Waiting For Something That Doesn't Exsist
A few years ago I did online dating for the first time. Well, I should be more specific , I did online matching, as I never went on a date with anyone. I got on eHarmony because one of my best friends was doing it at the time and it seemed liked maybe it would help me meet more people. Once I was matched with several guys I knew (and really didn't want to date) I discontinued my service. And I have been back to eHarmony, and then recently as a joke, I got on Tinder. (Side note for my single friends: Tinder is hilarious, but I doubt highly you will find a date if you aren't in to sleeping around.) So, I have made a few rounds through the online dating world without much success. I think there have been a few reasons for that, but that's another post.
For a few reasons, I have been thinking a lot about dating recently. In part, because I don't really know any single guys these days. Also, recently, a close friend got married and another close friend began a serious relationship. Then, one of my favorite new podcasts, Start Up, began profiling Dating Ring, a start-up trying to make it in the online dating world. While listening to Start Up, I really started thinking more about how the internet has changed dating and meeting people and I had a few thoughts I started mulling over.
Over the years, I have read a lot about how people are marrying later. I have read articles about how the rise in pornography and pre-marital sex is playing a part, which I think it is. And how with careers play a part, particularly with how it is taking longer for people to find jobs and move away from home. But, I started really thinking about the way online dating works and how that might be contributing to the longer state of singleness. And I think that there is a mindset that has permeated the 20-30's culture, the mindset that there is always someone else out there. The idea that "what if I settle down with this person, and an even more attractive/successful/fun person comes along next week?"
Before technology, before online dating, before Tinder, you just met the people in your circle. You might meet some friends of friends, and hit it off with one of them. But your circle was small, it was specific. Now, your circle is infinite. You can meet people from New York, London, Seattle, etc with the swipe of a screen. You can scroll through hundreds of faces and profiles, looking for that "perfect" one. Now, I don't want to come across as I am against online dating, because I am really not. I think it's all about how you approach it. Are you trying to widen your circle, or are you just swiping and clicking past people looking for "the one?"
Because here's the deal, there isn't a "perfect" person. Because no one is perfect. No one person is going to complete you. No is is going to stay beautiful or handsome forever. Sometimes, the most charming, sweet person will be a jerk. No matter who you date/marry, there are going to be hard and difficult days ahead. There will be great moments, and hard moments. But, we live in this world surrounded by romantic movies, shows, and music that tell us we can find the perfect person. The man who says just the right thing as the sun comes over the horizon. The woman who is beautiful, smart, can be wild and fun, but who still loves kids and wants a family. Songs that describe perfect people who sing about how they will love you until you are old and how perfect you are to a perfect melody. There will be romance in life and in relationships, but, I think that we are surrounded by false messaging that there is a level of perfection in relationships that I just don't think is real.
Can I encourage something different? Find someone you think is attractive, that you like their personality, that you have some things in common with, and go for it. Try going for coffee. For heavens sakes guys, ask a girl out, I bet she will say yes. Coffee is not a marriage proposal, it's an hour at Starbucks chatting, that's it. Girls, be open to getting coffee with someone, it's not a lifetime commitment. Say yes to someone who isn't quite the ideal you might be dreaming of. I think relationships are serious, but I feel like we have this culture where we are always waiting for something better. Or, we take it so seriously, we can't even go on casual dates. Let's find some middle ground and just enjoy getting to know people. Let's stop waiting around for a "perfect" person we have in our heads and just try to appreciate the people around us and see if maybe, just maybe, we are missing someone by looking for something that doesn't exist.