Are We OK, Cupid?

I like numbers. Tomorrow’s Valentine’s Day, so here are some numbers about L-O-V-E. Two million people get married in the US each year [1]. Cool, right? Wedding planning can potentially be a very lucrative business, especially if you live in Vermont, Arkansas, Nevada or Utah, even, Idaho, all of which are states that generally lead the country in marriages [2]. But did you know that 22% of the adult population in America has had a divorce? Of course, this is out of every adult, regardless of their current marital status [3]. If you move in or get married with someone at the age of 18, you have a 60% chance of splitting. If you do it at 23, you have a better shot [4]. But don’t fret! The marriage rate in the US basically doubles the divorce rate. Similar to worldwide birth-rate to death-rate ratio. I’ve written about this before, but my generation has been “gifted” with countless dating apps and a number of other things that have simply caused choice overload, slow love and a plethora of trust issues.

Dating is a mess, isn’t it? It’s a relevant topic for us. I swear, every other Facebook buddy is getting engaged or changing last names and I’m just trying to get my kitten from knocking my laptop’s mouse off my desk. None of it makes sense, sometimes, but… it all makes sense in retrospect or if you just pause to think about it. No offense to you gorgeous people out there, but “hot” girls have difficult times in relationships. They’re too objectified [5]. Adverts and the porn industry has helped nicely with that. Nice guys are supposedly victims. Urban Dictionary explains Nice Guy Syndrome the best. I’ll be honest, back in high school, I suffered from this mentality. In all honesty, I’m actually not a nice guy, I just choose not to be an asshole. Most of the time. Anyway. This isn’t about me. This is about you. Right? (Or us? *insert kissy face emojis and other things to superficially take the place of real feelings and words*)

Now that I’ve delivered a bunch of numbers to capture your wavering attention–IGNORE YOUR PHONE, that Instagram or Snapchat notification isn’t that important–I have to admit, I’m not a dating guru. If you’re spending tomorrow alone without that SO that literally every other person seems to have, I’m sorry, I can’t help you. I can be of absolutely zero assistance because I’m relatively single and haven’t had a serious or non-shitty relationship since I was 21.

But here’s the thing: tomorrow isn’t a bad day. I mean, it sucks because I have to go back to my job, but other than that, it’s just another day. Couples are celebrating their relationships and love for one another. Get ready for potential baby showers come mid-September. And I always look forward to the 15th because all the chocolate is on sale.

Despite my lack of romantic love (and honest lack of trying), I’ve chosen something better. I decided to love myself. I know that when my life-story decides I need another protagonist to move the tragedy of a plot forward, I want to be ready. I want to have my education completed, I want to have my finances in order and a good job. I want to know who I am. I want to have my goals and priorities in order. I don’t necessarily think a girl would screw that process up, but I want to have my shit together. It’s not that I don’t now, but I know I can be better. I can better me.

One of my previous girlfriends cheated. I don’t even think we were together that long. I really liked her. And it sucked but I was pathetic. I didn’t want to be alone. I didn’t want to end anything because I felt so insecure and I told myself I could make it work. Guess what? It didn’t work out and here I am. And I didn’t need it. I didn’t need her.

How many times have you told someone that they can do better? How many times have you pleaded with a bestie to dump that other person because they have zero potential to leave a positive impact on them?

How many times have you asked yourself that about the guy or girl you’re pursuing?

Love is sometimes supposed to be “selfish.” That’s not always such a bad thing. Ask yourself these things. Your happiness should be a priority and if that’s overbearing for the person you’re with or you think you’re asking for too much, then one or both of you aren’t ready.

You need to master the art of loving yourself first before you can ever successfully exchange love with someone else.

It sucks, doesn’t it? Sometimes it’s hard so it’s good to take a step back and do what I did and am doing: take a breather, and focus on you. I’ve always said this, and I’ll say it again: being with someone should never complete you or fulfill; it should only ever add to your happiness and your world. The second it starts to subtract or take away is the same second you should be heading for the door.

In reality, I could throw numbers and statistics at you. I could map out all the strategies and keys in dating. You could memorize everything I say or write. But it won’t fix your loneliness or bad luck with dating. I’ve always felt that a proper relationship takes the right timing, a lot of luck and the right person.

Focus on you if you’re spending Valentine’s Day alone tomorrow. See a movie with some friend or by yourself. Go to your favorite restaurant alone or if you’re broke just watch the Black Mirror on Netflix because it’ll blow your mind. You don’t need a significant other to be happy. Love yourself and the sky’s the limit.

I’ve been cheated on. I’ve been lied to. I’ve been misused. And I could easily sit here and despise tomorrow and women and anything having to do with love and justify all of those resentful and negative feelings. But I don’t. Worse yet, I’ve been a shitty boyfriend, at times. I’ve taken some people I’ve been with for granted. I was even naive enough to the point that I thought being a nice guy was the only qualification I needed to be a good partner. Those bad relationships and even the few good ones I’ve had are in my past; they weren’t right for me, I wasn’t right for them. This book I’m writing, my life, didn’t need them to be a permanent part of its storyline.

I don’t plan on ever being perfect but I want to get better. Those statistics up there? I know for sure I’ll be a death statistic. Hopefully when I’m old as hell and please, let it be in my sleep in the middle of the fortieth Star Wars film Disney releases. I don’t want to be one of those divorce statistics though. Maybe that’ll be out of my control, but the one thing I can change is to be a better person. More specifically, I want to be a better man so when I meet that girl, when it’s right, I’ll be more than enough. And when that happens, I won’t need her to validate me or complete me. She’ll be a consistent and healthy addition to my happiness and my world and I’ll have something extra to do on days like tomorrow. For now, I’m content, and if you’re in the same position as me, you should be, too.

Besides, who needs a girlfriend when I’ve got two adorable kittens, a bag full of Peachie O’s and Ted 2 on the tele?