Let’s Get Real

So I’ve obviously put off this post for the end of the month. (Remember when I promised to talk about LOVE during the month of February?) I’m frankly super hesitant to put this up at all. As a rule, I don’t like talking about religion, politics, and relationships. The no-relationships-on-the-blog is for a slew of reasons. But mainly because a) I like to have a private life and b) I would have no idea how to pen the details of my “dating life.” Plus, I’ve been involved with guys who really have no interest in being included on here, or in tweets, or in Instagrams. At all. And I respect that!
With that said, maybe it is a good idea to at least touch on the topic every now and then.

I kept meaning to draft a post this month. I mean, I really did want to just get it over with. Like ripping off a Band-Aid.  (I did do a cop-out post about loving yourself here.) Of course, after months and months of the same routine, the same cast of characters, and a feeling of at least normalcy…. everything got flipped on its head.
I ended something with someone I actually cared about… a lot. Someone I thought was out of my life for, like, ever appeared… again (literally) uninvited. I had a phone number blocked through Verizon. I got too nervous to get drinks with (do people even “date” anymore?!) someone. I saw someone from college who I hadn’t seen in a long time. And I crossed a weird, unwritten line with a friend. And absolutely zero things worked out. Seriously, I jinxed myself or something. February was ridiculous.
Please forgive me for not being able to include a ton of details, but I guess what happened in the past three and half weeks are pretty typical of the NYC dating scene. Or maybe it’s just pretty typical of dating in your 20s in general? It’s so much fun… and so much not-fun.
It’s a tough balance between protecting yourself and letting yourself be vulnerable and open to new possibilities. Plus, it’s an even harder balance to deal with all this emotional baggage during free time with work. I feel like there’s all this pressure right now on women to define what work-life balance looks for them, but most of the conversations rally around children and husbands and careers. But what about early twenty-somethings navigating dating scenes that glorify the “hookup culture” and establishing ourselves in new cities and laying the groundwork for our careers. It’s a lot.
However, I think what’s most important while all this craziness is going on is to remember who’s really always there for you. It’s my close friends who are there to decode text messages, dish the details over Sunday brunches, and help sort through the broken pieces when the house of cards comes tumbling down.
Does anyone else feel the same way about relationships in your 20s?

PS Want me to give a little bit more detail without giving details? (Cryptic, I know…) This song hits way too close to home for me.
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Dating as a 20-something (I hate that phrase but it works…) is just difficult. I'm currently "talking" with a guy who works 80+ hours a week for his job and is so busy we barely have time to text. Add in the fact that I'm currently unemployed and going through all the job-search stresses, and it's kind of a recipe for disaster, even though he's someone I really really like.

And in your 20s, a lot of guys are still in the 'hook up' mentality, where girls are typically looking more to settle down or at least have something steady, and it's really frustrating. There's so much instability in the 20s, and dating is just one more thing to add to that.

I definitely feel the same way you do!!!

Kellene Elise

I am on the same page for sure… I try to be optimistic about dating but quite honestly, there is nothing I hate more than forced awkward situations, and most of the time that is what dating feels like to me. Most of the males I come in contact with have that "hook-up" focus and are rather uncreative in their pursuits. Watch out boys cause I can spot you from a mile away now (hooray almost mid-twenties!)…

I live with all guys and one of my roommates gave me the best advice a few weeks ago! "Don't let the sheer volume of guys trying to be with you make you feel like you are doing something wrong by not dating them, make you feel confused, or make you feel like you need to settle." I felt instantly relieved when he said it.

This Lovely Little Day

California College Student

Dating is hard. Period. Like it's so confusing and I feel like I never have any idea what page I'm on, with anyone! Or what page I should be on. Or shouldn't be on. You're supposed to be "open" but at the same time you're not supposed to be too open because then you fall really hard. But if you're too closed nothing will happen. What the heck are we supposed to do!

Agree, agree, agree!

Preppy Pink Crocodile

I am so sorry! Dating just stinks. We love it, we hate it, we have to do it, we refuse to do it, we can't wait to do it when we first meet this great new prospect… It's endless.


The Yuppie Files

I think everything is constantly changing in your 20's, so its hard no matter what. I started dating my now husband 10 yrs ago when I was 20 and you'd think that I lucked out by not having to really date anyone else in my 20's. In some ways I did, but there were a lot of hard years as he graduated, we did long distance, I graduated, then had to adjust to living in the same city as we both started our lives…..

I missed out on a lot of experiences that my single friends had & it was certainly worth it, but not always easy. Basically I think no matter your situation its a difficult time to navigate!

Sarah Morris


I've noticed how in all of the professional advice articles I read and sites I consult for launching a career there is rarely ever a segment or articles on love. And with love being one of the most essential ingredients of life (as essential as food & water to a human being) and one of our most natural tendencies is to love and be loved, there is no help for navigating those scenes in our twenty-something years WHILE undergoing the first phase of our professional journey.


Samantha Emrich

Great post! I think all us young 20-somethings can relate to the balancing act of putting yourself out there while simultaneously guarding your heart and happiness. I think the quote says it perfectly – "We accept the love we think we deserve." I think it's important to love yourself first, keep your head and morals high and make 'you' your first priority. Have fun, seize opportunities and enjoy new loves – just never at the expense of your self-respect or personal happiness.

Sarah Gould Long

Dating in today's world sometimes makes me wish that we still had arranged marriages! There is so much pressure, especially in the south, to go off the school, immediately start dating someone, and graduate with a diploma AND a ring on your finger! So sorry, society, but school is enough for me as is!

