I don't have time to write this blog; I have two huge papers to write and finals in two weeks and a lot. of. shit. to. do. But I have to write it, I have to write it right now, in the middle of Women in Science Fiction because I am so pissed off. At Everyone. You are all really pissing me off. Those of you who read that sentence and thought, "OK, Bitch." You just keep your ass and eyes firmly planted where they are because we need to talk. I keep seeing these depressing posts floating around the internet, like the Depressing Rules of Modern Dating or some shit and everybody is getting all bent out of shape about them.
Number One: Since when did we decide internet blogs are the end all be all of fucking knowledge (everything you read in this blog is now discredited and I don't care because its one person's fucking OPINION)? Somehow there is this weird phenomenon that when something gets written down it is then set in stone. Like it was never as hurtful in high school to be called a fucking slut to your face than it was to read it on a bathroom stall. That shit is more permanent, but no more true. That being said, reading a blog that says all of these really negative things about dating, doesn't make all of those really negative things about dating true.
Number Two: All of these theories, all of these negative scenarios and thoughts, happen. They do, I'm not going to lie and say that they don't because they do, more often than I'd like. But there is something incredibly problematic about writing them down and calling them rules and saying that they are the truths of modern dating. These "rules" just perpetuate all of the things people don't like about modern dating. When you give someone a list of rules, they feel this inner pull to both tell you to fuck off and to follow the rules. I, clearly, am more inclined to tell you to fuck off. If you see a list of rules that make you think, "Wow, this is all pretty screwed up, I wish things weren't this way," don't follow those rules. There are lots of things wrong with our government's set of rules that people have no problem questioning all the time, so if you are so vehemently disgusted by these modern rules of dating, why not oppose those too?
All of that venting aside, I am not going to blog a list of rules or "facts" about the state of modern dating. Yes, it is a shit show, but hey, we are all in this shit show together, unless you don't date, then wipe your brow casually (you dodged a bullet) and back away slowly. I am simply going to list my thoughts about dating. I don't think I know anything special about dating; if you know my dating history, you know it is relatively interesting. If you know who my parents are, you know I know a lot about what enduring relationships look like. And if you about my relationship, you know that I am very blessed. This is simply commentary and maybe it will make someone out there feel better knowing that the entire dating community has not resolved itself to accepting the "rules."
1. Talk. Talk a lot. To the person you are dating/thinking about dating/going on dates with/making out with in a semi-serious way and not about it with other people. Sure, you can talk to your friends about your relationship, but when you have a problem or an issue or a question, that's something you should talk to the person who is experiencing this relationship with you about. So much of dating nowadays is shrouded in mystery, when really it could be simple. Don't speculate with your friends about what some action/phrase/text/look could mean, simply say, "Hey you did this thing and it made me feel this way," and then see how your person reacts. That removes 90% of the drama that comes with relationships now a days. Just sit down and have a good old fashioned hash-out of all the shit that comes and goes when you invest emotions and trust in another person. Talk about your intentions and talk about their intentions, clearly outlining what your intentions are (i.e. whether you want to date or only hook up) could save you from forming the wrong kind of expectations. Hook up culture is rampant, and sometimes problematic, but I think if you clearly outline with someone that all you want out of a relationship is sex, then you are preventing a world of disappointment.
2. Don't put people into boxes. If one guy does one thing, that doesn't mean all guys are going to do the same thing to you. His actions certainly do not speak for all males. If one woman hurts you, it certainly doesn't mean all women are out to rip out your heart. Most importantly, think of yourself. Have you ever hurt someone? Chances are you have, and chances are, you don't think of yourself as a horrible monster (if you do, stop that). People hurt other people, it's a fact, it's an unavoidable truth of life, no matter how good or honest our intentions, feelings and emotions happen and we can't control them. The love(s) of your life will hurt you and you will hurt them. Relationships endure hurt, they have to, or else no one would ever be in a relationship, we'd all be breaking up with each other every day. Do not make your present person pay for the mistakes of your past persons, that is not their burden.
