I Used To Be The 'Relationship Girl,' But I Ditched That Toxic Mindset

I Used To Be The 'Relationship Girl,' But I Ditched That Toxic Mindset

If you rely on love to make you happy, you're mistaken.

caseydaly
caseydaly
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I used to have my entire wedding planned out. I wish I was kidding.

It would have been this quiet venue on the beach next to Lake Michigan in early June. Picture the color scheme: champagne and gold. I'd float down the aisle in an off-white mermaid-style dress to Johannes Pachelbel's "Canon in D" played by a string quartet. My mother would swoon, my father would cry, my single cousins would watch with doe-eyed hope and just the right amount of jealousy — take that for being cooler than me in high school!

It was to be a night of Pinterest-enviable mason jar centerpieces, perfectly frosted cupcakes, and bittersweet toasts to elegant glasses of sparkling wine. It would be Corinthians 13:1, a sappy slideshow with our infant bathtub pictures side by side, and vanilla cake with a little plastic bride and groom. And then, finally, at the end of the night, I'd collapse into the arms of the mystery man who would finally become the missing part to my incomplete pieces.

Sounds perfect, right?

*Record screech* Wrong.

"Damn.. who hurt you?" you may wonder. Allow me to explain.

Look, if you're reading this and you're in a committed relationship, please stop yourself before you come for me in the comments with the wrath of a thousand hellfires. Because, if you are with someone you truly love, then good for you! That's awesome. I have no problem with love. Love is great. I know it may not seem like it from the sounds of it, but I'm happy for you. Truly.

I'm not writing this to piss anyone off. I'm not writing this to raise eyebrows or get clicks nor because I'm the desperate girl that's salty about not having a boyfriend. I've dated around for a decent amount of time, and I promise I do know what I'm talking about. So how did I go from a #softboi who cries over Viagra commercials of a middle-aged couple holding hands on a park bench to the mere thought of being cuffed by another human being making me want to vomit in my own mouth, swallow it, then throw it all up again?

I've come to learn that idealizing love is a huge problem. And I think it's a huge problem that many of us, specifically girls, are taught from a young age. Take "The Little Mermaid." We were about three years old when we first watched Ariel trade her own mermaid tail and literal voice all for a man who says a total of two words in the entire movie and has a shape-shifting sea witch for a side chick. We're taught to parade around in lipgloss and princess crowns in our quest for our perfect Prince Eric, whilst our Y-chromosome peers are given gold stars for playing with Legos and eating their own boogers.

We swear to ourselves that we will raise our daughters to be strong women, yet we feed them crap like this. It just seems hypocritical.

We call our lovers our other halves, our missing pieces, as if we are not already complete by ourselves.

True love is not about completion. It is not about finding someone that makes up for an inner emptiness we think we have. And if you think finding love will be the thing that makes you happy, you are mistaken. People and our relationships with them are not tools we can use for our own happiness and gratification because happiness is a state of inner peace and acceptance. It can not be found externally, and that's where I think so many people get it wrong.

Growing up, too many of us rely on boys to tell us we're pretty and special because deep down we might not believe those things ourselves. I believe them now, though. And I can also say with confidence that in those times where too heavy of an emphasis was placed on my romantic relationships, I was in dire need of myself more than anyone. So, I say screw it. I say screw giving up our glittery mermaid tails. I say screw it to compromising any parts of ourselves for another person. Because that's not what love is. It can't be.

Maybe, someone, someday far in the future is going to come around and change my mind about all of this. Maybe, deep down I hope someone will. For now, though here's what I know:

I know that the last thing I want is to have to check in with another person any time I do anything, ever.

I simply don't need someone to be nagging me when I'm out with friends. I don't need snarky comments about my outfit choices (example: "You're wearing that out tonight? The guys are gonna be all over you."). I don't need someone to be worried about my guy friends who are just that — friends — nor to tell me that he doesn't trust the intentions of other men around me. I've picked up on these terrifying behaviors too many times, in my own relationships and in those of my closest friends. Something about it is so icky to me. Because love should be about being happy and free. Love shouldn't be about having possession or ownership over another person. I could be wrong, but I don't think that's what love is. It can't be.

Love shouldn't be about having ownership over another person.

We worry about being "too much" for our male counterparts: too loud, too moody, too honest, too sarcastic. We worry that our confidence, our intelligence, our opinions will scare them away. So we make ourselves smaller, and we curl our hair and fetch Miller Lites from the cooler for boys that wear tropical shirts to social events and smell like literal ham.

If I'm ever going to let someone love me like that again, I want them to love me for my strength rather than being threatened by it. I want him to know that I would be perfectly okay without him, and for him to not only accept that but to love me for it. Maybe that's too much to ask because I haven't met anyone who was ready to embrace those parts of me yet.

