What It’s Like To Be Bad At Relationships But Good At Everything Else

I’ll admit it — I suck at relationships. While it would be easier to blame the men I’ve dated, I know that’d just be me passing the buck and I won’t do that. I’ll own up to the fact that I’ve ruined pretty much every relationship I’ve had, but despite how bad I am at love, I pretty much excel in every other area of my life. It’s a frustrating paradox, to say the least.

  1. It makes me suspicious of dating. Honestly, if I didn’t totally suck at relationships, based on the dating BS of today (like ghosting and benching and the like), I’d still be somewhat apprehensive about dating, but knowing that any relationship I have is pretty much doomed, I’m even more so suspicious. Sure, I’ll join a dating app or two, but mostly just to see how many matches I’ll get, not because I actually believe love is in the cards for me.
  2. It makes me work harder. I have, to everyone’s surprise, achieved the career and life I always wanted. I’m not bragging; it’s just a fact. I wanted to be a writer who could work from anywhere in the world and I’m doing exactly that. Because I know that I can’t hold it together with relationships, I always bring my A-game to my work and lifestyle. In other words, I rarely go without the things I want.
  3. It makes me judgmental. I don’t like to judge the people around me and for the most part, I don’t. Still, every once in a while, when I find myself in a conversation with a friend who’s going over and over about her relationship and dating problems, I have to roll my eyes. Realizing that I’m horrible at relationships and being forced to put my efforts elsewhere has given me this obnoxious superiority complex when it comes to those around me who put relationships first. Like, seriously… WHY?!
  4. It makes me extra picky. On the off chance that I actually decide to go on a date, I can tell within 20 minutes if I’ll ever see the guy again. When you know that you’re awful at relationships, it allows you to be extra picky because you know even if you do hit it off, it’s not likely to last, so why not be ultra choosy at all costs?
  5. It makes me relaxed around men. As a woman who dates men, knowing that anything that comes my way is probably going to end up a dumpster fire gives me the very freeing opportunity to be relaxed around them. Even guys that I think are hot, I’m completely cool around because I don’t see the point in trying to impress them. Instead, I get to be that fun, laid-back girl who isn’t searching for ways to lure a man into her clutches. It’s liberating to have a genuine “whatever” mentality around dudes.
  6. It makes me really comfortable with casual sex. I’ve been single more than I’ve been in relationships, but I very rarely go more than a few weeks without getting laid. As someone who’s a nightmare at relationships, I’ve learned to embrace casual sex. I realize that this isn’t the best route for everyone, but for me it is. I’ve had my fair share of bad sex since sex doesn’t get really awesome until you’ve known someone for a bit, but more than anything, the multitude of casual sex in my life has strengthened my sex positivity and made me completely unapologetic when it comes to my sexuality.
  7. I spend a lot of time wondering if I should date like I work. Because my professional life is on track but my romantic life is perpetually in shambles, I wonder (probably far too often) how I can transfer the effort and ambition of my work life over to my personal life. Like, should I devote more time to it? Should I give myself deadlines in regards to the next level I should achieve in a relationship? Should I hire an editor to take charge of the men in my life? (Definitely yes to that last one.) Realistically, you can’t conduct love like a business deal, though I wish you could.
  8. I have a book of excuses as to why I’m single. I’m not ashamed that I’m on my own. At all. I have accepted that my relationship status of being single – gasp! – is just who I am. Unfortunately, this doesn’t fly for others. How could a woman who has her life so together come in below par in the relationship aspect of her life? I wish I knew, but because I don’t, I just rail off all generic reasons why I’m single to shut people up — and it works.
  9. It makes me super self-reliant. In my younger days, when I tried to do the whole relationship thing and failed miserably, I found myself relying on the guys in my life for things like changing a light bulb out of my reach, fixing a running toilet, or calling the cable company to yell because HBO had been out for 20 minutes. Having realized that I can’t depend on a man for such crap, I’ve learned to do it all myself. I can replace the ballc*ck in my toilet and if I need to reach the light fixture in my living room, I just drag the kitchen table halfway through my apartment to do it. Self-reliance!
  10. It makes me grateful. I feel like so many people who, like me, suck at relationships go through life trying to figure out why their relationships don’t last. I don’t do that because I’ve already figured that crap out: I’m fundamentally bad at relationships. This is who I am, and while it might change someday, it is what it is now and I’m grateful that I’m not drowning in denial, trying to convince myself otherwise. What a waste of energy that would be — and I don’t like to waste my energy.
Amanda Chatel is a sexual health, mental health, and wellness journalist with more than a decade of experience. Her work has been featured in Shape, Glamour, SELF, Harper's Bazaar, The Atlantic, Forbes, Elle, Mic, Men's Health and Bustle, where she was a lifestyle writer for seven years. In 2019, The League included Amanda in their "15 Inspirational Feminists Every Single Person Should Follow on Twitter" list.

Amanda has a bachelor's degree in English and master's degree in Creative Writing from the University of New Hampshire. She divides her time between NYC, Paris, and Barcelona.

You can follow her on Instagram @la_chatel or on Twitter @angrychatel.