Seems like a no-brainer, but it’s a bad idea to point out your flaws on a first date. Or a second date. Or on your dating profile. Or, when you’re on The Bachelor. Despite what you may think, your pain does not make you interesting, or attractive. And recounting your past hurts makes you a self-involved bore.

When you lead with your own tale of woe and personal injury, you’re basically saying to the world, and your date, I’m a yawning black hole of need and pain. Abandon hope, all ye who enter here.

howard-stern-2Howard Stern, a big fan of The Bachelor and talks about it on his show, was recapping the story of the chick who was sent home after her first date with Juan Pablo, because of this fatal error: She killed the romantic mood by putting her insecurities front and center.

Uh-oh. And? (You can hear the dude trying to stop her from going there.)

Well (sniff), she had had her heart broken by a former fiance, and she was so sad, and is over it now (not), but really wants to make sure there’s a connection.

Translation: I want to be absolutely sure you won’t hurt me like he did. 

This is what I call the World Owes Me approach. The World Owes Me: Love, security, a perfect mate. You dump your heartache like a busted old alarm clock onto the table and ask the guy to fix it, and to promise it will never break again.

It makes as much sense as asking a new friend for $100 because your last friend never paid you back.

It’s no mystery why she did it; she was trying to bring the man closer, to find in him a trustworthy soul to love, care for, and protect her. But: She doesn’t know this man. And he doesn’t know her. Stern said, These girls have daddy issues, and he’s probably right. He wants to desire her, but she’s more concerned with being “safe” from emotional harm, and in so doing skewers the desire.

My ex-boyfriend wronged me. If there’s a bigger boner shrinker, I don’t know it.

I know it’s hard to hear this, but I’ll say it anyway: The world does not owe you love, affection, intimacy, or a perfect partner. This is Earth, not a fine dining establishment, and you cannot just order up a dish and then be all bent out of shape when it doesn’t just show up as you sit there, starving. We’re all brown bagging it.

The world is full, however, of the potential for love. And you have the potential to love and be loved—if you’re willing to take the risk of getting hurt in the process.  However, when you define yourself as damaged and drag around your heart like an open wound, you attract pity and sorrow, not love. No one wants damaged goods.

As Esther Perel says in her fab TED Talk, “There is no neediness in desire.”

This doesn’t mean someone can’t or won’t care for you, period. It doesn’t mean that you should pretend you were never hurt by anyone. No one’s buying that act. But the urge to spill your guts out and earn someone’s pity does not work in your favor.

I have seen this in too many online profiles: Daters using the essay portion of the online dating process as a back history of past disappointments and rage, even a warning to others (“If you think football’s that important, don’t bother!” or “Two timers need not apply!”).

If your online profile is a chronology of your personal injuries and presents you as a victim, you need to rewrite it. Previously married and want to own up? Fine. But you should not be working out any unresolved emotional issues ON YOUR DATING PROFILE or ON DATES.

Save it for your therapist. Your mother. Me, even. But please, spare your dates—and give desire a chance to thrive.

 

Commit

Not every great date will turn into a great relationship.

Q. I just suffered some serious dating whiplash: I met a girl, and we went on three dates. First date – short but great, easy and fun. Second date – meal and cinema, easy and fun, hand holding and kissing. Third date – drinks and fun, lots of chatting, lots of kissing. 12 hours later, the next morning – a text to say we weren’t right for each other, then another later saying she’d just got out of a relationship. I know it was only 3 dates, but I got my hopes up very high.  -Confused.

Dear Confused,

I’m so, so sorry. You had a few nice dates and probably were beginning to like her. Then? She hits the brakes—hard.

Good news: You will get over it. Bad news: It could happen again.

This, as you may know and are just reminding yourself, is what makes dating dating, and not marriage-on-sight. You were doing what dating IS: Trying each other on for size. For whatever reason, she decided it wasn’t a fit.

But we had fun! We made out! I know, I know. And this is not to say she didn’t have fun; something was happening that you don’t know about and will likely never know about because…she’s someone you don’t know! She’s a virtual stranger with whom you shared some time, and at this very early phase in the game, there’s no way to know what else was at play in her world.

