Sunday, September 21, 2008

Dating

Another one from the draft folder... I wrote this one on June 1 of this year. I think I was gonna write more, but it's pretty long as it is. It's funny, too, cause I wrote this before developing my dating philosophy a little further this summer. We'll leave it at that for now, shall we? ;) After all, this isn't about now, it's about June 1... Read it then tell me, what do YOU think? Dating philosophies? Thoughts? Tips? Cute single boys you want to set me up with? (ohsorryWHAT?) hehehe


No, this is not a proclamation. I'm not dating anyone. And if I was, it would have to be pretty solid before I announced it on the blog, in part cause I've seen what a flurry of activity happens when a girl casually mentions a boy on a blog (hehehe... right, Sarah?), and in part because I feel like talking about relationships here is, in some ways, telling stories that aren't only my own.

But I've been thinking about it a lot lately (and no, not in a "gee, I wish I was dating someone" kinda way... well ok, not JUST in that kinda way!). If somebody asked me, I would tell them that I haven't actually been in a more "serious relationship" (whatever that means!) for quite some time. Like, for seven and a half years. Wow. But in that time, I've had boyfriends, I've gone on dates. I've done that oh-so-awful nebulous non-dating thing. I've been head over heels for someone and I've had my heart broken. Broken reeeal good. I've been led on, and I've led on, albeit unintentionally, and within the parameters of trying to do the best thing. We all mess up sometimes, and while I don't have many regrets in my life, hurting a friend and an awesome person is one of them. But I digress...

My views on dating are changing. Back in university, I think I thought that the only relationships that counted were official boyfriend/girlfriend, "I consider you a potential marriage partner so let's determine if that's a possibility" kind of relationships.

Holy scary, Batman!

But I think that view is still around, particularly in Christian circles. It's probably why people (including myself) can get so freaked out by a "Hey, do you wanna go for coffee sometime?" Somehow that simple question gets twisted all up into something more like, "Hello. I consider you a potential candidate for marriage. Would you like to consider the possibility of entering into a long term exclusive relationship to determine if this is so?" (best said all in one breath as if there were no spaces between the words!)

GAAAAAH!!!!!!!! It's JUST coffee!

Sounds nutty, doesn't it? But I think that's - to some way less scary degree - what's behind the fact that I "don't count" some of the dating I've done or boyfriends I've had (gosh, it sounds lie it's been a lot! It hasn't, really!) over the last few years. Which begs the question, "Count as WHAT?" and why is that? For some - yes, most - there's never been a defined relationship. Perhaps that's why. Many haven't lasted very long at all - a few dates, maybe a month or so. Does length of time determine "dating?"

More and more, I'm settling into the idea that dating is waaaaay more casual than I used to think it was. Meet someone fun. Hang out. Get to know them. No pressure, no expectations, no "what are we?" There may be chemistry, sparks, fireworks. There may not be. It may develop, it may not. I'm really trying to yank the idea of "dating=potential marriage partner" from the mix (it should get there eventually, but NOT at first, I don't think) and just enjoy getting to know lots of different guys (well, girls too, but in the dating context... that would be a little awkward!).

One of the great things about meeting people, going on dates, getting to know someone is that I get to know some really great people and get to see the world through somebody else's eyes. And of course, I learn so much: about myself, about the kind of person I'm looking for, about new ways of thinking, about new skills or ideas, about attitudes I need to change in my life and attitudes I don't want to put up with in another person.

Sometimes it's wonderful, thrilling, all-consuming. Sometimes it's painful, humbling, aggravating. Sometimes it's just plain S.........L..........O..............W.

Ah, dating. A necessary evil? Who knows.

3 comments:

Sandy said...

All I can say is "Yes, yes, yes!" That's my story too! I had the whole philosophy of I'd never date (as in go on ONE date) with a guy I wouldn't marry for an incredibly long time. And finally, in my 30s, I'm settled into a much more casual view of things, seeing that every possibility within the dating realm helps me learn and can certainly be fun.

So, here's to the two of us finding some perspective, and hopefully finding some fun in dating!

sarah cool said...

I CONCUR w/ the feeding frenzy on casual man comments.

Canadi-Ann said...

The idea of an intense "if she/he asks me for coffee must be equivalent to a marriage proposal" is alive and well my dearest Hillary!

I asked a guy for dinner last week and got the "no....unless you're clear we're just friends." Ummm...yeah!

Anyway, he suggested this past Sunday after church, and then had the balls to stand me up!!! No call. No email. Nadda.

Harsh.