The Dating Merry-Go-Round

So, I started the day with a text from my bestie: ‘I hate dating and men.’ Rash, but valid. Haven’t we all been there, ladies? Some of us more than others. Cue me consoling her, praising her for putting herself out there and analyzing the ‘red flags’ together before getting on with my busy day. I ended my day with a phone call from the guy I’d been seeing for a month, who had ended our ‘relationship.’ Once again, in just under three months, I’d been completely blindsided. Which is a rarity for me—someone whose gut usually gives them all the anxious feels. But not this time.

If I knew the answers, I would preach them—but I don’t. If I could find a way to explain this phenomenon of flippant, short-lived, commitment-lacking dating, I would. Instead, I’m just a girl constantly putting herself out there in search for the elusive unicorn, with a heavy heart of let-downs, rejections and what seems like constant false hope.

It’s been too long on the merry-go-round. Living the cycle of swiping, liking, matching, talking, meeting, getting confused and then abruptly ending has become the expected pattern of my love life. It is hardly something to aspire to, but it’s also something I know I only have a 50% say in.

For these patterns to change, society’s acceptance of these behaviors needs to be modified—less acceptance of being stuffed around, supporting people in standing up for themselves and respecting themselves enough to expect to be treated with honesty and worth, nothing less. I know many girls who don’t outline explanations, who don’t say what they think or feel, and then wonder why dating doesn’t go as planned. On the flip side, I’m someone who has grown more ruthless in my old age. I’ve been on the merry-go-round enough to know what I want, what I deserve and what I need. And I voice that. More of us need to voice our desires. Our needs. Our expectations. And importantly, our boundaries.

If you want that unicorn, don’t chase donkeys (or for those in the PG camp, a**es). This is what I tell myself: the merry-go-round will slow down eventually, and you’ll take a big step off into the wide-eyed, loyal and exciting amusement park of requited love. Dream big. Hold expectations high. Be the real, amazing you and keep living your best life. Your unicorn is not far away.

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