Student Life

The art of being single: You can still love someone else even if you don’t love yourself

I’m not going to come on here and tell you that you need to learn to love yourself before you could ever be loved or before you can love someone else, because that’s problematic for a few reasons. 

First, it harbours the idea that people aren’t worthy of love if they don’t love who they are by themselves. You don’t have to love yourself all the time or have all your life figured out to be loved; you can still be a work in progress.

Second, this ideology of loving yourself before you should ever be in a relationship with someone else is toxic. Loving yourself is a process; a lifelong journey. There are probably days where you think to yourself, “yeah, I’m pretty damn awesome.” There are also days where you might not like yourself very much, for whatever reason.

Both of these reasons and everything in between are totally normal and they’re all part of living with yourself every day for your entire life. Neither of these or anything in between should affect your ability to be in a relationship.

While there are these two problems with this ideology, there is also a silver lining. No, you don’t have to love yourself before you can love someone else, but it’s important to still learn to love yourself. The same effort you’re going to put into a relationship is also needed for yourself.

Whether it’s by taking time to yourself to really get to know you, or it’s going on solo dates to your favourite coffee shop, to a new movie that came out, to a restaurant you’ve always wanted to try; or even if it’s telling yourself reaffirming phrases everyday for the rest of your life. All of these are just some examples of how you can learn to love yourself. But these don’t, in any way, conclude the journey of self-love, nor do they mean you can’t still be in a relationship while you’re on it.

The whole point of this is that you can still (if you choose) be in a loving relationship with someone else even though you’re not in a loving relationship with yourself. You’re allowed to love and be loved by someone else while you’re trying and learning to love yourself. You’re allowed to be happy with someone else even if you’re not necessarily always happy with yourself. You’re not unworthy of feeling love or being in love if you don’t love yourself. The important thing is that you don’t give up on trying.


The art of being single

Don’t give up on finding your person

In the last issue of The Art of Being Single, I spoke about ghosting and how it sucks because it leaves you with many unanswered questions about the situation and yourself. It leaves you feeling defeated. But ghosting isn’t the only thing that can make you question yourself or someone’s behaviour towards you while building a relationship. You know what else sucks? Breadcrumbing and haunting.

If nothing else, I hope this column is at least teaching you some new things. According to Urban Dictionary, breadcrumbing is “when the ‘crush’ has no intentions of taking things further, but they like the attention.” So they’ll keep messaging you and being all flirty but things will go nowhere. Haunting, on the other hand, is a little like ghosting but the ghoster is keeping indirect contact, usually by liking your posts on Instagram or viewing your Snapchat stories, even though they have your number but never message you.

You know why these possibly suck even more than a simple ghost? It’s the fact that you’re constantly being reminded. You’re constantly being reminded that you never got any answers. You’re being reminded of the awful feeling of being ghosted in the first place. You’re constantly being bombarded with the idea that you’re flirt-worthy but not relationship-worthy. You’re being reminded of a failed relationship, the good moments (if any) you spent with the other person, the chemistry you thought was so intense a scientist somewhere in Antarctica could feel it amidst the blistering cold.

You begin to think it’s normal, that anything that doesn’t result in ghosting, breadcrumbing or haunting is a miracle. You might even begin to believe that love doesn’t—and can’t—exist, if this is what the dating scene is all about.

You know what sucks about it all? You begin to give up.

But don’t. No matter how hard it is to believe, there has to be something, someone out there for us that won’t leave us hanging. So no matter if you’ve been ghosted, haunted or breadcrumbed for the first, third, 64th time—don’t give up on finding love.



How to be a happy romantic in a hookup culture

One student’s experience with romance and realizing why it begins when you stop partying

It took years for me to realize that it’s possible to be a happy romantic in a hookup culture. And it all started in April 2017, when I made the conscious decision to stop partying.

