Is there even a place for hopeless romantics in love anymore or are they going the way of the dodo bird and over-plucked eyebrows? Unfortunately, considering the way hookup culture is dominating the dating scene, it doesn’t feel like it. Those who still believe in and crave romance have to navigate the blunt, quick, sticky waters of the casual hookup carefully, but it can be done. Don’t worry — there are others like you out there. Here’s how you can get through it:
Accept that there will be long, lonely lulls in your love life sometimes. The dating landscape is somewhat different. Not everyone is solely interested in hooking up (no judgment if they are), but trying to find someone who wants the same kind of relationship you do might take a while. Besides, just meeting or talking to someone is no guarantee of a date. Don’t let those slow periods get you down. Use the time to focus on yourself, your family, your friends, new hobbies – something fulfilling.
Learn as much as you can from all the losers you end up dating. A few of them will slip past your radar – maybe more than a few. That’s okay. They have lessons to teach. At the very least, you’ll get some great date stories from this batch.
Understand that Disney and rom-coms lied to you. It’s time to temper your hopeless romanticism with a little realism. Happily-ever-after isn’t a thing and you won’t be struck by a bolt of lightning the second you meet The One. Every kiss won’t be fireworks and butterflies won’t ceaselessly flutter in your stomach. These things will happen, but it’s not always instantaneous or magical. It’s never quite picture-perfect.
Get ready to make some compromises. If you’re not clicking with anyone you meet and second or third dates are practically nonexistent, you have to consider compromising. That doesn’t mean you have to lower your standards, not in the least. However, you may have to compromise on your list of must-haves. In other words, don’t necessarily lower your standards, just make them more realistic.
Don’t let anyone make you do something you don’t want to, though. Point blank, end of discussion. Don’t let anyone pressure you into doing anything with which you’re not comfortable. Preferring dating to a hookup is fine; it’s a perfectly reasonable and valid choice. No one should ever try to change your mind, nor should you feel bad about what you want.
Learn the lingo. It’s not enough to know what a hookup means. If you don’t know what someone means when they say that they’re “talking to” someone, you might accidentally step into a love triangle. If you think your crush’s invitation to hang out isn’t anything, you’ll miss out on a date.
There’s a platform for everything, so choose wisely. You can find dates anywhere. Download an app. Join a dating site. Try Craigslist (don’t try Craigslist). Match.com, eHarmony, Black People Meet, FarmersOnly.com, plentyoffish, Bumble (do try Bumble), or take the old in-person approach – there are endless possibilities, is the point. Pick carefully.
Don’t go near Tinder, though. Just don’t. Tinder will hurt you. If you are a hopeless romantic, Tinder will leave you jaded and bitter and cynical. Just don’t do it. There are plenty of other dating apps out there that cater to people who are looking for more than a one-night stand. Use one of those instead and save yourself the grief.
Be clear about exactly what you want. Let potential partners know that you’re into romance. Maybe you’ll go on fewer dates, sure, but the ones you do have will be better. Your matches know exactly where you stand and what you want, so there’s no chance of a misunderstanding.
Be proactive, not passive. You can’t lie back in the cut and wait for love to come to you. Go out and find someone who’s as hopelessly romantic as you. Step up to the girl or guy who catches your eye. Initiate the conversation. Ask for a date. What do you have to lose?