I have a problem, that I’m likely not alone in having. It’s two-fold: 1. I will only date someone if I think there is a remote possibility of marriage, which means 2. I reduce dating to a means to an end (i.e. long-term commitment which for me is in the form of marriage).
This perspective on dating takes out some of the fun of dating. I’ll never date a foreign artist who dreams of spending his days painting and drinking wine, but I imagine it’d be an interesting experience if I did. You get my point here, right? Many years back I recognized this way of thinking about dating that I held. I do not believe it is malleable at this point - I believe it’s representative of my personality and intentions.
What I’ve realized recently, however, is that I apply this means to an end thinking to other areas of my life on occasion, and unintentionally. For example, I don’t see myself living in D.C. long-term. Heck, I don’t even know if I’ll be here next year. So immediately my mind goes, “Ok, DC isn’t a good fit for x, y, and z reasons. I’ll find a city that resolves those issues and then I will be all set.” This only makes sense that my way of thinking is dispersed across multiple facets of my life.
In parallel, my friend and I had a conversation the other day about dating. His new boyfriend lives a few states away, and he asked me why he ended up dating someone who doesn’t even live in DC. My initial reaction was: wow, what a great question. My second thought was to think on an explanation for this. There is no logical answer to his question, I decided, because it is not optimal to self-inflict a long distance relationship upon yourself from the get go - so it goes back to emotions.
One story I tell myself repeatedly is that life unfolds how it should, and people come and go from your life to teach you lessons - the “everything happens for a reason” idea. A part of me still thinks it’s a bit woo-woo and that it just sounds nice and is a good way for us humans to package up our experiences into our stories, but until I have a better story to tell myself I like this one enough to keep it.
Back to the story here: I relayed my story to my friend, and he seemed to like the idea as well. And I think my point, in saying all of this, is that the stories we tell ourselves are everything. I tell myself that I see dating as step one to long-term commitment - if I cared enough, I could change that story and ultimately change my dating path (I’m visualizing sitting on a beach in Morocco with a man who runs a tiki hut and makes bucket hats look sexy), but I choose accept the story I tell myself. If my friend told himself that his new boyfriend is in his life for a reason and that even though it doesn’t make sense to date long-distance, that’s where he is right now and that is okay, he may be setting himself up for success rather than failure simply because of his stories and mindset.
I am starting to call out the stories I tell myself, extract them into pieces, and either reaffirm or resolve them. A priority of mine lately has been on the relationships in my life - starting with myself - and this seems like a good way to do it.
Thanks for reading - especially to the end of these type of posts that are stream of consciousness.