It's pretty surreal. That the thing I used to want more than anything, a relationship with a boy who made me the center of his world, now sounds worse than gouging out my own eyeballs with a spoon. It could very well be that I've simply changed over the past year or so, as well as the fact that I've discovered what I want to accomplish in life. It could also be that I'm jaded from my personal experiences. It could be that I'm just young, stupid, and completely wrong about all of this and I'll change my mind once I'm older and wiser. I don't think I'll be changing my opinions about this anytime soon, though. I'll let you know if I do.

caseydaly
caseydaly

Literally, so hot RN

Literally, so hot RN

I Am A Hopeless Romantic Living In A World Where One-Night Stands Are The Norm

It's the little things.

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In today's society, it can certainly start to feel like no one takes love seriously anymore.

Whether it's that one couple who has broken up and gotten back together more times than you can count, the two friends-with-benefits no one can figure out, your local womanizer, or just hookups in general, love and lust are a huge part of specifically college life and culture.

As a hopeless romantic, being part of a generation that "just wants to have fun" can be really frustrating, especially when you just want to find something real. It is so easy for people to put on a fake act just to get what they want and sometimes this can be extremely hard to see through. I'm sure we've all had some kind of incident with someone who played nice but had ulterior motives and the sad truth is that it can be impossible to recognize a person's artificiality.

I am a hopeless romantic.

I have always classified myself as such, and it has remained true. Sure, I can make the most of the freedoms I have as a single college woman, but deep down I just want to find my person.

I've had my fair share of letdowns, and I think we all have, but being a hopeless romantic makes it that much more difficult to get past the "what ifs" and fantasies that come along with starting something with someone new. We may already have our hearts set on a person when they decide they've gotten what they wanted and leave.

For me, I find myself caught up in the little things that someone does. I have always been someone who picks up on small details in situations, and sometimes this works against me.

I pick up on the small facial expressions that he may not even realize he is making; the ones that tell you when their guard has been let down, even just for a split second.

I pick up on the way he sits our two cellphones side by side on the nightstand, taking care to line them up perfectly as if that's just their spot.

I pick up on the short moments of laughter where he actually lets himself laugh and forgets about the act.

I pick up on things, and sometimes I end up hurting because of it.

When it comes down to it, though, I wouldn't change the way that I am. I wouldn't change the fact that I find myself in the search for more in a society that mostly only offers me less.

The trait that tends to hurt me most is also the one that I value most. Even if noticing all the little things is something that contributes to my own heartache, I love those moments. There is something beautiful about those tiny things shared by two people, even if the connection ends there.

Sure, it can be hard. But so can everything.

It's just a matter of finding the beauty.

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Dedicate Your Summer To Bettering Yourself For Yourself, Not Your Ex

Why waste energy on an ex who doesn't care about you anymore?

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I'm single for the summer (yet again, no shock there) but this summer there's something in the air that just feels different. It's the feeling of true acceptance of my single status.

Last summer I was single when I really didn't want to be. My heart with still holding out for a guy who wasn't interested in anything more than my friendship. It took me from late March all the way until Halloween to get over those feelings. However, while working through those tough feelings that summer, I came to enjoy my time on my own and not talking to anyone except my best friends. I didn't have to worry about when I'd get a text back, or if I'd be left on read, or who he'd be out with since I wasn't around. The only thing I needed to worry about was my paychecks and tan lines.

Sometimes after breaking things off with someone who you put so much effort into, whether it was a boyfriend, an almost relationship, or even a friend with benefits, it's easy to want to show off on social media and make them regret ever hurting you or ending things. Why? It's a nice little ego boost, sure, but after those few seconds of glee from the fact that you know they've seen and maybe even liked your picture or your tweet, or saw your story on Snapchat, do you still feel happy? No, you go right back to feeling like crap, whether you want to admit it or not. Stop making yourself all about them when that ship has sailed and start being all about you.

Your ex is off doing their own thing, maybe thinking about you, but obviously not enough to want you back in their life the way you used to be. They are probably out there finding a new person to take your spot because they don't have you at their beck and call anymore. If they're also showing off to show you how much better they are without you or to make you jealous...why are you still following them or still participating in this sick little game for attention? Grow up and block them so you don't have to keep seeing their posts, or be adult enough to stop if you're doing the same as well. If it's only you posting, chances are you just look stupid, so stop before you really embarrass yourself. I was that person, and I know first hand how embarrassed I am for acting the way I did.

Summer is synonymous for doing whatever the hell you want. Wear what you want, say what you want, and be the best version of yourself that only a high dose of Vitamin D can bring out. Your ex is an ex for many reasons. You have to set aside the summer for you and what benefits you only. Don't concern yourself with an ex who doesn't care in the least about you anymore. Coming from someone who posted thirst traps aimed at a specific person along with countless shady AF stories on Snap and Insta in the hopes that this one person and their friends would see it, just stop and save yourself the energy as well as regret.

We're all adults, it's time to stop the petty posts and photos. Post your thirst trap for yourself because you're a sexy queen who doesn't need anyone but herself. Once you start focusing on yourself this summer, instead of your ex, you'll realize just have great it feels to truly be free.

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