Though it won’t make you feel any better, let’s consider what likely happened, and unless it’s something insane it’s one of these:

She was already seeing someone else, and decided to spend more time with that person instead;

She is just out of a relationship, and…

–is sorting things out with her ex

–realized it’s too soon to be consorting with new beaus, and hit the brakes on herself

–her ex came back; she’s considering another go. 

Or, she enjoyed you, but is being just completely honest: It’s not a fit for the long haul and she doesn’t want to waste your time.  

Unless she’s involved in some kind of high-stakes organized crime and decided to spare your life, it’s one of those three. And yes, while the sudden rejection is dizzying, it is what it is. (As you know from reading my post about another gent who got “blindsided.”)

In other words, it’s likely about her and her life, and has little to do with you.

The thing too many daters do is use any kind of rejection as a mirror to inspect themselves in. And while it’s worth taking a look at yourself of course (do I dive in too quickly, am I all over her, am I ramping up too fast), chances are, honestly, this was out of your hands.

(Though speaking of hands, the only thing I remotely question is holding hands on date #2. Call me crazy, but holding hands is a pretty public statement, and usually reserved for those who are IN a relationship, which you, at this stage, were not. Did you reach for her hand? Or did she slip hers into yours?)

There’s nothing to “do” about it of course, except try again. And again. (Why you should get rejected more.)

But there is something I beg you NOT to do: Do not let this experience embitter you against dating/chicks, or pen another chapter in the story you’re writing for yourself called “I’ll Never Meet Anyone” or “Bitches, Teases, and Whores: Story of My Life.”

You suffered the expected pangs of having your ego bruised. It’ll heal up.

My hope for you is that you chalk it up to the process, and, as counterintuitive as it may seem, allow it to teach you empathy and also compassion—for her and for yourself. This isn’t easy. Dating isn’t easy, being married isn’t easy. None of it is. The most you can do is give someone the very best of yourself to the next lovely person you meet.

normal-rejection Q. I went on two dates with a girl, both of which were really fun, so I asked her out again. And out of the blue, I get a text message from her declining, saying that she appreciates the offer but is “feeling we’re not really compatible for the long term.” WTF? Of course, I don’t want to be with someone who doesn’t want me, but my confidence has been shaken. It’s now making me wonder about this other girl I have been on four dates with. I’m just afraid of being blindsided again. 

WTF Freddie 

My dear Freddie,

I’m sorry that you got the dreaded “see ya never” note. I’ve been on the receiving end of one of those myself. More than one! It’s never easy to take. There’s nothing to “do” about this, really. She said it clear as day: She’s not into it, and she’s moving on. There’s a lot that sucks about being in your position, but ambiguity isn’t one of them. Because she’s made the decision for you.

I do want to question your choice of the word “blindsided,” however. I know you’re feeling shafted in a big way right now. But having it end two dates in does not qualify for being blindsided. Blindsided is when you’ve been married 15 years, have three kids, and everything seems sweet as pie, and one day your wife goes out to get her roots done and never comes back.

Of course you never saw it coming, because you couldn’t have seen much coming at that point! You weren’t even out of the driveway yet!

I don’t say this to minimize your disappointment, but to remind you what dating is: It’s taking a risk every time, knowing you can and will get rejected, more than once. (Read why you should get rejected more).

The very thing that makes dating hard is what makes it exciting: Because you never know. The same thing goes for relationships in the long term. Of course, when you commit, you should kinda know—but you don’t always.

You might reasonably expect that if two dates went well, then you should have a third. Maybe a fourth. But where does it end? Should she go on 10 dates, and then end it? She’s doing a kind thing to cut her losses and save you some time when she’s not feeling it. I can’t tell you how many people say they feel slighted that someone didn’t “give them a chance.” But there comes a point when you just know this isn’t the fit for you. And you may not have realized it, but she did. And now you do.

What puzzles me is that now you’re “wondering about” this other lady in your life that you’re seeing. Wondering what, exactly? Whether she and this other girl and everyone else you’ve starred on OK Cupid have convened under secret cover to plot the systematic takedown of your self esteem?

