Life as we know it is a series of small, careful choices that we make day in and day out. We choose to watch television, to go to yoga, to eat that last piece of cake, to go the long way home instead of taking a cab. We make these choices as a part of life with little thought and a decided lack of consideration. If you’re single, and decidedly so, that’s a choice — an easy choice to make for some, a difficult choice for others, but what does it mean when you decide that you want to choose to date, but aren’t sure how to go about doing it?
The concept of making yourself available is a notion that is more difficult to put into practice than it sounds. We spend so much of our time being available only to ourselves — choosing what we want to read next, or where we want to go on vacation, or whether or not to eat Chipotle two days in a row for lunch. These are choices that come like second nature to us. To make the decision to let your delicate, quivering soul out into the universe is a terrifying one, but it is necessary if you choose to be available. Keep reading »
You’re on your way to your local watering hole one evening and you spot something familiar in the gait, the walk, the hand gestures of a person heading your way on the street. You realize with sudden, sinking dread that it’s your ex who you haven’t seen since the breakup. You grab your best friend’s elbow and hiss in her ear, “That’s him.” You stay in place, paralyzed and unable to move, until she grabs you by the back of the arm and steers you across the street. You think yourself invisible while you stand in between two parked cars, waiting for him to pass.
Later, when you get a text that says, “Did I just see you outside that bar?” you wait two hours and numerous drinks before texting back in all caps “NOPE.” Near the end of the night, as you sit on top of a bar stool with your best friend like imperious, drunk queens, you blatantly ignore him when he enters the bar to retrieve his forgotten credit card. Likely story. Even with his sudden ambush, you manage to avoid contact. At the end of the night you collapse into bed with a glass of water in hand, and think to yourself, Crisis averted!
But really, was it? Keep reading »
Here is a example of something that happens to people in relationships: we strive for perfection at all costs. Things go well, things are proceeding according to the path you created in your head. Things feel perfect. Your relationship is a glorious jewel of correctness, shining in a world where nothing is right. There have been no arguments, you disagree on nothing and appear to have everything in common. The success of your relationship is a kick in the teeth to all your other problems, it’s the one thing that you can really and truly do right. It’s a contact high of the best kind and you never want it to go away. The problem with this feeling? The first crack in the veneer sends you into a roiling, spiraling panic. The truth: Perfection is impossible, it is unfeasible, and the struggle to achieve it will be the death of the relationship. Instead of striving for it, try infusing your relationship with some wabi-sabi. Keep reading »
Say you’re in a new relationship, and things are going well. There are dinners, there is coffee in bed when you want it, there is sparkling conversation and wit and banter, there are all-consuming exchanges of emotion that leave you revitalized and ready to seize the rest of your lives together. You’ve reached a state of happiness that leaves other relationships in the dark. Finally! A thing that works for me, the way I want it, the way I need it. What have I done to deserve this giant treasure from the universe?
Then, the change comes, like it does in all new relationships. Sun-soaked afternoons in bed are slowly replaced by tense mornings in which every conversation is a power struggle. What was once light and sunshine and butterfly kisses is now a relationship fraught with calculated moves to gain the upper hand. What happened here? How did something that seemed so easy become so complicated? Keep reading »
Here’s what’s easy:
Sitting in your apartment, doing things that you like to do, justifying this behavior by saying that because it is what you want to do, it is absolutely correct. Rejecting new experiences because they could fail, because you could embarrass yourself or fall on your face or loose a tooth or a shred of dignity. Staying in a rut because it’s comfortable, it feels right, and it’s easier than putting on that pair of pants or wearing those new shoes or doing anything other than the path you picked out for yourself as the only way for you.
Dating is not fun. It’s not easy. If someone came up to me and told me in earnest that scrolling thru the depths of OKCupid is a fulfilling and mentally engaging activity, I’d gather my things and back away slowly. It feels like work because it is work. Scrolling through matches taps into the muscle memory of the aimless looking for shoes on Zappos or searching your work email for that thing you got last week that you just can’t find. Scroll, scroll, scroll. Click? Scroll. Repeat ad nauseam until you find something that you think might work, with some jiggering, a little tailoring, a tiny nip and tuck. Add to your cart, finish your wine, close your laptop, go to sleep. Keep reading »
There comes a time in every new thing when it feels necessary to define what’s going on between the two of you. You need to have “the talk.” Say things have been going well, feelings are mutual and developing rapidly. You know that you should talk about this, but the time never seems quite right! Maybe you don’t even have to talk about it, because clearly you two are on the same page. You are linked by pure love and mutual understanding and shimmering light between your heart chakras and one day, you’ll just wake up and know deep down this is your lobster. Who needs to talk when it all feels so right? Keep reading »
I was less than enthused about the last person I dated, but could not put my finger on why. He was nice, smart, attractive, and I had enough fun with him, but something wasn’t right. At first, I chalked my indifference up to a personal tendency towards being overly critical. I had shoved off the detritus of my last long-term relationship, and was feeling open to new things and experiences. Dating him felt like something I should be doing — or at least trying — so I did. My enthusiasm never peaked though. It merely flatlined at a “I guess this is good enough” level for six months. It was only after we broke up that I was able to identify what was really going on: I was in a panic relationship.
Keep reading »
“As women glide from their twenties to thirties, Shazzer argues, the balance of power subtly shifts. Even the most outrageous minxes lose their nerve, wrestling with the first twinges of existential angst: fears of dying alone and being found three weeks later half-eaten by an Alsatian.” – Bridget Jones’ Diary, Helen Fielding
Right now, I am single by choice. I am focusing on other things besides dating — my career, my health, learning how to get through life without the support of a partner. I am settling into the idea of living alone after exiting a string of long-term relationships and one short-term situation that ended because I found myself with someone out of the panicky fear that unless I made this relationship work, I would die alone. We live in a time where great anxiety builds over which toppings to choose for your chopped salad. The glut of choice, which seems like it surrounds every decision, is amplified when applied to relationships. Right now, being alone feels like the simplest/hardest choice I can make. Keep reading »
Are you caught up in a new relationship? Has your humdrum existence been enlivened by late weeknights laying in bed and giggling, or gazing into the eyes of a magical creature? Do you find yourself stunned by the creature’s beauty, dazed by the fact that you’ve found just the right person? Do you spend Sunday mornings making coffee for two, arranging artful piles of the paper on your coffee table and reading with your head on your beloved’s lap and your feet in a sunbeam? Have you forgotten what your friends look like? Congratulations, you’re on Relationship Island! Keep reading »