As we head into April, I suddenly realize that I’ll be turning 26 in a few months. I also realize it will be nearly two and a half years that I have been officially single. My longest committed relationship is with my Netflix account, but man, he never lets me down.
Its not to say that I haven’t had any contact with men. I’m not that unlucky. Australia was a year of easy associations, since the travelers life makes any sort of serious relationship a bit hard. I once met a guy and upon returning to Melbourne, found that I really missed him. He told me romance was not an option for him since he was moving on. The bittersweet reality of travel: people are always coming and leaving. Since last April, I’ve been riding the unpredictable roller coaster of dating in a 20- something world. My friends are scattered. My work offers little choice. I bounce in and out of the online options, and still haven’t decided how I really feel about it.
Everyone who dates has been there, but I can’t count how many times I feel let down or disappointed. To me, dating has been a series of false starts. No matter how a person tells it to you, or what their reasons are, being turned down sucks. Maybe he met someone else, wants to play the field, or couldn’t stand those pink rain boots you wore on every date, but either way, you feel let down. Even if the person tells you it isn’t you, you will inevitably put the blame on yourself. Unless you have the ultimate confidence and scoff when people turn you down. If so, kudos. Its hard not to feel like you haven’t wasted time, energy and money on the dates or time spent with this individual. Why did I bother? Why didn’t I see it coming? Should I even date?
That’s why I see it as a rollercoaster. At my highest point, I am a 14 year old girl full of hope and bouncing along the Ottawa streets to cheesy love songs. At my worst, I am swearing off men and dating and think I will never meet someone.
I know. But this is how it is. Some people find each other easily. Some people don’t. Some people also invest four years in their partner, only to tell them they don’t want kids, or marriage, or them at all. I have never been there, and I can’t even imagine the pain.
I have had some very peculiar dates. A guy who was convinced I was checking out his ass the whole time and considered himself an undiscovered model. One guy thought our first date was the perfect time to tell me about all of his OTHER dates that he was currently going on. One guy still lived with his recent ex-fiancee since they’d bought a house together. Scrabble for 3? Online dating and social media has made the dating game such a complicated world indeed. At any point, you should assume that the person you met is probably speaking to 12 other girls on Tinder, met two girls for coffee from POF and is changing his OK Cupid Profile every few weeks. There’s no way to know how many other people the man or woman you’re eyeing isn’t involved with a harem of other people. You just have to go out on a limb and hope for the best.
Still, I have stories. Some are weird, some are good. If you can look at it objectively, you meet interesting people. You get to hear new stories. Successful or not, going on dates can and should be fun.
Another slight disappointment has come my way, and obviously- I am disappointed. I constantly wonder why it must be so hard to find someone with the same interests and desires as you. Or, you meet someone who does, but any number of random variables come into play that stop the possibility of Something right in its tracks. I truly wish that people could be more honest with themselves and with each other. It would save a lot of time, energy, and pain if they could. I’m not saying you should lay all your cards out on the first date, but it would be nice to have real communication and honesty from both parties. A few months ago, I spent a bit of time with one guy who was apparently dying to see me one day, and flat-out ignoring me the next. Looking for self-betterment, I texted him to ask if he could at least let me know what I had said or done to turn him off (if I had), so I could learn from my mistake and do better the next time. Did I get a response? Of course not. So, not only was I left in the dark, having thought things were going so well, but this guy couldn’t even spend a few minutes giving some sort of clarity so a person could improve. Having some idea is much better than having NO idea. Thing is, people will say whatever they think is easiest, whatever makes them or you feel better. Even though we all know “its not you, it’s me” is so cliche, I still hear it. “You’re amazing! You deserve better!” Well, no shit Sherlock, I probably do, but I wanted you, duhh. I think some things need to be said, and others aren’t worth the breath.
They say you shouldn’t look for it, but I also believe you’ll be alone forever if you sit in your living room watching Netflix. You need to put yourself out there. You need to be honest. Taking risks and chances is the only way you run any chance of meeting someone worthy. Sometimes I can be a bit emotional (its who I am), a little trusting, a little vulnerable. Sometimes I get screwed because of it. Still, I am not going to change who I am. To find the right person means showing yourself wholly for who you are. At some point, I do believe that someone will enjoy my dorkiness, awkward jokes, poetry writing and thirst for travel. Someone will enjoy my cooking, not be afraid of my “morning look”, and know not to argue with me about Harry Potters greatness. That time hasn’t come yet, but it will.
I’m riding through one of the lower loops on the coaster right now, so this is as much a note to myself as to anyone in general. These are my mis/adventures. Sometimes it’ll be bad, sometimes it’ll be good. The point is that we will always push through it, and life will always go on. If today isn’t what you’d hoped for, keep your eye on tomorrow. Each new day is a chance to turn it around. I sometimes dislike the plethora of people telling me to focus on self, focus on you, but at the root of it they are correct. I can only hope that eventually someone will take notice when I’m too busy noticing everything else that’s wonderful in my life.