You know this isn’t true. But you also know that to love and to date is to risk, every single goddamned time. No one, not even the love of your life, should you find her, can promise you you’ll never get hurt.

You’ve got to ask yourself: Are you seeking a partner…or mass acceptance and approval by other women? Is the goal never to be rejected by any of them and then fill a multi-bedroom house with sister wives? My guess is no.

If you want someone you can love, and maybe even marry (if that’s your thing, and it might not be), then by design that means you’ll pass on most people. Almost all of them. You will get weeded out, and you will let others go. At some point, the pool of folks narrows. Worry less about what this “means” and instead, thank her. She’s just done you a favor.

670px-Play-Hard-to-Get-Step-4

Image courtesy wikihow. Click to learn their tips for playing hard to get!

Q. After dating this guy for a month, I asked him where we stood, and he said somewhere between casual and exclusive. I was okay with that, but after three months I called it off. I wanted more. Then I started initiating hangouts, and sometimes we had sex. I thought if I reminded him of how charming and fun I was, he would come around. But I’m tired of the FWB thing. I suggested we just be friends. Anytime we hang out he wants sex and I always say no. Then he shoots me texts and I initiate again, and the cycle continues. Is this helping me get him back (playing hard to get) or just annoying to him? –Ms. C.

Dear Ms. C,

I have bad news for you: You’re no closer to getting what you want from this man. You are out treading water in romantically ambiguous waters with no shoreline in sight. You think by flailing harder you’ll get somewhere. But you will not. Not like this.

I say this because I KNOW those waters. I have spent some time paddling around there myself. I have done that whole, hey let me remind you of how cool I am and maybe you’ll decide to be with me. Except this never, ever works.

The reason is this: You’re not in control. You gave it up when you started initiating after calling it off, effectively teaching him not to believe anything you say or do, in the blind hope that he’ll come to his senses and commit to you. While you’re thinking he may change his mind, he’s thinking you’ll change yours-and while he hasn’t, you have. Because you keep showing up.

The only person you’re playing hard to get with is yourself, because you keep denying what you want, and pretending you’re ok with less.

Essentially, you’re acting like the hot apps platter that gets passed around the room. Every time you get to him, you hope he’ll sample from the tray-which he does. Only you’re hoping if you give him enough samples, he’ll follow you around. But no one follows the hot apps platter around; it comes to you. You’ve shown him that he doesn’t have to do anything or take any action whatsoever, because sooner or later, the platter will happen by again, he’ll surely help himself to whatever’s on offer.

1_123125_123051_2240279_2273186_101130_b_appstn.jpg.CROP.original-original

Don’t act like a tray of hors d’oeuvres, when you want to be a main course.

You can’t get the three-course meal you want because you’re acting like an hors d’oeuvre.

Look, you say he’s a nice, funny guy with whom you click, and you want to be with him. He isn’t the problem here. He’s just some dude, taking what he can get from nice girls he kinda likes.

The problem is that you have not committed to what you want, and you’re not being honest about it. You don’t want him as a friend. You want him as your boyfriend. You’re settling for what you can get, and that puts you in a very weak position. This is going nowhere productive. (By the way, what does “somewhere between casual and exclusive” mean? You’re either one or the other. There is no gradient.)

In my very popular post about Having the Talk, I say that the one who asks first loses-especially in something so new. You jumped the gun asking for security so early on, and I would have encouraged you to let it ride a bit. After anywhere from 3 to 6 months of dating, when you’re getting some momentum, yes, then it’s the time to say, “Here’s what I want.” And if that person cannot or will not deliver on it, then it’s time to say goodbye.

You asked early, said what you wanted, then proceeded to show him that you were not to be taken at your word. Take him at his word: He doesn’t want anything serious!

Hard to get someone to chase you when you’re busy chasing them. You have demonstrated you are willing to settle for what he’ll give you–a friendly hangout, or whatever. And so he will always try to get what he wants: Sex without strings. Sure, he likes you. But he doesn’t love you. You know this. You’d be better off wanting to try this web-site or others whenever you feel you’re needing to satisfy some needs.

I would cease all communication, and never reach out to him again. I wouldn’t respond when he writes or texts. It’s time for you to stand by what it is you really want. You owe yourself that. You owe him nothing. Unfriend, unfollow, see ya later. No good can come of this.

