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Hello, my loves, and Happy New Year!
A couple weeks ago, I was at a dinner party. A friend’s friend I hadn’t seen in awhile told me a lot had changed for her. I told her I’d read between the lines on social media and had discerned she was going through a divorce. Another friend mentioned a mutual friend who was growing apart from her longtime partner. A friend in a different city had texted me to tell me her boyfriend had dumped her.
On and on, the news of breakups kept flowing forward.
I thought, “Damn! 2018 was a relationship wrecker.”
Then, it occurred to me that I have this same thought near the end of almost every year.
Every year, it feels like a lot more love is lost than found. I, your chronically-single relationship advice columnist, frequently kick off the new year astounded and saddened to begin yet another year in the “Lonely and Looking” boat, instead of clomping aboard Noah’s Ark two-by-two with the, what would appear to be, the 99.9 percent of Louisville who are partnered-up (Shout out to Kaitlyn for the Noah’s Ark metaphor).
But. Not. This. Year.
I have somehow escaped 2018 without feeling downtrodden about dating. I gave a lot of love advice in 2018, but it was also, finally, the year I put to use a lot of what I’ve learned about love over the years. So, heading into 2019, let my lessons be a lesson to you.
Stop dating people who don’t actually like you.
I sat around my kitchen table with a friend a couple years older than me, giving advice to a friend a good decade younger than us who was finding her way through her first major heartbreak. I’d gone through something similar around her age and had a lot to say about it, but what my friend had to say about not dating people who don’t like the things that make you you, really rang true.
One sign her husband was the one was that he loved the things about her that her ex had so many issues with. He saw her for who she was and who she wanted to be versus trying to make her who he wanted her to be. I wasted a lot of time in my youth thinking that maybe if I were quieter/skinnier/not-so-smart/more laid-back maybe that guy would want me just as badly as I wanted him. And it never fucking works. I think on some level because your energy is the same energy that makes up the universe and that energy is as old as time itself. You are who you are. You have to accept that and you have to find someone who will accept that too.
Stop dating people you don’t actually like.
Look y’all, I am absolutely vain enough to be into a dude simply because he’s into me. The problem with this is that it’s hard to have a relationship without mutual admiration. You need more in common than the fact that you both think you’re the best. The other issue, is that when you date someone based on whether or not they like you, you’re totally overlooking your role and needs in the dynamic. When I started growing more cautious about who was worthy of my time, the wildest thing happened: I went an entire year without dating a single fuckboy! Did I date men it didn’t work out with? Yup. Did I date men whose lives were messy AF? Sure. But I didn’t date anyone who was just out here being reckless with my heart because I wasn’t making being chosen a priority.
Stop being friends with people who don’t give the same weight to friendships as they do romantic relationships.
I regularly find myself the only single person at a party, which isn’t great, but doesn’t have to be terrible. But after two years in Louisville, it was beginning to make me feel bitter. I came to the conclusion that part of what was making me feel terrible was that I felt like I was on the outside of something because I wasn’t paired off. So, I made some changes. One, I cut friends who weren’t as deeply invested in our friendship as they were in their romantic relationship. You know the friends who only call to vent about their partner or when they want to go out solo. Pass. Two, I stopped just assuming that my friends with partners would be too busy to spend time with me one-on-one or wouldn’t be into whatever was happening in my life. It’s such a gift to find your friendships with people you’ve known for years getting even deeper. But it takes effort. Put in the work.
Louisville, what love lessons did you learn in 2018? Let me know at facebook.com/askmindahoney.