I’ve Recently Realized The Guy I’m Looking For Isn’t Looking For Me

I feel like I’ve been looking for love forever and I’m still coming up short. Never mind the fact that my own life is kind of a shambles—surely it’ll all sort itself out once I’m in a relationship, right? Wrong. I’ve recently come to realize the kind of guy I’m looking for isn’t even looking in my direction because I’m just not ready for him.

I’m attracting the wrong vibes because I’m not putting my best foot forward. There’s a reason I’ve always attracted men my dad’s age with cut-off shorts, Crocs, and snaggle-toothed smiles. There’s a reason guys who look like they’re still in high school drama club conjure up the courage to message me. There’s something about my profiles and IRL appearance that shows my lack of confidence. I need to act like and become the adventurous, confident alter ego I imagine myself to be—and then take pictures of me embodying her because online dating is visual.

I think I want the “nice guy” until someone more interesting comes along. I met the most stable, generous man while living in Australia. He’d cook while I ironed his clothes, drive me home so I could avoid the two-hour commute on public transit, offer to take me to the grocery store so I didn’t have to walk back to my hostel with all my bags, and pay for every meal during our weekend staycations. He was even down with being exclusive—an agreement I royally screwed up when I met the Scott Eastwood doppelganger living down the hall. I always do this—ruining a good thing for no real reason is my forte.

I haven’t been working on myself because I didn’t think I’d need to with “Mr. Right.” Keeping my cool, putting others first, and staying on top of my finances don’t come naturally to me. But how successful would my relationship be if I never worked on my patience with the belief my partner would never make me want to raise my voice? Let’s not fool ourselves into thinking that once we meet the “right person,” everything will work itself out without effort. I know now that I need to get my life in order first.

My dating isn’t aligned with my values. I want honesty and monogamy—purity, even—but I’m weak when it comes to having my beliefs influence the way I date. I get nervous and forget to ask questions, move too quickly into intimacy, and word vomit my feelings all over him. It’s no wonder I’m still single.

I can’t be found since I never put myself out there. It’s pretty unlikely I’ll meet a young, single, straight male coworker at Girl Scouts or my all-female college, and I don’t have my pizza delivered, so there’s that. Apparently, you have to actually leave the house and socialize for others to know who you are.

I always give too much way too soon and it scares guys off. With one guy, I got tickets to a soccer game, paid for dinner, and brought him a single rose on our first date. One of the last guys I dating was donned with all his favorite snacks in case he wanted to spend the night after a concert. Being the female romantic is probably super cute once you’re already snatched, but not so much when the relationship is undefined. Note to self: don’t smother, mother, or bother him with clinginess or aggression.

Part of me believes that all guys are the same. Virtually all the guys I’ve dated are the same, but the common denominator in those equations is me. Having a negative attitude about the opposite sex isn’t going to attract the kind of guys I’m into and I need to change my attitude if I stand a chance of finding love.

I’m not prioritizing friendships. My potential dates want to know there are people who know and love me enough to give me good advice, double date, and join my wedding party. But if I’m only dating or so wrapped up with work and school and not maintaining my friendships, what am I gonna do while he’s out with the guys?

I don’t prioritize a friendship with the guys I date. Only recently have I dated guys I’ve taken the time to truly get to know as people. Knowing who someone is today is great, but knowing how he became that person and who he might be in the future are crucial for long-term potential. A friendship needs to be at the heart of every romantic relationship if it’s going to last, I think.

I’ve been holding guys up to standards I don’t even meet. I’m not looking for a perfect 10 with a great credit score, perfect abs, an awesome single mom and sisters who raised him, and no sexual history. But any guy I meet could see that I’m clocking 60-100 hours a week at work and have little drive to grow in my career or prioritize my mental, physical, financial, or emotional health, at least up until now. I was overall unhealthy and yet looking for the guy who had all his ducks in a row. What was I thinking?

I need clarity on what I want and need. I’m allowed to change my mind at any time. At one point, I thought I wanted to marry a missionary, but I can’t commit to a lifetime of fundraising my salary and living in remote countries. Once I’m clear on what I want, I can attract that type of man and become that type of woman. Until then, I think I’ll focus on me.

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