On Dating


Dating has been on my mind a lot this year, and through the highs and lows I’ve realized that the entire system of traditional dating is entirely not my cup of tea. Dating, from what I’ve seen, seems to boil down to a lot of strategy and very little vulnerability. From group-sourcing text messages and following arbitrary rules of what you can and cannot say, to being careful to present and solicit only the “appropriate” information, to trying to completely hide all natural bodily functions, the entire system seems built for the pure purpose of shoring up insecurities and adding anxiety to a person’s life. Excitement, certainly, can be found in the drama of waiting for a response or wondering which emoji most appropriately captures the emotion one wants to communicate, but to me it seems like an unnecessary expenditure of energy. I am not writing from a scorned or unhappy place (quite the opposite), but I wonder how many others are fed up by this system designed to leave people dissatisfied and only superficially acquainted with the people they are dating?

I understand that I am an Introvert, and it is energetically draining for me to spend a lot of time in surface level chitchat. I understand that my personality makes the modern style of dating even more difficult, so take this with a grain of salt. People have told me I am intimidating, and that I am blunt. Yup, it’s true. You caught me. I say what I mean, and I don’t play games. You get what you see with me. What’s messed up is the fact that that is so terrifying and unusual. I would think that people want to know what they are getting into in a new relationship. Don’t you want to know what makes your partner tick, how they behave when they’re hungry and sleepy and sick, and what their fears and hopes are? I’ve been informed that I apparently skip over all of the entry-level fluff you’re supposed to live in for a while before getting to the more personal information. But you know what? I don’t care. Not that getting to know new people is ever a waste of time, but I do not understand the model of investing as little as possible only to be disappointed months later once you finally get to know and are not compatible with the person you are seeing.

The process of keeping oneself at arm’s length is also in direct opposition to being vulnurable. The simple fact is that there will never be happiness and trust without a leap. And, yes, you can get hurt. Things can be amazing for a little while and then not. But how do you find either the good or the bad if you don’t open up? To me, the dating “game” seems comprised of status moves, rather than relationship. While it may seem that this approach keeps you safe from harm, from what I have witnessed and experienced it merely keeps you from possible happiness.

This is not a rant about the methods of how to find a partner. Use a dating app or website, go to singles events, hang out in restaurants and bars and libraries and coffee shops, or go on a blind date. But when you do, present your genuine self. Don’t count how many hours or days it has been since you last communicated. If you want to text, text. If you hate that type of food, be honest. If you are really into a person but they don’t meet your laundry list of expectations, examine your intentions and actual needs as well as what you bring to the table rather than writing them off for superficial reasons.

I’ve tried that other thing with planning and rules and safety. It’s bullshit.

Be yourself instead.

Sincerely,

Emilie

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