Let’s just be honest: being single when you don’t want to be can really, really suck. Being happily single is great. But when you want a partner in crime and yet your life feels like an endless stream of lame first dates, you can’t help but hop on the express train to Discouragedtown.
I went there and back a few times while trying to find love in the most difficult city to date in the world; I know firsthand how it’s easy to get caught up in negative thought patterns. It’s hard enough to find someone who shares your love of udon noodles and “Parks & Recreation” GIFs. So make it easier on yourself by abandoning these six destructrive relationship myths are that so easy to get stuck in:
1. There’s only “the one” for you.
A romantic notion? Yes. A realistic one? Come the fuck on. There are 7.2 billion people in the world — how could there not be tens of thousands of gentlemen and/or ladies who you could fall in love with? Finding a partner, whether it’s for the rest of your life or just for right now, is all about timing, chemistry, and a little bit of luck.
2. You’ll have to give up your friends, etc. if you’re dating someone.
Healthy relationships aren’t about maing huge sacrifices: a good one makes your world bigger, not smaller. Sure, you may shift around your priorities and make smaller sacrifices, like maybe missing a few of your favorite TV shows or getting less sleep. But if a relationship is right for you, you won’t feel resentful about the little changes you make. And if someone you’re dating is making you feel like you have to choose between your career and him, or your friends and him, or your family and him, that’s controlling behavior you want to run screaming in the other direction from!
3. “All guys from online dating sites are creeps” / “If a woman didn’t make me laugh, she’s too boring for me to date” / any other all-or-nothing judgment. Dating is more than just hoping for the right chemistry — it involves some detective work! Do at least a little investigation before you make any disqualifying judgments about a person.
Now, I’m going to write something that might not be popular to say, but it’s true: Most of my friends and acquaintances who are single and don’t want to be cling onto negatively beliefs about other single people. Newsflash: that attitude wafts off you and it’s off-putting. There are good people on online dating sites (I found my husband on OK Cupid!). Maybe that woman who didn’t make you laugh at first is shy at first. You’re losing before you even begin if you decide not to give someone a chance without doing some investigating first.
4. Being in a relationship/getting married will solve all your problems.
There’s a reason so many of us want relationships: being in a good one is one of life’s most rewarding experiences. But don’t delude yourself into thinking “life will be so much better if I have a partner,” as tempting as that may be to believe. The shitstorms of life will blow through whether someone is standing under an umbrella with you or not.
Take me, for example: within the first seven months after getting married, I lost a friend to suicide, one of my siblings relapsed into drug addiction, and my aunt was diagnosed with cancer. I’m not a particularly spiritual person, but I started to wonder if God was punishing me for being happy. Yes, I had someone there to hold my hand through it all — and that is a comfort indeed — but even my husband couldn’t make life’s difficulties go away. Its a fallacy to belief the rest of your life suddenly cleans up if you have a boyfriend, girlfriend, husband or wife.
5. You’re doomed to repeat your parents’ relationship.
I’ll save you a few thousand dollars on therapy right now: since our parents’ relationship(s) is the one modeled for us growing up, it can’t help but shape what we think a relationship is supposed to look like. But that is true for good or for ill — we have the power to take what we’ve been exposed to and use it to shape us. If your parents modeled respect and good communication, you’re fortunate that that will be your idea of “normal.” If your parents couldn’t discuss something difficult without screaming and rolled their eyes across the dinner table, it may seem “normal” as well but you have the power to make the conscious choice not to behave that way in your own relationships.
I heartily suggest that if your parents didn’t have a healthy relationship, you could benefit from an uninvolved third-party like a therapist to help you figure out what “normal” is.
6. “I’ve had too many sex partners ” / “No one will want to date a former addict” / “I need to lose 15 pounds first.”
Yes, there are people out there who will decide they won’t want to date you based on XYZ. But why do you want to date those people anyway? Someone who makes you feel constantly like you need to lose 15 pounds isn’t going to be fun to date; someone who judges you for how many people you’ve slept with isn’t going to be fun either. There’s not a lot to be gained about trying to force those people to like you. A healthy relationship is one that enables you to work through — or at least, manage — your insecurites.
Yeah, it truly hurts to be rejected over something about yourself that you can’t change (or can, but haven’t yet). But the harsh truth is that a person who rejects you isn’t right for you. And you know what? Someone else will be right for you. Someone else won’t care about your credit score, your shitty car, or how many women you’ve slept with — you just have to find them. Now, aren’t you happy there are 7.2 billion people in the world?
Read More: How to Find Love (Not Just Sex) on Dating Apps