Don't Give Up On Love

Whatever You Do, Don't Give Up On Love, It's Really All We Have

Knowing what a heartbreak feels like taught me what true love really means.

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Throughout my high school years, I suffered through quite a few heartbreaks when it came to romance. After each one, I was always told the cliches, like there are plenty of fish in the sea or one day my prince would come. At first, I believed it, and patiently waited until the perfect boy came along. Potential Prince Charmings entered my life, but after playing with my emotions, they proved not to be the ideal boy either.

Suffering through a couple breakups eventually had me feeling defeated. I was terrified to feel that kind of pain again, so I figured if I just stopped dating, there would be no way to experience that.

Seeing couples outside or beautiful romance movies made me realize that this was no way to approach the situation. I wanted to find someone that would make me feel the way Rose did when she spoke to Jack, but I didn't know how to do this while ensuring that I wouldn't get hurt.

After giving up for a while because I still lived in fear of getting devastated by a boy, I remember getting a piece of advice that not every boyfriend needs to turn into a husband. Initially, I was confused because I thought that finding your soulmate was the whole purpose of dating. They later explained that yes, people date to find a forever love, but sometimes that doesn't work out and that's actually okay. Dating when you're young is meant to be a learning experience, yet it still has the possibility to last.

I accepted this wise guidance and eventually reopened my heart. I'm extremely grateful that I did because it allowed me to begin dating my current boyfriend, Louis. He allowed me to break the lock I had around my heart because he proved to be the kindest, most genuine, loving person.

This taught me that some people truly have all of the right intentions and if it's true love, your partner would go to the ends of the world for you. He's everything that I didn't even know I needed in a boyfriend and more. In the past nine months of being together, he has turned me into my best self and has guaranteed that I always feel appreciated.

I now recognize the influence getting your heart shattered can have, and it actually serves a positive impact. Yes, breakups hurt... a lot. No matter how traumatic the heartbreak, everyone has an opportunity to gather themselves after a suitable period of mourning and use their experiences to better their next relationship.

Former flings teach a person the traits that someone should seek and those to be wary of. Knowing the red flags of a partner that doesn't consider your feelings as a priority could save someone from future pain. Most importantly, being with someone who doesn't completely value your love will further your appreciation for those that do.

To this day, I still don't believe in many cliches, but I know this one is certain: you must kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince.

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I'd Rather Be Single Than Settle: Here Is Why Being Picky Is Okay.

They're on their best behavior when you're dating.
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Dating nowadays described in one word: annoying. What's even more annoying? when people tell you that you're being too "picky" when it comes to dating. Yes, from an outside perspective sometimes that's exactly what it looks like; however, when looking at it from my perspective it all makes sense. I've heard it all, "He was cute, why didn't you like him?" "You didn't even give him a chance!" "You pay too much attention to the little things!"

What people don't understand is that it's OKAY to be picky when it comes to guys. For some reason, girls in college freak out and think they're supposed to have a boyfriend by now, be engaged by the time they graduate, etc. It's all a little ridiculous; however, I refuse to put myself on a time table such as this due to the fact that these girls who feel this way are left with no choice but to overlook the things in guys that they shouldn't be overlooking, they're settling and this is something that I refuse to do.

So this leaves the big question: What am I waiting for?

Well, I'm waiting for a guy who...

1. Wants to know my friends.

Blessed doesn't even begin to describe how lucky I am to have the friends that I do. I want a guy who can hang out with my friends. If a guy makes an effort to impress your friends then that says a lot about him and how he feels about you. This not only shows that he cares about you but he cares about the people in your life as well. Someone should be happy to see you happy and your friends contribute to that happiness, therefore, they should be nothing more than supportive and caring towards you and your friendships.

2. Actually, cares to get to know me.

Although this is a very broad statement, this is the most important one. A guy should want to know all about you. He should want to know your favorite movie, favorite ice cream flavor, favorite Netflix series, etc. Often, (the guys I get stuck on dates with) love to talk about themselves: they would rather tell you about what workout they did yesterday, what their job is, and what they like to do rather than get to know you.

This is something easy to spot on the first date, so although they may be "cute," you should probably drop them if you leave your date and can recite everything about their life since the day they were born, yet they didn't catch what your last name was.

3. How they talk about other women.

THIS IS CRUCIAL FOR FINDING A NICE GUY. It does not matter who they're talking about, if they call their ex-girlfriend crazy we all know she probably isn't and if she is it's probably their fault. If they talk bad about their mom, let's be honest, if they're disrespecting their mother they're not going to respect you either. If they mention girl's physical appearances when describing them. For example, "yeah, I think our waitress is that blonde chick with the big boobs." Well if that doesn't hint they're a complete f* boy then I don't know what else to tell you. And most importantly calling other women "bitches" that's just disrespectful.

Needless to say, if his conversations are similar to ones you'd hear in a frat house, ditch him.

