All girls dream of their perfect wedding. Ever since I was really young I’ve dreamt of my wedding, but I’ve also always thought that I would be one of the last of my friends to get married. As it turns out, I was actually the first of my friends to get married, something I never imagined would happen. So what is it really like to be the first in your group of friends to get married?
Dating is hard. It doesn’t matter if you’re a girl or a guy, trying to find someone to spend your life with is a challenge. That’s the whole point of dating, right? You’re trying to find that one special person that overlooks all your flaws, loves you for who you are, and would move Heaven and Earth just to be with you.
Some people seem to have all the luck, marry their high school sweetheart and live happily ever after. Hey, that’s great, but for the rest of us it takes a little more effort. You’re probably not going to find “The One” right away but don’t lose hope. Maybe you find yourself in a slump and start contemplating just how many cats you’d be comfortable owning. Maybe the last guy you went out with was a complete waste of time and the whole dating thing just doesn’t seem worth it anymore. Well on the behalf of guys everywhere, please don’t give up on us!
There are good guys out there, and I’ve put together a few tips that will hopefully help you find yours. It’s not a perfect list but it’s just a few of the things that I (as a guy) feel are important and need to be shared.
Singleness has always had a stigma of being something you want to avoid. Being in a relationship is a goal to achieve in order to have a better life…or so the world wants you to believe. Singleness always has the stereotype of the sad girl in her pajamas eating ice cream and watching a romantic movie by herself—possibly crying. I don’t understand when this started, but it’s a lie! People without a significant others live rewarding and full lives every single day. I didn’t have a boyfriend until I was a senior in college and started dating my (now) husband. I was verrrry good at being single. Now that I’ve been on the “other side” for a while, I thought it would be appropriate to share with you some of the things I miss about being a “Party of 1.”
1) Being Single is Way Cheaper!
Being in a relationship means you buy two of everything: two movie tickets, two meals at dinner, & two tickets to that concert of the artist you love who’s coming to town next summer. When you’re flying solo, you only pay for what you yourself are gonna use—one movie ticket, one meal, & one concert ticket.
Find a friend who enjoys the same things you do and you’ll automatically save money because it’s like you’re “Going Dutch” ALL THE TIME! Not to mention you don’t have to stress out about buying gifts for someone for holidays and birthdays. Birthdays, Anniversaries, Valentine’s Day, and Christmas add up fast!
2) You Can Make Your Own Schedule
When you don’t have anyone else dependent on you, you get to prioritize your own life with no hurdles. You don’t have to check with anyone else about what you’re going to do Friday. Now that I’m married, I have to check any sort of activity I’m interested in with my husband to see if A. He wants to go, B. He’s free that night and C. If we can afford to do the activity (because it costs twice as much), and D. If he can’t go, can I go with someone else. It’s just a bigger hassle than when I was in college and my decision-making process was “I like this idea. I can afford it. YES! I will go with you!”
Embrace your freedom right now, because the day will come when you can’t make snap decisions for adventures so easily. Not to mention you don’t have to hang out with people you don’t enjoy, which can happen if you don’t get along well with your significant other’s crew.
3) You Have So Much Free Time
Hanging out with a significant other is a huge time suck. Without someone always wanting and needing your attention, you can spend your time however you want, without feeling guilty that you should be somewhere else! You can work 30 hours a week on top of school if you want to make bank or dive into your studies and become a permanent fixture at the library. Find a hobby you enjoy or a volunteer opportunity to pad your resume or use your extra time to build up your faith with like-minded people. Use this time to chase after your goals full-speed and become the best version of yourself.
4) You Can Avoid Tons of Drama
Relationships and drama go hand in hand, no matter how healthy or unhealthy the relationship. Whether you’re fighting over how messy the other person is, or how they continually prioritize other people over you, you’re going to get into arguments. They’re unavoidable when men and women try to understand each other. Being in a relationship means that you want to live life with this person. That means that all their issues become your issues because you’re invested in them. You’re the person they vent to and bring problems to and you need to be there for them because that’s part of the deal. While this is a good thing, it can be very taxing.
