Date Yourself Before You Date Anyone Else
Back in college, I was your textbook definition of a hopeless romantic. Always wanting the ones who didn’t want me back and never appreciating the ones who treated me right.
I was an asshole on a path of self-destruction. Caught in a vicious cycle of never feeling good enough for anyone — especially myself.
Let me start by giving you some context on why I felt so pressured to find love.
I lived in a house where every single one of my roommates had a girlfriend. My roommates were constantly doing couply stuff together and I always felt like the odd man out. Third-wheeling had become second nature to me.
I always saw them happy together and I craved to have what they did. “If I just find a girlfriend, that would solve all my problems” is what I constantly told myself.
It became an unhealthy obsession. I was depending on another human being to bring me happiness. Here was my first lesson.
Try and Date Yourself First
After I went on a couple of dates that didn’t amount to anything, I felt lost. The dates weren’t necessarily bad but never resulted in anything more.
Each time it didn’t work out I felt like I wasn’t ever going to find someone. Feeling down and out, I was having dinner with my cousin one night when I told him about my troubles.
He paused, looked down at the table for a moment, and told me, “You have to be ok with being alone. You could die alone and you have to accept that.”
I was shocked at first. Usually, when I bring this up with someone they just tell me to keep trying, and eventually, something will work out. I felt sick. I don’t want that to happen to me I thought.
Coming home that night feeling lower then ever I took a deep long look at myself for the first time in what felt like years. I looked tired. I felt ashamed.
I came to a realization that night. All my time the past year and a half had been focused on making a connection with someone else. When the person I had been neglecting to connect with was standing right in front of me.
I was trying so hard to make one of these dates work and blossom into something more. So much so that I wasn’t being true to myself because quite frankly, I didn’t even know myself.
How can you expect to make a connection with someone else when you can’t even connect with yourself?
That night I promised to start doing things I enjoyed. I finally understood that I wasn’t ready to date other people yet. I had to date myself and figure out what I liked and wanted out of a relationship.
I started going to restaurants and seeing movies that I wanted to see. I focused on developing my hobbies and spending more time with my friends. The whole point was finding out what I liked to do.
Cause what is a date really? Other than doing something you like with someone you like. Focus on just having a good time and being fun to hang out with. Doing so will attract the right people around you.
Stay on this path and you’ll be surprised who you end up meeting.
Let it Happen Naturally
Taking time to date myself had made me more comfortable in my own shoes. For the first time in a long time, I was just happy doing what I was doing.
My last semester was coming up and I remember looking in that mirror again after a summer focused on personal growth. This time there was more life in my eyes and I felt like everything was going to be ok.
I did not solve all my problems by any means. What I did successfully change was my attitude. I no longer felt pressured into getting into a relationship. Every day seemed to slow down and I was finally able to stop and smell the roses.
That was finally when I found what I was looking for.
We met in class at University and everything just seemed to happen organically. The conversations between us didn’t require a lot of effort. Since I knew myself better, I could see we had a lot in common.
One day, I finally got the courage to invite her out. It was my birthday party. All my friends were going to be there and I was nervous because she wouldn’t know anyone.
When she finally got there, she made an effort to get to know every single one of them. It took my breath away. No one had ever taken that much of an interest in my life. I knew at that moment that this is what it’s supposed to be like.
I’ll be honest, I was a mess. I had no idea what love was supposed to feel like and how to find the right person. If I can figure it out I know you can too.
It all starts by looking at yourself in the eyes and finding out who you really are. You’ll be surprised by what you find out.