I’ve Become Way Less Idealistic About Love As I’ve Gotten Older—And Dating Has Gotten Easier

When I was younger, I saw a relationship as this magical thing that, once I had it, would make my life absolutely perfect. Boy, was I ever wrong. Now that I’m in my late 20s, I’m a lot more realistic about dating, love, and relationships and it’s made them a whole lot easier for me to deal with. Here’s how I’ve changed.

I no longer think a guy is “The One” just because I’m dating him. When I was in my early 20s, I’d instantly become obsessed with whoever I was dating even if we only went out once or twice. I would begin to fantasize about all the things we’d do together in the future—going to weddings together, making dinners together, laying in bed in the mornings together… I’d turn this person I didn’t even know that well into my reason for living. It was definitely not a very healthy way to go about things. Now that I’m more mature, I know better than to let myself go down the rabbit hole of domestic fantasy.

My breakups aren’t the end of the world. I used to have to take time off of work for breakups, but now that I’m a little bit older, I can bounce back like it ain’t no thing. I have this new mindset now that allows me to realize that sometimes things aren’t going to work out and there’s only so much I can do to control it. Sure, it sucks when breakups happen, but I’ve become a lot better at actually accepting them and moving on instead of living the rest of my life as a victim.

I’m less picky now so I have more guys to choose from. I used to only date guys I thought were perfect or with whom I had a super strong connection right off the bat. It used to be that if I didn’t like one little thing about the guy, it would be over. Now, it’s a lot easier to look past these minor imperfections and value the person for being different from what I usually go for.

I now know that relationships aren’t supposed to be perfect. How naive was I to believe that relationships were supposed to play out like Disney movies? I used to run away from guys the second there was even a little bit of conflict instead of facing it and trying to fix it. I can now see that the thing that makes relationships so great is the light AND shade of them. You can’t really enjoy the good times without some bad, otherwise, it gets boring.

I feel okay whether I’m in a relationship or not. I used to feel like a total loser when I was single but now that I’m a bit more mature, it’s no big deal to me. I have a lot of friends who are single for years at a time and it doesn’t seem to bother them, which I really admire. The older I get, the more self-aware I’ve become. I’ve started to see myself as my own island, so to speak. I’ve started to rely on myself for most things to the point in which having a partner feels more like a bonus than a necessity.

I know I’m gonna go through a bunch of guys before I find the right one. I’ve stopped getting frustrated at how I haven’t found “The One” yet because that’s totally out of my control. Finding the right guy is heavily based on fate, so what’s the point of stressing over something that is mostly due to luck and timing? It’s just not worth it.

My dating life is way less stressful. I find that I’m not as paranoid, jealous or obsessive as I used to be. I used to find it really difficult to trust the person I’m with and although I still get glimmers of those feelings today, it’s gone down significantly. I attribute that to my growing maturity and the realization of, “Crap is gonna happen, so I’d better just deal with it.”

I’ve learned that dating is meant to be a learning experience. A relationship isn’t something to check off your list, it’s a journey and is meant be one of the most enriching experiences of our lives. To treat it like something to “get” is like an ego-trip. Instead, I see it as something that would be nice to have and that’s that. I guess you could say I’ve totally changed my perspective on what a relationship is

I’ve stopped being so controlling. I used to try to change my partner into the perfect boyfriend and it always ended with him leaving. Since I’ve gotten older, I’ve stopped being so obsessed with perfection and have embraced the messiness of relationships. It’s really not worth the headache to try to control things.

I’ve cut myself a lot of slack. I used to stress SO much about being single or comparing myself to my happily married friends, but as I got older, I realized that everyone is living their own, unique life. Just because my friends are getting married doesn’t mean I have to too. I should be putting my own happiness first and just take my time and enjoy the dating process.

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