It’s never too late to change your love life. Something I hope you know is true, and the theme of this episode. It might feel like you’re stuck with your lot in your (love) life, but I promise you, you’re not.
Good Luck Out There.
There was a time where I was pretty unhappy with my love life.There have been plenty of times when I’ve been unhappy with my love life, but the time I’m thinking of specifically was a time in my early twenties, where my unhappiness felt like it would last forever. I felt like the choices I made up until that point, and the things that happened to me up until that point, defined me as a person. I couldn’t see myself finding someone who wanted to be with me, because I felt like I didn’t deserve to find love. I drank too much in those days, and I had casual sex I didn’t even enjoy, because that’s all that I thought that I deserved. I couldn’t see myself ever really being happy with my love life.
Eventually, that all changed. I’m not saying that since then every single moment of my love life has been perfect, but the mindset that I had in my early twenties, one of constant dissatisfaction, is long gone. The feeling that I deserved unhappiness, or that I was unworthy of love, were things that I struggled with and eventually overcame. Maybe this sounds all to familiar to you. Maybe your own dissatisfaction with your love life, and the reasons for that dissatisfaction, are similar to mine. Maybe they’re rooted in something else entirely.
I want to be clear about something, I’m not special in any sense when it comes to dating. I might be more experienced than you, I might have had better fortune in my love life, but nothing about me is inherently superior to you in any way. I may even be better at dating, but it’s not like my skill at dating has anything more to do with experience.
If I can change my love life from depressing to satisfying, so can you. It doesn’t matter your age, or what stage of life you’re in, you can make changes to your love life. Married? Divorced? Widowed? Newly Single? Haven’t dated in 20 years? Doesn’t matter. You can make a change to your love life if you really want to. The difficulty you might face when making that change will vary from person to person, and situation to situation. The only point where it will be “too late” to make a change is when you’re dead.
Now, it won’t be as easy as saying “today, I will change my love life”. In fact, if you find someone who says that it’s that simple, odds are good that they’re trying to sell you something. Be wary of anyone who is trying to sell you a “get-better-quick” scheme. There are ways to get better, there are ways to work at changing your love life, but the key word is WORK. It’s going to take work, and it’s going to take time. It wont be easy.
I don’t know what specific work you’ll need to do, but I do know that identifying your dissatisfaction with your love life is a start down that toward happiness.
Ask yourself: What is it about your love life that you’re unhappy with? Is it your current partner? Or maybe it’s a recent trend you’ve noticed in the people you date. Maybe it has nothing to do with who you date, but has more to do with who you attract. Maybe it’s less about people, and more about how you date. Or what you settle for. Maybe it’s none of those things, maybe it’s a combination of those things, or maybe it’s something I could never imagine.
It might be hard to put your finger on why you want to change your love life, but that’s okay. It could be less of a singular reason, and a bit more vague. That’s fine too. Whatever it is that makes you unhappy, whether it’s internal or external factors, some combination of the two, or something else entirely, try to figure out what is it about your love life that you dislike.
For me, it was a mixture of a lot of a different feelings. Some of those feelings had to do with my dating past and regrets that I had. Some of it was related to my own fears and anxiety, perceived social pressure, and so on. Honestly, there were way too many factor to list in just one episode, so know that it’s perfectly okay to have several reasons why you’re dissatisfied with your love life. It’s also perfectly fine if your answer is simple. The goal here is honestly, not quantity.
To keep it simple, I’ll choose one thing that I wanted to change. At one point, believe it or not, I was pretty dissatisfied with having no-strings attached sex. As fun as it was to meet someone new and connect with them sexually, I wanted more. I wanted a commitment. I wanted someone to care about, someone to care for me. Someone to share my life, not just my bed.
When I came to that realization, I was seeing someone who did not want anything more than a casual relationship with me. The change I needed to make is clear in hindsight, but it was something I didn’t do at the time. Maybe I didn’t want to trade good-enough for nothing, or maybe I didn’t realize that leaving would eventually be the thing I needed to do to be happy. Instead of making the hard choice, I took a passive role in my own love life. It all worked out in the end of course, because I’m happy with my love life, but that point in time is one where I identified something I knew was a source of dissatisfaction, and didn’t act on it.
The best thing about that experience is that you can learn from it. I learned the hard way, but you don’t have to. Don’t take a passive role in your love life. The things that brings you dissatisfaction wont just sort themselves out because time passes. Time might heal wounds, but it is not a disinfectant. If you know what bothers you, don’t wait for time to solve your problems. People have changes of heart occasionally, but you shouldn’t hold out hope for a change of heart. You can’t take a back seat in your own love life. Sometimes that means making hard choices. Choices that will hurt in the short-term. Waiting for time to solve your problems, or a change of heart, or any other change that is passive is a surefire way to remain unhappy.
You must take an active role in creating a love life that makes you happy. If you want to date people who eventually want to commit, you cannot date people who tell you, point blank, that they are not looking for a commitment. The same goes for people who wont give you a straight answer, or try to stall you. Don’t get stuck in the trap of delaying a change to your love life, because tomorrow isn’t promised.
The happiness you want requires effort on your part. That might mean changing how you approach dating, challenging your own views, and putting the totality of your love life under a critical eye. If the change you need to make is leaving someone who you love, that choice will be all the harder, but sometimes it’s necessary. It’s hard to leave a good relationship with someone you love, but good-enough isn’t enough if you’re unhappy.
Waiting for change, a change that you don’t start, will only feed into the idea that it’s too late to make a change. I’ll say it again, it’s never too late to make a change to your love life if you’re not happy. If you’re in a relationship and you’re miserable, but you’re 5 years in, and you decide to stick things out until you’re 15 years in, by year 15 you’re bound to feel just as miserable. The only difference will be an increasing feeling that it’s too late to change things.
Once you’ve figured out what’s making you unhappy in dating, keep trying to change it. There are tons of people who don’t like dating apps, so don’t feel alone if you feel like they make you miserable. You don’t have to have sex on the first, second or third date either. You don’t have to stay in a relationship with someone if being in that relationship makes you unhappy. You don’t have to be monogamous. You don’t even have to have sex if you don’t want to.
It’s not too late to change your love life, but it will be if you don’t put in the effort to change it. Your love life isn’t going to change itself, YOU have to put the effort in to change it. If you’re dissatisfied, think long and hard about why that is, and what changes you can make. Those changes may not be easy, and maybe you should have made them a long time ago. Just remember, there is no “too late”. If you’re listening to this, today, it’s not too late to make a change.
Also published on Medium.