The 21st century world of dating is unforgiving. We all know this because we’ve all experienced it. From the guy who doesn’t want a relationship (but won’t stop texting you) to the guy who likes you (but hits on your best friends), dating has become a combination of overthinking your actions and trying to understand his.
Along with the terrifying concept of allowing yourself to be vulnerable to someone, we’ve also complicated things by accepting the different types of relationships – hooking up, casually dating, exclusively dating, and officially dating are all familiar examples to us. And with these examples are absolutely no guidelines on how to get from one title to another.
As a generation built on options with the fear of commitment to all of them, it’s no wonder dating has become an endless battle between acting on feelings while not wanting to look crazy for having them.
Although we’re all different and there aren’t any clear rules for how to date, here are some reasons for why you may be making it harder on yourself.
1. You’re ignoring red flags
Instead of remembering how he told you that you couldn’t go to the bar without him, you focus on how he surprised you with dinner last week. Or maybe he constantly comments on your weight, but blames it on concern when you call him out on it.
The simple fact is that people will give us glimpses of who they are and the complicated truth is that we tend to not (want to) see it when they do.
We mask these red flags with excuses that are followed by promises to ourselves that we’ll give him one more chance. Red flags vary for everyone, but they’re pretty much anything that he says or does that makes your heart drop and the sirens in your head go off.
Your gut feeling is the one thing people can’t take away from you – trust it.
As someone who used to be guilty of giving the guy too much credit and not enough to myself, I always resorted to hoping things would change or wondering if I was overreacting. The key to this is to be honest with yourself – if the things he says or does bother you, there’s a reason for it. After all, you deserve more than the need to rearrange your standards to accommodate someone else’s actions.
2. You’re overthinking everything
If you’re overthinking a current relationship, it’s probably because you had a past one that left you second-guessing yourself and how great you are. I say this because overthinking is a defense mechanism and defenses don’t happen unless they’re trying to prevent something hurtful from happening again.
But here’s the secret about overthinking: it makes no difference. If the person is truly interested in getting to know you, he won’t care that you texted him back within a minute or that you posted a picture of you two on social media.
If he doesn’t want to be with you, he will find any excuse not to be.
Another downfall of overthinking is that it plants problems that were never growing in the first place. If you continuously focus on the smallest details in hopes that you don’t find anything wrong, you’ll 97% of the time find something wrong. No one is perfect which means their actions/words won’t be either.
So the next time you find yourself wondering what he meant when he said something or obsessing whether what you wore was cute enough for him, breathe. Take a step back. And take pride in who you are, because the right person will already recognize it.
3. You’re expecting too much (too soon)
You deserve the world, but the guy you’ve been on 2 dates with is not going to give it to you. It’s one thing to have expectations, but it’s another to relentlessly use these expectations as a determination of how much someone likes you.
The expectations I’m talking about aren’t the basic ones on how to treat a human being, but the ones that come with commitment – only seeing you, calling/texting you daily, inviting you to family gatherings, etc.
It’s unfair to expect him to treat you like his girlfriend when you aren’t.
There’s a reason you hear more complaints about people having commitment issues than the other way around. Regardless of how much chemistry the two of you have and how much he laughs at your jokes, the majority of us aren’t immediately jumping into a relationship and prioritizing someone we barely know.
I’m not saying that your relationship isn’t heading in this direction, but that sometimes we get stuck on assuming someone feels a certain way because they aren’t treating us the way we expected.
This is where communication comes in. Before you assume the worst, gather your own thoughts on the relationship and consider discussing them with him. The only way he’ll know what you expect is if you tell him. Period.
4. You’re choosing the same type of guys
This reason is probably the story of my college career in one sentence. If you’re constantly facing the same relationship issues, it might be time to realize there’s a reason for that (besides bad luck).
Personally, my type were frat guys who were younger than me and my continuous issue was their unwillingness to commit. Who knows – there was just something about dark crowded rooms with muffled music and spilled beer that made me love bad decisions. I always blamed it on them being the wrong person for me and never considered that it was me who was looking in the wrong place. That’s the thing about being comfortable:
We end up meeting people in our comfort zone and choose the traits we like about them to create our “perfect guy.”
But the issue with this is that we’ll always come across the same type of personality traits if we’re always going to the same places and surrounding ourselves with the same people.
It wasn’t until I forced myself into an unknown territory of guys (so basically guys who weren’t conveniently friends with all of my friends) that I realized how many people I was actually missing out on.
Make an effort to spend time doing something different – go to another museum, run a different trail, or read at a new coffee shop. Although getting out of your comfort zone is difficult, it may be exactly what you need to be pleasantly surprised.