(tldr in bold at the bottom)
In my 20’s, I was so blinded by my emotions and busy with work, I never had a chance to figure out what was really going on in the dating world. I wish I knew that, for most people, your 20s are all about finding out what you need for lasting happiness. That fact explains so much behavior that I felt was unfair.
When most people date, they are exploring their possible futures. They are answering questions like:
What does an ideal relationship look and feel like?
What kind of people can I like/love and what kind of people like/love me?
What future lifestyles are open to me based on my romantic partner?
These questions take years to answer, and people spend years or decades finding the answers because nowadays no one needs to have children to work the farm for their survival. People want to be certain that they know who they are and that they are getting the best life possible for themselves. And eventually, having identified their picture of success, they try to find and live that life, probably sometime in their 30s. Women who want children need to work especially hard in their 20s because, if you want a kid by 35, you need to be married by 34, so you need to be engaged by 33, in a relationship with your future life partner by 31-32, so you need to know exactly what you want by age 30-31, and so on. That’s tough! That explains why women often drop guys at any time if the slightest thing feels off. They are racing to find what they are looking for.
I remember so many times I was angry/sad after being ghosted or rudely mistreated, but I was only looking at what was immediately in front of me, not the whole future of the other person/myself. It wasn’t until I was in my early 30s when I realized the importance of shaping your long term future lifestyle. I think women realized that importance much earlier than I did.
If I could re-do my 20’s, I’d focus on the idea that people are trying to find themselves, and that I should let go of my ego and do what I can to help them on their journey, without expecting them to fall in love with me and live happily ever after. The “love” part can happen, and it can sadly not be enough, and that’s okay! I was so greedy, it was like I wanted to sink my teeth into people I liked and hold onto them for dear life, but that just led to frustration and disappointment. I’d also try harder to shape myself. At the time, I was just floating around, trying to make money, with no goal other than survival and getting some sex. I should have spent more effort figuring myself out, learning about and trying new lifestyles and types of relationships. That way, I’d know the kind of partner I could be for someone.