According to Albert Einstein, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Well Al, one would think I would have gone stark raving mad by now.
What if Marcellus Gilmore Edson had quit trying to patent peanut butter after the first failed attempt? Where would we be today if nobody ever kept trying?
For the sake of journalism, I have chosen to expose my complete and utter stumble through romantic relationships to hopefully help someone out there, if only a bit.
I have done it all. I have had my heart broken, stomped on some myself, lied, been lied to, stayed too long and not long enough. I have found a plethora of ways to spiral into beautiful, unyielding failure.
However, absolutely none of the time spent failing is ever a waste. There is always something to learn from every relationship, date, and fling. You learn what you want and what deal breakers are. It could be as trivial as unclipped toenails or as serious as wanting children.
I have learned the hard way you cannot always be “the nice one,” no matter how tempting it may be. If someone hurts you, tell them. Do not let people play games and walk all over you then pass it off as nothing. That is the equivalent of saying, “more, please.” It is not attractive and you will earn more respect if you stand up for yourself.
Perhaps the most important thing I have learned through my years of guessing my way through relationships is that in order to have a successful relationship, one must learn to accept themselves first. If you do not have confidence in yourself, how do you expect your partner to?
So many people, especially college-aged individuals, think a relationship will complete them and give them ultimate happiness. After all, we are told teenage dating is pointless and we will find “the one” in college.
We may feel lonely on Saturday nights and think having somebody by our side watching “Bates Motel” will fix our downtrodden feelings. In reality, a relationship will not be the cure if you do not already love yourself. It sounds cliché, but could not be more true.
If there is anything I have learned from the brief amount of time I have spent single in college, it is that you need to be your own best friend.
In a way, college relationships are overrated. This is the time of our lives to learn, make mistakes and figure out who we are, where and what we want to be in the future. If you quit actively seeking out love, it might just leap out from under a rock with jazz hands and find you when you least expect it.
If we spend all our time worrying if someone is interested or not, we may miss the chance to be quirky and explore interests. Why not join the club you were always intrigued by or volunteer your time to a cause you care about? Surely these are the memories you will be happier looking back on than the nights you spent using a backhoe on your rocky road ice cream trying to forget the guy who ignored you on Homecoming night.
I am not knocking relationships as a whole. They can be truly amazing. No relationship is perfect and there is no sense searching for that. While I do not believe in soul mates, I believe it is not too much to ask to find to connect with who will be direct and have a willingness to make it work. Everyone deserves that, whether they find it in college or not.
Al, everyone is insane in some way. You have to find the degree of insanity to which you are comfortable putting up with.