Empty

Something I hear far too often is that people create online dating accounts not to form any sort of relationship with someone, but to create validation for themselves. This is a disturbing thought, as it puts your self-worth in the hands of others, rather than finding it in yourself or in God.

I am going to tell the stories of two different friends to show that seeking validation from the opposite sex is never a solution to finding your own value or self-worth.


Jenn* signs online and checks her messages.

157.

The number hovers over her little envelope like a little prize. Her heart leaps at the thought of a Prince hiding in her inbox — then drops when she doesn’t find him after searching in countless messages. Why don’t the good guys ever message her?


Mindy* signs onto the same app from her phone and holds her breath as the page loads.

zero.

There isn’t even a notification for this number; just a giant blue envelope with a glaringly invisible orange digit in the top corner. Disappointment creeps silently through her body, and she sighs as she swipes through the app in hopes to find a new match who will message her.


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Jenn lets out a soft groan as she reads through her messages. Nothing is new or interesting; just the same old pickup lines and mundane conversations she is so used to. Where is the excitement in dating? Nobody captures her attention, much less can keep it. She doesn’t look forward to signing on anymore; she just wants the dozens of first dates and “getting to know you” conversations to be over. She wants a boyfriend; someone she can count on and actually have a meaningful connection with. There is an empty ache in the pit of her stomach.


Tears well up in Mindy’s eyes. Why don’t men desire her the same way they do her friends? Where are the floods of messages she was promised for being a female? Why does the gaping hole in her heart feel as empty as her inbox?

She quickly feels unwanted and undesired. This turns into a slippery slope and leaves Mindy to picture living life alone. She forgets about the friends and family who surround her and absolutely love her, and her self-worth rapidly depletes.


Jenn and Mindy both close their eyes in their respective apartments. They are experiencing the same overwhelming feeling — loneliness.

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Today’s lesson: The real truth of the matter is that happiness and contentment don’t depend on the number of people at your disposal. Honestly, even having a great boyfriend doesn’t make loneliness completely disappear. You can’t rely on others to bring you contentment in life because they may not always be there to give you the love and security you are longing for. Instead work on feeling secure with yourself and finding greater purposes with your life than being connected to someone else — that’s just a really great bonus when you do find the right person!


*Names have been changed to protect privacy.

Don’t Be A “Fixer”

You know how people sometimes think if something major in their life changes their relationship will automatically get fixed? I’ve always thought this goofy reasoning — until I felt completely trapped in a very unhappy, unhealthy relationship and didn’t know how to end it.

They say hindsight is 20/20, but they* also say love is blind.

Oh, boy, are they right.

I felt like I’ve always had a good head on my shoulders and am pretty self-aware (Yes, I do know I am an over-sharer and write a little too much about love on social media, but what else am I supposed to do with a dating blog?!). I suppose I was even back then, as I noticed the gut-wrenching nausea and overwhelming sadness when I really thought about our relationship, but I shoved the feeling back as best as I possibly could. After all, one day things could be better. It was a long shot, but maybe I was actually the exception to the rule. Maybe it was just the long distance taking a toll on us, or maybe it was just extra stress from having a chronic illness. After all, I reasoned to myself, I wasn’t used to being sick yet. How could my boyfriend be?

Back then I was a “fixer.” Not in the great sense of putting work into a relationship to make it more beautiful, but instead forcing myself to believe that everything in our relationship would be fixed once our circumstances changed. News flash: Anyone who has seen He’s Just Not That Into You should absolutely know they are never the exception to the rule. This is just something we tell ourselves when we are terrified to leave a bad situation.

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Things got so bad that I finally had the thought that at least whenever I eventually had children I would have some sweet little companions who would actually want to spend time with me.

Ugh. I cringe so hard just writing all of this.

What does this have to do with my relationship with this individual? Why in the world wouldn’t I want both a great husband and wonderful kids? You don’t have to choose just one. How would something as difficult as adding little human beings that you have to raise and take care of every single day help make a relationship any better? If anything it can definitely be a (rewarding) strain on a relationship; not something that will glue it back together.

Sometimes relationships that are broken aren’t meant to be fixed. If you haven’t made a lifelong commitment to an individual it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been dating; you don’t owe them an unlimited amount of time to try and fix things. There might be a very important reason your relationship is so broken — you just aren’t meant for each other.

Now that my head is clear and I’ve learned some very valuable life lessons, I realize that trying to fix someone into being your “perfect match” is a terrible way to live life. If they don’t understand your love language or make you feel cared for, find someone else who will. If your partner doesn’t want to spend time with you or blames everything that is difficult in life on you, find someone who will hold your hand and help you through the rough patches, rather than throw his hands up and complain about them. You deserve to be with someone who knows your worth, and shouldn’t have to fight for someone you care about to love you back.

Today’s lesson: If you feel trapped dating someone, he probably isn’t the right person for you. A relationship is healthy if there are a few disagreements here and there — that’s what makes it real — but your love life shouldn’t be a battlefield. It should be a place you feel safe, secure, and comfortable in, rather than on anxious and on edge.


*Whoever the heck “they” is.