“Every relationship reaches the “So…” moment, where someone in the relationship will want to take the relationship to a more serious place.” — Are we officially dating?
The phrase ‘it’s complicated’ is currently tracking as my most hated phrase and all because, when it comes to dating, things are always … well, complicated.
A couple of months ago, I was asked if I had a boyfriend. I shrugged in response and muttered something along the lines of ‘I’m not sure’.
“I don’t understand young people these days; surely you are in a relationship or you aren’t?” my interrogator continued, met by another shrug from me.
You’d think I was personally to blame for the demise of courting and romance.
Sure, asking someone if they have a boyfriend/girlfriend seems like a harmless question but these days it’s a minefield and having to justify that confusion and complication to someone else is exhausting.
In an age of instant gratification, constant communication and endless possibilities, people young and old have embraced the opportunity to remain non-committal.
Which is bullshit for the rest of us.
There, I said. Stop d*cking around and call it; you’re in or you’re out, you’re on or you’re off.
No more of this “we’ll just hang out while I (not so secretly) consider whether something better is going to come along” shit. Because it’s not.
Okay, maybe it will.
Or maybe you’ll end up alone, as the pervy old man or woman at the end of the bar desperately trying to hit on people far younger than you who might eventually catch one or two only to have them pull the same non-committal line on you at some stage.
Sometimes you’ve just got to leap into things head first and see what happens.
Maybe you’ll stay together, maybe you won’t but isn’t life supposed to be about the journey not the destination or some crap like that?
That’s not to say I haven’t chalked up a few dud relationships that I now adamantly maintain never happened … but creative writing (or rather, re-writing when it comes to my dating history) is my specialty.
And I suppose without a few of those wrong turns, I’d never have got to where I am now.
Which is … oh that’s right, single or maybe I’m in the midst of something complicated. I’m really not sure.
It’s been 10 years since our favourite foursome from Sex and the City farewelled us from the small screen and yet the dating dramas faced by Miranda, Samantha, Charlotte and Carrie continue to plague those navigating their way through the singles market.
In fact, the advancements of social media since the show wrapped have actually opened up a whole new window of ambiguity where dating is concerned.
“I had this guy leave me a voicemail at work, so I called him at home, and then he emailed me to my BlackBerry, and so I texted to his cell, and now you just have to go around checking all these different portals just to get rejected by seven different technologies. It’s exhausting.” —He’s Just Not That Into You—
And don’t even get me started on the whole emoticon/emoiji/kiss scenario. As an over-thinker of epic proportion, it’s fair to say one little smiley face can make or break my day. And my mind.
Just as ‘going steady’ faded out after the 1950s, the ‘boyfriend/girlfriend’ labels have been cast aside in favour of new terminology—dating, dating exclusively, seeing, hanging out, hooking up, manfriend, ladyfriend, f***buddy and the list goes on.
But where does that leave today’s singleton?
A male friend and I recently had this discussion while pondering whether or not we were in a relationship (not with each other, mind you). We both fancied our then partners, but questioned when does ‘dating’ becomes something more? Is it at one month? Two months? Six? Or just something you fall into without really realising it?
You’d think that by our 30s, we’d be able to tell but apparently not.
“If you haven’t had the conversation about dating exclusively, you can’t assume anything,” he said.
“Couldn’t we just go back to sending someone over with a note that asks if they’d like to be our boyfriend/girlfriend?” I mused, longing for simple days of playing catch and kiss in the playground (and wishing I’d actually stopped running sometime and actually let someone catch me, even once).
Even Facebook understands the complexity of dating in the modern age with 11—yes 11—relationship categories to choose from including single, in a relationship, engaged, married, in a civil union, in a domestic partnership, in an open relationship, it’s complicated, separated, divorced or widowed.
You can decline to list a status, like I did, but Facebook estimates that roughly 60 per cent of users choose to make it public, with ‘single’ and ‘married’ the most common statuses.
The whole Facebook status change creates its own problems ranging from when you make the switch to dealing with the aftermath (and the questions) if the relationship fails.
And forget turning to the movies for dating help.
Sure, new Hollywood hits like Friends with Benefits, What’s Your Number and Are We Officially Dating? are still romantic in their own kind of way, but I’m not sure someone standing outside your bedroom window with a iPhone 6 is going to be quite as effective as John Cusack’s character Lloyd’s grand gesture in the 1980 flick, Say Anything.
And don’t even daydream about some hot, muscly dance teacher coming to pull you out of the corner and up on stage for a sexy dance routine.
The last guy to grab me on a dancefloor was some drunken douchebag at the Caxton who, without warning, tried to flip me and dropped me on my head.
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