Let’s talk online dating:

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I meet my fiance on Tinder, so lets talk dating apps, shall we? Everyone is moving to them, maybe they aren’t as cliche or frowned upon as they used to be. I remember when I started using them Junior year of college (in 2014) they still had a ton of stigma around them, and rightful so, it can be dangerous to meet a random stranger off the internet, that hasn’t changed over the past 20 years.

But what is the key to making dating apps work for you, in a way that you want them to? In the “I’m not looking for a hook-up” way, the “I’m online shopping for my future husband” way?

Here’s some things I noticed after being on and off of them for three years (about a passive year in total) and finally finding love via swiping right.

  • First things first, let’s start with safety: Maybe it’s not worth saying anymore, maybe we have all learned enough by now, but I still feel like I need to mention it. Meet your dates in a public location. Drive separately, don’t let them pick you up and don’t let them know where you live. Spend your time with them around other people and don’t get yourself into a position were you could get hurt. Tell someone where you will be and what this guys first and last name is.
  • Keep your bio direct and your motives clear: State what you’re looking for. If you want to start as friends and see were it goes, put that in there. If you’re looking for a relationship, put that in there. Maybe all guys don’t read your bio (it’s true that a number don’t) but it’ll help weed out some of the ones that do but aren’t interested in what you are. If it’s not in his bio? Ask him and ask him early on. Don’t beat around the bush. It’s needed information. You want to be on the same page. Another thing? Believe him when he says he’s not looking for anything serious and don’t bother.
  • Make them text you for a bit: It doesn’t have to be terribly long, but it’s a good idea to text someone for a few days to get an idea of who they are. I know some people go on dates the night they match or the one after, but if you want to keep yourself from going on a lot of bad first dates it’s a good idea to slow the process down enough that you have an idea of who you’re going out with.

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Friendship: Beautiful but often temporary.

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We like to think that everyone in our life is there forever, and it’s true with family, but with friends it’s normally not the case. We love the concepts of best friends for life and we don’t like to think about the fact that most people only end up passing through. It sounds terrible to say that people are temporary, but yet, their time in our lives often are.

As I was making the guest list for my wedding I found myself thinking back to high school. I thought I’d have a different group on that list then I did, if you flash forward to college, my list would still be a little different. I’ve lost a lot of people over the years, and most of them fell off naturally. It’s not something I think about often, after all, I’ve gained a lot of people too, but some of the people I lost I thought would be around forever. I never thought it was naive to think that, but clearly it was. It got me thinking on how I view friendship and how I should.

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Romantic relationships are partnerships and should be treated like it.

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In Australia they don’t say ‘my significant other’ they say ‘my partner’ because that is what relationships really are, they’re a partnership.  I often see hear people talk about how you shouldn’t rely on your partner, and I agree with 50% of what they’re saying.

I agree that you need to be able to function without them, you need to be able to live if something were to happen to them or if something were to happen to the two of you. But not being able to function without someone and relying on someone are not the same thing. You should be able to rely on your partner. They should be carrying you when you can’t carry yourself. I know that there’s an idea out there that you should never be unable to do things alone, but it’s false, everyone needs help, and sometimes we need a lot of it. I touched on this in my relationships and mental illness post, but the same way they should carry you when you can’t, you should carry them. It’s a two-way street. It’s a partnership.

The whole premise of dating isn’t just for fun, though it’s turned into that over the years, it’s that you’ve got someone by your side to tackle life with. It’s a try out session for the partner that will last you a lifetime. And being a partner means a lot more than being in love with your best friend. It means that you ask each other for permission before making sizable decisions. It means that you seek each others advice on near everything. People hear you talk about these things and think that you’re in a controlling relationship, but that isn’t what its about. It’s about wanting the others opinions and wanting them to agree with you as you make choices that will effect both your lives.

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Mental illnesses and romantic relationships:

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You don’t need to love yourself before someone can love you, that is something that I hate hearing, mainly because it’s not true, but also because it doesn’t inspire one to love themselves, it just tells them that they are worthless now. The intent behind it is something to talk about though, and that is that you need to take care of yourself sometimes before you get in a romantic relationship. That is true, even if the saying people have made out of it is false and cruel.

You can have successful relationships when struggling with your mental health, there is no question in that, but there needs to be some serious reflection on how your mental health is affecting your actions and also affecting your thoughts.

Mental illness can make us more stand off-ish or more clingy. It can make you hide the truth or deliver it in hurtful ways. Mental illness effects us all over, which is one of the reasons society needs to take it more seriously, but it is also a reason why you need to evaluate yours before you dive into a romantic relationship. What behaviors are your mental illness affecting and how will they effect a loved one? Everyone has a few behaviors that aren’t ideal, everyone has things they need to work on, but if we currently have more than normal, we need to address them before we make a significant other address them.

