To Date Or Not To Date

Now, I’m no expert on the social creature, no well-educated anthropologist sitting high in my university tower performing experiments on the masses, but in my personal experience, I find that society places a lot of pressure on people to be in relationships. And sometimes, when I think about the fact that I haven’t even been on something resembling a date in six years, I consider that a failing of mine.

I don’t think it was something that I ever intended to happen. When people ask me why I haven’t, I’ll try to come up with some reason, some grand excuse like “I’ve just been too busy” or “I was hurt the last time – I needed some time to myself”. Something that sounds impressive anyway. Something that sounds like I’ve lived. But neither of those are true. No, really, life just got in the way.

Sometimes, it was the fact that I was still coming to terms with being bisexual that held me back. I’d get asked out by girls, and I’d say no just because, at the time, I valued my friends more than I did my love life, and I knew it made them uncomfortable to see me holding hands with someone who shared my gender. Or I’d start flirting with a boy, and my fear that they’d find out about me, decide that I was just some closested lesbian or a no-good whore (sorry for the use of this term – it was just what I felt at the time, not a legitimate default in character) would always make me back out before things could get serious.

Sometimes, it was my depression, making me forget that dating was even a thing that people did. I actually remember, after about a year of my depression, receiving a smile from a cute girl I was talking to and thinking to myself “oh yeah – I’m bisexual. I forgot about that”. I remember needing to announce it then, whether it made sense in the context of the conversation or not, because somehow, in that moment, it was important. It was a treasure from a forgotten past, something that used to be true and beautiful and important, and now was being dusted off by cold hands in the dark, having just been recovered within the recesses of my mind. Because when I was depressed, I just didn’t think about dating. It wasn’t important – not as important as getting out of bed and getting to all my classes and making it as far as my bedroom at night, at least.

And then, once my depression started to get better, there was something else entirely to contend with – I simply didn’t want to.

Now, that’s not to say that I never will. A part of me hopes that I will eventually, at least, but right now, I’m still far too busy with me to have to split my attention onto someone else. I’m going to school, I’m writing a book, I’m trying to get myself published, I’m learning to accept myself as a person with anxiety, I’m figuring out the world around me. All of this is crucial to me. I can’t sacrifice one piece of it for anything, and certainly nothing as fleeting or frivolous as my first love. I can deal with that later, when the time is right. When I’m right.

And I know that all of that can change at a moment’s notice. Maybe I’ll meet someone tomorrow who will change my mind, who will make me decide that maybe love is a crucial thing for me to have in my life right now. All that I’m saying is that, right now, as I’m writing this, I don’t feel that way.

As a matter of fact, those moments where I do feel like I need someone in my life, it’s never for my own sake. It’s because I see that couple on Facebook exchanging cute messages.  It’s because my friends point me toward apps like Tinder in a desperate attempt to fix my apparently damaged and broken life. It’s because I exist in a society that constantly bombards me with the message that I’m not complete unless I have someone else in my life. People can’t understand how I can possibly be happy single, and that makes me second-guess myself constantly. Am I happy? Maybe I do need someone… Maybe my acceptance of being single is just a sign that I’m emotionally damaged and/or afraid of commitment, and maybe I need serious mental help so that I can lead a normal, happy life like all these people in relationships do.

But, really, at the end of the day, why should it matter so much? What is my end goal here? Children? No, I still haven’t decided what my stance is on them. Marriage? Maybe. I wouldn’t mind it, I don’t think, but isn’t that something that can happen anytime in my future? It’s not like there’s some scary cut-off date looming over my head, like if I’m not married by twenty-five the whole thing is ruined and I’ll never achieve happiness. No, when I really think about it, there is no rush here. There is nothing that states that I absolutely need to be in a relationship right now, so maybe I shouldn’t be. Maybe, while I’m youthful and inquisitive and still learning about the world around me, I should grant myself this time to take full advantage of that. Maybe there isn’t anything wrong with me.

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3 thoughts on “To Date Or Not To Date

  1. Your life doesn’t sound ‘damaged and broken’ in the least! Thank you for sharing this, it sounds like your objectives at the moment (whether they’re about your wellbeing or beyond that) are very worthwhile. Actually I wrote some echoes of these sentiments^ in a blog within the last 24 hours, how funny – for instance, I’m pretty sure I’d like to adopt if I ever have kids, so that drowns out the biological clock I’m supposed to feel ticking. I think it’s very possible to let a relationship come first, before people take care of themselves, but either way if you’re not feeling the urge to pursue a relationship then you’re doing right by yourself. Love this: “Maybe, while I’m youthful and inquisitive and still learning about the world around me, I should grant myself this time to take full advantage of that.”

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