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

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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..

 

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Comments:

  1. 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!

  2. 42
    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!

  3. 43
    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.

  4. 44
    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…

  5. 45
    Selena

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

  6. 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?

  7. 47
    hunter

    Yes Honey, I hear you.

  8. 48
    Honey

    Yes, Selena – I agree with you completely!

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

  9. 49
    hunter

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

  10. 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.

  11. 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?

  12. 52
    hunter

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

  13. 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.

  14. 54
    hunter

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

  15. 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.

  16. 56
    hunter

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

  17. 57
    Michael

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

  18. 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?

  19. 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 🙂

  20. 60
    Anisa

    @ Hunter post 56

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

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