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



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.



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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  1. 61

    @ #57

    I guess if you’re really that concerned about what someone else thinks of you, then you are correct. It’s not my job in this life to “measure up” to every one else around me. Nor am I so motivated to date or have sex that I need to be anything but true to myself. You have quite an interesting view of the world, Michael.

  2. 62
    Karl R

    starthrower68 said: (#60)
    “alot of grammas can’t compete against the 20 years younger 20 lbs lighter women”
    Anisa asked: (#60)
    “How can the granmas compete against the 20 years younger 20 lbs lighter women?”

    Have you seen the commercial where Bill Kurtis says he’s faster than Michael Phelps? The whole point of the commercial is that Bill Kurtis is faster at downloading information from the internet. He “wins” by competing in something other than swimming.

    You don’t compete against someone in the area where they have the advantage. When it comes to dating, that may mean that you don’t compete for specific individuals.

    If a woman is primarily interested in a rich man, I can’t compete. If a woman is primarily interested in someone who has a ripped body, I can’t compete. If a woman is primarily interested in someone who is drop-dead gorgeous, I can’t compete.

    So I don’t compete in those areas. I find women who are more interested in intelligence, humor and self-confidence. Then I’ll start to compete. The women who value intelligence and humor also want someone who’s fit and attractive … but that also works to my advantage. Now I only need to look fit and attractive compared to men who are primarily intelligent and funny. It’s a lot easier than looking fit and attractive compared to athletes, actors and models.

    Michael said: (#57)
    “The point of dating (and sex) is to measure up to those around you.”

    Do you really want to discuss this topic again? Your attitude leads me to believe that you have very poor self-esteem. Until you improve your self-esteem, you won’t feel like you’re measuring up to other people, even if you date frequently and have sex all the time.

  3. 63

    Karl, I see what you’re saying and it makes sense. I think though, that some women reach a point where the reward is not worth engaging in the competition, or at least it can’t compare to the rewards of focusing on children and grandchildren. I’m not sure yet. I’m nowhere close to being a grandma (at least I hope I’m not), but I’m still on the fence about the whole romance thing. One day it matters, the next I rebel against the whole thing.

  4. 64

    This is dumb.   Apart from religion-tells-you-to, there are two reasons to go for longterm marriage:
    1. You’re raising children.
    2. You’re going to be old, and when you get there, you don’t want to live in exile from your past.
    3. You’re male, and you’re going to be old, and when you get there, you want someone you know taking care of you.
    That’s about it. Raise children together rather than apart, and you and the kids will be richer and likely happier, and the kids better-educated; you’ll have a more secure old age. Grow old together, and someone else will know how you got that way. Etc.
    Otherwise, that’s pretty much it; I’d say she’s right. Live together, but why go through the legalities and expense? Split easily when the time comes. I see no reason to marry again, myself: it’d leave me with financial exposure and that’s about it. (There was a Canadian woman on here arguing for prenups, and maybe they’re ironclad in Canada; here, different story state-by-state. I don’t even live in a community-property state, and I was aghast to find that my state views premarital property as something that morphs into joint property over five years or so.) I make less money than most men do, but I’m way, way, way more responsible with it, & don’t see why I should put it on the line.

  5. 65
    Ethan Alexander

    It’s been my experience that most relationships that are unhappy or that end in failure do so because of bad communication and poor choices. Dating has been a way of learning from our mistakes and moving on.

  6. 66

    I can relate to Margaret. After marriages, divorces, dating several men that don’t result in long-term relationships, and experiencing good no-strings attached “friends with benefits”, like me you can find yourself confused about what to do. We’ve either not been in satisfying relationships, or those that were didn’t last. Or we had fulfilling sexual friendships that we knew would not result in anything long term. But like Evan indicated, we can either keep trying or give up to find that lasting fulfilling relationship (the reason we came to this site). There is no shortage of men who are willing to satisfy our companionship and sexual intimacy needs. But there are few that are ready to be in a mutual fulfilling relationship. So I think it’s about balance. I think it’s fine that Margaret (and myself) are single and can have casual sexual relationships, and I think it’s fine that we also are trying to find something long-term. It’s about feeling comfortable with dating, casual sex and being alone in between…and trying to take the expectations and drama out of sex and dating & being alone. Having clear boundaries, knowing what is not good enough for you, honest communication, few expectations in the beginning and a 4-6 week time limit. If it ain’t happening in that time frame, time to move on, get some in-between sex, then stay open for the next available man to show up.

  7. 67

    Post 51 – it’s possible that a grandmother (I’m one) can kid herself that all she needs is her grandchild or cat/budgie/dog/lion (or whatever).  
    It’s also true that this is a form of love (being a grandparent).
    However, at different times in a day/week/month/year even hour – we are different people with different needs.
    Yes, I can identify with the feeling of feeling scared and wanting to run off.   (And I’ve seen this in other people too, both sexes folks).   As far as I’m concerned, unless I get red flag warnings, I will stay there even if I want to run off.

  8. 68

    A few lovers on the side? Thats great that women can do that and some men, how to get to be someones lover on the side without dating?Is there a certain type of man that qualifies for the lover on the side? If a man and you are LOOking for that he will end up in a relationship.A hot young vampire, oh you mean some one thats financially, emotionally,spiritually draining? Financial Drain-O       Who makes the decision that you will be a lover on the side? Is that the woman choice? Probably. If your not lover material sounds like a life of isolation for the rest of us.  

  9. 69

    Christine- Wow thats really how it works for you women? In between sex? A man would be better to not be emotionally attached with you,he could get disqualified very easily!

    1. 69.1

      ..women don’t have to be “good girls” until the right man comes along…

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