Easter, and Resurrection Sunday. A time of chocolate, hot cross buns, new beginnings…and shagging like rabbits. Spring is in the air, so it must be time for some new men, right? YAY!! So why do I feel as if I have a failing love life?Why can’t I summon up any enthusiasm for dating at all right now? I feel sick and tired of the whole process.
By putting myself out there, I have met some genuinely lovely, interesting men I would never otherwise have come across, and I have been extremely fortunate that I have never had a really terrible date. A couple where I was a bit bored, yes, and one where I threatened to drown him in the Thames when I found out that he supported my football team’s biggest rivals, but nothing worse. I have had a lot of laughs, a few hugs and kisses and many really engaging conversations along the way. Not so bad, right?
In the 2 years since I started dating again after 20 years off the market, I have averaged around 10 first dates a year and was in two sort-of relationships and one actual one for a sum total of 14 months. I think I have done reasonably well in finding the right kind of men both on and offline, and on the surface level, there seems to be no reason not to keep trying.
But logic and reason are no matches for my heart, which says a big fat ‘meh’ to the whole thing.
I think there are 3 reasons for this.
First and foremost, I find the modern dating process utterly exhausting. I still don’t understand the ‘rules’, especially why on earth it has become compulsory to have a conversation about Defining The Relationship and whether or not you are ‘exclusive’, and how if you are actively choosing to see someone several times a week and sleeping with them, in some people’s eyes that do not constitute a relationship. You both might well be seeing other people at the same time, but it is STILL a relationship. The level of dishonesty and lack of integrity in the whole process really bothers me.
I would like to simplify the whole process thus:
2. You start ‘going out’, ‘seeing’ them, whatever you want to call it.
3. Rinse and repeat.
4. You decide you don’t like them enough to keep going out and you stop, or you keep going out and that eventually becomes a committed relationship.
For me, that is how I approached dating – with one person at a time. It reduced the stress levels – although I always found the DTR conversations really weird and bewildering. But it is still exhausting and demoralising to repeat that process time and time again, with all the related guesswork, self-doubting and will we/won’t we that comes with it.
Moral of this story: Can we all just be honest? If we like someone and really enjoy spending time with them, we tell them. If we are also sleeping with 3 other people, we tell them. If we don’t want anything serious, we tell them. If we don’t really like them but we are sticking with it because we don’t have any other options, be kind enough to them to let them go and tell them. If we are really excited about them and can’t wait to see them again – definitely tell them!
Big sighs all round. It shouldn’t be as stressful as we all seem to find it. One day, maybe I will feel ready to do battle again.
To motivate me to revive my failing love life, perhaps some 1970s power rock will help? Shake that hair and dance with me (honestly, it really makes a difference!)
My second reason follows on from last month’s reflections on my values-based approach to dating. Shortly after writing it and having got my head around the fact that my feelings were changing, I declared a romantic interest in my 12/12 scoring friend in the world’s most clumsy and embarrassing fashion (and even worse, whilst slightly drunk). I could not have got it more wrong if I tried. Not because he wasn’t interested, but because of how I handled it when I realised that he might be. I wrote an entire blog post about it, but I am so embarrassed about the whole situation I cannot quite bring myself to share it publicly. He hasn’t spoken to me since. And I might have lost a very good friend in the process.
Moral of this story: friends should stay as friends. And I should NOT be let loose on declaring my feelings to anyone, ever, or I will risk a catastrophic love life failure and have to become a hermit. The only time I have ever told anyone I “like like” them before was when I was 17 and wanted to express an interest in the man who was to become my husband. Because I was too scared, I asked my friend to do it (thanks, C – I am forever grateful). If the opportunity should ever arise again, I am totally asking a friend to do it for me, because I am clearly a romantic disaster zone in this regard!
The final reason is one I was somewhat reluctant to admit, even to myself. I am still in love with The Older Man, and it feels as if no amount of dating or being interested in anyone else is going to change that. Unfortunately, many of us know the moral of this story and how it always ends. You may well be shouting it at your screens right now.
DO NOT GET BACK WITH YOUR EX!
So, it seems like my only option to revive my love life is to get myself back out there and back on the dating horse. Howdy partners, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.
And to gird my loins for the resurrection (if only my loins were getting any action) I think a bit more dancing is required, to a timely reminder of something that might be quite important to keep in mind….wish me good luck out there!
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