What is the Point of Dating When It Seems Most Relationships Are Unhappy or End in Failure?

Evan,

Just a little confused about this dating thing; why?  Why do people insist that it should be done?  I have dated, cohabited, married, divorced.  I have also had a few long-term, no strings attached sexual-type relationships, which serve me better than any traditional type of relationship has.  I guess I am wondering, if scientific research has shown that humans are programmed to be in only short-term relationships, ie 4-7 years, then why do they strive for life long ones, and why the heck do people need to use the word love as a noun when using it as a verb is a much better idea (at least in my opinion).  OK, I know I am cynical, jaded, opinionated, bullheaded, miserable, confident, independent, etc…

I just wonder why it is that all my ol’ girls are always trying to persuade me to get a man, when I really don’t want one, I think, ok maybe if there were a hot, young vampire nearby it would work, but I doubt it.  They are all clearly miserable in their relationships, and I have been in the ones I have had in the past.  I think I am intended to be a single, with a few lovers on the side.  I guess I just need to be reassured that what I am doing isn’t going to cause me to burn in hell or something… haha.

 

Margaret

Don’t worry. You’re not alone. Nor do I think you’re going to burn in hell.

Thou dost protest too much, Margaret.

But don’t worry. You’re not alone. Nor do I think you’re going to burn in hell.

I just think you’re going to be a bit lonely, that’s all.

So, let’s establish that there’s nothing wrong with being single. There’s nothing wrong with being a single woman. There’s nothing wrong with being a single woman in her 40’s. The real question is this: would you rather be single than be in a happy relationship? If you would, then there’s nothing to worry about. It’s EASY to stay single.

You’re posing a false dichotomy. Would I rather be single than in a bad relationship? Why yes, you would! And I would, too. Who could blame a girl who doesn’t want to be in a miserable marriage like all her friends?

But that glosses over a fundamental truth, which is that relationships can be tremendously rewarding. Does the intense chemistry wear off after 18 months to 2 years? Yes. Do most couples face a 7-Year Itch? Yes. Could you take the radical step of breaking societal conventions and spending your life in a series of good solid 5-year relationships which end the moment they get stale? You betcha.

So why don’t you? Why are you writing to me? Not for validation – you’re too smart for that. No, you actually wanted to be told the other side. The optimistic side. This is your lucky day.

It is human nature for us to justify our circumstances and find rationalizations to support our beliefs. When I was fired from a talent agency, I said to myself, “I hated that job, my boss, and my low pay” rather than “I wasn’t very passionate at my work, I had a bad attitude, and they probably found someone better.” Both are true. But I focused on the side that made my former employers wrong. Helps get us through the night, doesn’t it?

It’s easy to say, “I’d rather be alone”. It’s safe. It’s the result of your life experience – the one that made you into a cynical, jaded, opinionated, bullheaded, miserable woman. I don’t blame you for it. It’s just HALF of the story.

You took a fork in the road and are acting as if that’s the only option. “It’s either being alone or misery and I choose being alone!” I call bullshit.

The reason that so many people work so hard to find love is because it’s worth it. And while there’s nothing wrong with flouting societal conventions and turning your life into a series of relationships, like getting a new dog every 10 years, I would point out these two big flaws in your reasoning.

You took a fork in the road and are acting as if that’s the only option. “It’s either being alone or misery and I choose being alone!” I call bullshit.

First, you can’t build anything if you’re always moving. Hey, if you don’t want kids, that’s cool. But if you want to establish a stable family unit, you can’t do so by rotating boyfriends out every election cycle. That’s why people get married – to build something bigger and more enduring than anything they can do alone. I don’t stand in judgment of single people who focus on business and travel and hobbies – I merely point out that when you’re part of a family unit, it’s not all about you anymore.

Second, there are happy marriages. Is it a different happiness than the intoxicating scent of puppy love? Yeah. But if the rock star life of rotating partners doesn’t sustain itself into your 50’s and 60’s, you may find yourself wishing you had a husband – one man who was with you for the long haul.

It’s easy to justify the grass being greener on your side of the fence – no fighting husbands, no arguing kids, nothing but you and your backyard sunshine. But if that’s REALLY what you want, you have to ask yourself why aren’t you totally enjoying it and what could make it better. I’m thinking it’s a man who loves you as you are – and maybe even takes away some of your cynicism..

Click here to learn the 5 Massive Mistakes You’re Making In Your Love Life – And How to Turn Them Around Instantly!

http://www.evanmarckatz.com/coaching/

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Comments:

  1. 31
    Honey

    Oh, and I never said that no one should have children. I said that I didn’t understand/relate to the emotional desire and that no one could give me a single logical reason why it’s automatically “good.” Which isn’t the same point at all.