Throughout my years of partying, I surrounded myself with hookup enthusiasts who constantly told me that my romantic aspirations were juvenile. They warned that I was “too serious” for my own good, and a big part of me believed them. YOLO and FOMO smothered my brain like thick cobwebs. I wanted to experience the euphoric young adulthood talked about in all those hype dance songs, and portrayed in all those badass Hollywood movies. Consequently, I became desperate to emancipate my heart from emotion.

I wanted to go out and dance with cute guys, without caring whether they asked for my name. If they asked for my name, I wanted to answer without hoping they’d ask for my number too. If they asked for my number, I wanted to flirt without expecting the conversation to blossom into something more meaningful. I failed miserably. Every time a cute guy would prove that his interest in me was purely physical, I’d feel a pang of disappointment deep in my belly. Every time a crush flirted with other girls the way he flirted with me, I’d feel a punch of rejection bruise my heart.

Hookup culture was crushing my inner romantic and the desire I had to find someone legit. At the time, however, I didn’t see it that way at all. I resented the pain, and told myself it was proof that I desperately needed to get a handle on my emotions. When I stopped partying though, I was no longer under the influence––not of friends, of alcohol, or of hookup culture. I was able to weed out anxieties and facades that I kept having to live up to while in the skin of a social butterfly.

Without a shadow of a doubt, abandoning nightlife was integral to my confidence as a romantic person. It was step one along a path that, almost two years later, led me to a wellspring of happiness and peace. I do not believe I would’ve been able to access this wellbeing had I continued partying.

We live in a culture that constantly encourages us to believe that we can be anything. And in some ways, that’s inspiring. However, too many millennials are trying to transcend desires that they’d be better off embracing: feelings of wanting more from one person intellectually, emotionally, and romantically. It saddens me to think that I ever villainized my desire for loyalty. I bought into pop culture’s highly manipulative lie, which says that the happiest young people are those who are down for anything, anywhere, with anyone.

If you’re a romantic millennial, I urge you to tread cautiously in environments that propagate hookup culture. These scenes will trick you into believing that you’re your own worst enemy. But in the words of inspirational speaker Alexander Den Heijer, “When a flower doesn’t bloom, you fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower.” If in your heart you are hoping to meet somebody special, the dance floor isn’t so much a place of freedom as it is a vortex that forces you to be something you are not.

To my fellow romantics: I can confidently assure you that none of those parties will go down as the best nights of your life. Conversely, they’re liable to endanger your happiness, and demotivate you from seeking the loyal relationship you deserve. Your person is out there, but they’re not waiting for you in a room that ridicules the real you.

Graphic by Ana Bilokin.


The art of being single

Accepting not knowing why you’ve been ghosted

You’re single. Then, you connect with someone. You spend hours pouring yourself out to them. You allow yourself to get attached. Everything is fine and dandy and it seems like it’s finally headed somewhere serious. Then it’s suddenly over. And it’s time to move onor at least try to.

I understand how difficult it is to give up on someone after investing so much time and energy, and losing sleep over building a relationship. It hurts to see it all go to waste. A connection you thought was mutual collapsed to a ghost of what it almost was. If you’re lucky, the person told you they weren’t interested anymore. But most of us aren’t so lucky: we get ghosted instead.

To the person who ghosted: I get it. The person you were talking to wasn’t living up to your expectations, or they gave you a red flag, or life just got really damn busy and you couldn’t handle something (someone) else. But while people don’t owe you shit in life, there is a minimum expectation. While it’s easy to just ghost someone you’re no longer interested in, it also makes you an entitled jerk. If you’ve ever ghosted someone, have you stopped to think about the consequences of your actions?

Being ghosted by someone you’ve developed feelings for is the worst. There’s a sinking feeling in your chest and your heart drops to the pit of your stomach. You try to wrap your head around it: Did something happen to them? Are they okay? Eventually though, these logical thoughts start imploding. You start thinking it was your fault. Was it something I said? Something I didn’t say or do? What’s wrong with me?

The problem is that you just don’t know. You could spend days, weeks or even months wondering if the reason someone ghosted you was your fault. While I can sit here and say it isn’t, the truth is I’ve been in that position of being ghosted and trying to understand why. And now, there’s nothing I can say other than you eventually get used to it and you are able to recover faster when it inevitably happens again. But sadly, nothing will ever soften the blow of being ghosted.



