Remember when I started an advice column, gave some advice, and then stopped for months and months and months?
Well, I’m not a quitter! (Yet…)
Before I get back to questions, I want to dole out some totally unsolicited dating advice.
Last week, I had lunch with one of my [single] friends, Maggie. We talked about two women we know. Let’s call them Needy Nellie and Round Robin. Nellie dates the wrong guy every single time. Her desperation obscures her view of the person she’s dating and she ends up being let down over and over again. She wants to make a husband out of a booty call. Robin, on the other hand, dates all the time. However, she treats the men in her life like walking Tinder profiles- as soon as she sees a flaw, she swipes left and leaves him behind.
One appears to be a mess. The other, assertive. But they’re both missing out. (Well, besides Nellie’s bad taste, I can’t help with that.) They’re both desperate and they’re both in a hurry.
When I was little, I thought The Supremes were singing, “You Katerinaaaaa”, but really they were singing, “YOU CAN’T HURRY LOVE”…okay? There are some people who get married three days after their first date, have a handful of kids, and live in Tempe with a pool plus a bonus room. Let those people be the EXCEPTION to the rule, not the standard.
Maggie and I burned through my lunch hour trading stories. Then, the clouds parted and a ray of brilliant sunshine shone down upon her golden locks before she exclaimed,“Why don’t they get that they’re DATING these guys? Dating takes time! It’s about figuring shit out!”
Ding motherfuckin’ ding ding.
Tonight, while drying my hair and hashing this out in my head, I thought, “The idea is to not get carried away…ohhh, but getting carried away can be so fun.” I have some really fond memories of getting carried away. I also have some not so fond memories of crying in my car to sad songs once I realized I got carried away. It was good, though. It made for good stories and made me better.
So yeah, GET carried away a few times. But then, get real. Dating is dating.
It’s when you see a cycle in your life and you’re sick of it that it’s time to reassess.
I’m far from a seasoned pro at long-term relationships. At five years in, I am a mere novice. But I can tell you that love takes time. When I said “I love you” to my fiancé, I hardly knew how much deeper I’d love him a year from then, let alone four years later. There’s so many layers to love, and in turn, there’s just as many layers to relationships. There’s all this compromise and adjusting and listening and understanding. And patience, lots of patience. There’s also this unparalleled depth and warmth that comes from being partners. None of that happens overnight. I now know that I wouldn’t want it to.
If you want that and you’re lucky enough to get that, there’s a small window of time in your life before that happens in which you get to hang out with different people you’re sexually attracted to and do mindless stuff. Maybe you’ll end up with one of them. Maybe not. Maybe it’ll help you figure out what you can and can’t accept. Maybe you’ll have the best sex of your life. No matter what, it adds something to your life.
Before I decided to move two thousand miles away from home with a guy I used to write bad comedy with, I dated him. It was not serious at first. (If you would like to read more about that, you can click here.) We actually day-ted. Like, we hung out at bars and restaurants and stayed up late watching dumb shows. We went to concerts, we danced at an open mic, we didn’t see each other for a few weeks because we got super busy. I thought it was ending when it was just revving up.
Going into it, I would never have chosen that approach. I would have wanted the rush and thrill of immediate obsession, just like a lot of other people want. Circumstance had other things in mind, thankfully. Now that I’m shacked up, I feel it’d be a disservice not to pay this knowledge forward.
And now you know.
Have fun. (That’s the whole point.)