To The Girl Who’s Struggling To Keep Her Sanity In Dating

You really do want to meet a great guy. You put yourself out there and try to stay optimistic about love, but each and every time something seems promising, it always ends up blowing up in your face. You’re not imagining things and you’re certainly not alone — it really is tougher than ever to find love. If you’re feeling a deep internal struggle to keep your sanity while dating, remember these things:

Times may have changed but you don’t have to. Even if hookup culture seems to be almost a way of life now, you don’t need to give in to the madness. At times you might feel like you’re not giving enough to potential prospects and you’re constantly afraid they’re going to move on to the next best thing if you don’t keep things exciting, but hooking up isn’t the only excitement about dating and forming a relationship. If you’re looking for real love, don’t get sucked into settling for less.

Own who you are — no matter what. Some guys will make snide digs at who you are or make you feel like crap about your character, but don’t pay them any attention — they’re simply not the guys for you. You’re going to win some and lose some when it comes to looking for love, and because you’re a unique person, you need a unique type of guy in your life to match that. Even if it seems like you’re hitting a never-ending series of walls, you’re not. It’s just part of the process and for some, the process is much longer.

Not every first date will lead to a second. Most first dates don’t lead to seconds, so if you’ve had a bad run and things don’t seem to be looking up, look at it as a blessing. If it only takes you one date to figure out that you’re not compatible with a guy, sure, it may kill the hopeful fantasy that he could be the guy for you, but at least you didn’t waste more of your time.

You’re going to have more bad dates than good ones — it’s just how it goes. Believe it or not, a bad date can actually be a really good thing. Not only can you spin it into a great and hilarious story over wine with your friends, but it’s also a testament to the strength and resilience of your dating personality. If you can survive the crappy and awkward experiences, you’re truly going to appreciate the good ones when they happen.

Online dating can work, but it’s definitely frustrating. As much as you loathe Tinder and all of those other often ridiculous dating apps full of creeps and d*ck pic wielding losers, there are actually great guys on there too — they’re just harder to come by. Online dating is definitely a numbers game, so don’t pull your hair out when things seem completely hopeless. It’s just another gateway to meet more people sooner, and there are still other avenues where you could meet the love of your life at any moment.

You have the right to take breaks if you need to. Taking breaks is completely healthy and normal, so don’t feel bad if you just need to take a breather altogether. When you’re constantly disappointed, it can take a toll on your emotional well-being — and if it goes on for too long, it can unfortunately make you bitter too. Sometimes taking a time out from dating can be exactly what you need to reset your brain and prepare for another brave attempt at finding love and keeping your sanity in the process.

You’re not damaged, unworthy or anything else you’re afraid of — it’s just not your time yet. You’ve dated great guys who broke your heart, losers who seemed like Prince Charmings at first but were really just idiots in tin foil, and guys who were only trying to win your affections to get you into bed — so yes, it’s completely natural that at a certain point, you’re going to feel like crap about yourself. Stop it. You’re not a worthless person, you’re really amazing. Plus, even if you’ve made some mistakes of your own, you’re only human. The simple fact is that no matter what’s happened to you or how much crap you’ve had to endure in your dating life, it’s not completely your fault, nor does it mean that you’re unworthy of love — it’s just not quite the right time yet. Be patient. It’ll happen when it’s meant to.

Give up on certain guys but never give up on yourself. There are guys out there who aren’t going to please you the way you’re looking for emotionally and there are guys out there who you’re going to feel the same. As hard as it is and as beaten down as you may feel when it happens, trust that you’re going to be okay again and you’re going to get back out there, one step closer to the guy who is right for you. Dating may be a complete mess and you may lose your sanity at times, but remember that the best love stories are often preceded by a bit of chaos — or in your case, a lot of chaos. Embrace your chaos and keep moving towards the love that will make it all worth it.

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