Based on nothing but my personal experience – posting in case this helps 🙂 Every person and journey is different, but sometimes I love seeing other people’s experiences as a way of relating/thinking about my own things.
The reason why I am posting this is because I relate 400% with ALL the broken hearts posts I find here. Those were me for 15 years. I’m not posting here to brag or anything, but in the genuine hope that it helps. After 15 years of SHITTY partners, ghosting, feeling lonely, feeling bad, doing therapy, eating chips alone on a Sunday night, I finally found a partner 2 years ago. We were married in 10 months and I am giving birth to my son in 2 weeks from now. Yes, we moved fast. But we are each other’s rocks and, in spite of the occasional couples fights, we are genuinely happy. Reflecting on how I went from shitty dates to life partner, here is what I learnt:
1- The truth is, it is pretty obvious if a person is wanting to take you seriously or not. When I say take seriously I don’t mean necessarily to marry or formalize, but I mean to actually be a partner, walk life with you and SHARE. In my experience, you can grasp people’s intentions on day 1, and, if you want to be conservative about it, by the end of month 3 you know, in your heart, the answer to this question. The problem is, when we have a hunch about how that person is not really in that mental space, we just tell ourselves to give time and let it change. Listen, it won’t. You cannot convince anyone about anything. Let alone these things. Maybe you have a different experience, but mine is that. Bottom line is: if you don’t think someone is in the same page you are, just walk away. This relationship is keeping you from being in the right one.
2- Basic chemistry- physical attraction, mental and spiritual connection – matters, but it doesn’t necessarily sparkle on day 1. Don’t walk out of a first date if you didn’t feel butterflies in your stomach. If you see red flags (if you feel uncomfortable, if someone said something that hurts your ideologies and values deeply), then I can see a reason to walk away. But trust me, if someone is decent and you felt comfortable with them, those butterflies have all the chances of showing up.
3- Don’t fool yourself about past relationships. I know there are exceptions to this one (and I actually hope people change), but I encourage you not to be fooled by exs promises. Exs are like a parking ticket, on many occasions. They come when you don’t expect them, and they will claim your resources that were being invested elsewhere. I remember the countless times I was engaging with someone and my ex would show up. I would stop anything with this new person, lose momentum, feel hopeful, but eventually that ex would leave. Even if you just had 1 good date, don’t let your ex distract you. They are your ex for a reason. The new person could eventually not work out, but what if it does? I had a 2 year on and off relationship with this crazy person, but it was when I said no to one of his comebacks that I found my today life partner. We had only been on a few dates, but I thought – you know what? I don’t want to stop things with this new guy for my ex.
4- This is the most important one. Be HONEST about what you want. And be HONEST first and foremost with YOURSELF. It took me years to actually look in the mirror and say “I want a life partner”. I had this weird magical thinking that “if I want so much of something, it won’t happen”. That is superstitious and weird. If you admit to yourself what you want, you can make the smart choices that will get you there, eventually. If you keep floating around a fake idea of that flexible self, you will not be consistent and will end up in trouble. Trying to be “cool” and “chill” when that was not me led me to a LOT of wrong dates and flings. I would accept that distant and hot-cold guy because “I didn’t need that deep love”, but inside I would be broken. When you are HONEST with yourself you can be HONEST with other people. I encourage you to be upfront and ASK what you need. By month 4 I told my partner-to-be that I really was so much ready for a next step and would like to move in together. He asked me a day to think about it, and came back with “yes. I am willing to give it a shot”. He later said he would have waited a bit longer, but never regretted what he did. He thought that if that is what I needed and he could provide, he would do it, because he wanted a serious commitment too. Maybe he would have said “sorry, no.” In that case, I was ready to walk away. There is no such thing as “realistic expectations”. If your expectations are less conventional (like mine were) it only means it will take longer to find the person, but you will, eventually, and with a lot less pain. You sometimes cannot change what you are expecting, and in that case, it is better to be upfront.
5- Go on dates! Seems obvious, but you HAVE TO go and date to meet people. Use apps, the gym, school, work even, friends of friends and put yourself out there! In COVID times, there are A LOT of speed dating websites that do virtual dating. If you don’t see a lot of people, you will not find this partner. When people are looking for jobs they search every job board they can find. Why are we so stingy when it comes to dating?
6- One thing is couple’s fights, another thing is abuse. Don’t settle for someone that makes you feel like shit, weak or bad at all times. I have heated arguments with my partner, we say a bunch of bs hurtful things, but we apologize like right away and move on. It doesn’t matter what that person is going or went through: they don’t have the right to consistently abuse you (verbally or physically!!!). Narcissists are VERY REAL and manipulative. They will make you feel so guilty and lame, and they will be abusing. Abuse and love never come in the same package. When you think they do, this is not love. It is something weird. Don’t stay in those relationships, even if the good moments feel amazing. In the next crisis, call a trusted friend or family member, say what is going on, and ask them to give you strength to move on. Break up with that person on the spot, leave the place or make them leave (if it is your house) and BLOCK their number. If you feel like you cannot do this on you own, have your friend and family on the phone speaker while you do this. Those abusing partners will try to get you back, so make a plan. Stay a few days with a friend, and don’t discard calling the police if they start getting creepy and showing up at your door. If you are worried about their personal safety and that they will commit self-harm, call a family member of theirs or the police to let them know. Then you can be reassured you have done your part. STAY AWAY from manipulative narcissists or people that are hurting you. True love can be clumsy on occasions, but never consistently. You deserve better.
I hope this helps. I am CONFIDENT that anyone can find a life partner, if that is what they want. Hopefully these tips help to make the process more enjoyable.
And always remember: you are beautiful and fantastic!