On a Good Note Designs

I'm 24 and I just flat out don't date. I don't meet people in person since I work from home, and online dating is terrible. The last date I went on was almost a year ago and it was truly awful. In the mean time, all of my closest friends from college–and I mean it, ALL–are in relationships, becoming Facebook official with people (silly to say, but my friend was very excited about this step), getting engaged or are already married. The people I've been meeting since post-grad also seem to have paired off and, as a result, fallen off the face of the earth into a couple's alternate universe. It's very frustrating. I keep thinking it will get better, but honestly it feels like it's getting worse. Maybe in my 30s?


YES! Relationships in your 20s are crazy — or at least they are for me. I like to try and keep my personal life decently private for social media purposes as well, I'm glad I'm not alone. I live in Chicago, and from your description the dating scene seems pretty similar to NYC. Just keep putting yourself out there while remembering to stay true to yourself and to those close to you.


Jessica Randall

Hey Carly,

I met the guy I knew I wanted to be with when I was about 19, in an online chatroom (not chat roulette). We knew we wanted to be together but distance and "wild oats" kept us apart for a couple of years.

I dated several guys (not all at once of course) regularly and in the pretty short term on purpose. I was interested in finding out what I like and don't like and admittedly this wasn't exactly fair to any of the guys I dated because I didn't care about any of them the same way I cared about the guy I met earlier. I got to meet a lot of really cool, really different kinds of guys and I'm still on good terms with all of them. It was fun but it didn't take me all that long to learn from each experience I have. I feel like by dating, I bring a lot more to the table now.

I'm 22 and as of this past October, my best friend and boyfriend is the guy I met in the chat room. We realized that we really only want to be with each other and we're thankful to have met early.I feel very lucky to have met my guy so early in my life and I don't regret not having much of a "dating in my 20's" phase because I've found who people look for when they're dating.

The thing is to date someone looking for the same thing as you (short term, long term, casual, serious, etc.)

@Sarah Long OMG! I can't believe this is still the mentality! I thought it was a joke but a girl in a class at my old school said she came to college to find a husband. I wished her luck but I had to laugh a bit,the school was about 75% women and most of the men there would not have been looking to date girls.

Lauren Sherritt

It's so easy to get super stressed about the dating world, and there's definitely pressure to be getting paired off (elsewise, why would it always be the first question that everyone asks you?!) I like to remind myself to just go with the flow, that dating isn't the same thing as making a permanent decision like getting married, and there's time to take it easy! It's also nice to think of the time I have now in my early twenties to be getting to know me as much as other people, so if I meet a serious prospect, I'm ready for it!

Thanks for sharing your 'love stories' on here, it's a hard thing to talk about something so personal!

Allie Emme

I think some people get too caught up with dating and think it's something they have to do, but I'm in my 20's and don't date. It's not because I don't want to but I just don't see the point in going on dates with a stranger(s). The way I see love/dating is like this (directly quoting Dakota Fanning): "if you're not gonna marry them then why do it?" It may sound "old school" but I like that.
xx Allie | A Song to Pass the Time

Coco Beau

I'm 21 and have found it extremely difficult to date in college. As you said in your post, no one even goes on dates anymore? Like is it so much to ask to want my love life to be like the movies? Maybe it is but jeez buy me an ice cream or something! Great post & cheer up!



I appreciate the honesty and realness of your post without "naming names". It is something that not many people can do or choose to do and I applaud you for keeping relationships out of your blog. I agree that dating in yours 20s is messy and chaotic. For some people, they get lucky and find that one person before or during their 20s and they just "know". For the rest of us, our 20s are full of scary adventures in love, miscommunications and misunderstandings, more drama than we know what to do with and some great memories. The past few weeks that you described sound pretty on par for dating life. I hope the rest of the year brings you some amazing love memories and maybe a few tidbits of those memories on your blog? …a girl can hope, haha.


Hang in there. From someone who went through it all too, know that it does get better. You're a stronger, better person for what you have gone through and someday it will all make sense!

Brooke Jeter

Dear Carly,

Hang in there. I appreciate your honesty in the post, I can tell it's not a subject you want to really get into. I wanted to give you a tip though. I studied Psychology in undergrad and focused my research on relationships. They fascinate me truly! I have learned that there seems to be a bit of a pattern to successful relationships… and I can go on ALL day but the key is to stop searching. To actually TRULY be comfortable with yourself and your life. We can say we are, but how many of us mean it? I met my (almost!) husband when I was 20. I had been in the game, feeling confused constantly, hurting from a guy who lead me on… and I was sick of it. I remember the moment clearly, I heard a song called "Silver Lining" by rilo kiley and something clicked in me. Suddenly I meant it, I was truly ready to enjoy being me and stop worrying about having a boyfriend and letting boys hurt me in the process. a weight had been lifted because I really actually meant it this time!

Three weeks later I met my now Fiance, he was nothing like the guys I had dated before (I remember thinking he was too nice!) but I gave him a hesitant chance. Somehow with him, there was no drama at all, it was completely comfortable and easy with no need to analyze his every move. It was completely different and I know very early that I'd actually found someone who wanted to see me as a partner.

My point is, and I truly believe this, that it will happen for you and for all you single ladies. Dating is tough, I think we try and force it too much and when we stop, the universe's plan for you can unfold. We all deserve love, it is as a PP truly essential to the human existence. You seem like such a great driven girl, there is someone out there who will count his lucky stars to be around you.