ETC. Op-Ed. / The Lifestyle Corner

Maybe We Aren’t Meant to Date

[ By Luqman Abdullah ]

Image credit: Life, Love and Yoga

Image credit: Life, Love and Yoga

Teenage love. Something that most of us can probably relate to.

Some time around puberty, under the influence of our hormones, we decide that we need to be in a relationship for whatever reason. And some of us even find someone that is willing to take the plunge with us. At that age it seems like everything would last forever, including your relationship. You have your good times, the honeymoon period begins and you think all is right in the world.

Then come the bad times. The times when you say the wrong thing and they get upset and don’t text you for a day or so. Or the times when some huge emotional blow is dealt to them, and they push you away in anguish. Or the times that they catch you talking to that other person, and misunderstand the entire situation. For whatever reason, the two of you decide to go your different ways, and the relationship that has consumed most of your life for the last however many months is gone. And you tell yourself that you will never do whatever-it-is-that-I-did-that-ended-this-relationship again. Sometimes it’s just being too forward. I mean, it’s our first relationship. What do we know about moderation? Sometimes it’s being too jealous or controlling. Sometimes it just doesn’t work; for whatever reason, you two just aren’t good for one another. And when it’s over, it leaves this void that cannot be filled by anything. Except another, more meaningful relationship.

While pondering over this a few days ago, I built a theory. Perhaps we as human beings are not meant to date. Now before you fire up your laptop to write me an email about how grossly incorrect I am, consider this.

Most of us have been in the exact situation that I described above. We fall in love with someone at an age when we don’t even know who we are or what we want, and devote a large amount of our lives to that person. We go all in for that person. Our first love. We sacrifice nearly everything into a relationship that is nearly guaranteed to fail. Why? Because at that age there is still far too much that has the possibility to change. What we want in life. What we want in a relationship. And when it’s over we’re left putting back together our feeble little hearts, leaving out the part that we believe is the reason that our relationship failed. 

Now I’m not saying it NEVER works out. In fact, I met my wife at 16 and we fell in love way too fast. We even survived five years of long distance and a ton of drama. We’ve been together for nearly twelve years and couldn’t be happier. However there are parts of myself that even to this day I feel are hard for her to get to because of how guarded I have become as a result of past relationships. The ability to simply give myself to her completely didn’t come until nearly six years into our relationship. She was extremely patient with me, but my point is that not every person that gets into a relationship has that patience. Or the intent of being with you forever.

Let’s be honest, it’s just not part of the way that we date, especially not in our modern setting. Most people nowadays are dating because it’s convenient. You meet someone at a bar, you think they’re good looking; you exchange numbers and start texting. Eventually the two of you decide to try dating. It lasts for a year, maybe two, things change, and you two break up. Now imagine the situation of a person who has been in multiple relationships. Inevitably in order to be in a meaningful relationship you have to give parts of yourself to someone else. And that get’s harder and harder the more people you date because you’ve already given so much away to so many different people. Eventually you could meet the person most perfect for you, but your inability to let yourself go and completely give yourself to them prevents the two of you from having a deeper connection. And eventually he or she decides that they’re tired of waiting, and move on.

My point is this. Imagine that feeling of your first love later on in life. Imagine if everyone got into their first relationship when they were more mature and more able to identify their goals in life. Imagine that willingness to go all in on your relationship being completely uninhibited by the failure of past relationships, and the fear of being hurt for wanting to go all in with a person who just isn’t at their point in life yet didn’t exist.

Imagine a world where everyone wasn’t looking for “something to do” or “to just have fun” but was looking for a person to be with until the end.  Again, it’s not an exact science and I’m not saying that no relationship can work with two people who have been in previous relationships (again, I’m living proof that they do). The point I’m making is this: relationships at a young age are highly overrated. They are glorified by the people in social circles and in the media, and honestly they can be nice, but perhaps they just aren’t good for us as human beings searching for our other halves in this crazy mixed up world, not when we haven’t even found ourselves.

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