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  • Writer's pictureElizabeth Duvall

Is Romance Hopeless or Am I A Hopeless Romantic?

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want a type of companion in my life. And sometimes I am ashamed of this. It feels as if everytime I tell someone I want a relationship, I’m met with; “You will find one when you’re looking the least!” or “You can’t be looking for one!” or “You have to love yourself first!” These phrases reek of Instagram-therapy-to-go. It’s as if these people are simply regurgitating the picture perfect pastel infographics they’ve scrolled by countless times on social media without truly understanding why they’re saying it.

While I’m sure there is a degree of truth to these notions, I am exhausted with the idea that to find a relationship, I can’t want one. Rather, I must be stripped of any desire for a companion. That said, I do believe that self love must come before love for another. But why must you have one or the other? Why not both?

I have become an expert on taking myself on dates; going to the movies alone, making an elaborate dinner for myself, or going on a picnic alone with only a book and a beach towel. I have been alone now for quite some time and learned more about myself than I could have ever hoped to in a relationship. There is certainly virtue to be found in solitude. And yet I still have these desires that I believe are natural.

I sometimes feel ostracized by wanting a relationship, especially in a hookup ridden culture where emotional vulnerability is a terrifying, sometimes deal breaking trait. Rather than being viewed as someone comfortable enough with their own vulnerability and openness to emotion, I am deemed as needy or desperate for connection. I have worn my heart on my sleeve one too many times and know the drill; “You are too much.” While there is nothing more heartbreaking than hearing this, I choose to take it as; “I am aware and comfortable with communicating my true and honest emotions.”

I know individuals who have actively looked for a relationship and been extremely successful in finding a partner. How do these motivational phrases apply then? While I believe focusing on oneself and your own emotional wellbeing is of utmost importance, who is to say that you cannot focus on yourself while still having wants? I believe contentment and desire can coexist. Take the holidays for example; I am completely and overwhelmingly satisfied with the material goods I have. That said, getting a new sweater or pair of shoes would surely make me happy and feel good to me. But I don’t need them, per say.

Must I fully give up on finding somebody in order to ironically, find them? When I look at why these phrases may be prevalent in the first place, I think of their intention. Perhaps, they are intended to shame individuals, women in particular, from having any desire at all. We must be stagnant, entirely self-sufficient individuals with no emotional desires whatsoever and only at this point are we worthy of a relationship.

Maybe I am reading too deeply into things and I am just hurt that others do not understand the wants or desires I have for myself. But maybe there is truth to my feelings, and others feel this way too. I have to believe the latter.

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