I put off this article for so long because, per usual, I didn’t know what the hell to talk about. What do you call a creative rut that doesn’t stop? Cliché or ignorance?

In past articles, I’ve glossed over past relationships and romantic failures, but I have never really gotten into the nitty gritty of my dating history. However, after reflection I realized that evaluation those relationships is supremely important in understanding myself and my worth.

I came to this realization after a conversation with a friend while he was working. I may have distracted him while he was doing his job, but the conversation yielded a lot insight. I thought a little more about dating, and what I’ve done right and what I’ve done very wrong.

We’re all familiar with the phrase “nice guys finish last.” We’ve all seen the annoying, viral music video, and we definitely know the gag-worthy line from Perks of Being a Wallflower: “We accept the love we think we deserve.” As laughable as that quote is, there is some correlation between who you surround yourself with and self-respect.

However, I wouldn’t say that is the root cause of my below-average dating skills. After all, I respect myself, my boundaries, likes, dislikes, etc. Instead, for me, I think it comes down to comfortability.

At times, and depending on the situation, it can be so much easier to have a partner than to be single – even if you’re not 100% happy in that relationship. To support this claim, I have conducted some very hard-hitting scientific research throughout my time as a partner for the sole purpose of writing this article. Without further adieu, here’s a look into those nitty gritty relationship details. . .

Example 1: I was 15, a sophomore in high school, and I really thought I was in love.

I dated a guy on-and-off for about two years. It was very shallow and high school, but fun nonetheless. He was really nice to me, and my family loved him. However, after awhile, I found myself bored.

As a result, I found myself seeking refuge in conversations with other young men as a way to cope. Eventually, I broke up with him by phone while sitting in a thrift store parking lot with another guy (who I’d later find out was a complete ass). This hallowed call came right before he boarded a bus to depart on a long trip – not my best timing.

When he returned, he naturally wanted to talk. So, I met him in a coffee shop and learned he had gotten his ears pierced during the break. The earrings and the situation as a whole was just off-putting.

However, after a few months we got back together, but like clockwork, I was bored again. I cut things off once more. Looking back, I think the only reason I wanted to date him again was because I saw him moving on.

You can say you’re totally cool seeing your ex quickly moving on after a split, but in reality, you’re a liar and you know it. Deep down, in every person, there’s a dirty, little part of us that doesn’t want romantic happiness for our past flames – no matter how bad that is to say. There’s a little part of you that wishes you were the best that someone ever had, it is human nature.

Ultimately, I think with time the green monster fades, and you really do wish success and happiness for lost loves. However, I really don’t think the selfishness burns out completely.

Example 2: A good ‘ole college try

Following ‘Example 1,’ I started dating another guy that I never got bored of – ironic, huh? Compared to the last, he was absolutely perfect, and, as a result, I was head over heels.

We dated through the end of high school and even into college: trying long distance after being together for two years. However, that same distance made us both miserable and unhappy.

We knew it wasn’t working after a few months, and I cried nearly every night about it. I think there was a part of us that still wanted to stay in the others’ possession, but I acted out. In turn, he got quiet, and then it ended. It wasn’t fair to either of us, but doing the right thing still hurts like hell. More so than doing the wrong thing, see ‘Example 1.’

Example 3: The ghost of the present

After ‘Example 2,’ I tried dating around. This time though, I avoided getting tied down into something serious. As a result, I’ve started to resent myself and the guys I meet. They’ve never made me feel important, beautiful or loved in the way that single-life is portrayed. And I know I’m not alone in that feeling.

In part, it is definitely my fault for never letting anyone get to know me in the way I let past partners know me, but I also feel that is because I don’t know myself anymore. It’s like my wants and needs change on a daily basis.

Aging is weird, I say as a spritely 20 years-old, but my priorities have shifted. My cat, bed and grocery trips are higher up on the list than they used to be. But that’s okay, because no matter what kind of romantic relationship you’re in, you have to cater to your personal needs and treat yourself like the masterpiece that you are.

You don’t deserve to be treated less than just because you’ve been with a person for a while. You don’t have to feel like shit about yourself when involved with a fling because they don’t know you as deeply as a long-term partner. Your wants and needs are not to be put on the back burner because they’re “too much,” or you’re “too picky,” or find comfort in a routine.

You are a damn masterpiece in all that you do, in all that you love, in all that you produce.

Re-evaluate, re-group and take responsibility because if you’re not treating yourself like a masterpiece then those around you will not.

Make the jump and watch the world follow suit.

I hope you have an amazing June. Think about incorporating the idea of being a masterpiece into your mantra for the month, but, in all, just do what you need to do to feel good.

Much Love Always,