Let’s talk dating, y’all! I don’t think of myself as an anomaly, so I’m going to guess there are others that feel like I do: When it comes to dating, I’m this mix of millennial wretchedness and old fashioned ideals. We’re on Tinder but we want a monogamous relationship. We only want to get married once, but we’ll end a conversation with someone over some petty nonsense. We’ll pop into someone’s direct messages on various social media platforms without giving it a second thought but then we revert to seventh-grade-dance-level averted eyes and shy chatter when we see each other in person. I can’t be the only one trying to play both sides of the coin, but why? Why do we do this? I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately, and I have a few ideas.
First and foremost: we’re a generation of assholes.
And it’s not totally our fault (a truly millennial answer, I suppose). Dating apps allow us to be superficial and judgmental in a way that doesn’t happen when you meet people face-to-face. I was just talking to someone the other day about being on Tinder, and how I’m now able to hate (or at least find a reason to be disinterested in) someone before I ever meet them. Then you take that a step further, and you can ghost them or get ghosted (re: just unmatch them with no reason, effectively ending a conversation in the blink of an eye).
And the assholery doesn’t stop when you meet someone offline. I had to check myself real quick down here in Texas when a guy went to open my car door for me. The independent, feminist, New Yorker in me was about to be like “KTHANKSIGOTITMYSELF!” I then had to remind myself that A) I had to get in the car with this person and wasn’t trying to end up on Dateline, and B) This is textbook chivalry. Do I think chivalry is rooted in sexism? Yes. Am I okay with things like opening doors and walking between me and the roadway on the sidewalk? Yes. I dare you to try and break a born-and-bred Texan of these habits; you’ll send the poor man into breakdown. Now if we get home and ol’ boy tells me to make him a sandwich…that’s a different story. Bottom line: We think we want these things til they happen, then we don’t know how to act.
We confuse perfection and self-love.
J. Cole said “Love yourself, girl, or nobody will,” which is really only a half truth. I want to believe that we all love ourselves in some way, shape, or form, but I also believe we’re all broken. Maybe an ex (or two or three) broke you, or you never saw positive relationships at home so you don’t know how to have one now, or maybe you’ve simply been through some shit. Whatever it is, there’s broken parts to all of us.
As such, you don’t have to wholly and unabashedly love yourself or believe you’re perfect in order for someone else to love you. You do, however, need to know yourself. What about you is broken? Maybe it’s not “broken,” but what’s flawed? If you can’t name it, you’re not going to be able to share it with someone else. We have to know our brokenness, what makes us tick, what isn’t okay, and all of that before we can expect to successfully allow someone else (and their brokenness) in. Which brings me to my next point…
Communication is FUBAR.
We don’t talk or listen to each other. We text. We tweet. We subtweet. We snapchat. We talk to friends. We post on Instagram. We share things on Facebook. But we don’t sit down and talk to people. When you’re trying to date someone (at least in my experience) if you aren’t BOTH ready to be open and honest and share things you may have never shared with anyone else, it ain’t gonna happen.
We also don’t know how to argue. Fun fact: It’s not about winning. It’s not about the knockdown, drag out, GOD DAMN IT I’M RIGHT bottom line. I’ll never forget a former supervisor telling me all her prior relationships (she was newly married) failed because she didn’t know how to argue. I’ve seen people my age typically do one of two things: not address any concerns til it’s so bottled up they explode, or nitpick about everything. You’ve gotta choose what hills you’re willing to die on, but if something is a problem, you can’t say nothing and pretend like it’s going to go away.
So what of it? I’m still over here single as a pringle, so you probably don’t need to listen to a thing I’m saying. At this point, until a man becomes as important to me as the goals I’ve set while supporting me in reaching them, I’ll continue to dole out relationship advice from my high horse of singleness. Now if anyone knows where I can get a certification as a Professional Third Wheel, let a lady know…
Til next time,