So you don’t believe in love. That’s perfectly reasonable. We’re all familiar with the ways love can hurt. There are plenty of songs and movies about just how life-altering it can be to have loved and lost. Or to have loved and been totally taken advantage of. The idea of love and the forever happiness it can provide is somewhat of a fairy-tale, i’ll admit. There will always be disagreements, trying times and moments of heartbreak – even in the most loving long-term relationship. But the exchange for those negatives is an abundant amount of positives. I know you don’t believe me just yet, but if you stick with me here – you might just feel like getting back out there again.
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HOW TO DATE WHEN YOU DON’T BELIEVE IN LOVE
START BY TAKING SOME TIME FOR YOURSELFExperiencing love to the fullest has a lot to do with ourselves. If we feel empty or unhappy, even the most loving partner cannot cure this for us. If you’re just getting over a bad break up or you’ve been feeling off lately, dating is not the answer for you right now. Don’t get back out there and start seeing people. But. Do realize that love is still a possibility for you down the road. You might not be ready yet, that’s fine. Take your time. But start painting a picture in your head of a future love that will be waiting for you when you’re ready for it. If you were hurt by someone in the past. That wasn’t love. If you saw someone get hurt, that wasn’t love. Love is happy, and helpful and supportive. It is not manipulative, controlling or abusive. If someone you loved in the past acted in those ways towards you, they weren’t acting out of love. If you acted in those ways to someone you loved – that wasn’t love. You were acting out of fear, jealousy, insecurity or some other kind of negative feeling. It’s ok – we all do it. Just know that wasn’t love and next time you will let love fuel all your conversations and interactions, even when it’s really hard. Please don’t rush this first step. If you have experienced trauma, you can overcome it but it will take time. Seek professional help if you need it.
You’re stronger now thaN you were beforeIf you were in an unhealthy relationship that ended badly – you are stronger now because of it. If you did everything you could for someone and thought it was going great but they ended up leaving you for someone else – you are stronger now because you’re still here. It might have broken you, but it didn’t break you forever. You have been blessed with going through a life lesson that has now made you a better person. If you were in an unhealthy relationship – you will be able to spot these signs earlier on. If you were afraid of breaking up with someone because of fear of being alone and you did it – you did it! You are here, alive and on the road to recovery. If you witnessed a friend being in a controlling relationship – you can spot those behaviours from a mile away. Being in a puppy love first relationship feels nice because we’ve never been hurt. But it’s only after being hurt that we can really appreciate true love. It feels so good knowing how much that person can hurt you but…they don’t.
FORGIVE FOR YOURSELFIt’s easy to think that when we forgive someone, we are doing them a favour. It’s easy to confuse this with giving someone a “second chance”. If someone cheats on you and you say “I forgive you”, it sounds kind of like you will continue dating them as if nothing happened. This is not what forgiveness is! The Greater Good Science centre at UC Berkley defines forgiveness as follows:
Psychologists generally define forgiveness as a conscious, deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance toward a person or group who has harmed you, regardless of whether they actually deserve your forgiveness. Just as important as defining what forgiveness is, though, is understanding what forgiveness is not. Experts who study or teach forgiveness make clear that when you forgive, you do not gloss over or deny the seriousness of an offense against you. Forgiveness does not mean forgetting, nor does it mean condoning or excusing offenses. Though forgiveness can help repair a damaged relationship, it doesn’t obligate you to reconcile with the person who harmed you, or release them from legal accountability. – Greater Good Science CentreForgiveness has nothing to do with them and everything to do with you. When you forgive, you release anger. When you forgive, you release resentment. You get rid of things that make you feel bad. You DO NOT have to stay with someone that you have forgiven. It simply means allowing yourself to move on and taking away the power they have to make you feel upset or angry. Once you have forgiven someone, you have destroyed the power they had over you. An anonymous quote sums this up perfectly by saying: “Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”
DON’T LIVE IN FEARFear is good. Fear protects us. But if we let it dictate all our decisions it can greatly diminish our quality of life. If we run out into the middle of the road – we should be afraid that we might get hit by a car, this is reasonable. That’s why we don’t do that – we don’t rush into things. We stop and look both ways until it’s safe. But if we decide to never cross a road, what kind of life is that? We put ourselves at risk every day so that we can enjoy our lives. If you go skiing, you could break your arm. If you go camping, you could get attacked by a bear. Fear will always be a part of our lives. We need to manage our fears so that we stay safe but also live our lives to the fullest. Don’t let fear control your actions. Don’t let fear stop you from getting everything you deserve out of this life. If you want a happy, healthy relationship – you can get it. But you need to look for it, and yes, you might get hurt. If you want to be a skier, you might break your leg. But legs heal, and so do hearts.
Generalizing doesn’t actually make any sense“There are no good guys out there”. Do we really believe this? We don’t use these broad, generalized terms in our regular lives, why do we think it makes sense to do this with our love lives? If you buy a brand new iPhone and you take it out of the box and it doesn’t turn on. Are you going to now say that no iPhones ever work properly? That’s crazy, of course they do. You just got a bad phone. Making broad, general statements about an entire gender is not only sexist, it’s completely irrational. How can there be NO good guys left? If you say this statement out loud, it sounds ridiculous. The divorce rate is at an all time low.
The U.S. divorce rate dropped for the third year in a row, reaching its lowest point in nearly 40 years, according to data released Thursday. – Time.comWe are getting better at waiting to find someone that we really click with. Back in the day, you had to get married to your neighbour’s son or the guy you met at Church because it was easy and he was just there. These days with birth control and online dating, we can wait until we’ve found someone who we really click with. There’s no rush anymore. So if you took some time to date a bad egg, don’t let that stop you from getting the man you deserve. He’s out there and waiting for you to go find him.