Once upon a time...
There was a young independent woman who wanted deeply to meet a man, fall madly in love and live happily ever after. She had one failed relationship after another, meeting more frogs than princes and being given the gift of a child and then being left alone to raise said child. The young woman was seriously getting tired of this dating bullshit...This wasn't the love that had been presented to her all her life by cheesy romantic comedies or sappy romance novels. Fast forward to present time, our young independent woman still sits alone, sadly swiping through popular dating apps to feel something other than disappointment.
Isn't that just the saddest fairy tale you've ever heard??
I can't only speak of my own personal experiences but hearing stories shared on nights out with friends and seeing social media posts from jilted lovers, I can't help but feel that romance, dating and commitment may all be a thing of the past, lost in a time before the instant gratification of Tinder, Bumble, Grindr or what I like to call "fast food dating". Is finding your prince (or princess) a concept lost in time?
My parents divorced when I was very young. So young that I don't ever remember a time when we were a happy family. Because of this, I never got to experience what a healthy and real relationship was supposed to look like. The only information I had to go off of was the over-romanticized version of love that is in movies, on the TV, in the the music I hear or the books I read. As you can imagine, this has set a real lofty goal of what I think my love life should look like. But after being disappointed too many times to count, the truth of the matter is, I'm having a hard time hanging onto my faith in love.
Relationships are hard, they are messy and they take work. That is one thing I have learned and still see to be true. I happen to be an individual who loves commitment. When I find a man that I really like, I commit. This is part of my love language and I can't help it, I just like the idea of being true to one individual at a time. Over the years however, I have really had to adjust my expectations of the kind of commitment I am going to get back from these relationships I'm investing in. With the popularization of the fast food dating apps, it is too easy to log in and instantly get an ego boost when you have a handful of individuals who have liked your picture well enough to swipe right. This type of behavior and mentality towards dating are making it near impossible to get a commitment back from someone you are interested in. The swiping, the ego boost, the thought of "what else is out there for me?"...makes having a genuine relationship with anyone difficult. Why would you commit to something you know is going to be hard and take work when you can have the instant gratification of someone who is attractive, giving you attention??
I once "dated" a guy for a few months. In my head we were working towards a relationship but when I started to notice that he wasn't willing to give up the attention from other ladies and really make a commitment to me, I confronted him. Laid it right out on the table that I wanted to be with him and only him. If this wasn't what he wanted then we needed to move on. He acted shocked that I would ever expect him to commit to just me, he even said that he never meant to make me think that the relationship was going anywhere other than the bedroom...He had told others that he was dating me and made comments to me about us dating but apparently I was the one in the wrong for getting my hopes up??
So what the hell is dating then?!
My idea of dating had always been working to get close to someone that you are interested in and could possibly see yourself being with in the future. That means putting in time to ask them questions and getting to know them on a deeper than appearance level, going on dates and sharing experiences with one another and for the love of all that is holy, committing to that one single person until you decide if they are worth pursuing a future with. The problem: when I ask guys what their idea of dating is, commitment is never a concept mentioned in their response... I can't even count the times I've been taken on dates and not asked a single question about myself, not to mention, being taken on a true date where I don't have to pay for my half of the meal is something short of a miracle. The worst part is I continue to let it happen, something I would kick my own daughter in the butt for ever putting up with.
I recently wrote a Facebook post asking friends for their views on love and dating in today's society. I was hoping to find some glimmer of hope from my fellow comrades navigating the world of relationships. I did receive plenty of positive feedback about love and relationships but the only catch was, the majority of people leaving this positive feedback found their significant other years before fast food dating was a problem. It wasn't as easy to get this instant gratification by logging into an app on your phone. Individuals were forced to put in actual work when they found someone they were interested in. So I still sit here, scratching my head. Do we need to succumb to the rules of today's dating game and lower our expectations of what kind of relationships we are going to get or do we hold onto the dream of what we believe we deserve in a mate, a committed partner who is devoted to you and only you...
Obviously, I wouldn't be writing this post if I had all of the answers and I realize that this post makes me sound very jaded. In a lot of ways I am. I've been hurt repeatedly and I've been on a ton of really terrible dates but the fact of the matter is, I do it because I'm hopelessly in love with the concept of love. I want to give my daughter an idea of what a real relationship is supposed to look like and a tiny part of my being still believes it exists.
So! Why even write this post you ask? I've basically just filled your time with a long winded rant about my love life. My hope friends is that you read this and take some time to examine the kinds of relationships you not only accept for yourself but are also willing to give out in exchange. Don't let technology and fast food dating apps make you lose sight of one of the most beautiful parts of life, creating genuine relationships with other individuals.
Thank you so much for taking time to read the ramblings of this hopeless romantic :)
Until my next rant,
--Your Honest Momma