3. Love doesn't have anything to do with power, power has everything to do with control and games. Thus, if your relationship is a fucking video game, then yeah, you might win. But don't you want to care about someone and feel them caring about you? Isn't that the point of interacting with other human beings? So if you text someone first, that means you aren't in control, that they have power over you? Let's skew that perspective. You text someone first, cus you want to hang out, you want to see how their day is going, there is something you'd love to discuss with them, you miss them, you love them, to see their name across your phone would make your day. I can only speak for myself, but I know I have been miserable wanting to hear from someone and felt like I couldn't text them first because then I would be relinquishing power. But I have learned that texting/calling/reaching out to someone first is actually incredibly brave, it means putting yourself out there and possibly never hearing back. Plus, when you reach out to someone else, you make peace with the part of yourself that is so afraid of rejection. Rejection doesn't kill you, it actually makes you stronger.
4. The reason labels are scary goes back to the power thing. Attaching a label to your relationship is often equated with relinquishing some power. But what is really being relinquished? Your ability to sleep with whomever you want, whenever you want? Okay, if you want the freedom to sleep with anyone you want, then you probably wouldn't want to attach yourself to one person anyway, and if the person you attached yourself to only wants you to sleep with them, then they should probably be with someone who only wants to sleep with them. I've never been polyamorous, but there are people who are, who love it, so if you want to do that and still be in a relationship, I'm sure there is someone out there who is willing to be your partner in that. If you want to be in a monogamous relationship and your partner doesn't, the two of you have a huge gap in relationship preferences. And that's okay, that doesn't make them a bad person and it doesn't make you needy, it just means you want different things. You will meet a person, maybe multiple people, who are on the same page with you, not about everything but about your dealbreakers.
5. You shouldn't change. As people we grow up and we experience things and we change without even thinking about it. But, you should never feel that you have to stifle yourself, shut a part of yourself off in order to make someone else happy. You shouldn't have to feel that you need to look a certain way/act a certain way/talk a certain way to make someone else love you. Because then, isn't it just a kind of lying? You should talk how you feel good talking. You should dress how you feel good dressing. You should eat how you feel good eating. You should do things that make YOU proud of YOU. Do not make yourself into someone else to please a person you love, if they want you to be someone else, they are not in love with YOU and you will only end up resenting them for all of the changes you have made. Love does mean sacrifice and it does mean compromise, but it should never mean sacrificing or compromising your identity. A person who loves you the way you deserve to be loved will fall in love with all of your parts, the scary ones, the dirty ones, the ones you keep under lock and key, they will love even the parts of you that make them crazy, because they are yours.
6. I am a hopeless romantic. I always have been and I probably always will be. When I read the truths of modern dating, it makes me sad because I know that these things are common and that they do happen all the time. I don't have rose-colored glasses on and I don't think our culture perpetuates very many good ideas of love. I know that people tell little girls that they need to keep their legs closed if they want someone to love them, I know that people tell little boys that powerful men have lots of sex with lots of women. I know that girls often grow up watching romantic comedies where women are constantly analyzing the actions of men. I know that boys often grow up watching action movies where men are carrying out actions while women are applauding these actions/being sexy. I know that so much of our society is problematic and perpetuates that not giving a fuck is the coolest.
I don't think that it means we can't have authentic, special encounters with eachother.
There will be people who you only ever hook up with once, or twice, or three times. There will be people who you have really long, awesome phone conversations with that sadly never turn into anything more. There will be people who treat you like shit who you love the shit out of anyway. There will be people who lie to your face. There will be people who are madly in love with you whose hearts you absolutely destroy. There will be people who you love so much who love you so much back, but that time, distance, or some other painful circumstances keep you from being with. There will be people who only teach you how you don't want to be treated. There will be people who teach you what you like. There will be people who teach you how to love. There will be people who only care about power and control. There will be people who just want to get down with your rocking bod. There will be people who make you believe that there is something incredibly special inside of you because of the way they look at you. There will be people who destroy you, people who rebuild you, people who make you a better person, and people who make you question everything you've ever learned.
And to them...you could be all of these things, none of these things, and more.
Don't let words written on bathroom stalls define the way you experience love.