I hate to admit this out loud, but I absolutely hate dating.
I’m not any good at it. I’m going on almost three years of being single after 15+ years of being coupled and the dating scene has changed in ways I can hardly wrap my head around. Back then, there was no “swipe right” or hundreds of good-looking single men and women to choose from in the area if you just want a nice meaningless “hook up.”
My male friends who are now married feel like they really missed the boat on this one.
On the contrary, I feel like a sputtering fish out of water because this whole dating scene seems very Millennium to me and doesn’t quite vibe with my 40ish single-mom-to-two-small-kids, relationship-oriented self.
I’ve tried to adapt to the singles scene. On paper it all looks great. I get to hook up with lots of hot guys as often as I want with no strings attached! I get to abandon my yoga pants and let down my three-day-old ponytail and get all dolled up to go out a real date and drink martinis at some uber hip bar in LA. I get to experience that butterflies-in-the stomach feeling we all remember from our years before marriage and admit we miss once we’re married.
I even got to hang out a few months back on the set of an upcoming movie with one very hot Visual Effects Supervisor in my un-mommy like push-up bra and short shorts and act as if I did this kind of thing every day—as if I don’t have a mortgage I’m struggling to pay on my own, and a now three-year-old that at the time wasn’t sleeping through the night and an over-active neurotic brain working on overdrive trying to decide if it was okay to sleep with him because if I did, would he think I’m just a causal “hook up” and not take me seriously and where is this whole thing going anyway?
Welcome to my Not-So-Glamorous dating life.
So, this is what I’ve come to realize about myself…I’m not a casual, “let’s see where this goes,” “let’s just mess around because I don’t have any expectations” kinda girl. Every time my mother or a well-meaning friend says to me, “Don’t have any expectations” or “Just go out and have fun” I pump my I-Am-A-Strong-Independent-Woman fist in the air and exclaim, “YES! Of course I’m gonna do that!”
Except I can’t. It’s just not me.
I have expectations. I develop feelings for people because I actually care about them and I don’t know how to just turn emotions off because this thing we’re in is supposed to be “casual” and we’re just supposed to be “hanging out” or whatever the last guy I dated called it.
I have always lived my life with purpose and intention. I’m not the kind of woman who takes a job and says, “Oh…this looks like fun. I’m just gonna hang out here till I get bored. Show up whenever I feel like it. Not show up when I’m not feeling it and continue looking for other jobs while I’m working here.”
I’m a career woman. I’m loyal. I’m committed. And I give 100 percent to everything I do. Once I’m in, I’m all in. And if it’s not the right fit for me, that’s okay. I move on knowing that I at least put my whole self into it and didn’t half-ass it.
Call me crazy. Call me too serious. Call me overly-sensitive or someone who expects too much from people. You can call me whatever you’d like but I just don’t like to waste my time or somebody else’s because I have so precious little of it these days.
I just can’t do “meaningless” anymore, because everything for me has meaning. It’s just how I’m wired. I don’t want to have meaningless conversations and meaningless sex. I want to go deep with someone if I’m going to be intimate with them. I want to know about their past and how they view life, and what their greatest fears are, and who broke their heart and what they made that mean about themselves, and what they’re passionate about in life.
I want to get real.
I don’t want to hear, “What’s up.” I don’t want surface. I don’t want to make small talk over drinks and then go back to someone’s place and just “hook up.”
I can’t pretend anymore that I’m comfortable with “just hanging out” when I’m looking for someone who at least has the intention of wanting to actually get to know me…and possibly have it to be more than that. Maybe it’ll work out and maybe it won’t, but let’s at least aspire for something more than meaningless hooking up.
Let’s at least aim for authentic connection.
Because I think the real truth is, this is what we’re all searching for whether we want to admit it or not…real connection.
So if we’re going to truly connect, I can’t just mess around with you. I can’t just give my body to you and than anxiously wait around to see if you’re going to text me and ask me out again. I’m not that girl either.
I can’t take time away from my two kids even on the days they’re with their father when I need to be taking care of things for them just to embark on another meaningless, casual hook-up relationship. It’s not really fair to me because it’s not me at all and I’m tired of living my life the way others tell me I should. And it’s really not fair to them either.
If their mommy is going to spend the very little free time she has doing anything, let it at least be something that fills her heart with meaning and makes her feel good about herself.
Men that see me as meaningless or replaceable with the next Tinder swipe don’t make me feel good about myself.
Hence, why I don’t do casual hookups anymore.
I’ll end with this: for the women out there who can do this, my hats go off to you and if I’m honest, I’m a bit envious. I long to be a woman that doesn’t take things so seriously. I’d love to be that free-spirited chick that can knock back some drinks, get totally wild and go home with the bartender whose name she doesn’t care to even know.
I want to be the girl who doesn’t feel so deeply or take everything so damn personally.
But I do. That’s who I am. And I wouldn’t be living a truly authentic life or able to manifest what I truly want if I pretend I don’t.
Because there’s some guy out there who’s going to see my desire to swim in the deep waters with him and give 100 percent to whatever we’re creating together as something pretty darn special.
And I’m okay holding out for that one.
Author: Dina Strada
Editor: Renée Picard