Tuesday, 7 November 2017

You’re Ruining Your Love Life by Doing These 5 Things

When you’re single AF or going through a rough patch in your relationship, it's easy to blame yourself for everything you think has sabotaged your love life. Although it's probably due to circumstances and not your fault at all (because you’re a super dope human being, obv), there are a few things you might be doing to hurt your relationships. HC is here to talk you through these rookie mistakes and help you avoid them.

1. You stalk your crush or your ex on social media

At this point, none of us is trying to deny that we stalk people on social media. In fact, many collegiettes’ ability to find out anything about anyone is more a source of pride than it is a shameful secret. So naturally, when you have a new crush, your first reflex is to search for him or her on Facebook (that “recent searches” function is killing us). What’s the harm in finding out cute people’s hobbies? Or your mutual friends? It’s not like you’re digging up their blood type and social security number. But your stalking patterns, besides potentially endangering your mental health, can have some unpleasant consequences for your love life.
“Instead of talking and communicating face to face or on the phone with this person to learn about them, you start getting all your knowledge about them via social media,” says Neely Steinberg, a dating coach and personal image consultant. “This can hurt the way you interact with them when you do speak.”
Stalking your ex is another easy trap to fall into. In this case, you already know the person and you’re likely looking for one of two things: either your ex’s new SO or something embarrassing to laugh about with your friends.
“I seriously stalked my ex for two months after our thing ended and would stalk all of the girls he was in pictures with just to see if they were dating,” says Noëmie Carrant, a senior at Boston University. Noëmie is all of us. Toning down the social media stalking can be difficult to do, but if you at least keep in mind how it could damage your relationships (or potential relationships), you might think twice before scrolling back to your crush circa 2012.
Related: 6 WAYS TO FEEL ROMANTICALLY FULFILLED WITHOUT A SO

2. You don’t trust your SO

You’ve heard it before: relationships are built on trust. So what exactly happens when you decide you can’t trust your SO for no apparent reason? Well, a lot of misunderstandings.
“One time I scrolled down my boyfriend's Twitter for so long that I thought he was cheating on me,” says Kenya Hunter, a sophomore at Brenau University. “But I had just scrolled down to 2013 when he was in a relationship. I was so embarrassed at myself because I was ready to end it.” Obviously, there are sometimes legitimate reasons for not trusting someone, but you should always communicate with your SO before lashing out at him or her.
“You may read into something [on social media or IRL] and not have any context surrounding it, which then may lead you to accuse or lash out,” Steinberg says. “Psychologically, [it] can send your mind spinning, creating all sorts of scenarios in your head about what's happening. And then you start feeling the need to check up on [your SO] more and more, and it becomes an emotional roller coaster, an addiction of sorts.”
If you think you have reason to doubt your partner, be sure to talk it out with him or her before reaching any hasty conclusions that you might regret later.

3. You play games

We’ve all waited a little too long to answer a text or posted a Snap story to make someone jealous, but playing games can quickly get out of hand and hurt you and your love life more than you think. “I was in an open long-distance relationship with this guy for several months,” Noëmie says. “We were both clearly very much into each other but wouldn't admit it because of the distance, so we would mutually have flings with other people and tell each other about it in great detail just to get a reaction out of the other person.” Inevitably, both Noëmie and her guy ended up getting hurt.
For Steinberg, “Women engage in game-playing because of two reasons: 1) They are told they need to do this to get the guy; otherwise, they risk scaring him off. 2) Their own insecurities are at work. If they show their affection too soon, if they respond too quickly, etc., that will show they are too needy, for example. So they engage in the type of behavior that they think the man will want or what they think will get the guy to like them more.” The truth is, no good ever comes out of playing games—just be yourself.

4. You hold onto a relationship that’s not working

Whether you’ve been with your SO for a long time or you just like someone more than he or she likes you, sometimes you have to know when it’s time for you to part ways.
“When I was abroad, I was holding onto texts and calls from my (now) ex even though I realized we were drifting apart,” says Rachel Petty, a junior at James Madison University. “This ultimately made things worse when we broke up!”
It’s completely natural to want to make things work! Zoe*, a recent graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles, can relate in more ways than one. “I stayed trying to save a relationship that was long gone and it ate away at my heart and my self-esteem,” Zoe says. “I also stayed in [another] relationship for too long that I knew was negative and I was losing myself over in the hope that it would get better.”
Not wanting to let go of someone who is a big part of your life is one thing, but if the other person is actually not into you, this could be a bigger problem. “In general, holding onto someone who doesn't like you in that way stems from deep-seated insecurities,” Steinberg says. “It's almost like you begin to try to PROVE to the person that you are good enough, that if you finally do win the person over, well, then that will FINALLY validate you and prove you are good enough.” Spoiler alert: you are good enough.

5. You put your SO’s needs before your own

Under the guise of being a caring girlfriend, you might sometimes unintentionally undermine yourself. “I put my [significant] other first over myself and put his feelings on a higher pedestal than my own for fear of hurting him and wanting to take care of him, when you should always take care of yourself first,” Zoe says—and she’s so right.
To be happy in a relationship and with yourself, you have to be comfortable with who you are and in touch with your own needs. It’s not selfish to put yourself first sometimes (or most of the time)—it will benefit you and your SO in time.
Dating in college is difficult enough without making these seemingly innocuous mistakes, and being aware that some of your habits are hurting your love life is the first step to a healthy relationship. You’ve got this, collegiettes!
*Name has been changed.
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