Dating Shit To Stop Worrying About Now
I feel like I’ve been having a very similar conversation with a lot of different friends, be they close girl friends who date around a lot, older guy friends who crave a steady relationship, or friends closer to my age with little to no dating/sexual experience. A lot of these friends of mine seem to be expressing concern over a common theme: what if I never meet anyone I can have a connection with like my ex? What if I’ve made a horrible mistake by breaking up with them, even though they’re emotionally abusive and/or things don’t seem to ever get “better” between us?
I’ve explained to them all similar conclusions: (1) there’s a reason why this person is your ex, and (2) wtf, you live in a major metropolitan city, and there are literally THOUSANDS of people you haven’t even met yet. Allow me to break this down in 3 parts of what I view to be the main threads of anxiety here:
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1. Getting older.
I feel like a lot of this anxiety people seem to be having in their mid to late 20s (and even early to mid 30s) stems from the myth that they somehow “don’t have much time left”– whether it be to have babies, remain “hot”, or whatever. I mean, that’s fair to a certain extent, but it’s not like when you turn 30 (or even 35), you’ll suddenly become this hag who’s desperate for a child. It’s an image pushed on us on a regular basis by the media, and by the various current social structures within which we live. But you know what I say? Fuck ’em. People aren’t reductive stereotypes. No one can tell you what’s appropriate for your age but you. If you want to fuck 18 year olds until you’re 70, good for you. If you want to never date again starting at age 25, fucking go for it. Unless you’re inflicting pain on someone else, you, essentially, can live your life as you please. No insufferably shmaltzy movie or false statistic should rain on your parade.
2. The Ex
Sometimes, when you get illogically wistful about your ex, you may actually just be romanticizing the way you felt around them, rather than the actual person themselves. This can be really confusing, and can totally fuck you up. One of my friends, was talking with me about an ex boyfriend of hers who I would characterize as at once completely immature and incapable of handling any sort of evolved equal partnership that resembles “a relationship” AND really attentive, insightful, and funny. She said that though this guy can barely handle his own life (much less an attempt at a healthy relationship) and is/was a complete emotional drain on her, that her fear is that she’ll never be able to connect with someone to the extent that she did with him ever again. I’m sure, and in fact certain, that they must have had an amazing connection on an emotional and intellectual level. BUT, contrary to popular belief, this does not necessarily make for an inevitable “great” relationship. Just because you have a connection with someone does not mean that you should be with that person in a relationship situation.
Though New Yorkers generally like to think of themselves as picky and cerebral when it comes to selecting their mates, it really is possible to be very smart, and yet totally fucked up. You may not want to admit that you were mistaken in judging their character, but swallow some pride a little bit, and stop making yourself miserable by obsessing over who you thought your ex was. Which leads me to my next point…
3. I hate/am at most lukewarm about everyone I meet
As I said, New Yorkers and other metropolitan area dwellers like to think they have really high standards when it comes to who they date. And, believe me, I’ve definitely experienced such ennui with dating that there was a point that I thought I was possibly a sociopath who can’t feel, and just wanted to collapse on the ground forever like in that one Radiohead video. But, honestly, there are literally SO MANY goddamn people you haven’t met yet that are in your own city. Now, this doesn’t mean you should go on some sort of OKCupid dating rampage (like I guess I sort of did did a few years ago) in some sort of misguided attempt to meet everyone ages 24-40 in a 5-mile vicinity. In fact, that may even make you MORE depressed.
What might be an even BETTER move on your part, is to CHILL THE FUCK OUT and stop worrying about meeting someone. For the most part, we meet a lot of people on a regular basis, whether it be on your daily commute, through work, at parties outside your friend groups, etc. The point is, there is almost NO WAY you can’t or won’t meet someone else who compares, or even exceeds comparison to your ex. I say, worry about the shit you can control about your life, your career, and the rest will take its place. Forgive me for making this iphone analogy (I recently got one, and maybe I’m brainwashed now), but think of your life as the entire iphone device itself, and of dating as an app. Stupid, pointless and yet temporarily entertaining apps don’t need to take up space or take precedence over a device that is actually useful.
Anywho, even if you NEVER meet anyone you like and you’re “alone” (whatever that even means), at least you’ll be satisfied with the most important aspects of your life and not relying on someone else to fulfill you– which, let me tell you, will more often than not, be a recipe for being consistently disappointed. Which, if you think about it, is WAY more depressing and bleak than stressing out about not meeting anyone.
I guess most of all, the message to my friends is this: don’t settle for something/someone out of fear. It’s not worth ruining your own life over someone else’s bullshit, just because you’re afraid of being alone or being wrong. And if you want to get mathematical:
Lonely + miserable > Your misery + someone else’s baggage
Also, if you’re not dating anyone, that means you’ll never be expected to stick your mouth on a penis for an extended period of time. Life may possibly not get better than that.