When you’re single, you have the opportunity to go on tons of dates. When you first begin dating, which usually coincides when you’re young and overly prone to overly romantic notions, it’s easy to take things too seriously. You over share on a date and savor each ”lol” text because it’s all so new and exciting and special.
After about 5 .. or 10… or let’s be honest.. 15 years of dating around casually, intermixed with a few serious adventures that ultimately failed, you get good. At dating. You know what to say to get someone to agree to go in a first date (spoiler alert- it’s usually to suggest something ambiguous so they don’t have to overthink it). You know just how flirty and interesting to be on a first date. You learned to impulse control so you don’t text your potential boo 30x a day while they’re at work. And let’s be perfectly honest, you learned how to not care so much. You learned how to pull back and keep your expectations at bay and not try so hard that you lose your dignity if they’re not interested.
And for some people, this is where they stay. They master the art of catch and release, but at the end of the day they wouldn’t even know how to prepare a fish even if it was perfect and they were starving. Gross analogy but you get it.
But to be good at healthy relationships, being good at dating is a major detriment. You need to invest, put yourself out there, and care an embarrassing amount.
I share this because when I was dating, I went on some amazing dates. But some of those amazing dates were with people that were the most ill fit for me. When I started hanging out with my now husband, we didn’t always go on amazing dates. He didn’t always take me to the fanciest of dinners or most elaborately romantic outings. His conversation topics were often funny but quite strange. He didn’t try to artificially push romance into every moment. We did normal stuff. I helped him paint his garage. He helped me put together my new dining room table. We made doggy cupcakes for his dog’s birthday and he spontaneously wiped some frosting off my face with the perfect amount of tenderness. That was the romance. And yes sometimes we went to an art museum or a play or something cool, but those moments weren’t artificially propping up our relationship, hiding our lack of true connection with grandiose moments and sticky sweetness. They were real.
So, if you’re dating right now, don’t get too good at dating or limit yourself to other people who are too good at dating. Try to make space for real connection that can’t be forced or rushed.