless (but not really) about their relationship status. And she really just doesn’t know what’s going on and it’s so confusing and she wishes he would just make up his mind already.
This type story isn’t shocking. In fact, I’d bet that every girl high-school aged or older has multiple friends or acquaintances who could tell a version of this same story, and that’s if it hasn’t happened to her too. For some reason, this sort of “relationship” is now viewed as the norm. No one likes it, as is evidenced by everybody bemoaning complicated relationships to their bestie, but most women seem to see it as an inescapable reality that they’ll have to trudge through if they ever want to find true love.
That’s a lie.
Girls, it’s time to stop dating losers.
Believe it or not, it’s not inevitable. It’s time to stop accepting the lie we’ve been fed that it’s ok to put up with bad treatment because that’s just how dating works. I’ve done quite a bit of thinking on this subject lately, and I’d like to offer my thoughts on a few vital points of this issue.
1. Good relationships start with self respect.
This is true in any area of life, not just in the dating world. Ladies, your self respect is contagious. As a general rule, no one is going to respect you more than respect yourself. If you feel that you’re only worth bad or mediocre relationships, they are what you will end up with. Realize that you have just as much of a right to respect as anyone else, and don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself and demand it. You’re worth more than mediocre. In the words of Christopher Robin: “You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” Take some time to build your sense of self worth and don’t settle.
2. All guys are not like that.
I feel that perhaps the most pervasive part of the jerk-dating phenomenon is the belief that “guys are just like that”. I’m here to tell you that, shockingly enough, men do exist who will value you for more than just a drunken fling. I’ve been in an amazing relationship with an absolutely wonderful guy for nearly two years now, and having first-hand experience with being loved and respected only makes me see more clearly the contrast between this and the way that many guys use girls. When it comes to dating, you’ll end up with the kind of guy you’re expecting – so make sure your expectations are high. There are guys out there looking for girls who care. Promise.
3. People will live up to – or down to – your expectations.
This point is really just an extension of the two above. I’ve mostly heard it used in the context of working with children, but boy, does it ever apply to relationships as well. If you expect men to treat you with respect and integrity, they will – otherwise, you wouldn’t be spending your time around them. Conversely, if you expect to be used and objectified, you will allow yourself to be treated in ways that you shouldn’t. In many ways, relationships are a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy – your preconceived notions about how things should be, even the subconscious ones, will eventually play out. It pays to re-examine your beliefs and make doubly sure that you are holding the bar high enough.
4. You don’t need a boyfriend.
Think about this concept. I know it’s flung around to the point that it sort of goes in one ear and out the other, but take a minute to really think about it. You don’t need a boyfriend. In fact, everyone needs some time without a boyfriend. You need time from a single perspective to figure out who you are and realize that you are a pretty awesome person all on your own. You need to learn to love and respect yourself so that in the future you are able to hold others to that standard as well. It sounds counter-intuitive, but before you have a boyfriend, you should be in a place where you are comfortable with not having one. To have a strong, healthy relationship, you need to be able to love the individual you – and to realize that the person you truly are isn’t in any way affected by your relationship status.
I’m writing this post with the hope that I can help you to realize how much you truly are worth. I know of so many people who deserve so much better than they are getting and don’t even realize it. Please, don’t let that be you. If you need to, take some time off of dating to get to know yourself again. Learn to love yourself and cultivate a healthy amount of self-worth. Realize what a perfect and unique creation you are. As Dr. Seuss says:
“Today you are you; that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is you-er than you.”
Girls, always remember that. Don’t let anyone treat you like you are anything less than the insanely amazing person that you are.
Because you are worth it.