If he all of a sudden comes to life and demands to know why you’re not responding, then you tell him, “I’m not interested in spending time with people I’m not serious about.” Bang. End of story. If he wants to be taken seriously, he has your number.

I know it’s a heartbreak; you were really trying to give it a chance. But you also weren’t being honest with yourself or him in thought or deed. You don’t need him as “just a friend.” To my mind, someone who’s flaky, noncommittal, lazy, and only wants what’s delivered to him not only makes for a lousy boyfriend, but a lousy friend. Take the time you would spend with him to focus on yourself. If you have the need, browse through Lovegasm and treat yourself, alone, to some sex toys or some tantalization. But do not fall back to him.

You do not need friends like this in your life. You do not need men like this in your life. You deserve above all to have someone who’s hungry for more, and will chase you down with unrelenting fervor to make it happen.

eadce194e1c80717908b0a1e924866abSince I’ve been single, which hasn’t been all that long, I’ve been on three dates. And would you believe two of the three were rocking a hat. Two!

And not a hat meant to keep your head warm, nor a hipster/barista’s “I didn’t shower” knit cap, mind you. But a gentleman’s hat. And while any single piece of clothing isn’t going to make or break a person necessarily (though there are exceptions), a man who’s dressed like a grown up, not an undergrad, wins big points. Ladies, there are men who make a fucking effort and, yes, it does matter.

I’ll say the same for women (as I said here), that first impressions count. Period. As you and I well know plenty of women balk at the idea that they should be judged by their appearance or attire. They think of it as unfeminist. They get enraged at the idea. But I think that’s silly. A bunch of bunk. Sorry–you can’t look like a slob and expect men to be attracted to you. Doesn’t work that way. Show me a person who gets really pissed off at the idea of being judged by their looks and I’ll show you someone who doesn’t like their looks.

Of course we all care about MORE than just looks. You’ve got to have more to offer than just eye candy. That goes without saying. But the looks up front do matter. And what makes me happy is to see men stepping up in that area as well.

But yes, hats are back. And I for one, am charmed by it. It harkens back to another era, when men wouldn’t be seen without one. Rakish looking men from the 1920s; dashing, fast-talking men from the Twilight Zone; Indiana Jones (need I say more?). I yearn for the days when men dressed to go out, before the sporting-goods-passing-as-wardrobe era. Which is why I honor the man who makes the effort.

The first date was a retired air force sergeant in his early 40s who told me, since we’d never met, to look for the guy in the porkpie hat. And there he was, waiting for me in the wine bar with a glass of red for me (points for classy). He turned out to be quite the gentleman: tall and comfortable in his own skin, worldly and kind, sensitive. I could tell he wore his hat with a sense of humor, not a thumb-your-nose, “Oh I’m so ironic” way. He genuinely liked wearing it, and I thought that was cool.

You gotta have a certain level of self confidence to rock a hat, to be sure. And you can’t take yourself too seriously. Wearing a topper indoors requires an innate or highly cultivated sense of style and self. True, too, men don’t really get to have too much fun with what they wear–what are their options, really. Button down? Khaki pants? Bore. But if you’re willing to go beyond the Standard American Dress, it says something about you.

Which is why I gotta hand it to my other hatted date, who met me at Cafe Tallulah, a stylish French bistro with easy charm, perfect lighting, and dollar oysters til 8pm. He wore a shirt, vest, tie, and a classic men’s hat, and drank scotch on the rocks. We spent two hours together, talking about our careers, families, the dating terrain in Manhattan. What we found important in other people and potential partners. And I made sure I complimented him, too–I knew he’d stepped up his game for the sole purpose of meeting me, and that alone was a lovely compliment to me.

Men, if you feel like you don’t know how to dress properly, don’t stress. There’s plenty of inspiration and ideas online nowadays that make it easier to develop your style. This online clothing store in particular has plenty of trendy and on-fashion clothing items and accessories to make sure you look your very best, on and off a date.

