Why is dating so hard?

I don't know whether it's because of COVID or it's just me but dating is really hard. 

I'm in my 20s, I'm young, I’m fun, I’m busy, I've grown to love myself and be self-aware, I know how to look after myself and not put a relationship in front of everything else, I have a lot of free time, I know what I want, it should be easy right?

Unfortunately no, its not. And a lot of people would agree. Many of my friends are in the same boat and the ones who are in relationships have been in them since high school. I feel like high school crushes and relationships were so much easier. You spent a lot of time together in classes and lunch and recess, and got to know each other before things got romantic. There was way less pressure because you could be yourself.

Whereas now, whether you're in university or you’re working, for many people it’s really difficult to meet someone. Dating apps only work for some people, you have to be so lucky. I tried and I honestly wish I didn’t. In my mind, I believe in being friends with someone first before jumping straight into it and then if you both have feelings for each other then initiate! But don’t be friends for too long otherwise it gets complicated when one of you doesn’t feel the same way. Being friends first takes away that pressure of feeling like you have to impress and be someone else when you should really just show them who you are from the get-go.

A lot of people’s relationships work differently; some go slow and some go fast and you have to find a way that works for you both. After a while of talking every day, things fizzle a bit, maybe you’re comfortable enough with that person to not talk every day. There’s always that weird phase when you see each other a lot in one go and then maybe one of you feels overwhelmed and don’t see each other for a while. Or when you don’t know whether to initiate a catch up without seeming too clingy so you wait for them to do it, but they acutely want you to do it. That’s confusing to me and many people I know. I am definitely one of those people who needs reassurance and when the slightest thing changes, I start getting worried. I’ve learnt not to press and give the space they obviously need, but also, a girl needs her reassurance. Is it too much to ask if you’re on the same page? And when is the right time to ask? Unfortunately, there’s no real answer to that because everyone is different and every relationship is different.

You’d think as life goes on, things get easier because you’ve gotten older, you’ve learnt more about yourself and what you want and need from life, friendships and relationships but it doesn’t. But one day it will. One day all that quiet struggle and not knowing will get easier when you remember that you shouldn’t have to wait for anyone, or deal with anything that confuses you or makes you feel like crap.

Dating is hard for many reasons… There could be a lot going on in your or their life, schedules may cross over, common ground isn’t given, very high expectations from movies and social media, then plain exhaustion. The more expensive it gets to just live and do and have the things you want makes it harder to hit the traditional milestones, sustain good mental health and many other things. I’m not saying don’t do it, I’m saying do it, as much as you can. Even if the stress is too much, you’ll learn from it and you’ll grow from it, and one day all of it will have been worth it.

Tagged in What messes with your head, relationships, dating, love, self-love, self-discovery, Student health, mental health, health, health and wellbeing, Wellbeing