I just chose to project my own manufactured reality onto them in order to keep them around.
I’m not saying that I blamed myself for the unfair standards placed on women; I simply decided that there was only one variable I could control in these situations: how I reacted to the pressure to be "cool." So I slowly, but surely, began expressing my actual feelings around the men I was dating.
He said he felt like I was confused about what our relationship was, and that it seemed like I was looking for something more serious, and he wasn’t.
I took a deep breath, and typed back a response: You’re right — I am looking for something serious.
But around February of last year, I had an important realisation that helped me start acting less like the Cool Girl and more like myself: The men weren’t the problem.