The Monthly Rant: Relationships Lost, Options Found
The year is 2015. And I’d say the word of the decade is options. Not even the word of the decade, the problem of the decade=options. Options turn men into douche bags and women into evil devious creatures.
When I turned 29, my younger sister decided it was time for her to intervene in her older brothers boring dating life. I was signed up for a popular dating website. Sounds like a good idea right? You can scan the crowd without getting a buzz and running up a bar tab. You can qualify from afar, not solely judged on appearance, right? Partially true. While scanning the pages and qualifying, trying to weed through the inbox that seems never ending of messages, another billion men and women are doing the same. Now if you’re all looking for the same thing, but you all have 200 options each, why will they pick you?
Maybe you’re a charmer. You had an amazing first date, so much to talk about! She was beautiful, you were interested; she seemed to share the feeling. But you leave and go on 17 more dates, all beautiful, all interesting in their own ways. Maybe at dinner she ate too loudly, or didn’t eat enough? Maybe you came off like a douchebag? Maybe you didn’t ask the questions on her list of “must asks,” on the second date, and you’re written off immediately. Not because you’re a bad guy, but because she has options; Or, not because you’re not an interesting woman, but he met someone the night after your second date.
Options everywhere, commitment nowhere. This seems to be the trend with the majority of women in our generation. Mind you, this is written from a man’s perspective, I’m not singling out women, just giving my experience and what I’ve learned through countless other friends in a similar position. The generalization I’ve grabbed your attention with is that men are douche bags and women are evil devious creatures. I feel in this day and age, this isn’t far off.
Now you don’t know me, so I’ll give a brief introduction. I’m 31, self employed, a hard working guy, but my business doesn’t own me. There has to be some sort of attraction to break the ice and I won’t say I’m anything special, but I take care of myself well. I don’t go on dates much anymore. I gave the old online thing a try, and it was certainly not for me. I met a few great girls, but the relationships went nowhere, and I met a few train wrecks that also went nowhere. If you do online dating for the social aspect, I’d understand. But I feel a very small percentage are online dating for the reasons they say they are. It didn’t seem any better than organically meeting someone in your daily life. On the other side of that, I don’t meet many women in my daily life. Sure there are some running around the gym here and there, maybe at the mall or at the grocery store. It’s not easy to approach a woman nowadays, do you want to be that guy? The one they go home and tell their friends about; “Oh my god Becky this guy totally tried talking to me in the store today and….” No, no one wants that. I hear female friends say they want to meet someone organically all of the time. I also watch those women embarrass men when they do attempt the approach, regardless of location.
Another set of options that weren’t available to previous generations: Dating apps. I’m going to talk about an app/site briefly, one that I’ve never and will never use, Tinder. This is just an example of options, a taste of what’s happening all around you. I don’t mean to single out Tinder either, but it’s what I hear the most about. Now this is a brief point, but one I see important to talk about. Let’s be honest, if you’re on Tinder, whether you’re looking for a quickie or not, you have to realize you just dumbed yourself down to an app that you get matched up by if someone swiped the same direction as you, SOLELY based on your looks.
If you’re a woman in this day and age, that’s probably what you preach against. Oh I want a man into more than my looks. I want a man who doesn’t objectify me. I want a man … insert general quote. But you’re on Tinder, with hundreds of people at your finger tips, just a swipe away. The site works, it serves a purpose. I hear war stories from my guy friends, and conquests from my female friends. But now we know what you’re looking for. The irony here is when people complain they can’t meet someone of substance, but their dating life revolves around an app that is purposed to find someone you’re mutually physically attracted to, and that is it.
Before I get sidetracked ranting about the shallow generation that surrounds me, let’s get back on point. Options are ruining relationships everywhere. You got in a fight with your husband? Oh, well 2 weeks ago that guy emailed you on FB telling you how beautiful you were; maybe you reach out to him for some attention, harmlessly curing your feelings of anger, frustration, and loneliness. Maybe that turned into something that never should have started, and 6 months later your marriage has dissolved.
