I’m not good at loving, but I’m awesome at dating.
This piece is in response to the article, “I’m Not Good At Dating, But I Know How To Love.”
“I’m not looking for anything serious,” I tell all my first dates. These dates — typically men in their late 20s to mid 30s — range the gamut with what they’re searching for. A casual fling. A companion. Someone to hit the town with. A good conversation and perspective. A wife.
I don’t want to be anyone’s wife.
And if you, my date, tries to tell me where things should go before they even start, I will run as far as I can in the opposite direction. Because you don’t know me. You don’t know my goals, or how I prefer to spend my evenings, or what I’m like when I travel out of the country. You don’t know what makes me curse, or what cheers me up when I’m really down, or even how to deal with me when I’m really down. You haven’t seen me after I score a promising gig or after a really bad night of drinking more than I should have.
But isn’t that why you take the time to get to know a person? You ask. You spend time with each other, you fall in love, and the rest is history, right?
Perhaps. Or perhaps you get to know the person without the agenda of falling in love. Perhaps you date, and as their personhood reveals itself, you choose whether or not you want them to play a role in your life. As a friend, a casual fling, a companion, a good conversation, or a potential life partner. Because although there are so many wonderful humans in the world, not all of them are good for you. I may not be good for you.
And say we make it past that first date, and the second, and the third. Say we’re hanging out a month later and realize that we’ve stopped seeing other people; I’m just dating you, and you’re just dating me. I still don’t want anything serious. Because after a month, we still don’t really know each other. We haven’t dealt with losing a family member or a lifestyle change or a major move. We haven’t dealt with change.
And if we walk into that first date gunning for only the possibility of love, this is what will happen:
- I will actively search for reasons to make us fit. For common goals, common interests, common values.
- I will overlook and try to accept tiny quirks that might turn into giant irreparable issues we won’t truly see until we’re in too deep.
- I will cling onto the good, the interesting, the ideal, and not see you for who you are — a whole person who grows and changes with time and experience.
- And worst of all, if you don’t fit into the perfectly crafted box that I’ve created for this ideal “love,” I might miss out on finding a good friend, a good conversation, a good fling, or a good companion.
So no, dear date, I am not good at falling in love. I want loving you to be my choice. I want loving me to be your choice. And choosing to love someone and continue to redefine that love as both of you grow and evolve and change — that choice is everything.