4. Phone etiquette.

If he can't put his phone down long enough to take you to dinner then he doesn't deserve for you to be sitting across from him. If a guy is serious about you he's going to give you his undivided attention and he's going to do whatever it takes to impress you and checking snapchat on a date is not impressive. Also, notice if his phone is facedown, then there's most likely a reason for it. He doesn't trust who or what could pop up on there and he clearly doesn't want you seeing. Although I'm not particularly interested in what's popping up on their phones, putting them face down says more about the guy than you think it does.

To reiterate, it's okay to be picky ladies, you're young, there's no rush. Remember these tips next time you're on a date or seeing someone, and keep in mind: they're on their best behavior when you're dating. Then ask yourself, what will they be like when they're comfortable? Years down the road? Is this what I really want? If you ask yourself these questions you might be down the same road I have stumbled upon, being too picky.. and that's better than settling. :)

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My Experience Falling For A Straight Guy And What It Taught Me

If you've ever fallen for a straight guy, I'm here to say you're not alone.

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Unrequited love is part of the human experience. It doesn't really matter if you're gay, straight, or bisexual. Everyone has cared for someone who didn't reciprocate those feelings. Some people even become drawn specifically to what they can't have. Since we can't control our feelings, it's inevitable that we would eventually meet someone who didn't share those feelings.

For gay men, most of us came of age in an environment where other gay kids were either closeted or nonexistent. I'm not sure if things are easier for gay youth today, but dating wasn't an option for me in high school. So I don't see how I couldn't have fallen for straight guys as a teenager. This is something I (and so many other gay men) know all too well. They were really the only guys our age that we were exposed to.

I always thought that once high school ended, these heartbreaking crushes on straight guys would end as well. But I was wrong. My most recent experience came a few years ago. I had just ended a six month long period of back and forth with a guy I went on a couple of dates with. The good news is, we've stayed friends. The bad news is, it wasn't the right time for either of us to be together.

I was online one day and came across a video of this musician on YouTube. We'll call him Mike. Mike was singing and playing guitar in some parts of the video. In other parts of the video, he was giving an interview. I was immediately struck by his good looks. I was also struck by his apparent shyness and introverted nature. Despite his quiet demeanor, he was so talented as a singer and musician. I also developed an admiration for his songwriting skills.

A crush soon developed, because I identified with him. I could relate to his quiet nature with his creative spark still yearning to get out. It was a juxtaposition I felt I understood. I decided to send Mike an Instagram message telling him I enjoyed his work. When he didn't respond, I decided to reach out on Facebook instead. I also took it upon myself to ask about any upcoming performances. I wanted to meet him in person. Mike responded thanking me for the compliment and directing me to his website with information on his shows.

I feel it's important to note that my crush wasn't akin to a teenager obsessed over a celebrity heartthrob. Mike wasn't famous and didn't appear to live a rock star lifestyle. He was an independent artist who performed at local bars and seemed very approachable. I felt like this was a guy who I could possibly bond with. Of course, I wanted something more than friendship, but I was also aware that I haven't even met him yet. I didn't want to get too ahead of myself.

Over the next few months, I sent him a few other Facebook messages to which I received no response. Two of them were simple, "Hi, how are you doing?" messages. The other one was a song I wanted to share with him since we're both music lovers. I wanted to develop a bond with him but was curious as to why he was ignoring me. I sent him an email asking if he received my messages. He responded telling me he doesn't like to use the internet to chat.

I should've gotten my first clue when he ignored my Facebook messages. I should've taken the hint when I read his response to my email. However, I was so deep in my crush that I made up an excuse. I thought, "Oh, he just doesn't want to chat on Facebook. He probably prefers to talk in person. If I send him letters via email, maybe that would be more his style."

I knew Mike had a show coming up, but I wasn't sure if I should go. Even though I wanted to believe his email was to be taken literally, a part of me knew what he really meant. I asked a friend for advice and she encouraged me to go. She said, "He might be friendlier in person. Who knows?" So, I took her advice and went to three of his shows.

All three shows were great. We didn't get to say much more than "Hi" to each other at the first show since he was so busy. However, I did notice that he was standing close to a particular girl most of the night. I soon realized this was his girlfriend. Surprisingly, I wasn't that disappointed. It didn't discourage me from trying to pursue a friendship with him.

I never wanted to come in between the two of them. But I still wanted to give friendship a try. A part of me thought that maybe they would break up for reasons unrelated to me and I would have a chance with him. However, a stronger part of me was more realistic. After all, who knows what could've happened? We could've gotten so close as friends, that viewing him in a romantic way may have felt weird. He could've revealed himself to be a totally different person than what I envisioned and my feelings may have deteriorated. Maybe I would've been turned off from being around him completely.

Of course, I'm also aware that my feelings could've grown stronger and it would've been too painful. If that was the case, I would've come clean about my feelings and ended the friendship. But I never had a past experience to compare it to. Friendship with a straight crush was never an opportunity that presented itself to me. Hence why I at least wanted to give it a chance. But I would never get that chance.

