Updated: Mar 16, 2020
A couple of weeks ago, I went on a first date. And although dating over the past 10 years or so has changed dramatically from when I was in my 20's, I've felt that dating in 2020 has come with three main emotions--fear, frustration and liberation.
Anyone who's in the world of dating has felt a myriad of emotions: happiness, frustration, hopelessness, joy, emptiness and so much more. And it's not just women who feel this way...it's men too.
Back in my 20's dating used to be fun and simple. I could get dates just by being in the right place. With one glance over in the direction of a guy I was interested in, he'd approach or say something and that could be the start of a new romance. Even in my 30's as online dating emerged and I found myself navigating Match.com with meeting people in person, I still felt like I had a chance. I didn't date as much but it was easier to form a connection and it didn't seem forced. Now, at 40, the likelihood of running into a single person who I'd be interested in, is rare. And that is scary.
Being 40 is wonderful. I love it. But it also puts things into perspective. I still have time to have a family but I can't wait forever. So I feel the pressure of having entered into this new decade without having that special someone.
But more than that, now that I'm 40, I don't know where to go to meet people. I'm not into the club anymore. My hobbies include things like going to the bookstore or museum and there aren't many single men checking for me in those places. And I work everyday + write + workout + socialize. I don't necessarily have the time or energy to spend hours swiping left or right or sitting at the bar in hopes that a single guy will sit next to me.
Everything I mentioned above is what makes dating frustrating. But it's also frustrating because even when I have swiped right or been out in "these streets," the men I've met are not aligned with who I am. Either they want to play a texting game forever or they want to come over as soon as we have a first conversation. C'mon...I don't have time for that. And because I am 40 (notice that I am going to refer to my age often), there is only so much patience I have for someone who is not putting in effort to really get to know me.
It often feels like a Catch 22. If I don't settle then I won't have anyone. If I compromise on what I truly desire I won't be happy with the relationship. Where is the balance?
I find that because I know who I am and I am being terribly honest with myself and any man who comes into my life, I feel freer. I don't mind swiping left or ending conversations quickly with dudes who aren't going to add value. On the flip side I know that as great as I am, there are things about me that someone may not like either. (Go figure...)
Getting to know someone is a two-way street that takes time. And I'm in no rush, despite the fact that I am 40. Every time I get concerned about my age, I remember that I am not living to beat anyone at anything.
And while I have lots of mixed emotions at times about dating, there is one more thing that makes it liberating:
I've stopped trying to check 50 million boxes and I'm allowing my intuition be my guide...
Yep...no check boxes. Of course I have standards--like employment or a man with goals--but I don't feel pressure to make someone become who I want them to be. I have come to realize that I was happier when I was with a man who was himself and who allowed me to do the same. Now, my main criteria are things that I don't have to write down...they are things I can discern because I feel them deep inside.
That's my story about dating in 2020. And just so you know, I had a really good first date and can't wait for the next one.
Y'all stay safe out there. And while you're inside, practicing social distance, listen to the Feb. 2020 Dreamliving podcast to hear our online dating discussion with a guest who found love online...
until next time,