The art of being single

Ghosting, bad dates, and trying again

So Valentine’s Day was a few days ago. While some single people don’t care, for others it might be hard to deal with being alone when love and romance are so commercially advertised. If you’re one of those people, you might have questions about your relationship status. How do you deal with rejection? How do you deal with ghosting? How do you deal with never feeling like you’re adequate and like you’re going to be single forever while everyone else’s love life is flourishing?

The answer? You just do.

I know it’s frustrating. I know it’s sad. And I know, after a while, it’s exhausting. But I also know that it isn’t the end of the world; you’re going to go on other dates, and you will eventually find your person.

Now, while you wait to find your person, you’re going to (more likely than not) go through a few rough patches. You might be on every dating app possible with no luck of finding someone cute and interesting, or shooting your shot just to get rejected. Or, you might go on your fifth terrible date this month, or you might be talking to someone you’re starting to like, but are then ghosted. You might go through all of this. I feel you, but know that you aren’t alone in this struggle of trying to not be single.

Let’s face it: no matter how many times we think Tinder or Bumble or Hinge (or the countless other dating apps) might work out—after deleting and re-downloading them three times this month—they most likely won’t. Out of so many people that use any or all of these apps, how many of them actually find what they’re looking for?

As for shooting your shot, I wrote all about it last time, so check it out if you’re still searching for a sign to do it. In terms of having terrible dates, definitely don’t see someone again if you don’t want to. No amount of frustration and loneliness should infringe on this decision; it’s always better to be alone than in bad company.

Lastly, when it comes to ghosting, I have one thing to say. I hate it. It really freaking sucks. And I’m not talking about ghosting when the conversation is going nowhere, or if you clearly have nothing in common; I feel like we’ve all done this at some point. I’m talking about ghosting when you start thinking, “yeah, maybe this can go somewhere.” Then, BOOM. Ghosted. If you do this, just know I don’t like you. And if you’ve had this done to you, just know, like in every other instance, you’ll be okay. You just move on, try again, and eventually you’ll find your person. Lather, rinse, repeat––but for your heart.



The art of being single

Just do it—just shoot your shot

Shooting a shot, in the context of any type of relationship, according to Urban Dictionary, is “to let go of your pride and pursue someone you are interested in.” Shooting your shot can happen in many different ways: sliding into someone’s DMs, directly tweeting them, commenting on their selfie or, you know, in the real world, going up to them and saying, “Hi.”

I know it’s easier said than done. You’re probably going to overthink the possible outcomes of shooting your shot and weigh the pros and cons, more than actually going through with it. I know it’s hard. You’re probably going to freak out about actually doing it.

Well, I’m here to be Nike. I’m here to be Shia Labeouf in that video. I’m here to tell you to stop all that and just do it. It’s not that scary, I promise. Ever since I can remember, probably way back in elementary school, I would always tell the boy I liked that I liked him. Ever since I can remember, I’m almost sure I got shut down every time.

While it might be scary to put your feelings out into the open and admit it to the person—and to yourself—it’s really not that big of a deal. Whether it’s that cute mutual follower on Instagram, the person in your class that keeps looking over at you, the friend that you might be falling for—just do it.

While it’s best to not keep your hopes up, it’s good to share and communicate your feelings. Not only is it healthier than keeping everything bottled up, or being left with that feeling of “what if,” but it might also work out.

It’s also worth mentioning that I’m not telling you to keep shooting your shot once someone gives you a clear indication that they’re not interested. Make sure you’re not making someone feel unsafe or uncomfortable by how and when you shoot your shot.

While I’ve not yet successfully shot my shot, every single time I try, I’m glad I did because I’m left feeling accomplished and strong having overcome my fear of going through with it. While I’ve not yet successfully shot my shot, it won’t stop me from continuing to try and do so when I’m into someone—it shouldn’t stop you either.


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