Despite What TV Tells Us, Love Is Not A Game

Despite What TV Tells Us, Love Is Not A Game

People’s emotions and sense of security are not toys to be played with.
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If you’re anything like me, you probably get very emotionally invested in the shows you watch. If you’re a lot like me, you have, at one point or another, found that you could strongly relate to a certain character, compared that character’s experiences and the events on the show to your real life (or vice versa), and used the important lessons they learned to navigate a similar situation of your own.

I’ll admit it: I’ve totally had those “if my life was a Netflix series, people would be so entertained by it” thoughts. I’ve always tried to tell myself that it’s not that weird—after all, the storyline is supposed to resemble real life, and well-written characters do start to feel like real people after a few seasons! And I think it’s fair to say that movies and TV shows definitely shape our expectations of reality to some extent. But one common television saga that should not be accepted in real life is that of the super-complicated relationship—the one that derives all its excitement and appeal from the drama, uncertainty, and never knowing what’s going to happen next. The idea that love is a game you’ve gotta play to win.

Buuuut…as you probably know even if you aren’t an avid Netflix-watcher, relationships like that exist, here and now in the real world, and are actually pretty common. I am able to write this article from a personal perspective because I, too, spent several years of my life involved with a “man” who treated our relationship—and my feelings—like a game.

He was hot and cold. We were on and off. It was a roller coaster. I knew he had many exes, and they were all “crazy.” There were arguments, usually bad ones, and then a breakup. And then the whole infamous “I still love you” thing. “The time just isn’t right. We can stay friends. Maybe one day we’ll be able to try again.” More talking, more texting. Then Facebook told me he was seeing someone new, someone he’d referred to as “just a friend.” He never mentioned it to me, though we continued to text pretty often. I may have been acting like I was cool with it, but my friends were not. They tried to get me to realize that he was lying by omission and it was totally not okay, and I pushed away the tiny little voice in my head telling me they were right. It must’ve meant something that we were still talking…

Well, apparently, it did, because no sooner had he changed his Facebook relationship status to “single” than he started to seem very interested in me again. When we got back together he told me he’d missed me. Then he had “too much going on in his life” to be in a relationship. Then I found out—unsurprisingly, not from him—that that same ex was back in his life. He told me some bullshit story that I, for whatever reason at the time, decided to believe. Then he loved me again. Then more fighting started and I called things off. I started seeing other people, and assumed he was too. That should’ve been the end of it, but for the sake of keeping this story short, let me just say this—it wasn’t.

I wish I could say that I stayed above the drama, but I can’t. As ashamed as I am to say it, I think that on some level, the unpredictability of it was what kept me hooked. But I now ask you this: can you really blame young girls for buying into the intrigue of those drama-filled relationships? It’s not like anybody wants to be hurt, pushed around, cheated on or lied to, or enter a situation that will inevitably cause a world of heartbreak, but in modern dating culture there is this deeply ingrained idea that predictability is boring, and any relationship that seems “too easy” will be unfulfilling.

It’s ridiculous. And the media definitely does not help. Movie and TV show plots that present love as a game do not help. People’s emotions and sense of security are not toys to be played with, and there should be no place for the roller-coaster drama that fuels entertainment in our real lives. If something’s telling you that you’re falling into this trap, trust your instincts. Love is an adventure, but don’t think you have to accept lies, games and constant second-guessing as just a normal part of the ride.

Cover Image Credit: counselinglongbeach.com

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To The Person Who Broke My Heart, A Reflection

A reflection on what I have lost.
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To the person who broke my heart,

I am writing to you from my bedroom on Valentine's Day, a holiday meant to celebrate love and companionship between lovers and friends. All week, I've been listening to the plans being made to celebrate the holiday: dinner and a movie, a walk on the beach, a picnic in the park. My friends have been talking excitedly about the gifts that they are going to give to their girlfriends, the romantics within them awakened at the prospect of strengthing their established relationship. However, I shall be alone this Valentine's Day. There will be no one to give me flowers, no one to give me chocolates, and no one to tell me how much they love me.

That could have been you.

If you're reading this, I wanted to let you know from the start that this letter is not meant to harass you or criticize you; I just want to let you know how I've been feeling since you've called it quits.

When we went on our first date, I knew my feelings for you to be true and not just some passing fancy. For once, I believed that the seed of love had been planted within the soil of my heart. It had been so long since I had felt so strongly about someone. I felt like this was the start of something beautiful, the start of my first real relationship with someone I connected deeply with. I began to imagine all the things we would do, of all the things we would see, of those tender kisses shared beneath a starry sky and of nights spent cuddled in a warm bed.

I felt attractive and beautiful for once.

Every time you put your arm around me, every time you embraced me, I felt as if I were floating high above the world, carried upon the wings of Cupid. I told everyone about you, about our dates, about the kind of person you were. I was so happy and excited about you, about the kind of relationship we were going to have.

Then, you kissed me. My first kiss was with you. In that moment when you placed your lips upon mine, the whole world melted away and it was just you and I. I was dizzy with happiness, feeling as if I were going to faint at any moment from sheer joy. I remember how you told me how happy you were after you kissed me and my heart sang; for once, I thought, I was going to have someone to share my life with.

But then, things changed.

