About a year ago, after over a decade of being “basically single” I started online dating. I gave it a couple of weeks, before I was reminded that –
I hate online dating with a PASSION!
It is so artificial and contrived and sets people up for an abnormal amount of failure. People start out with the premise that if this or that person doesn’t turn out to be the ONE, the whole experiment is a failure. But seriously, how can you assume a person is worthy of being the ONE unless you are both willing to be friends first? Online dating doesn’t really allow for this option, because if two individuals are online for the GOAL of either hooking up or finding the ONE – then acquiring another platonic buddy is …. oh no, not again!
But when you look at relationships, our personal relationships from romantic, to familial, to platonic – often the healthiest, most mutually accepting, enduring, and growth filled relationships are those we have with our friends. So WHY on earth – do we devalue friendship to the degree we do? I don’t know. But I do know that this belief is what is probably the fundamental reason why so many Americans are emotionally unbalanced, with an epidemic growth in rates of depression. They lack the support of true friendship in their daily lives, because somewhere along the way they didn’t prioritize the pursuit and/or maintainence of important friendships.
So what does this have to do with dating in the modern age?
Friendship, I believe, is the gateway relationship, to a significant romantic relationship. If one can’t maintain a healthy friendship with a potential partner, and vice versa – there is no point going for anything beyond this. Starting the other way around – knocking boots before you are knocking mugs in a toast to your friendship – creates relationships that are based upon fantasy, rather than upon the foundation of TRULY knowing a person cares for you whether they are getting the goodies under-cover or not.
This is vitally important for women, because they essentially need to feel “safe” with men. We don’t want to be on the other end of a “hump-and-dump.” Women are biologically primed to bond with whomever they have sex. The hormone oxytocin – often called the bonding hormone is pumped through our system as soon as things get hot and heavy. And before we know it, the guy we are bedding with, whether he is the president or a psychopath, we are bonded to via biochemistry. This is why strong independent women who are on the top of their game everywhere else in their life, can turn to useless mush when it comes to their abusive partner.
We are, ladies – addicted to love – at this point. And because of this predeliction to get “hooked” on the guys we sleep with … we need to put on the brakes on the way to the bedroom. And we need to honor ourselves and the potential relationship, and try out friendship first.
For nearly 15 years now, I have been cultivating the practice of making friendships with men. And the surprising result is that even though no I have not found the ONE in this time — with every year I feel more and more loved, by myself and by the people in my life, many of them dear men.
I also have come to terms with the reality that the main reason I have been out of a traditional relationship for so long, is that I have chosen to be. Not out of neuroses or fear, but out of the realization that I REALLY want to be the person I LOVE the most before I bring a partner into the picture. And as the years go on, and I become happier with who I am, I also noticed that I am attracted to fewer and fewer men. While on the one hand, my general understanding and compassion for men has grown exponentially, I LOVE MEN … let me shout it from the rooftops!!! On the other hand, I realize that — I am so content with how I am single, that it would take a very special, uniquely tailored to complement me – guy to be able to offer an equivalent but different kind of happiness in partnership. So it has become a treasure hunt … a journey of discovery … but I am not really looking. I am just putting myself out in the world, and if someone comes along fine, and if not fine. Over the years, I have developed beautiful friendships with a number of men, and much of what I had yearned for in male companionship, has been provided in these friendships. I believe we all have to be patient with ourselves and each other … and understand that loving our lives starts NOW, not when and if we find a romantic partner.