Enjoy the fact that you only need to worry about yourself and your own problems. When you don’t have to come home and listen to your man vent about how Angela in Accounting only talks about her 5 cats and shows him her nanny-cam feed every day at lunch, that’s just one less thing to worry about. Life is messy enough on your own.
Remember: relationships are two people coming together. You bring all your strengths AND weaknesses to the table. The more happy and confident you are with yourself, the better partner you’ll be to someone later. Using your time alone to become content with where you’re at is the best way to attract someone compatible. When you love your life and can’t imagine possibly enjoying it any more than you currently are is usually when a cute stranger waltzes into your life. Or in my case, the best friend you’ve been crushing on since you were eleven texts you asking if you should’ve dated in high school while you’re casually working behind the coffee counter slinging lattes one night.
Love will find you when you least expect it. Make sure you’re actually living your life and not just killing time waiting for it to come. Stay busy in the in-between. Just because you’re single doesn’t mean you have to live a less exciting life. I genuinely miss my single days. They were so wonderful and I look back on them fondly. I hope someday you will too.
Read more about Heather here.
There’s something to be said about this generation and dating. There’s also something else to be said about how we truly feel about committing ourselves to anything…dating, school, religion, a job. You can the name the rest of the list, if you like.
We are the generation that is so afraid that we are going to miss out on the next best thing. If I decided to put all my eggs in one basket for one person, who is to say that they will do back for me?
Well, who’s to say that they won’t?
Who’s to say that they won’t love you?
Care for you?
Push you to be a better person?
Be the shoulder that you cry on?
See past all the crap you’ve been through in the past?
Bring you pizza at 2 am?
Instead, we play mind games. We keep people on the back burner for when we get bored with someone else, and hope that they don’t eventually get bored with us. We lead people on, and try to convince ourselves that we don’t have feelings for them. We never really apologize for this action either, because we firmly believe that this is okay for us to do.
That there’s no way that someone could possibly like us for us, or heaven forbid love us even. We don’t let people in anymore in the fear of getting hurt. We keep everyone at an arm’s reach, afraid to get close to anyone. Because somewhere it is drilled into our heads that everyone will leave us. It’s almost like we would much rather want to hurt ourselves, because then at least we can say that they didn’t do it. At least that keeps them being the good person in our eyes.
We don’t talk to people that we truly want to talk to, because we are afraid that they don’t feel the same. We don’t come off as annoying or needy. So, we ignore them in hopes that they will speak to us first. We put ourselves through hell, because we refuse to speak our minds and our feelings. Then we get beyond upset when they are with someone else.
We don’t get to know people past the superficial layer. We only look at the cover of the book, but we don’t actually want to know the contents that is in that book. We don’t get to know what makes them tick, their dreams and aspirations. The things that make them laugh that hardcore bellow belly laugh with tears in their eyes. We don’t get to know their music choices, or why they love certain television shows. Why they act the way they do? How their past has really shaped them. No, we look at the cover and decided that’s not the story we want.
We are the generation that keeps swiping right in hopes that the next best thing will show up in front of us. That the person we match with, will be the one. Only to be highly disappointed that they aren’t the one. So, we keep swiping and swiping. In hopes that someone better will come along to occupy our time.
But what if the best thing that will ever happen to us has passed us?
Read more about Katie here.
“What greater thing is there for two human souls, than to feel that they are joined for life–to strengthen each other in all labour, to rest on each other in all sorrow, to minister to each other in all pain, to be one with each other in silent unspeakable memories at the moment of the last parting?” –George Eliot
A simple word, but a not-so-simple feeling.
Merriam-Webster Dictionary has many definitions for this word, because it can mean so many different things. One of the definitions, my favorite, defines love as “warm attachment, enthusiasm, or devotion,” doesn’t that sound nice?
Love in today’s society is so much different than it used to be. Where there was once a clear sequence of events for dating, we are now more often than not swimming in pools of confusion. Today, there is so much texting, “hanging out,” and less communication, so finding the person you want to do life with can be discouraging. So, I’m here to let you know some dating tips that, in my experience, can help make the process a little easier.
1) Actually asking on date… IN PERSON.