So if you want to date people, start dating. Stop with the whole bullshit “yeah we’re just hanging out” thing, rolling up to the bar or restaurant in unwashed jeans. It undermines your efforts to do what you want most: To meet someone who matters. The only way to make a shift in an uneventful dating life is to make it an event. Something you not just show up for, but dress for.

Bathroom doorWhen is it ok to leave the door open when you’re on the toilet?

The answer is….Never.

Never, ever, ever. You hear me?

My friend sent along this humorous piece on Jezebel (and when are they not humorous?) in which the author maps the long, downward spiral of physical intimacy, starting with Level 5: Stepford Lady (who is willing to show her feet and some light eye crust) to Level 1: Nuclear Threat Imminent (explosive diarrhea and hemorrhoid cream). This is entertaining and fun and we will all laugh at it.

But the minute you start leaving the door open, you haven’t taken a step toward intimacy, but away from it. To something no one wants. And no one, I repeat, no one, wants to see you take a shit. (Unless you’re dating some kind of fetishist, and I leave that to you to deal with.)

Here’s why: The moment you start letting go of bodily functions and leaving the door ajar in the name of intimacy (“We share everything!”), you’re not saying yes to love; you’re saying no to privacy, and “see ya” to self respect.

Not because it’s not “ladylike,” and not because you should uphold some outdated illusion that women don’t have bodily functions. You are not gross, your body is not gross, and shit happens. But barring the 2am leap out of bed with food poisoning that has you spouting out both ends, he or she never has to be part of your life behind the door. Period amen.

It’s natural for couples to become habituated to each other, and for the early fireworks and nerves to give way to a comfort, ease, and deeper intimacy. The excitement comes from making the unfamiliar familiar. At first. But you only need glance at any one of the hundreds of magazines touting “how to keep things hot” to realize that what couples need is not more familiarity, but, in a way, less.

You can dress up, do all manner of strange kinky things, sure. But the most basic thing does not require a rubber suit: It requires closing the fucking door. Because the idea that there’s something unknowable and separate about that other person whom you know so well is the VERY thing that keeps you desirable.

Desire comes from yearning. It needs space and air to breathe. In the beginning, your desire is sky-high because you can’t wait to cross that distance and see him again. But when you’re TOO close, you risk snuffing it out. And by too close I mean: too familiar, fraternal even. If you’ve ever had a partner go from lover to roommate, you know what this is like.

A closed bathroom door is a reminder that you are two separate people, entities. If you quash that critical separation, you won’t want him anymore.

But there’s another inherent problem here: Because if you cannot bear to have a door closed between you, that tells me you can’t and won’t respect privacy, and you won’t tolerate separateness. And I’m willing to bet that the girl who proudly voids her bowels in full view of her man is viciously jealous when he goes out without her. The woman with an open-door policy demands to be seen and accepted at all times.

And by the way, maybe YOU think it’s cool to do, but show me a woman who thinks it’s great, and I’ll show you a man who’s yearning for the days when he didn’t know quite so much.

That is the mistake. The death knell. Once you open that door, you cross a line. You can’t un-see it. And you, or he, may wish you could.

FightYou’ve had a skirmish. A lover’s quarrel. A knock-down, drag-out fight. And so understandably, you’re upset. The one thing you must not do: Soothe yourself. That’s right. And I heard it straight from the source of seasoned psychologist Dr. Gail Gross. Today. She told me over tea while sketching out the diagram on a piece of lined notebook paper: Do not, do not, reduce your anxiety, she said.

Who says that, right? Everywhere you turn it’s de-stress, smooth over, calm down, chill out. But that’s not always what you should be doing, says Dr. Gross. That urge to coddle and calm can work against you and your relationship. Rather, she says, you need to allow yourself to descend, if temporarily, into what she calls the “valley of despair.”

Uh, yeah no. I’ll pass on that, you say. It sounds horrible. And yet, if you don’t allow yourself to be alone, to sit with the jagged edges of a recent fight, look at those pieces, how they broke, you don’t learn a damn thing. If you break a plate, you don’t file and smooth down the edges–you need those edges so you now how it all fits together.

I know. You hate feeling anxious, upset (who doesn’t) and will do anything you can do stop those feelings—so, you call or text him (or her), you try to paper over, make it all ok. You try to fix, to mend the issue by seeking comfort from the very person who just pissed you off and shook you up.

