Dating and Relationship Advice

Dear iris,

I am incredibly impatient when finding a girlfriend or just a friend-with-benefits. I get frustrated with the ghost, games, and rejection to the point of fury, and I don't know what's wrong with me. Why can't I be patient like other guys? Why do I feel so miserable? I don't believe I'm mentally ill, but I can feel that something is, and it's been that way for a long time.

Signed, Racing to Love

Dear, Racing to Love

What’s the one thing in life that absolutely everyone wants but is not easy to find? Love. Everyone wants to feel loved, especially romantically.

So the fact you’re sick of all the modern-day dating games makes sense. It would be incredible to skip ahead to being with a great partner, but that’s not an option. I want to let you know, though, why that's not necessarily a bad thing.

You’re right in thinking that not everyone is irritated or feels impatient about their dating journey. What makes you different from those people, and how can you work towards being more like them? Stick with me here, but a lot of it has to do with mindset.

Our thoughts affect our beliefs, which dictate our actions. If you’re solely focused on the end goal (a relationship), you’ll feel exhausted and possibly a bit jaded whenever someone ghosts you or decides they don’t want to date anymore.

I want you to try shifting your mindset around all that crappy dating stuff. Instead of thinking, “Wow! What a waste of time… yet again,” re-frame rejection as another stop along your journey. That person simply wasn’t for you, and it’s better to know that now so you can find someone better later. You’d rather know they’re not that into you sooner rather than later, right?

Also, by taking your time to date and meet many people, you’re less likely to end up in a miserable relationship where you had to "settle" (and I mean that in an unhappy sense). Many people in seemingly great relationships or marriages are unhappy. They thought being single was the problem, so they picked the first person who would stick around.

But love isn’t something you can rush. I know it sounds cliché, but it comes when it does. If you try to speed up the process, that’s when you risk getting into an unfulfilling relationship.

Learning to enjoy dating, regardless of the outcome, isn’t easy, but it’s possible. Start planning dates you find fun, like going to an art gallery or listening to live music. That way, you’ll enjoy yourself regardless. Also, make sure to see your friends still and have hobbies. Maintaining a life outside of dating will help you maintain your sanity.

And on the note of mental health, don’t rule out seeing a therapist. I wouldn’t be shocked if you are struggling mentally; we’ve been in a pandemic for almost two years, AND you’re actively dating. Both of those things take a toll on us emotionally.

I’m not a fan of the term “mentally ill” because it implies you’re somehow broken. Many people are anxious and depressed. We aren’t even sure how many people because plenty ignore their struggles and never get help. There’s nothing wrong with meeting with a therapist once or twice to see if it would help.

If anything, working on your mental health will only improve your dating life (because we all love someone who is working on themselves in positive ways).

This advice won’t fix everything you mentioned. You’ll still have those days when you feel hopeless and impatient. But come back to this article, remind yourself that dating is a process, and have compassion for yourself. Love is elusive, but eventually, you’ll find it, and all of this will have been worth it.

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