We talked a bit more at the second show, but it amounted to no more than small talk. His friends and fellow performers soon arrived. They commanded his attention more than I did. Still, he was very friendly and introduced me to some people. After the show, I felt like I was on cloud nine. Now that he spent some (albeit brief) time with me and seemed very welcoming, it felt like we reached a new level. It seemed like we got past the awkwardness of only communicating online.

At the third show, however, things felt very different. I purposefully arrived an hour early so we could actually talk. However, Mike didn't arrive until a mere 15 minutes before showtime. He immediately got out his instrument and started practicing. I realized this wasn't the time to talk. I didn't want to disturb him. So, I sat and watched the show. He did a great job and I enjoyed it. But whenever he had breaks in between sets, he would talk to his girlfriend. Again, I didn't feel it would be appropriate to interrupt.

I didn't get to talk to him the entire night. I left feeling defeated and disappointed. I planned on asking him if he wanted to hang out sometime. Since I didn't mean for it to sound like a date, I was going to include my friend in the plans. I dreaded the thought of asking him via email since it was clear to me that our online interactions were abysmal. Looking back, I can see that fact alone should've convinced me to back off. But I was so lost in my infatuation that I didn't listen. I sent the email and awaited a response.

For months to come, there was no response. I eventually sent him the same letter via Facebook. Again, months passed and I received no response. In retrospect, I see that you can't expect much from people. If someone doesn't respond the first time, you cut your losses and move on. Yes, it's incredibly rude and insulting. In fact, I feel ignoring people is even more insulting than being mean to them. However, you must hold onto a shred of dignity. But I wasn't ready to do that.

Mike had another show later that year. For whatever reason, I saw this as an opportunity to reach out again. I sent him a short letter on Facebook telling him that I wish I could make the show, even though I couldn't be there. I also wished him good luck. It was shortly afterward that he blocked me on his Facebook. He also blocked me on his Instagram.

Now, I realize that reaching out again was a dumb move on my part. However, it was incredibly frustrating to me that he handled it the way he did. He could've sent me a response at any time making it clear that he wasn't interested in my friendship. I'm sick of people ignoring others because they're afraid to hurt their feelings. Believe it or not, there is a nice way to reject someone. Instead, he chose to block me rather than answer me.

A couple of months passed and we entered a new year. I couldn't stop thinking about Mike and how things went down. I didn't want to leave things the way they were. It was clear to me now that there was no chance at friendship. But I at least wanted closure, so we could leave things on good terms. I decided to send him a lengthy email apologizing for not taking the hint sooner and clearing up my intentions. I didn't mention my crush, because I felt it was unnecessary. I went to sleep that night with no expectations of a response. Either way, I said my peace and knew that my attempt at closure was all I could control. If he didn't respond and things were left with him blocking me, oh well. At least I tried.

I woke up the next morning and saw a response from Mike. I was surprised, to say the least. I opened the email and read what he wrote. It was just one sentence thanking me for the kind note and for respecting his desire to keep to himself. I felt a sense of relief that he gave me the closure that I needed. Regardless of whether it was done out of pity or if it came from a genuine place, I was happy.

But that doesn't mean it has been easy for me to move on. I still think about Mike all the time. I don't really understand why, since I barely know him and he didn't exactly treat me very nicely. I guess sometimes people just get under our skin and there's nothing we can do about it. I'm sure I'll meet someone else down the line and move on. A fulfilling relationship has to be more powerful than an unrequited crush.

When I sent the email looking for closure, I promised Mike it would be the last time he heard from me. I wish I could say I kept that promise. However, two years after sending that email, I came across an article that said someone in his family was diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. I felt terrible for Mike and wanted to reach out. I sent him an email acknowledging that I've broken my promise. However, I said I felt it would be remiss of me to not reach out after hearing the news. I wished him and his family well. I said I would be praying for a recovery. I also told him that I wasn't looking for a response from him. Which is a good thing, because I have yet to receive one.

I'm not sure if he's angry that I contacted him again or just doesn't care. Either way, I know my heart was in the right place. I know a lot of those reading this can relate to my story. One of the things I learned from my experience is to not let your heart overpower your head. It can be hard to let go and move on when someone isn't even giving us a chance at friendship. When that happens, it allows you to hold onto a version of them you've imagined in your head. This makes it even more difficult to move on.

But as I said, a fulfilling relationship has to be more powerful. I remain optimistic that when I'm ready, love will find me and I'll move on. For those of you who are in similar situations, please learn from my experience. Don't make the same mistakes I made. Look out for the clues in the beginning, because you can't expect people to be clear with you. If someone doesn't respond the first time, take the hint and move on. Know that you don't deserve to be treated that way and that person doesn't deserve your time. Know that you will eventually meet somebody else and move on. Falling for straight guys is inevitable and it happens to the best of us.

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