Sami Holden encourages you not to close the blast doors…to your heart.
I’m in the dating market and I just don’t care about trying anymore. It’s just too much of a pain in the rear end. In this day and age, who would want to? For a while OKCupid was entertaining. If someone sent me a terrible message, I could always troll back. After a while this became exhausting. No one sent a message in return that matched over 50%. Other than sex, I’m coming up with very little that couldn’t be provided by myself or friends. I certainly have more honest and intimate conversations with my friends than I have ever had with a partner. Why should I spend my time trying to find someone to date when it’s really just an awful process?
Dating Seems Dismal
Dear Dating Seems Dismal,
This is a question that seems to be a popular one over the holiday season. Why date? I know it’s not easy. I’ve been the person to wait and not get responses back from men I’ve sent messages out to. I’ve had dates pass out drunk on the date while I was sober. I stayed hours to take care of them until they were OK. I’ve had dates tell me that no one would ever want me except them. I’ve experienced the dark side (see what I did there?). If you’re willing to go along with someone who can’t give you a definitive answer and is in no way qualified to be dispersing advice, may the force be with you (I can’t stop…).
No one in the history of ever has said that dating is an easy process. That’s why there have been numerous books written and keep being written about dating because there is no one perfect answer. We’ve become a society wanting instant gratification. We want a book? We order it and it can arrive promptly in two days or less in physical form, instantaneously if digital. We want to watch a TV show? We can watch an entire season in one day. Gone are the days of having to wait from week to week to see what happens next. It seems that we expect dating to work like this as well.
This is not to say that dating should be work. It should hopefully be fun. Not every person will be the one that clicks with your personality, and that can be disappointing. When you decide to play guitar, by the next day you are generally not ready to go on tour with the biggest named band out there. When you are in college or grad school, you learn and evolve over a number of years. At the end you’re stunned by how much you now know that you thought you knew at the beginning. Set the correct intentions for dating. If the expectation is that the moment you sign up for on-line dating or walk into a bar that someone special will appear, you’re likely to get disappointed.
There will be people who won’t message back. There will be people who will be rude and say awful things, but those aren’t the ones you want anyway. Think how lucky you are that they showed their personality so quickly! If it becomes overwhelming or frustrating, please take a break. There are only so many bad dates that anyone can accumulate before potentially turning cynical and jaded.
If taking a break, contemplate what exactly you are looking for in another person to spend time with. I say “to spend time with” because I think the biggest mistake is making dating a checkbox towards marriage. You can want to get married, but it should be more than “find random person who meets random checklist to place into empty space in life” situation. Life is about more than a checklist and boxes to fill by a given time. There is no rush. Do you want someone who shares a similar sense of humor? Do you envision yourself coming up with random brunch recipes on the weekend with the person you’d like to date? It should be a step-by-step approach. Of course attraction is important and goes without saying, but what in a relationship would positively contribute to a feeling of contentment? What would you like for your life two weeks out? Keep your plans at a more immediate distance as it allows you to be flexible with the changes of life and not stuck in a place of potential disappointment.
Letting other people into our lives can be a scary process. Why date? Well, why have friends? Why go to social events? If sex is what you want, why not just continue with one night stands? It’s amazing all of the things we can talk ourselves out of if we truly want to. Humans are social. Even ones like myself who like alone time still find enjoyment in companionship. If dating isn’t for you right now, then don’t date.
Be vulnerable. If you never let anyone in, you’ll always be keeping the potential for wonderful experiences out. Date because you want to not because you feel you have to. Date because you want to meet someone who somehow gets you. Everyone will not get you, and you may have to go through a lot of awful to get to any wonderful. Don’t mistake what I’m saying… the other person cannot bring instant happiness to your life. That’s too much pressure on anyone. Date because you’ve worked on yourself, know what you want, and would like to meet someone else who has done the same.
Some day you will find a gem. They will not be a perfect person just like you’re not a perfect person. They will make you laugh. You will find things in common with them that maybe you don’t have in common with other people. They will notice when you’re having a bad day even if you don’t tell them because they will learn you. They will be your friend and physical partner. Look for someone who you definitively know would have your back if times got tough. You will let them in and you will be more content and calm because of it. Sometimes each of us needs to be single for a while, but never give up hope that companionship is out there if it’s what you truly want. Life has a tendency to surprise us at the most random of times. It’s OK to be single. Being alone doesn’t mean you’re lonely. It’s OK to want to be in a relationship and spend time searching for that person. Whichever path you decide for now, go with it entirely. As Yoda said, “do or do not, there is no try.”
Here’s for better dating days ahead,
Send your pressing questions for Sami to answer for Dating in the Digital Age to [email protected].
Photo: Flickr/Betsy Weber