Dating in the thick hookup culture hasn’t been easy by any means. My dating life has been such a disaster, with one fleeting disaster after another, that sometimes I’m tempted to adopt 17 cats and call it a day. However, it hasn’t really been all bad news and I’m actually pretty grateful for the lessons I’ve learned.
- I shouldn’t feel bad about making my intentions clear. It’s perfectly OK — if not sometimes highly necessary — to let the guy I’m into know what I’m looking for. I’ve spent far too much time beating around the bush and hiding my feelings just to avoid another runaway guy. I’ve learned it’s better to be honest about what I want from love than to waste my time with someone who doesn’t want the same.
- It’s OK to say no. I don’t need to sleep with a guy early on to prove my interest or to make sure he stays interested in me. If I want to spend the time getting to know someone first, I can, and I shouldn’t feel threatened by the fact that he can probably get sex easily somewhere else just by swiping his thumb. If a guy is really into me, he’ll respect me and stick around to wait it out. If he’s doesn’t, well, the loss was never really mine to begin with.
- It’s OK to walk away from what I don’t want. If a guy I’m dating isn’t treating me right or doesn’t make me feel amazing, I have the power to walk away. I’ve spent a lot of unnecessary time holding on to a hope that things will get better with a guy who just doesn’t give a damn. Now, the power is mine to see the early warning signs and walk away from the things and people that don’t serve my best interest.
- Hurting is growing. Crappy endings happen and there’s no shame in grieving over another disappointing dating experience. Hurting might make it look like I’m weak, but it’s just the way my heart processes what it needs to in order to take in the lesson and get infinitely stronger for my next dating experience. Now, I’m a badass warrior of my emotions, and even though my heart heals differently each time, I’m stronger overall for surviving all the stuff I’ve been put through.
- Not everyone’s a loser. Yes, there are a lot of loser guys out there, and even if at times it seems like zero men with solid intentions exist anymore, I know they do. I’ve dated a few good apples that just didn’t work out, and even though they’re rare to come across, they’ve taught me that patience is all I need in order to navigate this crap show. Eventually, a good guy will make his way into my life so long as I just keep braving the unknown.
- It’s better to be alone than treated like crap. I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter how green the grass looks in relationship pastures — if the guy sucks as a person, I’d rather be alone. I have better stuff to do with my time than to be walked all over, played and strung along by players. If a guy reads as a player on my radar, I don’t even bother with him. #BOYBYE
- Honesty saves me from wasting time. It’s not always up to the guy to be honest. I know there are a lot of jerks who will lie about what they want just to get me into bed, but the joke’s on them because they won’t get me there without any effort and definitely not without honesty. It’s up to me to be honest about what I want and need, and if the guy doesn’t deliver, or disagrees, I can be on my merry little way onto someone better and someone who’s on the same page I’m on.
- Moving forward is empowering. Each crazy dating experience I’ve gone through has been a stepping stone on my way to something better. I used to become completely disheartened at the ending of yet another failed attempt at love, but I’m done with that phase. Hookup culture has taught me that even though dating is messy these days and polluted with over inflated egos, nothing feels better than moving the hell on and getting closer to the real prize of genuine love.
- Real love is worth the wait. Hookup culture has made me stronger, wiser, more independent and more in tune with what I want and need to live my ever after. If the struggle is any indication, the hard battle I’ve faced is only going to make the end result a story worth telling. Sooner or later, all of this disappointment will be worth something bigger — real love.