Deep down I’m pretty sure most of us hope for a prince charming to swoop us off our feet when we least expect it, or a princess riding past us on a gorgeous horse and knowing you absolutely have to catch her name. This is the ideal fairytale. A chance meeting. Knowing in your bones in that moment, this is the one for you.
Life is not a fairytale. Your happily ever after should not be a fairytale. Because that “spark” isn’t what keeps your relationship solid when her grandfather passes away, his mother leaves his dad or one of you loses your dream job.
I’ve been advised several times from my best guy friends “you need to guard your heart.” They are trusted friends, smart people and kindhearted men, but that is one of the worst pieces of advice you could ever give someone. No, I do not wish to be a doormat in a relationship. No, I don’t wish to be used for sex while dating. But if you close your heart off, that isn’t really living. It is setting yourself up for failure. There is bravery in living with your heart on your sleeve.
There is bravery in being unafraid of being hurt because you believe that your person is out there. I believe there are many people out there for us. Each one serves a purpose, teaches us a valuable lesson and stays with us for the just amount of time for us to learn it. I have encountered a certain type of guy with a cyclical problem recently. He cycles through women allowing his idealization of Happily Ever After and combined fear of opening up enough to fall in love to talk himself out of any and every potential future with the girls he dates.
Do I seek this kind of guy out? No. Have I happened to fall for many of them? Yes. They come in all different shapes and sizes with different personalities but the same core struggle. The ends with these guys has been some of the most painful of all. They make promises they can’t keep, they say things they don’t really mean, and they act one way and then turn around and do something completely out of character.
If I were to “guard my heart” after these relationships to constantly avoid the potential of being hurt, I would never give myself a chance to be vulnerable and find that love so many of us desire, whether secretly or outwardly.
We are all on our own clock. No matter how close you are to your best friend, your life will not match theirs. Just because you’ve been with your significant other for 6 years, does not mean you will continue to see eye to eye, that you’ll both graduate at the same time, that you will both find work in the same town, or that your relationship will follow the same track as others. My mom used to say “just because your best friend jumps off a cliff, do you?”
She urged me to remember that doing what I felt was best for me and sticking to my values was the best choice. Just because your best friend from high school is getting married at 22, does not mean you need to be aiming for that too. Heck, I am almost 22 and I am beyond nowhere near getting married.
Knowing what you want is not a bad thing. It is an incredible quality.
You there. You feeling down about dating, feeling like your time isn’t coming, feeling like you’ll never meet your person. I urge you to stand strong against the beautiful honeymoon phase followed by a merciless ex, the incredible first dates followed by a poor second date, and the unreal first kisses followed by miserable break-ups.
I urge you to stay open to possibilities, to give people chances and to forgive even when it feels like the most impossible thing to do.
We all want that happily ever after, and some of us have to trek farther and longer to find it. But life isn’t a fairytale, nor should you want it to be. Life is a crazy rollercoaster that twists your stomach, makes you feel elated, and then drops you like a hot potato. At the end of this rollercoaster, you’ll be so thankful you held on.