I’m no expert on dating – ask literally ANYONE I’ve ever come in contact with, but I have noticed one common denominator between myself and everyone else out there searching for love (or whatever else they think they need) – the fear of commitment.
There are probably hundreds, but I’ve cut it down to two of the main issues:
1.) Too Many Options
2.) Unrealistic Expectations
Now, sit back and enjoy my rant (a.k.a me trying to make my case).
Commitment is a scary word. I can’t even commit to a sweater that I’ve had in my closet for a year let alone a person! I know that sounds dramatic, but we’ve all been there, so deal. It’s been proven that when you add the somewhat entitled feeling generation X and the “we won’t stop until we have everything we want in life” millennials to all the choices we have available at our fingertips on a daily basis, it equals complete and utter disaster. While this could be applied to nearly everything in modern society, we’re still here to focus on dating, so bear with me.
Before technology, when it came to dating, there wasn’t much of a choice. You went out to meet people, you were forced to socialize, your friends set you up a blind dates or you just died alone (Just kidding. that’s a bit extreme, but you get my point) – your options were limited.
Fast forward 60 some years, and your options are infinite! Do you want to meet someone online? Great- you’ve got SO. MANY. OPTIONS.
BUMBLE: For girls who want to feel like they have the power and the slightly more classy version of Tinder so you’re not ashamed to tell people you met on there.
TINDER: For those who want a booty call but are too ashamed to admit it and then sometimes, maybe accidentally end up in relationships.
HINGE: For those who want to low key tell people they did “meet through a friend”.
PLENTY OF FISH or CHRISTIAN MINGLE: For those who want to use the phrase “Jesus willed our relationship into existance” in their wedding vows
MATCH: For those who are finally getting a little more serious about dating but still aren’t sure if they want a relationship so they just message back and forth until eventually one person drops off the map.
E-HARMONY: For those who have finally decided it’s crunch time and they better grow up and find themselves a boo while they still have their strapping good looks and no gray hair.
With those lovely choices out of the way, the only other choice you have is (gasp) meeting someone in person! This method is slowly becoming extinct and usually isn’t the first (or third) choice among singles. It’s only sought out when all choices above have been exhausted. Meeting someone out in the wild (a.k.a at a bar, coffee shop or other public place) is almost as rare as one of the Kardasian sisters admitting they’ve had plastic surgery, but it happens. Why is this the least effective method you ask? Well, let me tell you.
Approaching people you don’t know in public is scary as fuck. You can’t hide behind your screen typing pre-mediated text messages and you don’t have a quick snap shot of their life at your disposal. You have to rely on your gut, your conversational skills (if you have any left after chatting through technology for years), and your first impression. If you say something stupid you can’t hit the delete button and get a redo and you most definitely cannot ask them how tall they are (that one’s for you ladies). In order to find out if you’re even compatible, you’ll have to engage in conversation OR exchange numbers and go on a date. Yikes, who has time for that?? The answer should be everyone.
SHOULD being emphasized; I realize my expectations are a bit high – especially if I can’t even make time to take my own damn advice. As a young professional who’s continuously on the grind, going out to socialize after a 12-14 hour day is the last thing I want to do. I’d rather be at home in sweatpants eating Halo Top because at least I know ice cream will never break my heart #sorrynotsorry. Again, you can roll your eyes at my naturally dramatic personality, but I’ve heard this same excuse from many friends and acquaintances (minus the ice cream part) for years. What started out as an excuse to protect our hearts and isolate ourselves has turned into our biggest downfall. We’ve let the choices we make for the hustle become more important than those we make for ourselves. And no, this is not my campaign to make you start dating again. (I’ve been single for over a year, haven’t been on a date in over 7 months and have no plans for changing that status any time soon) I’m just trying to get those commitment wheels turning.
That brings us to point #2 – our unrealistic and somewhat shallow expectations.
When you’re young, you make a list that’s a mile long and contains the craziest shit. Example -mine used to go a little something like this;
- Over 6 feet
- Dark hair
- Six pack
- Perfect teeth
- Great job
- Basically a male model
**Expectation level: Way over the top and never going to happen.
As you get older, the list changes and becomes A LOT shorter. Now, my list consists of:
- Is kind and respects me
- Makes me laugh
- Likes my family
- Likes cats
- Has similar life goals and morals
- Has a job
- Texts back
**Expectation level: Still shooting for the stars but a lot more realistic.
My list has definitely taken a hit and changed for the better, but not everyone makes those tweaks and allows him or herself to evolve. I’ve learned that if you spend your time looking for the perfect person you’ll be alone forever. Think about it, you’re not even perfect so why would you set the bar so high for another person?? What if they did the same for you? That would make for one horrible society (or at least a worst one that what we’ve got now)….
I strongly believe in never settling in life, but there is a happy medium with compromise – on the small things that is. I probably sound like your mother right now, but never compromise on your values, morals or mutual respect, but the little things like height, physical appearance, economic status, etc. can all be compromised if the (listed above) values are all the same. I can speak first hand when I say there’s nothing sexier than a guy who’s respectful, nice and can make me laugh – funny how that works isn’t it? When we stop focusing on the highlight reel of someone’s life and actually get to know them, oh, how our pickiness changes.
When was the last time you looked at your list? When’s the last time you thought about your values and self-respect? Since I’m already in lecture mode, do us all a favor, go back, and reassess – then you complete step one of overcoming your commitment fear. Ding ding!
I understand that writing this article isn’t about to be game changing, or that any of you will actually listen to me, but hopefully it’s at least eye opening for those of you out and about in the dating game. Commitment can be our friend if you just take it out of the friend zone first ;)