This, says Dr. Gross, will not work. Not for you, not for your partner. Not for the long term. She’s not saying shut down or cut that person off, freeze him out, stew. Of course not.

But she is saying that if you go paddling back too soon to make it all “okay” you’re not giving yourself the advantage of learning from what just happened. Allow some silence, reflection. Let the storm pass. If you don’t return to the relationship having gained something valuable from the last fight, you will end up having the same fight again. And again.

That’s not growth or love. That’s madness.

handBut you’re such a sweet girl. Why aren’t you married yet?” Ugh.

If you’re a single woman like me, I’m sure you’ve heard this refrain before. (Replace “sweet” with: fun, cool, smart, pretty, etc–all the same thing.)

I have to admit I’ve puzzled over this for a while myself. I’ve thought, God, not only am I not married, but I’m not sure I want to be. Why don’t I want a thing that everyone else wants and says I should? At times it’s made me feel like a double weirdo.

Here’s what it really means if you’re not married: It means you’re not married.

At a certain age, odds are you’re tempted to think it means something else. That there’s something wrong with you, that you’re incomplete, not evolved, immature, unlovable. That’s because you have bought into the idea that marriage is a litmus test for being a normal, healthy, functioning adult. And that if you’re not married, something must have gone very, very wrong along the way.

Try putting this bias in reverse and you’ll realize how silly it is. If marriage is the great stamp of approval, that must mean everyone who is married is happier, smarter, sexier, and basically better than you in every way. I’m sorry — what? Last time I checked, marriage was not a clearing house for the eternally unflawed. Do you need a reminder of this? And how about this study that found that one in seven of committed couples admit to having settled for someone who is not thelove of their life? There are likely as many people miserable who happen to be married as those who happen not to be.

What Does Marriage Mean?

We polled YourTango readers (where this article originally appeared) and asked, “In one sentence, what does marriage mean?” Some of our favorite replies:

“To trust unconditionally forever!”

“Sharing my life with one person so that we can give that one person our best and our worst and still share love.”
“A strong bonding between two souls.”

Commitment and patience.”

Notice none of these people said anything along the lines of “a rite of passage that proves you’re normal.” Instead, they identified marriage as a blessing, a bonus, something you’re lucky but not required to have or choose.

Even in my 20s, when everyone around me had bridal fever, I didn’t catch the wedding bug somehow. I figured I might eventually come around to it; that I’d be drawn like an iron filling down the aisle to the magnet of my One True Love. Nope. Of course I wanted love and connection like anyone, but having experienced love, marriage didn’t feel like a foregone conclusion or built-in destination. And fact is, it doesn’t have to be.

Not Everyone is Married

While a quick glance at your Facebook page or your invitation-packed mailbox might indicate that “everyone” is getting married — well, the truth is everyone isn’t. If you happen to be single, count yourself among the many millions living this way. There are 112 million unmarried Americans, representing over 47% of the adult population. And not only have the majority of U.S. households been headed by unmarried couples since 2005, the number of U.S. households headed by unmarried individuals represents about 44% of all households and the majority in 23 states. (source: unmarried.org)

We all crave intimacy, connection, sex, acceptance, approval. I do, you do. I’m in a relationship and I’m enjoying it and that matters a lot to me. But I’m the same person when I happen to not be in a relationship. Love is a wonderful thing. But marriage isn’t for everyone (some people know this from the get-go, some find out the hard way.) And so whether you’ve decided against it or just haven’t found someone you feel like committing to for the rest of your entire life, this is no reason to decide you’re a pariah, some loser outcast, unlovable by anyone. In fact, you may very well have a loving, fulfilling life partner – you just don’t have a signed document to prove it.

Do You Want To ‘Get’ Married Or ‘Be’ Married?

There are people who want to get married and people who want to be married. And this is where you do a self-check: If you’re yearning for marriage because of what you think it’ll say about you and your place in the world, as a mile marker for How Far You’ve Come, or as a kind of diploma that you have successfully matriculated in the graduate program of life, you’re misguided. Maybe you want to do it so people will stop asking you when you’re going to get married, or because you feel you “should,” or “it’s time” and “I should want this.” Again, no.

