We’ve all been there. You meet someone, you start to pay extra attention to that particular person, you think about them more and more frequently, and eventually you’re forced to arrive at the inevitable realization. Yeah, you like them. As in like, like them. After accepting this, and in some cases momentarily panicking, you come to ask yourself, “Now what?”
Television and a fair number of romantic comedies have done a stellar job of depicting the concept of dating as an assortment of cuddles, movies, and candle-lit dinners. Sure, these are all elements that can be incorporated into a relationship, but the truth is that being committed to someone is so much more than fluff and rainbows.
Frankly and bluntly speaking, dating isn’t always great. It isn’t an everlasting stroll of peace and tranquility under an umbrella of infatuated adoration that blocks out the world’s troubles. Before leaping into a relationship with someone, you should be aware of what awaits you, and that includes disagreements, quarrels, and a lot of rough patches.
It’s important to remember that your partner isn’t a robot that’s been programmed to meet your desires. He/she is a singular individual, someone with their own mindset, outlook, and opinions. Their unique perspective comes with the possibility of their beliefs varying from your own. With that being said, you won’t always get your way with things. While you may share more than a few differences with your partner, being in a relationship also means that you care about them. You care about them enough to be able to consider their thoughts and feelings, to look at a situation from another standpoint. Don’t get me wrong, being a pushover isn’t the automatic answer to anything, but there’s usually middle ground that can be reached. Sometimes a pinch of understanding is all it takes to smooth out the wrinkles.
Okay, hold up. Let’s take a step back for a moment. In order to understand your partner and receive understanding from them in return, you need to inform them of what you’re thinking. One of the most common causes for break-ups is lack of communication. And communication doesn’t just involve text messages, even if they happen to include several dozen emojis. Take the time to sit down with some chocolate bars, look your partner in the eye, and talk.
Wait what? That’s it?
Yes, it’s that simple.
If something’s bothering you about your relationship, speak up about it. If you have ideas about things you want to do together, share them. Or maybe chat about your day, because not every conversation needs a weighty topic. If you’re in a trusted online relationship, it could be a good idea to occasionally Skype and talk face-to-face. Once you’re able to freely communicate with each other, you’ll achieve a better understanding of how to make your relationship work for both sides. After all, the last thing you want is to feel trapped and unable to express yourself.
Being romantically involved can seem like quite a load at times, a mixture of too many things. But the ingredient that dating all boils down to is effort from both ends. It isn’t fair for one person to be carrying the relationship on their shoulders while the other couldn’t care less. That feels a lot like lugging around a dead weight, and a relationship that feels like a burden is never a good sign.
Equal involvement is essential, and equality is forever going to be an integral part of any relationship. Take out equality, and you might as well throw respect and dignity out the window, too.
If you really like someone, be ready to take action and responsibility for your relationship. No, you don’t have to go and spell out your lover’s name in the sky, but even things like offering your shoulder to be cried on can mean a lot.
Unfortunately, there’s always been a bit of misconception about an unspoken dating rule, something that society’s gender roles may aid. Some people seem to believe that a relationship is divided into roles, and it’s common to assume that males are obligated to act as the “protector.” This, however, is very misleading, in my opinion.
Girls, don’t be afraid to step up and guide the opposite sex. There’s nothing wrong with alternating leadership roles between genders.
And guys, society and the media can sometimes suggest that you must constantly maintain the strength of your “masculinity”. Yet there’s absolutely nothing wrong with seeking support from your lover, regardless of their gender.
Bottom line? Guide and lean on each other.
But… What if it all goes wrong?
Dating will always come with the risk of being turned away. Rejection serves as an effective blow to most people’s pride, but unfortunately it isn’t an uncommon occurrence. Perhaps you’re denied right off the bat, or maybe your infatuation decides that they aren’t interested in seeing you again in the future. No matter the details, rejection hurts.
Following a rejection, you may feel like taking some time away from the romance department. And that’s completely fine. Do stuff for yourself, go up to the surface for a gulp of fresh air. Just be sure not to rush into new relationship commitments before you feel emotionally ready to give things another shot.
Yes, offering yourself a source of distraction after a bad breakup can seem like an appealing form of refuge, but dating again too quickly is less fruitful than you may think. Not only is it not fair to your new interest to be used as a rebound, but it’s also unfair to yourself. Give yourself the appropriate time to mourn. Sometimes letting out the waterfalls for a bit can be surprisingly refreshing. You’ll know when your heart and mind have eventually opened up to the prospect of a new love, and only then will consideration of a new partnership have the best chance of blooming into something more.
Dating is no easy undertaking, and more often than not it’ll result in something other than significant advancements. Struggles and heartbreaks are unavoidable. However, if you’re willing to put in the adequate devotion toward your partner, the experience is bound to have a better chance of survival.