Does Dating Get Easier?+comment
A good friend was dumped last week. While it’s never fun to get that call of a friend crying on the other end, I think most of us have been there. I certainly have. Then again, I’ve been the dumper as well. It’s just a part of life. On the surface, my friend appeared to have an idyllic relationship. However since the breakup I’ve heard the details of how the relationship was fractured and both had been unhappy for awhile. Going over the breakup details my friend wailed “When does it get easier? I thought the older we get, the easier it was supposed to be?”
Sadly, this is a myth and an illusion. If you ask most people ‘does dating get easier,’ they will talk about their difficulties as opposed to someone elses. Career-focused people will say it’s harder for them to date as opposed to those who just want to settle down. Men will say it’s easier for women and vice versa. Older women will say it’s easier for younger women and vice versa. Pretty much no one has it easy, and we think the grass is always greener. It’s not. Dating is complicated. For everyone. Period.
Not to be a debbie downer, however, the answer (and the bright side) to the question “does dating every get easier” is in the phrasing. Dating and relationships don’t get easier, the answer is: we are supposed to get smarter. The guy (or girl) you were obsessed with at 19 seems kind of boring, if not lame, at 25. What breaks your heart at 25, is usually a dealbreaker after the 4th date at 35. These aren’t absolutes, but for the majority of us, they work.
Dating and relationships and their inherent mistakes, crashes, embarrassments, heartbreaks, and breakups are ultimately learning lessons. Sometimes cruel learning lessons, but then so is touching a hot stove. Much like the first day of school, when we start dating we are complete neophytes. We know nothing, we’re totally nervous and scared, we need a lot of guidance and really just need someone to hold our hand. Each crush, date, boyfriend/girlfriend, hookup, and heartbreak (while very possibly painful) is a lesson. It can be a lesson in the mistakes you made in a relationship, a lesson in what you really need in someone, a lesson of just where you are in your life or what your priorities are, a lesson in what you need emotionally and physically, or just a lesson in not letting a good one go! This a particularly bitter pill to swallow, but a lesson nonetheless. Ultimately the goal of dating, while it’s incredible and can result in an amazing, loving, life-partner; is to grow.
That’s what is supposed to happen. Instead many people repeat the same mistakes over and over and over again. Dating should be like school. Your first boyfriend is like 1st or 2nd grade. Then each date, hanging out, school dance, game of ‘truth or dare’ and ‘7 minutes in heaven’ adventure, etc. are slowly getting you to middle school of dating, then high school and so on. Instead, a large majority of us get stuck around the 9th-10th grade, and think dropping out is the answer. This approach to love and relationships will lead to repeating the same mistakes with new people, and becoming utterly convinced that dating never gets easier and settling is an answer. Wrong. That’s not true, but if you don’t get smarter, even marginally, from past relationships, then it’s hard to make better decisions. If dating never gets easier, double-check that you aren’t stuck on some dating merry-go-round. If each boyfriend or new relationship has the same crappy similarities to the previous one – GET OFF THE MERRY-GO-ROUND.
While my friend bemoaned the idea of entering the single world again, swearing she wouldn’t date anyone new for a long time, I thought, that’s normal. It’s difficult because it’s worth it. Realistically she’ll be dating in no time. But taking some time to discover what she can take from her ex-boyfriend will make life ‘easier’ in the long run. If we aren’t getting smarter from our choices and love life, much like school, we are destined to repeat them.