And don’t get me started on weddings. I  love a great party as much as anyone. But wanting to get married so you can have a wedding is just a very bad idea. Because a wedding has about as much to do with your actual marriage as my Sweet 16 party had to do with the rest of my life.

The best reason to get married is that you want to be married. And, presumably, that you have found someone you want to do commit to, unconditionally. Someone you trust fully who is utterly compatible with you. You want to be with this person every day, do your dishes and laundry and taxes together. You want to be bound and acknowledged in the eyes of the law and society and have the official blessing of your family, friends, and a priest or whoever conducts the ceremony. Kids are a separate issue, because not everyone wants them, either.

Maybe you’ll decide to marry; maybe you won’t. Or, you may have already been there, done that — or, like me, are currently enjoying love without the legal work. But please, know that you’re not too “broken” to get married. And know that someone who is married isn’t any better than you. Marriage doesn’t fix people. It gives people spouses. These people still have most of the same problems post-marriage. Marriage isn’t an excuse to stop growing.

So if you’re with someone, and you’re simply not married, and someone asks you “Why not?” with that concerned sideways head tilt, don’t get defensive. Don’t blame yourself or your perceived lovelessness or this story about there being no one out there. You aren’t married yet because you’re not, and when and if you decide it’s the right thing for you to do, tell them you’ll be sure to let them know.

 

courtesy of marin and freedigitalphotos.net

courtesy of marin and freedigitalphotos.net

Many young women think that hook ups with dudes they can’t stand sober is a great way to save time and energy while staying focused on career goals. Fact is, hooking up will leave you hungry–especially if it’s with a guy you wouldn’t care to share a meal with.

Kate Taylor’s piece in the New York Times (“Sex on Campus: She Can Play That Game Too”), caused quite a stir when she put a sexy new slant on hook-up culture: That it’s the women, not the men, who are driving the trend. Of course, we’ve always believed it was the men who abhor commitment and would prefer casual sexual encounters than anything more serious.

Taylor cites young coeds like the “slim, pretty junior” at University of Pennsylvania who, like many other of her cohorts, relies on booty calls to get her needs met. Not because courtship is dead, or because she can’t find anyone, but because she doesn’t have time. She uses a rather chilling cost-benefit analysis and “low-risk and low-investment costs” approach to hooking up. She figures, in her estimation, that hooking up is just a smarter use of her time, so she can focus on what she’s there to do: Invest in her future, in her career. A husband and kids, she assumes, will come later.

So is it somehow better or okay if it’s women who would rather pluck the low-hanging fruit (so to speak)?

Nope. And the reason is simple: Hooking up cannot replace or come close to fulfilling the human need for real connection.

It doesn’t make you better, smarter, or stronger to avoid connection and intimacy. It doesn’t level the playing field in any real way. It purports that a woman must choose between meaningful relationships and meaningful work. You’ll be better off watching sites like hdpornvideo.xxx
and having your own fun than being left disappointed when your hook up leaves. This flawed belief doesn’t you up to be better or happier than the women who came before you. It just sets you up to be disappointed in a different way.

Do you need to scramble to find a life-long mate before you graduate college? Hell no. You shouldn’t even think of getting married until your career is well underway and you’ve had a few relationships behind you—enough to know what you want and don’t want.

But while concentrating on earning your Mrs. degree is narrow-minded, the reverse is just as bad: to pretend that you don’t need any relationships at all—or, that when you do, you’ll know what you want when you decide you want one.

That’s like saying you can run a few sprints today and you’ll be able to run a marathon a year from now. Or, perhaps more to the point, that you can sustain yourself on bags of chips for the next 40 years. Snacks hold you over; meals nourish. You may have several great such meals over the course of your life. But to say you’ll live on power bars and pass on dinner—forever—is to deny yourself the very thing you’re wired to do: Connect with another human in an intimate, real way. Hooking up as a long-term strategy, with zero connection or attachment, is like trying to sustain yourself on empty calories. That’s a lifetime of hunger pangs.

 

Read full article here, originally published on yourtango.