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Dating Therapy Will Put You Squarely in a Mental Institution

March 25, 2013

I might have a convert to my “Fuck Love” attitude. My primary relationshit counselor has had just about enough of this dating bullshit, too. But on the other hand, there is the potential of lifetime loneliness to consider.

Personally, I’m not so sure you can avoid lifetime loneliness even if you get and stay married. How many spouses are convinced they’ve found “The One,” only to drift apart years later and stay only for the children or to avoid family and societal scorn? Not to mention my current main issue with this pathway: unless you live in a culture where arranged marriage is the culturally accepted means of finding a life partner, saying “I do” requires dating first.

I really loathe dating. These days, when I briefly flirt with online flirting via OKCupid or other delightfully impersonal means, it’s mostly to bring out my not-so-inner Mean Girl or to find potential activity partners who live closer to my neighborhood, since most of my local friends live in the suburbs. Then I remember that “activity partners” would likely be interested in activities that currently gross me out, like kissing, cuddling, and hide-the-banana.

Plus, I have a pretty good idea what specific sorts of activity partners I’d find through these online media. I’ve dredged that particular bilge before.

One of the nice things about being the dumper rather than the dumpee in a relationship is that you get to walk away with your dignity intact. There’s no need to question your validity as a person and a lover. When you end the relationship, you have the security of knowing, however bad a person it makes you, that the other person clearly needed you more than you needed them. And that knowledge gives you just enough self-satisfaction to choose when or if you enter the game again. You’ve already made someone fall for you; clearly you’ll be able to do it again if the need ever arises.

When you’re dumped or, in my case, cheated on, the opposite reaction takes place. “What the hell did I do wrong?” you inwardly (or outwardly) wail. “Was I not smart enough? Not attractive enough? Not good enough in bed?” Not reassured by your ex-partner’s patronizing, “It’s not you, it’s me,” you feel it necessary to once again prove your worth as a human being. And when your inner circle is limited in the number of available members of your preferred gender, you have little choice but to put yourself out for all the internet to judge.

This is not to knock internet dating too hard. After all, several of my friends, family members, and acquaintances have succeeded at the mystifying game of love via coquettish internet message exchanges.

It’s been my experience, however, that the eloquence and thoughtfulness on prominent display during said messages doesn’t always translate well to a first date. A few OKC contacts had me blushing to my furiously typing fingertips with their passion and sharp wit over shared interests in geeky TV shows and classic rock bands.

Then we’d meet for coffee.

“So, you like Pink Floyd, too,” I’d say.

“Yep.”

“…”

“…”

“So…what’s your favorite album?”

“Oh…you know.”

“No, I don’t.”

“Oh. Uh…Dark Side of the Moon?”

“Yeah, that’s a good one.”

“Yeah.”

“…”

“…”

“…”

“…Wanna make out?”

And sadly, sometimes I’d acquiesce to this plan of action, if only to convince him that I was too easy to be worth pursuing and save myself from more godforsaken “dates.” But whaddaya know, turns out some guys just aren’t that interested in being the macho manly-man hunter and choose the path of least resistance. Which was then an unpleasant surprise when I’d subsequently turn them down, even if the thought that someone, somewhere wanted me was slowly starting to help put the pieces of my shattered self-esteem back together.

Eventually, I decided I’d had enough of the cheap, broken-down amusement park ride that is dating college-age guys on OKCupid. I got back together with the man who sent me plummeting into that particular pit, turning the tables on him several years later, albeit not intentionally–suffice to say that I know how married people who eat at the same table with their partners but experience crushing isolation must feel.

Since I did call it off this time around, I have the luxury of saying “fuck it” rather than “fuck everyone. Literally. Take a number, twentysomething dudes!” Which gives me plenty of time to share my insights on Pink Floyd with the cat if I can’t make friends closer to home. He’s a better in-person conversationalist than my dates were anyway.

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5 Comments
  1. “Suffice to say that I know how married people who eat at the same table with their partners but experience crushing isolation must feel.” AMEN and I agree that marriage is not protection against a lifetime of loneliness.

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