dating is scary.
i’m not even sure what the real definition of “dating” is but i’m afraid of it.
afraid of the idea of putting myself out there. afraid of the idea of being let down. afraid of the idea of being rejected.
but even more…i’m TERRIFIED of the idea of meeting someone who i feel connected with. meeting that ONE person who i could see a future with. meeting the one person who may make ALL the past relationships worth it. meeting the one person who understands me in a way that no one ever has. and then hoping and praying that they feel the same way about me?
now that’s scary.
there’s this fairytale idea of settling down and sharing a life with someone. creating a home, maybe having a few children. sharing all of your dreams and passions and building your ideal life together.
as a child and a teenager, that is all i ever desired. to be held by the same person for the rest of my life. to wake up, roll over and see the same face on the pillow next to mine every single morning. to be able to listen for the same vehicle to pull up the driveway every night after work. of course, yes, i want that.
but as i grow into my adult self, i realize
1) love can be an illusion
2) how unstable and unhappy most “forever” relationships are
3) i don’t need that
let me explain…
first, love can be an illusion. just as the definition says, an illusion is something that will be perceived wrongly and interpreted by the senses. well. when i think about my experiences with love and all the different times i thought i was in love…i would conclude that all of them were an illusion that i created in my mind. i have so desperately wanted love in the past, that i would convince myself that the relationship was so much better than it actually was. that the person was so wonderful and considerate and amazing. that the fighting and the anxiety and the pressure was worth it. but slowly, the fog in my mind would lessen and things would become more clear. my perception and perspective about the person would change and i would realize just how deep i had dug myself. eventually, my brain would catch up with my heart and i would realize that it wasn’t ever as magical as i wanted it to be.
anyone who knows me would say that i haven’t always had the best choice in guys. but i really do blame that on being such a hopeless romantic. my heart can make even the worst douchebag seem like prince charming. and no matter how much of a douchebag they were or how badly they hurt me, it never prevented me from being heartbroken. i fall in love hard, and i fall even harder when i get dropped.
it also doesn’t help that love is a hyped up emotion that entertainment producers and other industries throw in our face. love love love! rom coms! chocolate! valentines day! matching bracelets with your anniversary date! a puzzle of your faces! just so much junk that you can watch and buy to celebrate being in love. we are constantly being shown what romance can look like but never being shown what it actually does look like. the fighting. the compromise. the sacrifice. it’s no wonder why you go into a relationship thinking it should be X…and feel let down when it is actually Y. well Y is reality. and Y is difficult.
secondly, most “forever” relationships are unstable and unhappy. this might be a dramatic perspective but i know of very few “forever” relationships that haven’t been through the wringer. and before i go further, i want to say that i realize that no relationship is ever going to be a walk in the park and that there are always going to be issues that arise. but i also realize how many people cheat, how many people lie, how many people hit, and how many people get divorced. what i say all the time is that you only know as much as people want you to know. everyone has a secret struggle, a secret need, a secret life. even if two people in a relationship seem “picture-perfect”, they aren’t. they just aren’t providing information to make you think otherwise.
my concept of marriage is always changing, but at the current time, my concept of marriage is just broken. it’s putting your all into something that will probably break anyway. it’s wholly trusting someone who will do something to break that trust anyway. it’s a final commitment to someone. a final commitment that is supposed to be equal. a final commitment that is supposed to exist for the rest of your time. but it’s a final commitment that more times than not, ends up broken, in some way or another at some point.
i have witnessed so much pain. i have felt so much pain myself. and it’s hard for me to willingly want to put myself in a situation that could just result in more pain. marriage is pain to me. and i’m sure that there are thousands of people who outweigh the pain with all the happiness that a commitment such as marriage brings them. but in my personal experience, i am glad i did not commit maritally to anyone who i have been with because the pain i was forced through was not outweighed by the happiness i felt. maybe one day someone will come along and change my opinion, but for now, marriage is just as scary as dating.
lastly, i don’t need that. i don’t need love. i don’t need the worry of being left. i don’t need the worry of being cheated on. i don’t need the worry of not being enough. when i step back and prioritize my life, the things i need are this: family, friends, a roof over my head, food on my table and a job that i enjoy. i don’t need to be in love, i don’t need someone to love me. i just want it.
it’s a conversation that is brought up every year around Christmas – need versus want. my mother always tells me that Christmas is the time where you get to ask for things that you want. you don’t have to ask for practical things that you need. and it took me a long time to figure out and understand the difference between the two, but as i grow older and become more self-reliant (and financially dependent) i realize that there are tens and hundreds of things that i would love to have, but i don’t need those things.
i’ve begun to accept that with love as well. i have to know in the back of my mind that i will survive without love if i never find it. i have to trust that if i am meant to be in love that it will be brought to me. i have to focus my energy and time on the things that i need in order to survive – things such as having dinner with my parents, stopping to see my gram, texting my brother, going on hikes with my girlfriends, showing up to my job every morning, going grocery shopping and paying my bills. i can’t allow myself to sit around and be disappointed by all my failed relationships. i have to focus on myself, on bettering myself, on growing myself, on loving myself. because there is a chance that no one else ever will.
love is something you choose to believe in. and if you don’t choose to believe in it, then you don’t try to find it. i know this because there are plenty of people out there that never settle down. never get married. never show any interest in sharing their life with someone else. i don’t know what their reasoning is, but i would like to think that it’s because they either never believed in love OR because they did believe but they were burned one too many times and gave up. i do believe in love, but i am trying to appreciate all the other types of love i am surrounded by until a romantic love comes along for me. ya know, loves such as the love i feel from my best girlfriends, the love i feel from my parents, the love i feel from my bff doggy when i come home from work everyday. i have lots of love in my life already, and i’m striving to be happy with it.
i look at the lives of others that are the same age as i am and their lives are very different than mine. their lives are kids, marriage, houses, engagements, promotions. my life is hanging with my parents for dinner, reading a book before bed every night, finding a good face wash that actually works, giving my own hair a trim to save money. it makes me feel like i am missing out. but what am i missing out on? happiness? i have that. feeling fulfilled? i have that. being loved? again, i have that. i guess sometimes i just need to take a step back and realize that the universe is giving me everything i need for the moments i am living, and if i needed something more, i would find it.
my constant internal battle is this: isn’t the chance of finding a person who you can share every adventure and experience with worth it? but doesn’t the risk of heartbreak scare the absolute sh*t out of you?
so yeah, dating is scary.
dating in high school – simple. what was there to worry about other than if he met you in the hallway to walk you to your next class?
dating in college – harder. only because your parents were no longer there to control your every move. and you got to spend as many nights as you wanted in your boyfriend’s dorm, so it really wasn’t that bad.
dating in your 20’s – THE WORST. and i stand by that. your 20’s are unstable times. trying to figure out your career, trying to move out on your own, trying to become financially stable, trying to pay off student debt, trying to buy a car, trying to figure out how to make your dreams come true. unstable. unstable. un. stab. le. i tend to think of my 20’s as the free years i get to spend making all the mistakes and risky decisions i need to make in this life. and again, i’m UNSTABLE. mentally, emotionally, financially, physically. i can’t even stick to a normal workout schedule. and then on top of that, i’m supposed to be seeking out ANOTHER unstable 20 something year old??? to trust??? to build a life with??? to possibly re-produce with??? i just can’t even imagine something more scary than that search.
i have been in a few relationships, had a few flings, and went on a limited amount of “casual dates” in the past 4 years of being in my 20’s and i have to say that looking forward toward the next 6 years of dating in my 20’s…well. i would rather try to run for President of the United States.