I've seen too many people become disenchanted with dating and become pessimistic about it. This breaks my little, ever-loving heart.
I am 26 years old and single. In a Mormon society that puts such an emphasis on marriage, this is a weird thing. The grand majority of my friends are married; most were married by the time they were 23 or 24, and honestly I think my friend group got married later than the average age for Mormons. Lots of my friends have kids or are trying to have kids. What I'm trying to get at is that I am an oddity being 26, single, and Mormon.
My two best friends got married within 2 weeks of each other last year. My younger brother got married a month before that, and another friend got married a month or two after. Within a manner of 4 months, I was a bridesmaid 4 times. This was beautiful and amazing and I was so so happy for them all, don't get me wrong. But that was also a very crappy, hard time.
So my point is: I GET IT. I understand the frustration with dating and the feelings of inadequacy and heart break. I totally get the overwhelming (and usually unintentional) pressure to GET MARRIED NOW that sometimes comes from friends, church leaders, relatives, or even myself. I understand how it feels when I talk to my best friends and realize that I can't relate to the phase of life that they are experiencing. It sucks and I get it.
But what I don't get is the negativity. Now I'm not here to be Miss Unrealistic and Peppy and tell you that you need to be happy and positive all the time, even when things suck. That's not realistic and I would be a hypocrite if I told you I always enjoyed dating. I have had moments when I am so frustrated and confused and all I can do is shout to the sky or write in my journal or cry on the phone to my mom and say, "WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?"
I have been there more times than I would like to admit, but it does not have to be that way!
Despite all of the nonsense and frustration that comes along with dating, I full-heartedly believe that dating should be a wonderful thing and no one should ever give up on it! Dating doesn't need to be stressful. It's just a time to get to know new people and see if there are any of them that you want to continue getting to know. Honestly, it is that simple.
I've seen too many friends become so pessimistic about anything and everything to do with dating. They don't feel like they're living up to the expectations being placed on them. They feel constantly judged. They get frustrated and discouraged when they get rejected or when they feel like they've tried and failed over and over. They just assume that everyone else is out on dates every weekend and they're the only ones sitting home alone.
I think the problem stems from making dating the main focus of ones life. When that is the case and when that part of their life is not particularly successful, then they feel down about everything. Yes, dating is very important and I think marriage is a goal that everyone should have, however, it does not need to be the ONLY goal. There are so many other things in life that people can focus on and improve and succeed in. I wish that people didn't make dating the only way that they gauge their personal success.
I can't really work out how put my feelings on this matter into words, but what I want to convey is that there is so much in life to love and be happy about. If you focus on the stupidity of any situation, you're going to hate it and become bitter, but if you focus on the positive moments, you are going to love it. This applies to everything in life, including dating. I have to constantly put myself in check about this because sometimes that is so much easier said than done.