1,001 Nights with Laken: Finding a winner

Laken Howard, Columnist

It’s no secret at this point that I’ve been treated poorly by a lot of guys. The worst part, though, is that a number of times I’ve let myself be treated that way. For those who know me best, it must have been baffling to see me shed tears time and time again over guys I’d only known a few weeks, given my usual air of confidence.

I’ve had guys throw me out of their apartments at 2 a.m., ignore me on my birthday, use me for sex and a myriad of other horrible things. You may wonder why or even how I could have continued dating, especially on OkCupid. The answer is simple: I was hopeful. I knew that someday, I would finally meet a guy who was worth my time, who would treat me like a princess, who would be so similar to myself that it was almost scary and who would genuinely just want to get to know me.

I don’t want to seem like I’m rushing into anything (because I’ve been known to do that and subsequently get burned by it), but the guy I’m seeing right now appears to be the cat’s pajamas of dating. Words can’t even express how relieving it is to be around someone who is sincerely the nicest guy and who makes me laugh more than anyone I’ve ever known. This sounds extremely sappy, but put in context with all the losers I’ve been out with, this guy is seriously magnificent.

I’ll admit it: Originally I blew this guy off — twice — because he didn’t seem all that interesting. Little did I know that I was about to be the victim of some serious charm and endearment. When I finally made plans with him and kept them, I was blown away by how spectacular our date was.

This is what I’ve wanted: A guy who will watch “Harry Potter” with me, who will take me on real dates (such as the zoo!), who will offer to come to Evanston to see me instead of making me travel, who will eat a bite of my pancakes at IHOP at 10 p.m. at my insistence even though he hates them, who will take me to Target and ask me what kind of cereal I like so he can keep it around his place and who will say the sweetest things and actually mean them. The list continues (seemingly into infinity), but you get the drift.

I feel like such an idiot for thinking even for a moment that I could change any of the other guys I’ve dated and make them fit my standards. When you long for companionship as I have, you have to be well aware of exactly what you want in a partner. I can’t speak for everyone, but the most important thing to me is an instant connection, which I finally have felt for real instead of just pretending it was there.

I know this isn’t my usual funny blog post, but I think it’s important to urge you to never settle for less than what you deserve. So many times I let the thrill of a new guy convince me that he was perfect for me, when in reality he was mediocre at best and treated me like shit. Despite everything, I have persevered and my patience appears to have paid off. I don’t know for sure yet if this is my happy ending, but it certainly feels that way.  I implore you to say “f— you” to the guys (or girls) who mistreat you and never give up on finding someone who will appreciate and love you for you.