Terrifying, I know, but so worth it. Being someone who absolutely hates confrontation, just thinking about this is enough for me to want to be single forever. However, this is the best way to go about it. You don’t get the same satisfaction texting someone as you do in personally asking. When you ask in person, you can see their initial reaction—the big smile that normally accompanies this request usually initiates the excitement for the upcoming date. Now, there is a chance the answer will be no, and rejection is never fun, but if you are talking face-to-face, you can actually see if the person is into you, whereas in a text you get nothing.
2) Put the phone away.
It is very rare to find someone who doesn’t have a cell phone. That being said, when you are on a date, put it away. I went on a date with a guy who sat on his phone the whole time we were at dinner—even though I was talking to him. Maybe I’m really boring, I don’t know, but it is just plain rude. If you are out on a date, the goal is to get to know the person, and that is really difficult if you are both sitting and staring at your phone screens.
3) Make sincere compliments.
Everyone wants to feel special. There was a guy that I went on a date with who did not give me one compliment the entire night…but he did talk about how hot one of the girls in the restaurant was (ouch). On the other side, I went on a date with someone else and the minute my he saw me he told me how beautiful I looked, which led to a very great date. It doesn’t matter what compliment you give, as long as you are sincere in what you are saying (because it is easy to tell when you aren’t) your date will appreciate it.
4) Say what you feel.
Say what you mean and don’t hide your emotions. There is nothing cool or attractive about playing hard to get or being purposefully emotionally unavailable. If you love someone, tell them. If you just aren’t ready for the commitment or aren’t feeling connected to someone, let them know. There is nothing worse than thinking everything is fine and everyone is happy when that isn’t the case. Plus, feelings have a way of coming out, so make sure you are the one to tell your significant other so they don’t have to go through the uncomfortable encounter of hearing it from someone else. Whether they find out you love them or hate them, it is weird and confusing learning this intimate information from a third party—so be the one to share the news.
Dating is messy and love can be hard, but it is so worth the effort. Spending the rest of your life with someone can sound a little scary, and going through the process to find the person you want to share the good and the bad with can be scary, but the result will lead to a happier life—a life filled with love.
I am a pretty optimistic and positive person but lately I’ve been so . . . . . frustrated. I want to be all empowering and inspiring and that is what Tribe 21 was founded on but it was also founded on being open and honest. And maybe I’m whining and just need to suck it up and be a big girl but I can’t help but feel like there are others out there who feel the same way I do. So with that I am writing this article.
I have been feeling so frustrated lately about my relationship status. I know that sounds dumb but it’s true. I have been feeling so frustrated and discouraged and sad. Why? Because I am 22 and single watching all my friends and classmates, one by one find their soulmate and get engaged and married. And maybe it’s because it’s the holiday season and coupley, romantic things are in full force absolutely everywhere, ahem Target I’m looking at you. But it feels like every time I log onto Facebook aka the modern day nuptial section of the newspaper, I see another engagement status or proposal photo album. And every time I see it I feel this pang of sadness inside. This heartbreaking, discouraging, frustrating feeling washes over me. I’ve felt this time and time and time again, relentless, merciless and each time stronger than the last. Sometimes it feels like it’s crushing my soul, my heart. That I want to scream at the top of my lungs, or cry for five hours or get rip roaring drunk, something to let this frustration out. But I do nothing and eventually it goes away and things go back to normal. And I know that’s bad but it’s what works. But it’s still there, in the shadows of my heart, ready to rear its ugly head when I see “Boy and Girl engaged” online.
I lay in bed asking myself why, why me? What’s wrong with me? What have I done to deserve this?
I pick a part myself and find my flaws, my imperfections, the only logical reasons why I am still single, boyfriendless and relationshipless. Why I can’t seem to get a guy interested in enough to take me on a date. And maybe I am my own worst critic. Or maybe it’s because I’ve never had a boyfriend or been in a relationship and everyone around me is moving on with their lives while I am going nowhere fast. Or maybe it’s because something is wrong with the way I look. That I’m not pretty enough, tall enough, skinny enough, have enough boobs or butt or that my teeth aren’t white and straight enough or that my skin isn’t perfect. Or that I’m too much of a good girl and not enough of a party girl that I need to drink more, party more and show off my body more.
