The Role Self-Awareness Plays in Love

It was the summer of 2010, I had just exited the Marine Corps and was about to start college. I was lost, lonely, depressed, and was 24 years old with another failed relationship under my belt that ended explosively. I decided to seek a therapist for assistance in getting my life back together during this transitional time. I remember the initial consultation when the therapist asked me why I was there and I just let it all out; however, when I let it all out I was pretty much naming all my faults. I was listing all these events that transpired and the role I played in them. At the end of the session he looked at me and said, "I think I only need to see you 2-4 more times and you should be fine." I was horrified, and I responded, "What? I'm crazy! I need help and 2-4 sessions are not enough to fix this crazy". I remember he smiled, paused, and replied, "You are not crazy because you are very self-aware. You have conquered the most difficult part. What's crazy is not knowing what you are doing wrong, repeating the cycle, and constantly blaming other people. Now you just need to improve."

Flash forward to 2016--I don't know if I'm rehabilitated or what, but I will say that I never had a romantic relationship end viciously again after that. In fact, I know the men I had serious relationships with after 2010 thought pretty fondly of me even after we broke up (before 2010, God, let's not even go there). When dating after 2010, I started being pretty honest from the beginning about my "pluses and minuses" so to speak. With that being said, just because you know you have a flaw and can admit it isn't enough; you have to be open to at least trying to improve. It's unreasonable to expect someone to put up with your bullshit just because you are married, living together, and/or you're giving them sex; that's taking another human being for granted.

This is a topic I'm very passionate about because I've worked so hard to have the psychological and romantic stability I have now. Currently, I'm on the cusp of my 30's and have many friends (both male & female) bitch about today's dating scene. Both sexes consistently bash men and women today as if they lived in the "good ol days", and they know it was better. Both sexes consistently have failed relationship after failed relationship, which is okay, but they always claim it's the other party's fault. Both sexes claim that if they move to another city, or even another country, the dating scene will be better. I always try to hint that maybe they need to analyze themselves, and I feel like I get the "how dare you" stare, I'm ignored, and then they continue to rant about how they were the victim of another failed relationship.

Folks, I know self-awareness is hard. It's one of the most difficult tasks I ever did in my life. Becoming self-aware is becoming vulnerable, and for some reason there's this stigma that being vulnerable is being weak. Vulnerability is quite the opposite of weak; in my opinion being vulnerable is a sign of strength. Taking it a step further, seeking self-improvement is really difficult too, because when we are set in our ways it's challenging to improve, and we may fail many times in this improvement journey; nobody enjoys failing because once again it makes us look weak. So being self-aware and seeking self-improvement is not for the faint of heart; it's for the resilient.

So this is for the disgruntle millennials that hate today's dating scene. Wake up call--we live in a secular society where people have free will. Marriage in American culture really isn't dictated by the family and/or religion anymore, so that means that if you are an asshole, there's nothing really forcing a person to continue to put up with your crap. So while I do understand there are a certain percentage of people that do get legitimately burned in relationships and/or marriages, I am convinced there are an equal amount of people who are set in their unreasonable ways, keep replacing romantic partner after romantic partner, all the while seeking something they will never find because the problem is really inside them.