Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Destination Unknown

Final Destination: Unknown

It has been just about a year since I started this dating adventure and accompanying blog. What is the final outcome and what do I have to show for it? As I stated in the beginning, I had hoped that this would be an educational experience. So, what have I learned from it all? Here are some discoveries I dug up from the mines:

1. When a guy asks if you want to come back to his place, he is really asking if you want to have sex with him. Similarly, if you invite a guy back to your place, he will think you are asking to have sex with him. This is not always the case, but a good rule of thumb. Far better to be prepared for this than to naively walk into a situation you were not really up for.

2. Dating guys who have kids is much more complicated than dating guys who don’t have kids.

3. By the time we have reached thirty years of living, we will all have some baggage.

4. Dating someone who doesn’t have a clue about romantic relationships (at this age) freaks me out way more than dating someone who is still dealing with The Baggage.

5. If a guy does not like you, he will let you know through his silence and inaction.

6. If a guy is interested in you, he will let you know by making contact, straight-out telling you, or very actively making an effort to plan time with you. It may be cliché, but it is pretty much exactly like they tell it in the book, “He’s Just Not That into You”.

7. If he is just not that into you, it has to do with him, not you. It could be the baggage and past history he’s dealing with or it could be that his preferences do not match what he’s seen in you. Either way, the point is that there is absolutely nothing you can do about it. It is beyond your control.

8. Sometimes guys do really confusing things like tell you how amazing they think you are and then never contact you again. Heck, you could take this as a compliment-maybe he was scared to get hurt by someone as amazing as you. Whatever it is, if he’s gotten to the Total Silence stage, or even the Half-Hearted Response stage, you won’t get any answers out of him. He probably doesn’t even know the answers and would rather thread a needle through his forehead than contemplate on his feelings, his fears, or anything else similarly non-concrete and uncomfortable.

9. If he doesn’t think you’re amazing and is just not interested in you, he would rather drop a 32-ounce jar of tomato sauce on is foot than tell you about it. Guys don’t want to be jerks. Their way of ameliorating things tends to be to fly away rather than deal with a conflict. Unfortunately, this can sometimes lead to confusion when the guy says or does things (or the gal sees what she wants to see) that contradict how he’s really feeling. In this case, the guy is probably torn. He wants to like you but he just doesn’t. Nothing to be done about this, but as a female I would suggest really paying attention to the clues that he’s not into you.

10. Guys have periods of low confidence too. It’s not just us ladies. Plus, guys have the added burden of having to make the first move (much of the time). Internet Dating is a fantastic remedy for all this. It puts us on an even playing field and gives guys an easy way to approach women (as well as giving women a way to approach men).

11. For me, internet dating has been great for getting a wide range of experiences-one or two dates with one or two guys a month (or week depending on the timing). But, when it comes to bonding with one guy towards a long-term relationship, internet dating has only made me question more than ever whether this is possible for me to ever have again.

12. As much as I would like to find someone, I would rather be single than be with someone and wish I wasn’t. That would be a far worse confinement than simply wandering around single and a little aimless. Of course, it would be even better if I find someone to be happily involved with, but it’s good to keep the perspective that things could be worse as well as better.

The list of lessons could go on and on, but these are the ones that cross my mind at this moment. Now that it has been a full year of trying this out, I sense it is a good mile-marker, a good stopping point. I don’t plan on giving up on my dream of finding an awesome guy to settle into an awesome relationship with. But, I see that internet dating has really not gotten me any closer to that goal.

It’s not going to be easy, but life can be like that. I know there will be days when I’ll feel really lonely and even hopeless about the situation, wondering if it could ever change. But, I hope to use that energy as a springboard for jumping out into the world a little more, opening myself up to it and to the people that I meet.

I can focus on the things that I want to do rather than on the situations I want to be in. For example, building community and bonding with the people that I find connections with is a good start. Exploring ways to be social and creative and strive for more justice in the world as well as outlets for appreciating the beauty of this earth and developing my spirit, taking care of my body, and filling up my brain with exciting new information. I want to cultivate my garden, and I think sometimes the fact that I am single can be an excuse for not doing more (i.e., “I’ll do such-and-such after I meet that special someone”). No, I don’t have time to wait any longer. It is time to do all the such-and-such things on my list and not give into the inertia of excuse-making.

Above all else, I want to develop my faith-my connection with the higher power that pulses through the veins of all life and that I personally believe takes care of us. It doesn’t mean things will be perfect, but it means that however things turn out, I will be able to find meaning in it no matter what. Letting go of Internet Dating means letting go of my sense of control because I have been taking comfort in the idea that just by contacting enough people and going on enough dates, I am causing myself to get closer to reaching my goal. That is all an illusion and it is time to be more real-with myself and with the world. Life is just too short to do anything otherwise.

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