I feel like our culture has changed. It used to be a good thing to have butterflies about a new relationship, but now it's "Mate, I'm so fucked. This boy totally gives me butterflies".
What happened? When did liking people become a bad thing? When did the idea of starting a relationship become scary? It used to be quite simple. Boy likes girl, girl likes boy, boy takes girl on date, boy asks girl to be his girlfriend (and if she's lucky maybe he'll give her his pin). Now, it's tinder matches, fuck buddies, playing the game, ghosting, and (ew!) catching feelings.
In the end, we all want someone to love and someone to love us. We all want to have sex, and cuddle, and go on really cute dates that make everyone hate us. Why else is #couplesgoals such a thing? Why do we sell perfume with the idea of a Parisian romance?
We don't want to be alone, yet we sabotage our chances at true companionship. Oh, us humans, we're so good at that.
Here are some tips to stop ruining our relationships and actually start having them:
1. Feelings are scary. Haven't we all been hurt by now? Many of us experienced the shitty guys or the shady girls who made our early twenties a living hell. So, the first thing to do is just say it loud, say it proud..."I've had my heart ripped apart." Just accept it. This is your first step to knowing that whoever you care about currently is not who broke your heart in the past.
2. You are in control of your freedom. I hate the phrase man up (because I have to admit to believe we are the superior sex), but man up! You are in control of your freedom! Stop being so afraid your possible new partner is going to take it away from you. I see this issue with my male friends all the time. "Oh but I have to tell her what I'm up to," they say, or "She doesn't want me to hang out with other girls." Man up! You control what you do and not do, and your partner either works with you or doesn't. If you feel beholden to check in then flip the script in your head. If your friends didn't text you back but then called you whenever nothing good was going on, you'd feel like you were just there to entertain them when they were bored. Turns out the opposite sex feels the same way. OR possibly, they just like to know that you're happy and having a good day. No one is trying to trap you and if you feel trapped, it's your job to express it. Don't run away. Ghosting is an unkind trend that makes you a shitty human. Express yourself.
3. Trust the universe. Have you ever thought "I really don't want to go out tonight", just to find yourself nursing a glass of champagne while your friends are getting rowdy? Then suddenly, you lock eyes with a stranger and find yourself laughing and trading flirty texts for days. Why did you end up out of your pajamas? Why did you end up at that bar? Why did you look over at that moment? Maybe the universe is pushing you towards a certain direction. Forget the fear and accept that something good came into your life. We over-analyze and overthink when we should take a breath and accept new growth. Stop scurrying away just because something good feels abnormal. Trust in the idea that you could have stayed home or gone elsewhere, but for some reason you were both there at the right time. Falling for someone is scary, but trust that you will be okay.
4. Accept that you have baggage. This is always a big one. If you've been hurt, you probably still carry pain or insecurities around with you. In the beginning, it always seems better to hide it rather than discuss it. This one has tripped me up before. I viewed myself as a burden instead of feeling entitled to say what was difficult or a trigger for me. I found myself trying to leave situations in order not to talk about it, because I thought talking made me a burden. But every time I did that, I showed the other person that I was willing to walk out when it got hard. That wasn't ever my intention. My intention was to save us both from the drama of talking about my "burdens," when I actually was with someone who willing to hear my aches and wanted me to open up. Accept that you have baggage, but that your new prospective partner is not your ex.
5. Stop with the petty shit. I can't tell you how much it bothers me to see people text, "I'm done with you. No, this is it." Say what you mean and mean what you say. We all get hurt. We all have tempers, but don't sabotage something potentially wonderful over momentary rage. Instead, try saying, "Your behavior is really upsetting me and if you act like this, it pushes me away." All you should have to do is voice your opinion. If you have to resort to the dramatics, then that person probably doesn't care too much about your feelings. If that is the case, you don't want that relationship anyway.
6. Forgiveness. Starting a relationship is full of fumbles. You're going to have to get past your anger or butt hurt feelings to start something wonderful. So do it, and start enjoying your life!