It’s Margarita Monday! Each week, we’ll be publishing a story about dating by Lauren Levine and/or Ali Washburn to go along with the latest episode of “The Margarita Confessionals,” a podcast for the jaded dater. You can find it on Soundcloud or iTunes.
When you grow up watching movies like “The Notebook” (or anything by Nicholas Sparks, really) it’s easy to get sucked into some pretty unrealistic expectations about love. You’ll just bump into your soulmate one day and the rest will be perfect, lovey dovey history, right? We had Andy Goh, Digital Communications Specialist at The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art and host of Final Round Radio on this week (for real this time), and we discussed the RomCom portrayal of love and soulmates versus what these concepts actually look like in the real world. Regardless of your take on whether there’s a perfect person for everyone, here are some strategies you can adopt if you’re looking to find a great relationship:
Invest in a solid relationship that’s not perfect
If your definition of true romance is a Disney-esque connection where nobody fights, you’ll be waiting until household objects and woodland creatures sing to meet your partner. Instead of holding out for a completely flawless partnership, invest in a strong relationship that still takes work. Be okay with the occasional fight. Accept that you’ll have to have hard discussions. Learn how to express your feelings, even if it’s awkward. Remember that even Allie and Noah had to deal with this stuff in “The Notebook.”
Focus on building friendships first
Dating apps are useful and fun, but they put a lot of pressure on you to immediately connect romantically with someone you’ve just met. This doesn’t sit well with everyone. Andy explained that he prefers to focus on building relationships in a platonic way first, and then he’ll see if something deeper develops. If apps feel overwhelming to you, this is a strategy worth adopting. Get more invested in the community. Attend events, even if they’re out of your comfort zone. Take classes. Volunteer. Meet people organically, and see if a romantic connection develops from there.
Get yourself to a good place
Inevitably you’ve had a day where you’re ranting about how you’ll be single forever and someone tells you that you should just focus on yourself because you can’t love anyone else until you love yourself. You might want to slap them as they say this, but the advice is valuable. If you’re feeling unsettled in any way (you hate your job, you don’t have the body confidence you’d like, you want stronger friendships) put your energy toward these areas of your life first. Confidence attracts positive relationships.
The other thing to consider: cut out the “what if’s” as much as possible. What if you don’t meet someone? What if the person you just started dating ends up cheating on you? Is this person you’re on a first date with The One? Instead of trying to predict what you have little to no control over, focus on what’s going on right now. Improve your life. Meet new people. Put yourself out there. And only let yourself analyze what’s currently happening. It’s a much more manageable approach.
Photo: Courtney Schramm