Victoria Stokes has learned some pretty tough lessons in love along the way, but she doesn't regret a single one of them.
It’s 8pm on a Monday and I’m in Tesco fighting back hot, salty tears. A potential romance has hit the proverbial fan and heading to the junk food aisle is all I can do to stop myself succumbing to the uncomfortable lump in my throat.
Things had been going so well. I’d met Dan* online, and we’d hit it off from date one, and then BAM! Just more than a month in, right when everything was starting to feel a bit cosy and secure, he finished things out of the blue, with little explanation.
I’d like to say this is the first time something like this has happened to me, but after almost four years of being single in Dublin, I feel I’ve encountered every kind of human turd out there. The dating scene in Ireland is tough. Online dating has made us more disposable, because another potential match is just a swipe away, and in real life, guys seem reluctant to come up and talk to you…. unless they’re locked and the lights are about to come on in Coppers.
Still, I can’t help think that despite all the head fuckery it’s been one helluva learning curve, not to mention a whole lot of fun. Really the things I’ve learned about love aren’t all that Dublin-specific. In fact, I think most of them will ring true no matter where you are in the world.
You’ve slept with a new guy, and had the cosiest day together the morning after. You think it’s intimacy. He thinks it’s a story to tell the lads. Sometimes what we think is a real connection is actually just the thrill of being with someone new; the high drama of rushing through the motions. Learn to tell the difference.
I’m the kind of person that if I hear a friend talk badly of themselves I want to shake that negativity right out of them. It pains me to hear them say less than complimentary things about themselves because I think they’re wonderful. Yet, rarely do we hold ourselves in the same regard. Now is the time to start. Learn to like yourself and get really, really comfortable being on your own to the point where you feel self sufficient and like you don’t need anyone to ‘complete’ you. Be okay with being single because here’s the thing: Dependency isn’t a great starting point for a relationship.
My god, I’ve heard every last one of them. ‘You’ll find him when you stop looking.’ ‘You just have to love yourself first.’ The majority of them make me want to hurl things at people, but the more I learn about love the more I realise that they’re all pretty much on the money. Sorry.
Dating doesn’t have to be torturous. Sure we all get hurt from time to time and it can be hard to be vulnerable again after a knock back (or six) but, let’s be honest, dating can also be exciting and downright hilarious too, so when it all goes tits up, try and find the funny side. That time you fell down a flight of stairs on a first date will never not be hilarious.
Seriously, quit that kind of thinking right now. Just because your pals are settled and you’re not does not mean you are fundamentally flawed. We all reach different milestones at different points in our lives; it’s madness to think that we’d do everything at the same time as our mates.
Ah, how many of us have fallen prey to this one? He’s a really, really great guy, if only he had more get up and go/could articulate his feelings/ wasn’t such an outrageous flirt. Sometimes we give the men in our lives far too much credit. Don’t fall for his highest potential because, sorry to break it to you, you’ll probably be disappointed.
To quote Blunt Talk’s Rosalie Winter “You just have to wade through a lot of idiots, until you find the right idiot.” But until then, just get off on enjoying the process.
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