Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Jaded Jenny

Modern dating has become a crazier maze of short interludes than ever before. With technology creating faster ways of interacting and various social outlets, in 29 years I have met a slew of people. My friends are the best I could ask for but it is not without meeting a lot unpleasant people as well. Dating is the same process but can be even more difficult because from dating, a relationship may be born...a relationship that has both a mental and physical aspect to it. Finding a great partner can be a tumultuous and heartbreaking ride.

Came across a brief article entitled “Retired From Dating.” At 26-years-old, Nicole Brown was throwing in the towel. She had spent so much time dating and felt that she has gone no where in her quest to find someone that she is compatible with. Exclaiming, “I leave it to fate to unite me and my kindred soulmate...and if it doesn’t, well, then, Fate, you can suck it.” Understanding her plight, I reflect on my own ridiculous experiences. I can laugh looking back at them now, but especially at the time, they were disheartening.

Unlike Nicole, I cannot claim that I had a date pee in his pants, but I can claim one threw-up on only our second date at which time we were at the movies. Little did I know before we got to the movies, exactly how many alcoholic beverages he consumed earlier in the evening. Ah, yes, love! There it is in all its glory. It might be safe to say that was not a “keeper” for me but he might be for someone else in the future.

Finding compatibility is more than answering a few questions on E-Harmony. Even when two people have all the same outlooks and goals, they still might be missing that ‘spark’ and likewise, there could be more of a connection between two people than meets the eye. But this is under the assumption that the feelings are mutual.

Getting past “What is your favorite color?” and developing a relationship can prove to be the most frustrating task of all. A relationship might be moving too fast for one and too slow for the other. The timing might be wrong - one just got a promotion at their job while the other is looking to relocate. Or to quote the revelation made in an episode of Sex In The City, “Maybe he is just not that into you?”

Whatever the scenario, it is important to keep in mind a few important points.

1. Never loss site of yourself and your goals. It is true that a relationship can open your eyes to a different life than you originally planned. Compromise is almost always necessary and in particular, marriage is a full-time job. With that in mind, it also needs to be a two-way street. If you always find yourself giving up activities and wants that make you happy to appease the other, you will resent them...and resent yourself.
2. Always be sure to make yourself happy. While this does not entail at the expense of making another miserable, I have found that you can never make someone else happy or enjoy someone else’s will to make you happy, unless you have found the comfort in yourself, first. Only you can stop yourself from taking the Prozac.
3. Never go into a relationship with the notion that you will change those things that annoy you about the other person. We all have our faults but you must realize that people very rarely change. Many times if they do, it may be for the worse. So if your significant other has a trait that sends you steaming, ask yourself if it is something you can live with. Because if you stay with that person, you will have to do exactly that.
4. The Little Things! Roses, diamonds, various gifts...these are nice but sometimes it is the simply text messages saying they are thinking about you or calling you just to say “hello”, because speaking with you makes them happy. Holding hands or taking a late night bike ride. Maybe it is because I have never been one for material things, but these are the ‘gifts’ that bring a smile to my face.
5. While opposites may attract, it is the belief in one another that bonds. Life can change in an instant and your belief in someone to stick by them and the knowledge that they would do the same for you in the face of adversity, is key. When the going gets tough, the tough should not be walking out the door. Discovery Channel had a show about a man in his forties that was struck quickly with a flesh-eating bacteria which took his entire face. No eyes..a small opening left for his nostrils and mouth. He looked hideous! His wife of twenty-years’, stuck by him every step of the way. Finding it hard to take care of himself, she did everything she could and with tears in her eyes, cried out that she loved him as much today and she ever did. This man had no face! People bolt at the slightest hangnail, and this woman would not budge from her husband’s side. That my friends, is love!

But even with all the love in your heart and the best intentions, the relationship still may not work out. Whatever the reason and however much it hurts, you must brush yourself off and keep going. Take the experience as that. Myself, I have enough “chalked up to experience” but that hasn’t jaded me enough to retire from dating. It is just made me more aware of my wants and desires and traits I find important in myself...and in others.