Maybe it’s jealousy seeing everyone around me happy and in love with their soulmates and in that phase of their life while I’m stuck 10 steps behind. Or that I am too ambitious, too strong and independent, confident that I know what I want and who I am that intimidates guys and drives them away. Or maybe because I am a hopeless romantic, an old soul that believes in unconditional love, and an incredible spark between two people and all of the things Nicholas Sparks has made me believe in in his movies. Maybe it’s because I’m too boring, not exciting or bold enough. Or because I have too high of standards and this delusion that my Prince Charming, Mr. Perfect, man of my dreams is out there when no such man exists, that I’m too picky and should just pick a guy. Maybe it’s that I am too eager, that I want someone so badly that I show too much interest and reply to messages too fast. Maybe it’s because I actually want substance and conversation, emotion and vulnerability not just sex.
Maybe it’s because I’m lonely and crave a warm body next to me to lean my head on, to make laugh and make memories with. Or maybe it’s my attitude, that I’m not appreciative about being single that I haven’t found someone. Or perhaps it’s because I’m terrified that I won’t find him. And I’ll show up to my 10 year high school reunion still single while everyone else is married with families and I have absolutely no one to show. Maybe it’s fear that I’m feeling. That I won’t live up to the expectation, or standard that my classmates, society and hell even myself that has been set. That getting engaged is what you do after college and then by 25 you’re married with kids and 27 living your happily ever after. Meanwhile I’m almost done with college, boyfriendless and most of my classmates and friends are already miles ahead of me. Maybe it’s a combination of everything. All I know is it hurts a little bit more each time.
And I know what I am feeling is irrational and stupid and that none of it is true but at the same time it is true and real and I feel it. I feel it to the very depths of my heart and soul and being. I know that one day I will find my person, my soulmate but right now in the present the above is what I’m feeling. And maybe I’m overreacting and whining and I just need to be a big girl and deal with it but I can’t help but believe these are the reasons why I am single. I also know there are others out there who feel the opposite, who love their freedom, independent single life and I want so desperately to be like them but I just can’t. I know that girls don’t need men to be happy and maybe I’ll see that once I have one but for now it’s all I want in this world. So I will keep these feelings and thoughts inside until one day I find someone who shows me that they are all wrong.
“When are you bringing home a boyfriend?”
“But you’re so cute, how can you be single?”
“I can hook you up with one of my boyfriend’s friends.”
“Have you tried any dating websites?”
If you are anything like me, you have heard these phrases (probably many others) repeated to you constantly from friends and family. But have no fear: you are not alone, and there is nothing wrong with you. I have been single for the 19 (going on 20) years of my existence.
But, just because you are single now, doesn’t mean you are going to stay that way. With these next few holidays coming up, however, it might be a little more difficult to deal with your singleness. All of the cute mushy Christmas movies (which I honestly love) are going to be playing and pulling on our sad, single heartstrings. I have some help for you, with my many years of experience, to help these holidays in the single life go a little smoother.
1. Treat yourself.
You don’t have a significant other to buy anything for, so why not buy yourself a little something extra. Whether it be something you’ve been wanting for ages or desert when you go out to eat, treat yourself to whatever your sweet little heart desires, you deserve it.
2. Have a party with your girlfriends.
They may or may not be single, but just have a girl’s day to celebrate the upcoming holidays. This way, you can eat as much junk as you want, watch all the sappy Christmas movies that you would’ve watched alone, and enjoy some laughs before heading off to spend time with your family. For me, I know that nothing lifts my spirits like being surrounded by the people that make my days a little less glum.
3. Take a drive and enjoy the view.
One of my favorite parts about the upcoming holidays is the decorations. I love going out at night and looking at all the beautiful lights strung up and trees in people’s windows (a little creepy—I know). Crank up that holiday music and get into the spirit. It’s just something simple and relaxing, you need some time for yourself.
