Similar to most almost-thirty-year-old’s, I’ve been over, under, and through the dating gauntlet in life. You name it, it’s been experienced: commitment-phobics, men questioning their sexual orientation, addictions, compulsive liars, men going MIA (literally) and a cheater or two through the path. By the time I hit my twenty-fourth year, I had racked up a dating history like it was my professional job.
Then, I stopped caring about love, men, dating, and all the headaches that went along with that package of goodies. Before I knew it, when I least wanted and expected it, love found me. Since the reality of love walked into my life, I continually revisit the eternal question about relationships:
What’s all the fuss about?!
Case in point: This afternoon I drove down to a nearby state park to enjoy my lunch break and a bit of reading. About halfway through my chapter, angry, booming voices interrupted my serenity and made me temporarily think I was dealing with the dragon. A quick glance in my rear view mirror alerted me to the presence of two adults, roughly in their mid-30’s, walking back from a hiking trail in a full-out battle.
“Medication and trash at a picnic?! I want to talk about us,” he screamed through the parking lot.
“Please calm down,” she quietly begged.
“No, I won’t calm down! Just go on your other date, Mrs. I Can’t Commit. I hope he’s fucking worth it!”
While my book was tempting, this relationship shitshow was so much more visually stimulating. As I watched hands thrash about, curse words tossed carelessly, and the dust behind her car peeling out of the parking lot, once again I was faced with the question: What’s all the fuss about?
The whole point of dating is to meet new people and have fun. Why can’t we accept this and treat dating as just that? Why must we all push and pull in every direction that doesn’t work? Why must we try to form love where it won’t exist, and shy away from those who offer it willingly?
I can honestly say, since day one, I’ve had to put minimal effort and mental energy into my relationship. And not too surprisingly, it’s the relationship that has lasted.
On one hand I can count the arguments we’ve had, the rarity of raised voices, the non-existence of needing “time apart”, or a discussion of all the things we need to fix in our relationship. You know, those lovely dating situations we’ve all found ourselves in far too many times. The arguments that pass 3:00am where your eyes are falling out of your head, and the conversation has no shred of rationality left.
In other words, when it comes to dating, relationships, and love: let go of the complexity, embrace the simplicity, and keep most of your energy for you. If you catch yourself putting ten-fold energy and effort into another person, take a step back and start to ask why it requires so much work.
Real love is like a car; it may need a tune-up or a little maintenance here and there, but if every free minute you’re pouring money, time, sweat, and tears into it? It’s junk.