You left our date early on Friday, leaving me alone for the rest of "Singin' in the Rain." I wished I would have fought harder for you to stay, but I understood why you had to leave. I always wanted to be understanding with you, to make sure you knew how much I cared. You canceled our date Saturday too, making me even more worried. Then came Sunday. The day you broke my heart.

Just as quickly as it began, it ended. You called it quits and pulled the roots from my heart. Did you know, when you gave me the news, I lied to you? I told you I understood, that it was fine, but it wasn't fine. I was distraught. I cried. I felt like such a fool for letting myself be taken with you so quickly. From that day forward, my life became bleak. I took no enjoyment in anything and saw happiness nowhere. I was jealous of those who were in love, of those who have just begun their relationship, while I was pushed back into a dark pit of despair after I had crawled back to the top. My heart lay shattered upon the ground and I didn't know how to pick the pieces back up.

You know what hurts the most? The fact that it seems like it never happened. When I look back on our time together, it seems like a dream, that I had created a fantasy world out of sheer loneliness. I wonder if you think of me at all. Do I ever cross your mind? Am I ever brought up in conversation? Or was I just another face, another heart to break? Was I to be a conquest that turned out to be unsuccessful? I don't think I shall ever know.

To be honest, I blame myself. Maybe I was too forward or maybe I was too suffocating. I blame myself for letting my emotions getting out of hand. I blame myself for not writing to you or checking up on you. I blame myself for dwelling on something people would've normally have gotten over quickly.

I want you to know that I don't hate you, I don't think I ever could. My mind wants me to hate you, to pick out all your flaws, but my heart still wants me to see nothing but the good. I don't think I shall ever forget you.

Promise me something, though: the next person you date, please, don't break their heart.

Cover Image Credit: Columbia Pictures

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A Swipe In The Right Direction

When you know, you know. You know?
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They say that love finds you when you least expect it, and boy, can I vouch for that. Fall semester of my freshman year, I studied abroad in London, and as any girl would in a place full of hot accents and even hotter football players, I got on Tinder.

I had always dreamed of going to London and falling in love with a British guy who would sweep me off my feet, just like how you see in the movies. I went on a few dates, but nothing had stuck. About halfway through the semester, I just gave up. I figured maybe it wasn’t meant to be, maybe I wasn’t supposed to get swept off my feet. Not even a week after having this thought, I met Liam.

I had been talking to this guy for a couple of months, but I had never expected anything to come out of it. After all I had given up on British men. The first thing he said to me was that “You look like you’d be a good laugh.” He was funny, attractive and although I didn’t know it at the time, I was excited to talk to him. He had something about him that just made everything between us very relaxed and easy, and I had never even met him!

It was the week after I came back from Greece when we decided to meet up. We met at Victoria Station in the serial killers section of W.H. Smith (I thought it would be funny). When I first looked at him in person, the single word that popped into my mind was, “Wow.” He was even more attractive in person and his accent was to die for, and that was only the beginning.

I wasn’t nervous at all, which was shocking for me, actually all I felt was excited and happy to see him. We started off or date that Sunday by going on a tour bus, and yes, I mean the exact kind that you see in the movies. We got on, sat down and just talked about everything from what countries I had been to so far to our dogs that had passed away. It was an interesting conversation, but the fact that we could talk about stuff like that the first day of meeting each other was oddly comforting.

Five minutes later, we got off the bus partly because it was too cold, and partly because we didn’t care what Roman had built what bridge. We began walking around when we saw the London Tombs, and decided to go inside. The setup was a mix of a museum and a haunted house and he happened to be the leader, which resulted in me trying to hide in his sweatshirt when things popped out and him trying to shove me in front of him because he didn’t wanna walk toward the creepy people that had disappeared. Safe to say, we ran out of that place when we got to the end and saw the guy with the chainsaw.

Next, we got lunch at a coffee shop and we were in the middle of talking when he asked me on a second date. I couldn’t believe it. First, I had never had such a unique date with anyone, nor had as much fun on one. Second, we were only halfway through the first one and he had already wanted to see me again! I was so stupidly happy, of course I said yes.

Our next stops were the M&M store in Leicester Square and the tiny Christmas village, both of which consisted of him trying on hats to make me laugh and me taking pictures because it was just too good of an opportunity to pass up. It started getting late and even colder when we were walking and decided to go into this café that looked cute, and more importantly, warm.

It was the National Gallery café, and of course since the National Gallery is free, we went in and walked around. We laughed at the paintings, picked out our favorite ones, told each other very obnoxiously artsy opinions about what we thought was happening in each one. He even tried to touch one and got screamed at by security. We decided to leave after that and when we got back to Victoria, we stopped to get tea and ended up talking for another hour or so. Afterwards he walked me to my bus stop, we went in for a kiss, and I accidentally hit him in the face with my hat. We tried again and it was perfect.

I had never expected to meet a guy like Liam in all my life. He was interesting and exciting and being with him made me feel so alive. That same guy is now my boyfriend of three months. See that’s the thing, when you stop looking for love, it finds you. You can’t rush it, and you can’t let it control you. With him, I was completely myself and he loved that about me. You have to wait, and I promise good things and good people will come along and you will be so stupidly happy that you won’t even remember what it was like to not have that person in your life.

Cover Image Credit: Picjumbo

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