On dating

This was my trouble with Tinder. No matter how hard I tried to push into real human terrain, over chat, and sometimes real-life dates, I always found myself dragged back into a scripted dance of niceties.CJ Hauser, Kind of deep blue

I enjoyed the podcast chat Steph and John had about dating. It was insightful - a glimpse into a world I decided to leave, many years ago. I thought about how different it all seemed to be now, but also how familiar sounding. What sounds to not have changed much at all is the desire to find that seemingly elusive meaningful connection. 

As Steph and John were recalling some of their, for lack of a better phrase, date fails, and discussing who pays for the first date and who should be messaging first, I found myself time travelling back to my years as a high student, right in the thick of prom season. I attended an all-girls’ primary and secondary school, which was right next to the all-boys school. As you can imagine, prom or formal season was a big deal in my school. Understandably, most of my friends were stressed out about what to wear and who to ask out. Admittedly, I was excited to dress up and go out dancing, but for some reason, I did not suffer the same agonising worries that my friends were feeling. I was lucky that the guy I went to prom with was incredibly funny. He was kind but also very nice to look at. We both even shared passions for sport - I was in the varsity soccer team and he ran track for his school. 

We maintained a good friendship in the following 12 months after prom, he eventually told me he wanted to become more than friends, but I was determined that nothing would distract me from uni and plans to travel the world. I tried to be as honest, yet kind as I explained to him all the plans I had made. He never spoke to me again after that. 

Fast forward years later, here in the present where I reflect on the years in between, and listen quietly to all the words my girlfriends have uttered over the years - marriage, house, children. For my girlfriends who’d like a family, the female biological clock starts ticking loudly and I wonder whether a perception of scarcity sometimes plays a role in the hurried and sometimes mechanical way we go about searching for a partner, a date, or a meaningful connection. Back in high school, in my youth and in the presence of an abundance of career and life opportunities, there was no rush, there was no hurry to be mother or wife or professor. There was so much time. There were so many people yet to meet. There was no rush. 

This feeling of course changes as one gets older, but I remind my friends, ‘you never know what’s around the corner’. Scarcity and uncertainty are legitimately worrying thoughts, but they can also be quite relative concepts. What if we re-framed our fears? Scarcity - if it’s a partner you’re looking for, and I know you’re thinking about odds and things, but all you really need is one, so maybe it’s okay that there aren’t hundreds of matches lined up in your dating app. Uncertainty - well I guess this is all part of living and so maybe we focus on solidifying what’s certain and this might be in the form of knowing what we want, what we value, and so on. Build certainty with our selves – that no matter what the other person does, I will be okay, the safety comes from me. Knowing this un-shakeable truth helps one to leap confidently into the unknown and to dare to risk being vulnerable with new people.

I never asked myself how I wanted to be loved or by whom. I never asked myself whether the people I was well suited to care for were well suited to care for me. And most of the time they were not. This was not their fault. I never asked. CJ Hauser, The lady with the lamp


Tagged in What messes with your head, dating, Student life, confidence, mental health, emotions