Ten years ago, dating wasn’t even something people talked about. Now, it’s commonplace. But here’s the thing, even though we’re doing it, we seem to be doing it all wrong. Because we’re getting together, but not staying together. We’re having crushes but we never grow out of them. Nowadays, you hear of more break-ups than link-ups. It seems like no one can make a relationship last more than a couple of years anymore. Maybe it’s because;

1. We want to label everything. Right now.

We’ve become a little paranoid of late. If we can’t define what a certain relationship or where it is heading, we start getting nervous. We get jittery. Relationships aren’t employment contracts with pre-set exit clauses. But we feel an overwhelming need to make them so. And why exactly must we define everything after the first few dates? Why not just go with the flow?

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2. We’re quick to point fingers at our partners’ faults. And hopelessly blind to our own.

We’re even quicker at using said faults as reasons to end a relationships. The worst part about it is how we take our own faults and project them onto someone else. If we’re commitment phobic, then we think our partner is being clingy. If we’re the ones with anger issues, we feel that our partner is overly sensitive. No one’s perfect. But we don’t get that any more.

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3. A lot of us who keep “Hooking up” as the central theme of our relationships often get “hung out” to dry.

“Getting with someone” or “hooking up” has become commonplace. No judgment. None whatsoever. But when it becomes the sole reason for pursuing someone or being with someone; when it becomes the only thing that matters, then people lose sight of what’s important. People get hurt. Dating is much more than that.

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4. We jump into relationships too quickly.

Infatuation is fleeting. Love is forever. The problem today is that we mistake the former for the latter. They say the wise man does not build his house on sand. And that’s precisely what we’re doing now. We’re so afraid of being left alone and so desperate for validation that we’re simply not thinking before getting into potentially damaging relationships.

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5. And try to escape just as quickly.

Once the honeymoon period is over, everything that we found endearing and cute about our loved ones becomes annoying and intolerable. People give up in the phase where relationships actually solidify and become something special. You know how some people take in puppies when they’re cute and cuddly and leave them by the roadside when they’re older? That’s how we roll now.

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6. We never really get over bad experiences.

And we let those experiences define dating for us forever. We should let go. Figure our feelings out and move on. I know, it’s easier said than done. And you know why it’s easier said than done? Because right after we get out of something that hurt us or made us cry, we dive head-long into the arms of anyone who offers us even a hint of comfort. How will you heal when you keep scratching the scars?

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7. We have extremely lofty expectations.

We all have a perfect guy or girl. The problem starts when we start searching for that perfect boy or girl. “We will always be happy.” “We will never fight.” “We will be there for each other every single time.” What we tend to forget is that we date people . And people, are fallible.

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8. Most of us are unable to take the bad times with the good.

If you want to make God laugh, tell him you have a plan. Life isn’t always a bed of roses. It’s sad that the same stoicism and grit that we display while dealing with adversity in other spheres of our livers seldom extends to the ones we love. Sometimes, a rough patch is all it takes to make something promising crumble into nothing.

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9. There is a marked lack of trust.

Trust is like paper. If you crush it, no matter how much you try to smooth it out again, it’ll never be the same. But what happens when the paper is already crushed. In your head. Permanently? A lack of trust translates into a lack of space. A lack of space translates into frustration. And frustration, well, you know where this is going.

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10. Unwittingly, a lot of us pursue a materialistic version of love.

Nowadays, dating is about brunches, lunches and dinners. It’s about expensive gifts, exotic vacations and regular trips to the movies. When did dating become about that anyway? The point of going on a date is to enjoy the company of the person you love or to get to know someone who you really like. When you begin defining your relationship with trivialities, you relationship becomes trivial.

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11. We either take dating way too seriously.

A lot of us tend to over-commit in relationships, even in the early phases. It’s like playing poker and betting everything you have on one hand, just because you’re scared that your luck will run out on the very next turn.

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12. Or way too lightly.

On the other end of the spectrum are people who just don’t give a flying fudge. Most of the time, they don’t mean it (and you should be staying away from those who do) but quite often their callousness slips easily into disdain or disrespect.

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13. Because either way, there’s always an “option.”

We’re spoilt by choice, yes? “This relationship isn't working out. Well, let’s try another.” “This guy/girl isn't my type. Well, there’s a hundred others.” Of course, there’s a kink in this line of reasoning. You’re not the only one who thinks like this…

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14. But in the end, it’s all about finding someone whose madness goes well with yours.

Love is madness. Pure and simple. Dating is a way to find the kind of madness you can enjoy. It’s like Bob Marley said, “The truth is, everyone is going to hurt you. You just got to find one worth suffering for.”

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