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Actually it does matter: Not dismissing your emotions.

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When I get upset I tend to tell myself “it doesn’t matter”. When people get angry they tend to tell themselves that the people they’re angry at “don’t matter”. When big things go wrong in our lives we tend to say “it doesn’t matter”. As if saying this over and over again will make it true, like it will take these things that obviously do matter and make them cease to.

It might seem harmless, but pretending things don’t bother you doesn’t make them stop bothering you, it just suppresses them so they can come back and bite you later. It’s why people bring up long past arguments in fights. Those things were never resolved, and yes, they’re still angry about them, even though the person they are fighting with has long since forgotten them. It’s a surprise to them, which normally makes the fight deteriorate at a rapid speed.

So yes, it does matter, it all matters. If you’re trying to dismiss something because you don’t think it should matter, that’s still something you need to dissect. If it shouldn’t be a big deal you need to figure out why it still feels like a big deal to you. Maybe you don’t need to get the other person involved, maybe it has nothing to do with them. If it is you, you should adjust, but if it’s them, or even a little bit of you both (which it normally is) you need to talk about it. Notice that I said talk, not scream, it’s normally best to calmly discuss things so you don’t end up attacking instead of resolving.

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Four Signs that it Might be Time to End a Friendship

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Note: This photo is from the 8th grade, I’m using it stock image style. Don’t take it personally if your feet are in it!

This time of year everyone starts saying things like “new year, new me”. I’m not one of those people. I like setting goals for a new year, but trying to overhaul your life starting at midnight is never the way to go. With that being said, the new year does make you look at your life in a different light. You start to go over all the things that happened in the past year, including everything that happened between you and your friends.

A friendship is like any other relationship, it has ups and downs and we have to take it for what it is. But sometimes they are unbalanced, and the mass amounts of downs start weighing on you. We make excuses for these people and sometimes they deserve them and sometimes they don’t. Let’s talk about when they don’t. Let’s talk about the signs that you maybe should leave a friendship behind in 2016. Continue reading

Single Status: How to Embrace it and Prepare for the Next Move

singleI’m a relationship person, I have no illusion that I’m not. I’m a nice mixture of romantic and realistic and am really good at making people feel loved. So needless to say, I went through a stint of time while I was single that I was actively looking for a boyfriend, because I didn’t really want to be single. I’m not saying that I had this huge change of heart and now want to stay single at all costs, because that’s not the case, but I will tell you accepting that you are single and learning how to benefit from this stage of your life is a game changer.

  • Learn the real benefits of single life: And when I say real, I don’t mean the fact that you’re not committed so you can do whatever with whoever whenever you want. If casual hook ups are your thing, so be it, but that isn’t the definition of single. Being single brings benefits away from boys completely. Imagine that. It means you can spend more time on your friendships, it means that you can travel without being homesick for a person, it means that you can spend your time working on your career goals- or maybe a novel. People always pretend that singleness is completely freedom from sexual commitment and responsibility, but it has a lot more to do with the ability to give other things a higher percentage of your abilities and freedom from the time commitment.
  • Identity: When we date someone they become part of us, and in fairness they should. When you’re sharing your life with someone they should have influence on you and you should on them. It’s a side effect of spending a lot of time with anyone really. But I’ve found that when we’re in our first love or in our early youth we tend to absorb more than we should. You know that whole thing about finding your other half? Don’t buy it. Being single for a while gives you the ability to figure out how to be whole without someone, and it will mean when you get in a relationship, you’ll be able to pick out someone who is also whole. Then you can be two whole people loving each other and supporting each other; properly.
  • Don’t Count Down: This one really got me towards the beginning of my single life. I was doing the “I want to be married by 25 and have kids by…” Okay, now, slow down. Life doesn’t happen on a time line. We can’t pick and chose the important dates in our lives. I’m 20, I shouldn’t be worrying about it yet, if I want to worry about not having kids yet when I’m working on 35 that’s fine, but right now there is no biological rush. There is only tomorrow, and I don’t need to meet the man of my dreams tomorrow. I don’t need to rush things. Everything is happening as it should, and time is not the enemy.
  • Standards: People tend to drop theirs when they are desperate for love. Learning to accept being single means that you won’t just throw yourself at someone who is a bit off. I’m not saying that there is a perfect man out there so don’t make lists of things you want in a guy. You’re going to be extremely disappointed. Rather, realize that you deserve something good for you, and that if you have to wait for it, so be it.