As a 20-something woman who’s had her fair share of casual hookups, I know better than anyone that sleeping with someone—even consistently—does not a relationship make. I’ve learned this lesson time and time again from trying to force flings into something meaningful when the spark just wasn’t there, and I’m sick of it. Here’s why I’ve finally thrown in the towel:
Trying to force relationships never works. It’s obvious but it’s true. If I’d managed to take a random hookup and force it into a real, serious, healthy relationship then I wouldn’t be writing this. The old expression “you can’t fit a square peg into a round hole” couldn’t ring truer in this situation. If something isn’t mean to be then dammit, it’s not meant to be. Nothing I can do is going to make two people who aren’t right for each other fall into a happy relationship. I don’t have any graphs to back this up but I’m pretty sure it’s science.
It’s an all-consuming and exhausting endeavor. Actively working to make a relationship out of nothing is straight up tiring. Rest assured I’m the only one of us trying to make this happen so I’m working twice as hard, putting in enough energy for two into this faux-relationship. Truly, it requires constant vigilance. I’m the one initiating every text conversation, setting up all the plans, and pushing for all the major relationship milestones all by my lonesome.
I have nothing in common with this guy. Sure, we might both like horror movies, but there’s not much more after that. And, as anyone who’s ever been in a relationship before will know, being able to talk effortlessly with your partner is crucial. If we ran out of things to talk about five minutes into our first hookup, odds are we don’t have a “talking” kind of relationship, and you can’t force that kind of chemistry.
Truthfully, it makes me feel pathetic. I can get pretty low after yet another almost relationship peters out. I just dedicated so much time and effort into this man who I knew deep down wasn’t the right one for me, just for him to tell me what I was trying to push out of your mind: this isn’t going to work out. I’m not an idiot—I know that I’m just looking for companionship in a world of one-night stands, but it leaves me feeling incredibly desperate in the end. Realistically, I’m worse for the wear after I’ve tried to make a relationship than I was being alone.
It shouldn’t be this much work. Good relationships, real relationships, shouldn’t be nearly as much work as I’m putting into these lame duck guys. When I meet the right guy, it should be more or less effortless. Obviously, relationships are a lot of work. I have to work at communication and trust with my partner every day, but the basic stuff, like chatting after work or going on adventures, we should be on the same page right off the bat. Like I said, you can force the essential spark a relationship is built upon.
Forcing these relationships is wasting valuable time. Life is short, my friends. There’s only so much time to squander on hollow relationships and guys who are in it for all the wrong reasons. That means there’s NO time to purposefully create these meaningless relationships with people who are wrong for you. There are so many amazing things happening in my life— friends, family, work, hobbies, health—that I could be focusing on rather than draining myself with emotional projects. After a couple years wasting my time, it’s clear I need to check my priorities and start focusing on positive things in my life.
I’m not going to find a real relationship until I go looking for one. After enough failures on this front, it’s clear that I’m going about this in the entirely wrong way. I think one of the mistakes I’m making is how I’m starting each “relationship.” I always aim for hookups, hoping and praying that they’ll evolve into something more. I suppose it seems that to hook a guy, to get him to even look at me in a romantic way, it has to start with sex. However, I’m starting to realize that having this mindset is a toxic way to find a partner.
I need to look for what I’m actually looking for. From here on out, I’m coming clean about what I want for myself: I want a relationship. I was someone to have amazing sex with but I also want someone I can be gross around, someone I can watch Netflix with on a Friday night, someone I can picture myself with happily for the rest of my life. I want a companion, so I’m going to start looking for a man who wants that too, right off the bat—no more trying to force empty hookups into something more. And if I have to be alone until I find that right person, then alone I shall be, and I’ll be just fine.
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