    Honey´s last blog post…I Grabbed Some Chick’s Ass On Memorial Day

  2. 32
    Selena

    Honey,
    I apologize. It seems I have misinterpreted some of your posts. Not just on this thread, but some others on this blog as well. I wonder if you and your bf’s feelings about reproduction may be influenced by the relationships you have with your respective families of orgin? No? Sometimes that can happen, or go in the opposite direction: some people who have unhappy/non-existant relationships with their family of origin truly want to build a family of their own. Be it with children, or just a partner, or a family of good friends. That’s the emotional desire. For anyone.

    Steve,
    I always enjoy reading your POV. Why don’t you post a link to your blog? I’m sure you would draw many of us here to it. Or is that what you are afraid of? LOL!

  3. 33
    Selena

    @Jennifer #27
    “If you vow to be with someone till death do you part, but both of y all are still alive and not together anymore, technically it’s a failure in that you were not able to fulfill your pledge.”

    No, technically, it’s not a failure. It means you were mistaken.

    Perhaps the ‘failure’ lies within construct of the pledge; you cannot predict the future, and it’s futile to try.

  4. 34
    Jennifer

    @Selena #33: I see what you are saying, i guess i just disagree.
    If I promise to arrive somewhere tomorray at 10am, and I don’t for whatever reason (I get hit by a bus, I sleep late, whatever) I failed to get there. I may have been mistaken in making such a promise given the unpredicatbility of things, but I still made it and failed to keep it.

    But I guess the overall point that we agree on is that whether people deem a relationship a ‘failure’ or a ‘mistake’ doesn’t negate the significance of it or the great things that were gained from it. And when you’ve gotten some good things from a relationship, no need to feel bad about it whenever it ends.

  5. 35
    Lance

    Margaret is a smart lady and maybe my soul sister. I ask the same questions. My deal is this, and I would invite any commenter and EMK to answer: WHY is a LTR or marriage past the 5 to 7 year mark better and totally worth it? What exactly are the benefits? Seriously? If you have kids then yes, the stable family unit is a good thing. But Margaret doesn’t at all sound like she’s concerned about children.

    I think folks are going to cite how happy couples in LTR’s grow together and establish these super well developed bonds that somehow make them higher life forms in a relationship sense. I don’t believe it. The married folks that I know who have been married for 10+ years just aren’t that cool, they don’t have sex any more, and they stopped growing as individuals a long time ago. How is that something to look forward to?

    Lance´s last blog post…I Grabbed Some Chick’s Ass On Memorial Day

  6. 36
    Honey

    @ Selena – Apology accepted! And I’m sure that our decisions have to do at least in part with our families. I won’t go into details, but there are emotional reasons we don’t get along with our own families as well as genetic reasons we shouldn’t have our own kids.

    But, for me, the ethics of choosing to have a child given the state of our environment still plays a role, as does the fact that I’ve never even been alone with a child under 6 or 7 years old, never changed a diaper – and have a very pronounced tendancy to dislike anyone younger than me. Children automatically fall into that category!

    Honey´s last blog post…I Grabbed Some Chick’s Ass On Memorial Day

  7. 37
    JM

    Very nicely articulated Lance. I have also noticed that many people who are married and in LTRs cannot bear the thought of being alone. Unfortunately, what I’ve also noticed, is that our society seems to judge people more harshly who are single and never married. [I find it rather troubling too that 50% of marriages do not work out, and I'm not sure what the "happy" statistics are for the remaining 50%, although with all the infidelity around, it makes me wonder]

    I always find it somewhat ironic when I go out with divorced men, and they ask me why I never got married! I think there is something to be said for late bloomers, or maybe being honest with yourself and knowing when and why you should settle down, and doing it for the right reasons.

  8. 38
    Selena

    Lance #35
    “WHY is a LTR or marriage past the 5 to 7 year mark better and totally worth it? ”

    Seems to me the answer to that should come from people currently in a relationship that has lasted more than 5-7 yrs. Better yet, someone currently in a relationship that has lasted more than 30-40 yrs. Don’t know how many folks who follow this board are in that catagory lol!

    I imagine your responses are going to be based on the “hope” of people who want a r’ship that lasts a lifetime. Or at best, observations based on what they believe their parents, grandparents long term relationships to be like. Since we can never know what someone else’s relationship is *really* like, how valid can such observations be?

  9. 39
    Karl R

    Lance said: (#35)
    “The married folks that I know who have been married for 10+ years just aren’t that cool, they don’t have sex any more, and they stopped growing as individuals a long time ago. How is that something to look forward to?”

    I guess we just know different people.

    A couple acquaintances of mine (let’s call them Harold and Gina) just celebrated their 15th anniversary. A couple weeks earlier, Harold celebrated his 80th birthday, and Gina’s not much younger. They met at the dance studio where I take lessons, and they still take classes there. I’ve also run across them while out dancing at other venues. This summer a large group of dancers from the studio will be going on a Carribean cruise. Harold and Gina will be part of that group.

    Harold’s daughter, Debbie, mentioned that she always calls before she drops by their house … because she’s accidentally walked in on them in flagrante delicto.

