When it comes to love, life tends to take the following course: early adolescence – first crush > first boyfriend/girlfriend> first kiss >> high school – first love > heartbreak > despair >> university – experimental years > open mindedness/ambivalence/uncertainty>> young adulthood – the great search for something real and meaningful > looking at your friends in a different light > putting yourself out there > (occasionally) falling on your face.
It’s in that final phase that people start to take risks. They’ve reached an age where they can’t let too many more moments pass them by. They jump on opportunities and put themselves out there in a way they never thought they would. They’ve reached a new level of honesty with themselves, aren’t afraid to ask for what they want and make few apologies for having done so.
But when things don’t work out their way, it’s easy to regret having said or done anything at all. ‘Oh, I wish I could just go back in time and take that back. I wish things could just be as they were.’ Putting yourself out there is NOT the problem, it’s a great thing. Yes you might be faced with some disappointments, but isn’t it better to know the truth? After all, what we’re really looking for isn’t just someone who is nice and bright and attractive, we’re looking for someone who deals with situations in a way that makes us comfortable, who doesn’t shy away when times get awkward or hide at the mere sight of a bump in the road.
The person we’re looking for would never make us feel uncomfortable for having expressed romantic feelings even if they didn’t feel them back. They would recognise the courage that took, feel flattered by it, and embrace us even more as a friend. The person we’re looking for would never turn a short sexual fling into a reason to end a friendship. They would have enough consideration to be honest and say ‘this isn’t what I am looking for at the moment, but I think you’re an amazing person and quite frankly I feel closer to you for having been through this together.’
At a distance we can romanticise almost anyone. But are they made of the material we need them to be made of? Putting yourself out there and not getting what you thought you wanted isn’t something you should feel badly about, but instead take comfort in. Because you’re that much closer to finding the person who can offer you all of the things you need.