Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Jaded About Dating

Go read a few dating blogs or discussion group conversations. Or check in with enough of your single friends and you're bound to find it: jadedness.

Maybe you are like I have been during periods in the past, and don't need to go looking for it because you're living and breathing the stuff. Every date conversation reminds you of the last one you had. Every short term relationship falls apart in the same old ways. Everywhere you turn, you see seemingly happy couples strolling arm in arm. And you think: this isn't going to happen to me. In fact, maybe it's not even happening to them. They're happy now, but will be yelling at each other by nightfall, and breaking up before the rooster calls in the sunrise.

I don't know about you, but the older I get, the easier it is to construct those kinds of narratives. After the hundredth date with a stranger met online, the veneer of novelty and potential wears off and you're left with reality. After the third, fourth, fifth long term relationship has gone down in flames, or fizzled out, or sputtered slowly into boredom and indifference it's that much harder to shrug it all off and move on with a fresh, open attitude.

So, you have to be more intentional about it all. You have to pay attention to the stories coming up in your mind, and be willing to cut off the jadedness, and cut off the desire to compare whomever is in front of you with all those you dated in the past.

Whether you know it or not, jadedness and similar states of mind are really addictive. They offer a buffer between reality as it is and yourself. Instead of just taking in completely the place you are at in life, you wallow in stories about how all the good ones are taken already, and that even if you meet someone great, you or the other person will figure out how to fuck it up somehow.

Jadedness frequently has a fatalism attached to it. But even thinking fatalistic offers a perverse comfort because you believe you know what's coming, instead of facing the mystery of your life.

I'm thoroughly convinced that although it can be more challenging to meet a great partner when you've gone past 30, 40, 50 years old - it's also the case that you tend to have much more wisdom about it all, if only you'd peel back the bullshit stories on the surface. The experiences of your past are rich in learnings, and even if you didn't choose to learn from them at the time, you can always go back now and reconsider what lessons might have been present for you. In addition, perhaps you've also let go of some of that movie/television show romanticism that tinted the way you viewed dating and relationships as a young person.

In other words, even if you have some baggage, you also might have a lot of assets hanging around within you, if you just take a closer look. In fact, if you've been an expert in jadedness, it might have worn through some of that emotional roller coaster stuff that others experience with every single date they go on. Maybe it's not life or death anymore. Or you don't think this person "is the one" after a few e-mails and phone calls, and then, when he or she isn't, you don't crash and burn for weeks on end after the date.

In the end, it's all workable. If you're willing to keep taking another look, and let go of whatever comfort stories keep coming up in your mind.


  1. Hi...first, thanks for having us (Confronting Love) on your blogroll!

    Second...I think jadedness about dating is a good thing. After I split with my wife last year I had lots of time to think...think about dating and how I never wanted to do it again. That didn't mean I didn't want to be in a relationship, I just never wanted to be meeting people with the intention of being romantic with them. The way I saw it was, if I'm seeking/wanting, then I'm telling myself that I'm not fulfilled myself. So that's what my goal learn how to be happy by myself, to learn how to love myself.

    If I was going to be in another relationship it was going to happen naturally, organically. And you know what? It recently did. With someone who I'd become very close with as a friend, with neither of us having any romantic intentions from the beginning...but it ran its own course.

    This is my beef with dating. We should be fulfilling ourselves as a priority and it moves outwards from there.

  2. Carlo,

    I totally agree with your point about being self-fulfilled and letting that move outward. I actually wrote a post in a similar vain recently.

    I also think that you right about the value of jadedness while "recovering" from a previous relationship. That it, and like feelings, can serve as a fence for us, to keep us from leaping back into dating again too soon.

    I'm glad you brought this side of the issue up.


  3. I would love to not feel jaded and to have things happen organically, when I am at my best, when I least expect it. And, to help that happen, I've been putting myself out there in ways I never have before. I don't go running or to group functions looking for my next Mr. Right, but I'm certainly aware that it's a possibility. I think that online dating and the like do feed into "jaded-ness". It's tough to have a goal with little power over making it happen.

  4. You said it 36andsingle...putting yourself out there. That's where the connections happen. When you're enjoying yourself and being yourself and doing what you love. The "right" kind of people will enter your life, they will be drawn to you. But I think it's also important to recognize that not everyone single person of the opposite sex (assuming hetero here) is a potential partner...people come into our lives for different reasons.

    Re's an illusion ;) We don't have much control, really. It's more about being as open as possible. I believe we can manifest things with intention, but it rarely comes in the form that we think it will.

    Nathan, can you hit me up at carlo (at) confrontinglove (dot) com? I've only read a couple of your posts so far here but I really like what you write. Cheers.

  5. "But I think it's also important to recognize that not everyone single person of the opposite sex (assuming hetero here) is a potential partner...people come into our lives for different reasons." This is so important, too. Having a wider lens on why people might be appearing in your life is really key. I dated someone earlier this summer for about six weeks. In some ways, she was mirroring exactly what I wanted in a long term partner. Very open about her thoughts and feelings. Interested in being conscious about the relationship, as opposed to just muddling along together. And many other such qualities. However, it always felt like we were just friends with a little extra. Both of us had the same feeling about the relationship, but decided to just try it out for awhile, to see what would happen. The fact that it didn't lead to a partnership doesn't at all mean the time together was wasted.

    Oh, and control is mostly an illusion. I totally agree there.

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