Wednesday, November 25, 2015

It's Never a Good Time to Date

I got warm fuzzy feelings from watching them.

From where I sat, I put aside my studying to watch my friend, Stephanie*, talk to a guy - a guy that had been the subject of many previous conversations. A guy that I would always tease her about. A guy that she was meant to be with.

I can see it in her face that she is happy around him. It's the type of happiness that is very rare for her. Her dad left when she was in elementary school and her first boyfriend had cheated on her. Needless to say, she hadn't had the best experiences with guys.

I tell her this when she finally comes over to see me, 10 minutes later than our proposed meeting time. And while she apologizes, I ask er what puns the guy - Darren* - was making this time to make her laugh so loud.

This would begin our banter about him. I am happy that she is so elated to have found someone special to spend time with. I then ask her if she would want Darren to ask her out, and how she would respond to it. Stephanie mulled over the question about it, and then, to my surprise, said that she wouldn't. Not because she wanted to friend-zone him or because she didn't see herself with him, but because she wasn't sure of what the future had in store for her. Particularly:

"I don't know if someone better is going to come along. I want to make sure that this someone is perfect and special."

There seems to be a division between whether or not it is better to date around to find the perfect fit, or if we should wait for the perfect fit - if there even is one - finds you. I personally agree with Stephanie that I want to meet the right one: someone who is kind, caring, respectful and honest.

However, younger and younger girls are starting to find themselves on the "dating" scene, looking for potential boyfriends. And this is alarming, especially because when we were that age, we weren't thinking about dating at all. It was one thing to have a crush, but another thing to actually date him.

If this were the Victorian age this wouldn't be so alarming - in fact, many young girls would probably be getting ready to be married off at this point. But at the same tie, their courtship practices was really different from ours. For one thing, they actually had a built in room for dating, called a parlour. Most likely all Jane Austen, Brontë family-esque novels that you may have read probably made a reference (or five) to the parlour.
(Yup, it doesn't get any sexier than this. Credit:
The purpose of the parlour was a place where the eligible young man would come to the house of the lady and they would sit and talk in the parlour for hours until it was dinner time, in which the young man would leave. But here's the catch - the parlour faces a ginormous window with huge curtains that are drawn back so that everyone walking about outside can see the courtship happening in action. It was like Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Victorian Age.
But obviously times have changed and the way that we date and when we date is drastically different from before. Jumping back to my friend Stephanie, she had dated one guy previous to meeting Darren. This ex had broken her trust and left her with a really uneasy feeling for relationships.It is natural, then, to want to be extra cautious of the next guy because you don't want to find yourself in "The Cheating Boyfriend: The Sequel".
So maybe, we need to have an inward look at ourselves to see if we are ready for commitment and relationship, what our motives are, and what we want from the relationship. Having a clear understanding of self and knowing what your goals are in life are good to establish before you have someone else come into the picture.
Not everyone is going to be lucky enough to date one person and marry that same person. And while some relationships may end in disaster, it's important to learn from the relationship and grow from it. Even if you decide that you are never going to talk to him again, at least make a learning opportunity out of it. Wish him well, not dead. 
At the same time, take your time with everything. We live in a world where we like to rush things and go super fast. But taking the time to really get to know someone - their likes and dislikes - and seeing how they mesh with you, your family, your friends and vice versa is really valuable, But if you don't go and take the time to meet people, then it's very difficult to see how your personalities match - or clash.
Finally, like I always tell Stephanie, take a chance on him. Stephanie and Darren have known each other for just over a year, and they hang out all the time and have met each other's families. In everyone's minds, it's all the same: Why aren't you together yet?? I can understand Stephanie's hurt and wanting to hold out for someone better. There might be someone better, but there might not be. Love and dating is a bit of a gamble in that sense, but you'll never know unless you try. You never want to settle for less and sell yourself short, but it's also good to realize when you have a good opportunity, whether it's a guy, a job offer, or an experience.
(Thank you Zac Efron. Credit: Tumblr)               
I've had my own issues with boyfriends where it wasn't the right time or we were just too immature to foster a relationship beyond hand holding and all of our friends oohing and aahing. But I feel that we should give each person a chance and see where things go. We tend to generalize, especially during our time of hurt, that all guys (or girls) are heartbreakers and that they will all be the same. I assure you that there are nice people out there. We just need to meet them.

It's never a good time to date, but if the right people are in your life and you have the right motivations, then maybe it's time to make time for that person. Learn from your mistakes and take a chance - after all, what else are you gonna do?

x R

PS - * Names changed
PPS - want to read more mindless banter? I've started using Medium. I kinda suck at it but it's going. Anyhow, I've started a publication on Medium called Personal Life Lessons which is basically a miniature of blog. My goal is to write on it everyday just as a brain warmer-upper (is that even a phrase?) Please check it out, and let me know if you ever want to contribute to it!! :)

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