15 Things Smart Women Understand About Guys, Dating, And Love

Navigating modern dating isn’t easy for anyone. From hookup culture to the seemingly endless versions of ghosting, it seems like there are a lot more barriers to finding a decent relationship these days than there were a couple decades ago.  Luckily, with a little experience, love starts to make a lot more sense. Here’s what every intelligent woman has figured out about guys, dating, and love by now:

  1. Most of the time, it’s not personal. This might sound counter-intuitive since love is the most personal thing there is, but all the BS you have to go through to find the right person — your messages being ignored on Bumble, meeting guys who look nothing like their profile, guys who ghost you after a first date and all those penis pictures — really isn’t personal. It happens to all of us, and smart women don’t dwell. They just move on to the next.
  2. Sometimes it’s better to use your head. You can only follow your heart up to a point. When your heart is guiding you back to the ex that cheated on you twice already, it’s time to give your head executive decision making power. Fool you once, shame on him, but fool you twice, shame on you, right?
  3. A guy will not make you happy. True happiness is a highly subjective, constantly moving target. While a great guy can certainly contribute to your happiness, no guy is capable of making you happy when you aren’t otherwise. We all go through ups and downs, but expecting a relationship to solve all your problems is a recipe for disaster.
  4. Jealousy won’t get you anywhere. Any relationship worth being in, exclusive or not, should be built on trust. Paranoia and constantly checking up on him aren’t going to stop him from cheating if that’s what he wants to do. Smart women don’t bother with guys who bring out the worst, most jealous side of them because they also value their sanity.
  5. Communication solves a lot of problems. Needless to say, human beings don’t have the ability to read minds. That means being able to put feelings into words is essential to the success of any relationship. It might not always be easy, but a lot of issues can be resolved by two people just sitting down and having a rational conversation.
  6. Dating takes two. We don’t live in a world where guys are expected to do all the work while the ladies sit back waiting for the date invites to roll in. Dating is a lot more fun when both parties put in the effort to plan dates and make sure they go well. If the effort is lopsided that means interest is too, and that’s not a good sign.
  7. Love isn’t the same for everyone. The version of love in the movies where people fall head over heels and live happily ever after is a highly simplified version of what real life is like. No two relationships are the same and no two people experience love the same way, so figuring out what works for you is key.
  8. You get out what you put in. If a strong, healthy relationship is what you want, you’re going to have to work for it. That means making someone else a priority and being willing to compromise sometimes. No smart woman expects everything to be handed to her, including a perfect love life.
  9. There are no rules. Trying to follow every single outdated, arbitrary dating rule you’ve ever been told is rage-inducing. Finding love isn’t about following all the rules and living happily ever after. Love is messy and it’s full of grey areas. Smart women threw out the rule book a long time ago.
  10. Nothing is guaranteed.  Relationships take work, and even if you’re in a good one for years, it doesn’t mean you always will be. Smart women are prepared to fight for the things they want even when it’s hard, and they expect the guy they’re with to do the same.
  11. Protecting yourself is important… to a point. Blindly trusting every guy you go on a date with is a great way to get hurt way too often. Finding a balance between keeping your guard up and also opening up is the key to holding on to your sanity while dating, and it’s an equation that’s constantly changing.
  12. Timing is actually pretty important. People can go on about how saying it was “bad timing” is just an excuse, but it’s actually true in a lot of cases. One person isn’t ready, there are too many other priorities, you’re both too young to figure out how to make it work — there are plenty of ways timing can screw up a good thing. Sometimes you just have to let go and move on.
  13. Love doesn’t really conquer all. Love has a way of making you feel like you can take on the world as long as you’re doing it together. In reality, it’s never that easy. It’s not love alone that conquers every roadblock, it’s your commitment and dedication to each other. Getting through the hard times isn’t easy so if you manage to do it, you deserve all the credit.
  14. Being alone is actually pretty awesome. Finding love might be the ultimate goal, but that doesn’t mean you should take your single days for granted. Having that time to yourself to figure out who you are and what you want will prevent you from settling for the first guy who comes along because smart women don’t settle.
  15. No matter what, you’ll get through it. Some breakups feel a lot worse than others. It seems like you’ll never stop crying yourself to sleep and stalking his Instagram for signs he has a new girlfriend. You’ve gotten through it before so you will again — it just takes time.
By day, Courtney is a digital marketing copywriter living in Toronto, Canada. By night, she's a freelance lifestyle writer who, in addition to Bolde.com, contributes regularly to AmongMen.ca, IN Magazine, and SheBlogs Canada. Want to chat about relationships, Stephen King or your favorite true crime podcast/documentary/book? She's on Twitter @courtooo.