1. Not being over someone else yet
Rebounds – we’ve all had them. A rebound relationship can be a great (but unfair) way to move on from someone, particularly if that breakup really messed with us. However, a rebound relationship can backfire and leave you in a worse place than before on so many levels. First, you’re leading on someone who might be perfectly decent, loving, and really into you. You’re using an innocent for selfish means, whether it’s trying to make your ex jealous, show your ex that you’re “winning” by moving on so fast, or trying to soothe your own loneliness without true emotional investment. How would you feel if you found out that the person you’re dating and really like is only with you to show up his ex? Maybe he even likes you as a person, not just as an end to his means, but he thinks about his ex when he takes you out to dinner, he wishes it was his ex’s hand that he’s holding when he holds yours, and he wants it to be her that he’s falling asleep with – not you.
If you haven’t gotten over someone yet, your new relationship won’t be able to thrive. How could it thrive if you’re constantly keeping tabs on your ex? You’re kissing your new beau but your mind is fixated on the picture your ex got tagged in with someone attractive. If your body is here, but your heart is elsewhere, this relationship can’t work. You’ve got one foot on the train but the other foot is still on the platform – decide where you want to go.
2. “Playing the game”
This is one of the most pervasive, blatant, obnoxious, destructive, annoying, stupid, and hindering aspects of dating today. Playing the game. So many pointless rules that only frustrate yourself, your potential partner, and serve no purpose. Everyone is caught up in a vain and self-defeating contest to see who can care less – if he takes X minutes to response to your text, you have to wait X+10 minutes to reply to him; you can’t call her until at least two days after your date to show that you’re not desperate and that you have a life; you can’t double text even if you really want to talk because then you look clingy and like you have nothing better to do; you’re “talking/hanging out/a thing.” It’s an endless contest to “win” by showing that you care less than them. And you wonder why you can’t find and hold a good, strong relationship?
It’s a frustrating cycle that leaves both of you dry and waiting – if you waited 10 minutes to respond, he’s going to take 15, so then you take 20, and on and on – so ask yourself, what is the point? Does it really matter it you respond right away instead of staring at your phone and waiting for the minutes to pass until it’s “okay” to respond? Maybe you’ll actually have a real conversation with good back-and-forth if you just respond when you see his messages. Sure doesn’t seem like “winning” if you’re losing the opportunity to create and explore a meaningful relationship because you’re busy following the rules of today’s inane dating game.
You want to be a real winner? Dispose with the game. Be a genuine, heartfelt, kind, considerate person. Respond when you see their messages and encourage a fun, playful, flirty, and deeper conversation. Don’t pretend like you’re busy when you’re staying in with Netflix so you’re “harder to get” and look like you’re doing great without them. Go out with them and build a true connection. Thank them for a great date after you part for the night. Be a real person and you’ll find yourself in a great relationship while your friends are still agonizing over how many emojis to put in a message without sounding desperate and pacing around the room while trying to wait the right amount of time before replying.
Everybody knows that everybody else always has their phone on them. We all know that we’re all analyzing how many “lol”s and punctuation marks they sent us and how many “y”s is too many in “heyyyy” or “heyyy” and damn, why aren’t they texting back?! Because you’re all stuck in a game with no winners. “Winning” by seeing who can go longest without replying? Sounds pretty pathetic. “Winning” by seeing who cares less? Sounds like you’re losing, instead.
3. Believing you deserve a great person while not being one yourself
I’m selfish, impatient, and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control, and, at times, hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.
Poor Marilyn Monroe. She’s likely ruing the day she said those words as she sees (rest her soul) what they’ve led to in today’s dating environment. This quote is popular in the Tinder profiles and Twitter bios of self-centered messes around the world. Her words are actually a great message – we all have our faults, but we should learn to accept each other at our lows to enjoy the highs together. Unfortunately, her words have become the default quote for undeserving narcissists everywhere. No, honey, this quote doesn’t mean that you deserve anything at all. And this quote sure as hell doesn’t give you the right to be a bratty, selfish, egotistical, and self-centered hurricane.