4. Eat all of the food.
Okay, well maybe not all of it, but eat as much as you can handle. All of the Thanksgiving turkey or Christmas ham, it doesn’t matter what you eat, or how much, there is no one there that you are trying to look good for. You can be totally relaxed with the fam without worrying about including a significant other, or trying to make yourself look like a decent human by eating only a little. EAT IT ALL.
5. No attempt to impress.
What’s worse than trying to impress your significant other in front of your own family? Trying to impress his. You don’t have to worry about those awkward first meetings at the holidays, and having to basically give your life story to every single random aunt or cousin that comes your way. Meeting the family is stressful, especially over the holidays. But guess what? You’re free, stay in your pajamas all month if you want.
6. Own it.
Going to spend time with family over Thanksgiving and Christmas without a significant other can be a little stressful. But you’ve got this. I have an uncle who never fails to hit my sister and me with a “when are you getting married,” and I just can’t help but roll my eyes. If you get this thrown at you as well, just accept it. Be confident in the strong independent individual you are.
They holidays should be a time of joy. Don’t let your current relationship status keep you from enjoying it. There is nothing wrong with you as a person if you are living the single life, and you shouldn’t have to feel ashamed—so don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Alternately titled, “You learn a lot about yourself and relationships after a long-term five year relationship ends. Pretty sure that Shonda Rimes could create a show on this.”
You are probably asking yourself these important questions right now:
You are probably thinking why am I just know doing this? Why would I want you to thank you after the fact? What possible good thing could come from this?
Well, I don’t have an important answer or even an answer at all. Is it for closure? I mean, that’s very possible. Or for the simple fact that even if you haven’t been in a five year relationship, at some point you know what I’m about to be talking about. Sometimes it doesn’t take a five year relationship for you to realize these things. Sometimes it only takes a couple of months.
For completely and truly destroying me:
This probably sounds silly as to why I would thank you for putting me through possibly the worse couple of years of my life. It wasn’t just you that was destroying me; I was also destroying myself. I let myself become this weak, fragile, and a dependent person for the first time in my life. If it wasn’t for you breaking my heart not once, but multiple times over the course of five years. I wouldn’t have realized who I am, or how strong I am. I was at my worst and I’ve bounced back stronger than ever.
For making me realize just how stubborn I really am:
Some things I already knew and this was one of them, but you made me realize how stubborn I really am. I never back down from argument. (That might be the reason I’m considering law school.) I always believe that I’m right, even when I know I’m wrong. I hate apologizing but I’m always the first one to do so, which makes me just as stubborn as never backing down. Even if I knew I wasn’t at fault, I still apologize. Maybe it was my stubbornness that caused so many fights or maybe you just couldn’t handle it.
For making me realize I need someone who will stand by my side and let me chase my dreams:
I’ve always been someone to support anyone of what they want to do. I realized that I need someone who will do the same for me. Someone who will tell me to go after my dream job, even if it’s in Seattle or somewhere else. Not someone who is going to make me pick them or my dream job, but someone who stand beside me and support me. I’d do the same for them, and I would expect the same from them.
For making me realize that I want someone as weird as me:
On a scale of 1 to 10 on the weirdness level, I’m a solid 2 until you get to know me. Then I’m at a good 20 on the scale. I obsess over television shows and characters. I do things that make people question if I’m normal, and sometimes I don’t make sense. I make terrible puns and bad jokes. Half the time I can’t speak in complete sentences. I geek out over random stuff. I need someone who isn’t going to judge me over crying television show or make fun of me cause I’m geeking out over something minor. Nah, give me someone who is just as weird as me.
Allowing me to walk away with my head held high:
This is something that I wasn’t sure I could do. I felt defeated, and I knew I was defeated, but at the same time I felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. Walking away from something that you love is never easy. I knew this when I made the decision to walk away, but you didn’t realize I was walking away with my head held high. It was in that moment that I knew I deserved better than what I was getting. It might have taken me a bit to figure it out, but walking away was the best thing I could do for me and for you.
Thank you for everything listed above and making me realize that I was about to settle for something that I did not need.
In the words of Little Mix, “Shout out to my ex, you’re really quite the man. You made my heart break and that made me who I am.”