The Dating Experience.
We all have different definitions for the term dating. For some of us it’s the ‘getting to know’ stage, for others it’s the stage where you’re going out on dates with someone. Getting involved with someone new can be exciting, for the ladies planning that killer outfit or bringing out your freakum dress (for some) and for the fellas getting that extra ‘loud’ trim as I you hear you guys say. While I am aware dating isn’t the most exciting stage for us all, the preparation, the excitement, the anticipation and effort put towards it are all factors that show it’s something a lot of us look forward to, whether just a little or a whole lot let’s not stunt. (And ladies don’t lie that you don’t small small get gassed when your date tells you you look nice).
Coming from a Christian background there has always been a debate between courting vs dating, in the day and age we live in it seems impossible to magically fall into the arms of your Prince Charming and know he is “The one” from jump. The saying is that “You have to kiss a few frogs” before you find him. How do you begin to court someone you don’t even know? How do you know someone is worth being serious with if you haven’t even ‘dated’ them? So why not go out and meet a few people, socialise and be open right? That seems like the solution to it all.
I have a new insight on ‘the dating experience’ which I wanted to share with you all. Although I am neither for or against dating, there are some things I observed.
Dating can be very unintentional
It’s that whole “Go with the flow mentality” that many of us young people thrive on. Let’s just see where this takes us, let’s just see where this goes. OF COURSE, there is nothing wrong with this and may even be a safe decision to make as opposed to foolishly jumping into a relationship with someone you barely know. However what happens when someone becomes a lot more invested than the other, or they took it more seriously, someone will end up hurt.
Dating comes with terms and conditions
In some instances, we date people or accept offers to go on dates with people for what they have presented, what or who we believe they are and not who they actually are. That could be money, good looks or intelligence. Better still, we date on the basis of what we believe “We can gain” or who we want them to be. I know you’re probably thinking, “Duh Imani” that’s the whole point. How would you ever know who they are if you didn’t go out with them a couple times? Oh, I get that completely. My thing is it can be quite flimsy. Once we see that they serve no purpose to us we move on to the next. In a way it can be quite selfish, we only give people a chance on the basis of them meeting our own needs. It seems logical but very weird and self centred at the same time. I do believe a well functioning relationship even at the dating stage should be give and take, why leave your house if you know it’s completely pointless. However I don’t believe your interest in someone should be based solely on what they can do for you or how you can gain from them.
‘You call the shots’
I would love to use my personal experiences alone as an example but they’re too limited to give a solid opinion. However joint with the experiences of friends and family, I believe with dating, usually one person has more say over what happens. It could be the man or the woman but one person has more control over the situation than the other. Subconsciously you’re at the mercy of the other person, so if they want to stop seeing you all they would have to do is say they’re done or I’m longer interested. What if you wanted to continue seeing them, none of that would be taken into consideration because they call the shots, when it should’ve been a mutual effort. How does it continue to work if one person is still heavily interested & invested whilst the other isn’t?
Often, we use our previous dating experiences to dictate how we should act in new situations, to prevent getting hurt or sometimes to not hurt the person we’re dating. For example, you gave away too much, or did too much too soon with the last person, but it didn’t end up going anywhere. You’ve made up your mind you’re going to hold back after all ‘it’s still early days’. It seems smart and the natural thing to do to learn from the past. This can work perfectly for some whilst for others that overthinking is already messing with the natural flow of things. On the flip side for some people, ladies in particular, we hear of things such as giving ‘Husband privileges’. Some people pour out so much, so early in because they believe “it came naturally” or “it felt right” which leads me back to how uncertain this stage can be. Will anything you do guarantee an exclusive relationship with the person you’re dating?
I’m more than just an option?
In the same way dating is uncertain it also doesn’t guarantee exclusivity. For some people they discuss this early on in the dating stage whilst for others, that whole openness and freeness suggests that there are no ties or obligations to be loyal or exclusive, & this is something that is known without any discussions needed. Essentially you could be in a sea of many fish and you’re auditioning to be the chosen one. For many of us ladies, we have a little tendency to be possessive over guys we like but at this point we know we have no say or control over who he sees or talks to until its exclusive for the both of us. We want to be more than just an option but we can’t force that to happen.
So what was the purpose of this post? To discourage you from dating or bash dating? Not at all. These are my thoughts written down. I could meet someone tomorrow and date him and find myself in any type of predicament. However, I’m a strong believer that everyone deserves to feel wanted wholeheartedly without conditions. We all deserve to be wanted for who we are as individuals – it’s an innate desire. We don’t have to settle for being an option. Am I offering solution? I don’t think anything needs to be fixed per say. But what I would say is, it is okay to pursue friendships. It’s okay to be intentional and be a bit more stingy with your time and space. As cliche as this sounds, not everything has to be a pursuit of a romantic relationship. It’s okay to take your time and get to know people. I understand that I am also writing this as a reminder to myself also.