    If you stop growing as an individual, then your long-term relationship is going to suck and you won’t have much to look forward to as the years creep by. But I would say that the failure to grow is the cause, not the effect.

  10. 40
    Honey

    Well said, Karl! I agree COMPLETELY. The trick is in picking someone who is also willing/eager to grow over the long term…because if one person does and one person doesn’t, then the effect is the same (misery, breakup, divorce, etc.) but the cause isn’t directly yours (though you did choose the person).

    In fact, the argument could be made that Lance’s proposed model of subsequent short-to-medium term relationships doesn’t mean that you’re growing as a person. Plenty of folks (lots of them who read this blog, in fact) are really just dating the same person over and over again just with different names and bodies. They’re not growing either, and as we’ve seen in many of the comments, they’re unhappy just as often.

    My own personal philosophy is that happiness is a decision you make, not something you wait to happen to you. The same could be said for growth, fulfillment, and any number of things that lead to self-actualization.

    Honey´s last blog post…Vegas, Baby, Vegas!

  11. 41
    Honey

    Perhaps I should say, they WEREN’T growing until they made the decision to come read this blog and join our community!

    Honey´s last blog post…Vegas, Baby, Vegas!

  12. 42
    Selena

    What I like about your example Karl is that it shows all hope is not lost in finding love after a “certain age” (pick the age folks) despite the smaller statistical pool. Blah, blah, blah.

  13. 43
    hunter

    Honey, I have to disagree with you, some of us are dateless,(period) we don’t date the same person over and over. I think the average man would be in heaven, if he could date the same woman over and over.hhmmmhh…

  14. 44
    Honey

    @ hunter, #43 – I never said everyone, I said “plenty of people,” so I have to stand by it. Plenty of other people are single for plenty of different reasons. But I do think there is a pretty significant segment of folks that date someone, are unhappy for whatever reason, and then when that relationship ends, they date someone else with the exact same personality trait that led to the demise of the last relationship…and then wonder why they never end up married or long term.

    You have to do it differently than how you’ve been doing it, if the way you’ve been doing it hasn’t yielded results. That’s all I’m saying, and it goes for almost any category of “why I’m single.”

    Honey´s last blog post…Vegas, Baby, Vegas!

  15. 45
    Selena

    Aww hunter. ((((hug))))

  16. 46
    Selena

    Honey re:#44

    Wouldn’t that seem to be true of the women who are always dating (and disappointed by) “bad boys”? I mean, the characteristics of these kind of men are pretty obvious and tend to present themselves early on. Isn’t it a case of repeatedly ignoring the red flags? In relationship after relationship?

    Evan has referred to this as chasing chemistry. I rather think of it as chasing challenge: the continual challenge of getting one of these “bad boys” to fall in love with you so deeply they will stay. And I wonder what would happen if one of them actually did stay? What happens if there is no longer a challenge? Do they become one of the “boring nice guys” with whom the woman feels no …ah what…chemistry?

  17. 47
    hunter

    Yes Honey, I hear you.

  18. 48
    hunter

    Selena, sometimes it seems as if most mature women, have more fun being grandma’s.

  19. 50
    Selena

    @Honey #49

    And I agree with you! I found I dated the same guy twice in my life – he just happened to have different hair color and regional accent lol! Live and learn.

  20. 51
    starthrower68

    @ Hunter #48

    Is is possible that the reason some “mature” women have more fun being grammas is because they can lavish love and attention on someone, i.e. grandchildren, without fear of them getting scared and running off?

  21. 52
    hunter

    on post #51, yes it is possible…..

  22. 53
    Selena

    Grandchildren also don’t care if grandma isn’t 20 years younger, or 20 lbs. overweight. What they see is love and nurturing. And maybe cookies.

  23. 54
    hunter

    on post #53, men can’t compete against that.

  24. 55
    starthrower68

    @ #54, alot of grammas can’t compete against the 20 years younger 20 lbs lighter women so they go where the love is unconditional.

  25. 56
    hunter

    On post #55, oh, yes they can, only, they stop trying.

  26. 57
    Michael

    The point of dating (and sex) is to measure up to those around you.

  27. 58
    Michael

    It is my understanding that there are a huge number of orphans so the joy of parenting thing can be gotten through adoption.
    So what?

    It is more fun to make your own.

    However, the polluted, disease ridden, impoverished world of the future is a world that parents will be making for their children and their descendants by not watching their family sizes.
    Ever heard of Paul Ehrlich?

  28. 59
    Steve


    Selena May 29th 2009 at 03:47 pm 46

    Honey re:#44

    Wouldn’t that seem to be true of the women who are always dating (and disappointed by) bad boys? I mean, the characteristics of these kind of men are pretty obvious and tend to present themselves early on. Isn’t it a case of repeatedly ignoring the red flags? In relationship after relationship?

    Its called being a slow learner :)

  29. 60
    Anisa

    @ Hunter post 56

    How can the granmas compete against the 20 years younger 20 lbs lighter women?

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