Maybe you’re the hot young girl, plenty of men after her, on a search for perfection. You date a guy, things are great. Honestly, your biggest complaints are maybe not spending enough time together, he’s not quite what you imagined in a husband, or he doesn’t have quite the same political stance you do. He makes you happy; he would do anything for you, makes you feel like the most important thing in his life. 40 years ago, that would work. Hell, 10 years ago that would probably work. Not today, today you logged into Facebook to a few new messages, a new wave of new attention. Someone looks the part, a charmer, you can tell by his social media he’s more on your wavelength right? Oh-em-gee I love his posts. She gives it a try, shying away from the Mr. Perfect she once held, for Mr. Perfect 2.0 model. Everyone loves something shiny and new. The point is, with so many options at our fingertips everyone continually thinks the grass is greener on the other side, with a different “better” option. No one is perfect; it’s not about being perfect. It’s about deciding that you’re willing to commit to something you say you want. It’s so hard to commit to something when you have so many options, so many available to you at any time.
I met a girl. It was on the internet, not through a dating website. The moment I saw her face I cracked a smile of interest. The type of eyes that make you feel something. We had never spoken a word to each other, but I knew I wanted to know what was behind those eyes. So I pursued. We met briefly for some food in her city. Typically, when I meet a girl, finding topics to chat about or even common interest can be a challenge. I’m not a big talker, anyone close to me will confirm that. In this case, even though the food choices left much to be desired, we sat there talked for a few hours before we realized how late it had gotten and I gave her a ride home. Conversation was seamless, and the eyes were not a disappointment in person. We talked a lot over the next year, with short periods of quietness. We got to spend some time together, some passionate time together. She was someone that made me feel like we could kick so much life-ass together, I hadn’t been excited about someone like this in a long time: Someone to wake your passion, someone that challenges you to be your best, to be on point, to not fall into complacency. I’m not much for wasting time. If I like you I’ll tell you, if I don’t then we probably won’t spend much time together. Things are so much more complicated than that. If you don’t play “the game” you lose. Not mysterious enough, too quick to show interest, made it too easy, pick your cliché’. Because of my dating history I have a lot of walls and it takes an investment of time to let those down. It takes a lot for me to feel comfortable with someone, enough to really open up or catch some feelings as we say. We all have our own emotional scar tissue, and what we know about scar tissue is that it never quite heals right, never returns to its original form. You can hold the confidence façade in normal daily life, but when you allow someone to get close to you they also see your insecurities and your imperfections. For some, seeing anything less than your rock of a man daily poise can scare them off, or even think less of you.
For whatever reason, it didn’t work out. Was it me? Was it her? I have imperfections, I have problems. Quirky problems, maybe problems she hadn’t encountered before? I’m probably hard to deal with for some people; I can openly admit. It could have even been simply, options. Maybe something easier was found? Maybe a seemingly better fit? Maybe it was great and timing was off? Who knows, it could have been any of the above.
I could give plenty of experiences on the subject, but it won’t serve much purpose being that they’re personal experiences. Most of you are probably reading this waiting for some advice or resolution. I have neither for you, as I am not an expert. These are simply my thoughts in a bit of a rant. Options make people less committal. When attention is spread over these available options, no one ever seems to get the full attention of another. This doesn’t lead to strong relationship building, it leaves you in diluted mindless dating that fills time and never progresses. I see people tire of this mindlessness and settle for something less than par because they’re just “over dating”. That’s not for me. I’ll chase those passionate eyes my whole life before I settle into boredom. Maybe the underlying message of the post is that it’s just hard meeting someone of substance these days. Hard to hold onto something of substance once found, mostly due to options. People will undoubtedly pick the path of least resistance, not the path that requires the most work. No situation is ideal, no potential partner is perfect. And even if they’re imperfections are perfect for you, someone might find another option, one with a little less work required. Options, the never ending search for greener grass, are once again making it harder and harder to meet a man who isn’t a douche bag or a woman who isn’t an evil devious creature.
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