It Should Be Easy
By: Michele Russo
What’s the best dating advice you’ve ever received? Ever stopped to think of it? I can recall the moment that changed the way I looked at dating forever and I find myself replaying those words quite often. A few years ago, while visiting my good friend and her now husband in Boston, I unknowingly received one of the best pieces of dating advice I could ask for. I’ve carried her words with me since then, never really understanding the true meaning until now. At the time, I was on my third year as a single girl, with more dating fail stories under my belt than I could even count. Dating exhaustion is real, and perhaps I had unknowingly fell victim to it. She on the other hand had found the man of her dreams. They truly make each other better and being able to witness that type of love guided my vision of what could be possible for my own relationship.
That evening, I was third wheeling it as we sat down to dinner. It didn’t take long before I began pouring my heart out about a new relationship that somewhat measured up to what I had in mind for my happily ever after. Have you ever been in that position before? Trying to justify bad behavior to your friends who without a doubt will see right through the pretty make-believe picture you’re trying to paint? Tucking away the red flags I knew should have been waving in the air, I rambled on and on about how great this new guy was, even though he wasn’t totally committing to me. We would have a few great dates and text constantly and then he would go radio silent for a week, leaving me in the dark wondering what I did wrong. All the back and forth in the relationship left me wondering what could come of this potential relationship. It was full of games and I was so deep in the mess of it all that I had turned a blind eye to the fact that I was getting sent nothing but mixed messages. The relationship felt more like a game of chess, like every move had to be calculated. I had to tiptoe around my feelings and pretend like I didn’t notice the back and forth games, all of which is way too common in the modern dating world, but that’s a whole other issue. It’s a real epidemic. About midway through my rambling, my friend cut me off and said, “It shouldn’t be like this, a good relationship should be easy and the beginning should be the easiest part.” I was taken aback by the comment- party because I knew she was right even though I didn’t fully grasp the concept. She was spot on, the beginning should be the time that you know the other person in the relationship is into you. If you have to question if someone is into you, the answer is probably no.
The games, the chase, the mess- all of this goes away when you’re with someone that wants you back 100%- and that’s what you and everyone else out there deserves. You don’t deserve a maybe relationship! If you’re in a situation now where this story is resonating with you on any level, don’t be too hard on yourself. In my case, I knew my friend’s advice was right, but I wasn’t at a place in my life where I could totally resonate with the message. So, I went back home, tried again with the relationship and as expected, I crashed and burned. At the time, I was heartbroken. Failure is failure no matter how small. It sucks to lose something that you thought could have been great whether you have it for two weeks, two months or two years.
The lesson behind the story is this, it should be easy. You shouldn’t have to make excuses for bad behavior or flighty communication. Those red flags will continue to show up no matter how hard you try to turn a blind eye. More often than not when you look back at a relationship that failed, the signs were there all along, we may have been refusing to take off our blinders and chosen to ignore what we knew existed all along.
If a relationship is complicated from the beginning, the chances of improvement over time are very rare. If you’re finding yourself stuck in a confusing state of chasing someone down or trying to “fix” a relationship from the start, it’s time to take a hard look at reality. Deep down, you know when something isn’t exactly as it should be. This is why people say when they finally find “the one” it’s common to experience a sense of clarity. We can all try to make shift an almost relationship into the union of our dreams, but the fact is you aren’t doing yourself any favors by accepting an almost relationship. Eventually, life will take over, you’ll experience some bumps in the road and you will most likely learn that this relationship doesn’t have what it takes to make it.
There’s no shame in learning this concept, it happens to the best of us. My point in sharing this story is to ensure you that no matter how much you think you like someone, when the right person comes along, you’ll see what I mean. You’ll know exactly where you stand from the start. If someone truly wants to be with you, they will make it completely clear- and it will be easy and effortless. You should never have to chase or alter who you truly are to try and attract someone. If you do, you’re only selling yourself short. When the right person comes around, they’ll give you the permission to live as authentically as possible.
Now that I’m engaged, I can completely understand my friend’s advice. My relationship was the easiest decision of my life. There’s not one side of my personality that I have to alter, I’m free to just be me and I know at the end of the day that’s exactly what my fiancé wants. It took years to get there, but I can say with full confidence now that I’m on the other side of things- it should be easy.
Michele is a former St. Louis Rams Cheerleader living in St. Louis. Follow Michele from the sidelines of the NFL to the sidelines of the modern dating world.