Modern day dating is complicated.
Modern day people are complicated.
I am complicated.
Why do we make it so hard on ourselves? We all have baggage, we all worry if we might not be quite good enough. We all have needs and wants and desires that we are afraid to have.
I knew that until I felt stable and secure inside of myself, independently from another person, I would not be able to effectively have a healthy relationship. So that’s what I did.
What I didn’t anticipate was that I’d then have to learn how to feel stable and secure inside of myself, independently from another person, while being with another person.
I take on so much responsibility for the people in my life, especially my partners, that I sacrifice my own wants and needs in order to accommodate what I think they may want or need. I lose myself in serving the other person and I forget to sometimes put myself first.
There are so many factors to dating now that were not factors when our parents or grandparents went through it. In some ways we’ve come a long way – women are allowed to do anything a man can do. We are allowed to have sex for the pure pleasure of it! We are allowed to date multiple people at once and explore our options, desires and sexuality in whatever way we please. We are allowed to set boundaries and ask for our needs to be met.
I no longer rely on a man for anything besides partnership.
I use the term “man” because I am a heterosexual cis-gendered female, however, I’d like to acknowledge that we are in a time that has surpassed the gender binary, gender roles, and constricting definitions of sexual orientations. Sexuality and gender can very often be fluid and constantly evolving, so please feel free to replace the terminology with whatever feels right for you. I’d also like to thank LM for helping me find the terminology to effectively and respectfully share my view on this.
It seems to me that past generations have had needs from each other in terms of gender roles that no longer apply to today’s society unless we want them to. I’m making some broad generalizations here and I do understand that not every individual conformed to societal standards. The man needed a woman to take care of the house and the family, and the woman needed a man to make the income. Together they could have it all, but apart they would not. This mutual need worked for a lot of people and didn’t work for others. So today, when no one seems to want to admit any need from anyone, and gender roles are a thing of the past, it makes me wonder what I really want or need from my dating life.
I do well on my own. I can take care of my own needs, and I have friends for the emotional support department or for when I do find myself needing something that I cannot give myself. I do well when I don’t need anything or have any expectations of a partner. It’s when I am with someone that I struggle. I begin putting their needs ahead of my own in whatever areas I can. I ignore a lot of what I want in order to accommodate what they want, and I don’t always notice that I’m doing this until something happens that upsets me and suddenly all the little, uncommunicated factors begin to boil over and spill out.
So, what do I want from my dating life?
The truth is, I have no bloody idea.
I think that what I eventually would like is to find a partner who wants to make our partnership work as much as I do. Someone who wants to be my teammate in life. Who wants to collaborate with me in building the life of our dreams.
But what is the life of my dreams?
This is something that I believe can change and evolve significantly over time, so is it realistic to find someone who is going to want to grow in the same direction as me for my whole life? What if my direction changes? What if their direction changes?
I don’t know if these factors can be planned for. Do I sacrifice a good thing now because it might not be good down the road?
Ultimately no matter who I end up with, and when that may be, I believe that the most important thing is that both people are happy. I believe that two people can live out their lives and their dreams alongside one another without having to sacrifice their own happiness. This is not to say that it’s going to be easy – I believe that a good, healthy relationship is going to require effort, intention and communication and I hope that I never again settle down with someone whom I do not mutually have those things with.
I don’t know what this is supposed to look like for me. Do I find one person who happens to fit like some perfect puzzle piece into my life and me into theirs and we live and grow together forever? Do I have one person for one period of my life and another for a different period and so on? Is what I want now, at 28 years old, the same thing that I’ll want 40 years from now?
I don’t believe that there is just one person for everyone – I think everyone has multiple options to choose from and that there is no limit on how many times a person can fall in love.
I want to live my life the way I want to live it. I don’t want another person to come in and hinder it in any way. What I do want though is someone who supports my growth and lets me support theirs. Someone to witness the effort and intention that I put into my day to day life, and to hold my hand and sit with me when life knocks me down. I want someone who means so much to me that I consider them in everything that I do – not base my decisions off them, but simply consider them in my own choices. I want someone who lets me hold their hand and sit with them when life knocks them down, and whom wants to consider me in their life choices as well.
I don’t want someone who builds their entire life around me. I want my partner to have their own life – their own dreams, goals, ambitions, projects, and more. I want to stand beside them in all the greatness they want to accomplish. Someone who is my cheerleader as much as I am theirs. An equal contributor in different ways, who always makes sure that I know how much I am appreciated, as I will for them.
Someone who chooses to lift me up when they could knock me down.
Someone who chooses to put their own ego and fears of rejection aside to lean in to the vulnerability that true, valuable relationships require.
What does this mean for my life long-term? Do I find one person, build a life together, have babies and live happily together forever?
Do I meet someone who I vibe with and build a life alongside theirs independently?
Do I even want babies? (Guys, its 2019, I’m allowed to be a woman and not want babies.)
Do I find someone who wants to love the unlovable as much as I do and run away to a farm where we can raise and nurture and love a bunch of foster kids?
I guess it depends on who I meet, and when, and what kind of lives we decide to build. No longer does it need to fit into society’s neat little box that is perfectly shaped to hold a husband, wife, son and a daughter.
That box is far too constricting for me. I want my life to be big and bold and messy and fun.
Most of all, no matter what my life looks like to the outside world, I want it to be filled so high with an undeniable energy of love that this love spills out and floods the world around me everywhere I go.