We all have at least one friend that fervently believes that every woman deserves her Prince Charming. It’s doesn’t matter if the woman has actually done or is doing anything to earn a Prince Charming, just by virtue of being a female, she deserves a great guy. And yet, what does this wannabe princess do? She’s always looking for a guy and if she actually gets one, she screws around because “she’s a girl and it’s okay if a girl messes up.” She finds a good guy, and she keeps her options open in her search for a prince. And yet, she goes off the rails if the great guy she’s actually dating does anything less than perfect. It’s okay if she cheats or flirts, but he better not be anything beyond polite when interacting with his female coworkers. She’s dating a good guy who’s treating her well but she falls back into her ex’s bed and then cries to you about how all guys are jerks. Are you kidding? Take a good look in the mirror and ask yourself honestly what kind of person you deserve, and what kind of person might deserve the likes of you.
4. Dwelling on past wounds
You just can’t move on. You might think you have, but it doesn’t count it you keep pulling out the old stuff. There are those types of people that, in an argument where they might actually be wrong (gasp), they go straight to the old wounds and open them up again. So do wounds actually heal if you keep picking at them? No. Yes, he forgot your anniversary. But that was five years ago and he’s been nothing but thoughtful and attentive ever since. So why do you still pull that out every time you argue? It’s often because you’re wrong and you’re looking for material about the times he’s been wrong to cover your own butt. It’s often because you have too much pride to admit that you’re wrong and say that you’re sorry, so you go for the low blow and remind him about how you cried and how hurt you were that he forgot such an important day after you spent all day preparing.
Examine the fact that you keep retreating to such old material – it likely shows that your partner has been a good one since then because you obviously don’t have new material to throw in their face, but that you’re the problem. The type of person that defends themself or diverts the argument from the real issues by dwelling on past injuries is often someone who refuses to accept any blame and manipulates the situation into being their partner’s fault. Would you want to be with someone like that? Would you like a relationship where your partner brings up the time you left the door unlocked on vacation every time you leave the house or lose something? Would you want a partner who turns every situation around into being your fault because you did “that one thing that one time” years ago? No. So don’t be that person.
5. Not saying what’s bothering you
Your partner is neither a mind reader nor a master of Legilimency. If you have a problem or issue, present it in a rational and non-hostile manner. You might think you’re being mature by trying to be patient or avoid conflict, but be smart and look at the situation. Is your anger or annoyance building up and making you snappy? Is trying to keep quiet making you agitated, stressed, and cold toward your partner? You can’t fix something if you don’t know about it. He doesn’t want to be in a relationship with an unhappy person, and he wants a relationship where he feels that he’s making the other person happy. Don’t end up pigeonholing yourself as perpetually upset and unsatisfied – they might decide that you’re not meant to be together after all, and they deserve a happier relationship. They might even say that it’s for your sake – they obviously can’t make you happy, so you should find someone else who can. That’s a pretty silly and avoidable way to lose someone you love.
6. Going through the motions without true emotions
You send her a text saying, “Thinking of you. Love you, honey.” She replies, “Aww, you’re so sweet. Love you, too!” You exchange a few more missives of winky face and heart emojis. Done. On paper, or rather, on screen, you have a great-looking relationship. You exchange a few lovey-dovey texts during the day. You post a cute photo on Facebook of the two of you with a sweet caption on their birthday, saying how lucky you are to be dating such a handsome man. It’s easy to look like you have a good relationship without really having one. It’s easy to send a nice message without any thought behind it, and exchange the same sweet, canned responses each time. It’s easy to post pictures where you look like a cute couple with sappy statuses about how great they are without – in real life – spending quality time together or actually doing anything to show how much you appreciate them.
Showing your friends a cute text message or posting a couple-y pic might get you “awww”’s and “likes,” but is your partner getting your love in real life? Guess what. Your partner and you are a real thing (theoretically, if it’s a good relationship that deserves better). Your social media posts might get likes, but it’s just a blip in other people’s day as they scroll through their newsfeeds. Your super cute post will soon be forgotten. But you may already have forgotten your partner. They’re not just a source of good social media likes for you to capitalize on. What are you doing to maintain a true connection and show them that they matter to you beyond being a show for others? Be aware of how much you’re working for a good relationship, or you might awkwardly have to set yourself as “single” again on Facebook, all because you focused too much on that instead of your living, breathing partner.