Here’s what 5 years of dating and relationship advice has taught me

After 5 years of writing dating and relationship advice, I like to think I’ve learned a thing or two. As with any lessons I’ve learned, I’m here to share them with you.

Everyone thinks they have it rough

Some rare people are lucky enough to always get what they want in dating, but those people are rare. If you’re dating, even if it’s mostly not a bad experience, you’ve probably dealt with some aspect of dating that isn’t satisfactory.

The effort you put into sending messages on dating apps is only returned 20% of the time, and a few of those responses might as well be silence. You can’t seem to move past the first or second date. Every time you finally do end up in a relationship with someone, they turn into a completely different and thoroughly horrible person. We’ve all been there, or at the very least, we’re all dealing with some sort of rough patch when it comes to love. Some longer than others.

Whatever you’re dealing with someone can relate

While this may not seem obvious to you because hardships often seem to be singular and personal in the love department, trust me when I say that if you’re experiencing any sort of scenario in dating, good or bad, what you’d consider normal or weird, someone out there can relate. More than relate, someone out there has experienced practically the same thing as you.

I say this as someone who has a breadth of experience in love, but also as someone who has created well over 800 pieces of content that explores various facets of dating and relationships. I haven’t been churning out “5 reasons why dating sucks” lists over and over for 5 years, I’ve tackled dating and relationship topics covering a very broad spectrum. Occasionally I’ll tackle a topic that seems so unique that I assume that very few people have had a similar experience…only to have someone privately or publicly say that they’ve experienced the same thing.

Bad shit happens no matter how good you are

You could be the kindest, sweetest, most considerate person in the world and odds are good that at some point you’re going to experience something bad in your love life. You could start dating someone, tell them “hey if you lose interest in dating me, just let me know. You can even text me if you’re worried about how I’ll take the rejection in person. Just please don’t ghost me” and, surprise, you still might get ghosted. You can pour your heart, soul, and tears into a relationship and in the end, the might leave without a word.

The good you put out there isn’t always returned in kind. It can be, but that doesn’t mean it always will be. It doesn’t matter if you go out of your way to do the right thing, it can still turn out bad. Bad shit happens to good and bad people alike.

The right way to date is right for you

Use dating apps, or don’t. Date someone older or younger than you, or don’t. Date for love first, sex last, or don’t. The right way to date is the way that’s right for you. As long as the way that you date involves enthusiastic consent on both sides, open and honest communication, kindness and basic respect, then the way you’re dating is right. Some people might disagree with what you’re looking for, or how you look for it, but that doesn’t mean that you’re approaching dating in the wrong way. If you’re dating in a way that works for you, that’s the “right” way to date.

It comes down to luck

All the prep you put into your love life, all the best practices you undertake, and all the times you do everything right is a great foundation for having a happier love life, but in the end, finding what you’re looking for comes down to luck. You can do everything the right way, and still not find the right person or situation for you. That goes for you, and the people around you. If things aren’t working for you, but seem to always work out for your peers who seem to suck at dating, keep in mind that they might just be lucky, and you might just be unlucky.

So what’s the moral of all these lessons learned? What’s the point in spending 5 years learning these lessons, if you can’t take something from it? Well, I’ll tell you what these lessons have taught me, in the hopes that you don’t have to write thousands of words to get to the same conclusions:.

The reason that everyone thinks they have it rough in dating and relationship is because they do.

“Rough” is relative of course, but everyone deals with something that is unsatisfactory in love. Now, whether you agree with someone when they complain about dating struggles is another thing entirely, the fact of the matter is that if someone is unhappy with their love life, that reason is valid to them. It’s okay if something that seems minor to other people bothers you.

Whatever you’re dealing with in your love life is relatable

And that should give you comfort some comfort.It may not be relatable to your friends, but it’s relatable to someone out there. If nothing else, it’s relatable to me and I’m always willing to lend an ear.

Bad shit is bound to happen to you, and it’s not because of your value as a person

Your experiences with the ups and downs that come with dating and relationships has nothing to do with you as a person. You should acknowledge when bad things happen to you, and try to learn from them, but sometimes there just isn’t a lesson to be learned. And that’s okay.

Don’t worry about what’s right, or what’s normal in dating

We all date and love differently, but as long as you do so in a way that works for you, don’t worry too much about whether it’s normal. Knowing what norms are is good and all, but you don’t have to date a certain way because of societal norms.

Your dating and relationship woes may come down to plain old bad luck

All your prep work can prepare you for dating success, but it doesn’t guarantee success. Think of it like practicing anything, whether it’s a language, playing an instrument, or playing a sport. Doing what you’re supposed to do makes it more likely that you’ll succeed, but it doesn’t guarantee that you will. Don’t beat yourself up too badly if you haven’t found what you’re looking for just yet.

I hope that all that I’ve learned over these past 5 years is helpful to you, because your readership has been helpful to me. You helped me grow into the writer I’ve become, and pushed me for 5 years to put out thoughtful work that I could be proud of. Before I forget, I wanted to thank you, you’ve given me 5 years worth of clicks (though it’s cool if you haven’t read or listened to everything, I barely remember 10% of the stuff I’ve created).  There’s more to come, and I hope you stick around for the next 5 years (and the next ones after that, so on and so on).

Good Luck Out There.

Also published on Medium.