Why dating is not good
Why dating is not good
By the time 35th-birthday-brunch celebrations roll around for still-single women, serious, irreversible life issues masquerading as “jokes” creep into public conversation: Well, I don’t feel old, but my eggs sure do! At their core, they pose one of the most complicated, painful, and pervasive dilemmas many single women are forced to grapple with nowadays: Is it better to be alone, or to settle? Based on my observations, in fact, settling will probably make you happier in the long run, since many of those who marry with great expectations become more disillusioned with each passing year.(It’s hard to maintain that level of zing when the conversation morphs into discussions about who’s changing the diapers or balancing the checkbook.)Obviously, I wasn’t always an advocate of settling.
What I long for in a marriage is that sense of having a partner in crime. Someone who both calls you on your bullshit and puts up with your quirks.
The couples my friend and I saw at the park that summer were enviable but not because they seemed so in love—they were enviable because the husbands played with the kids for 20 minutes so their wives could eat lunch.
In practice, my married friends with kids don’t spend that much time with their husbands anyway (between work and child care), and in many cases, their biggest complaint seems to be that they never see each other.
And while Rachel and her supposed soul mate, Ross, finally get together (for the umpteenth time) in the finale of Friends, do we feel confident that she’ll be happier with Ross than she would have been had she settled down with Barry, the orthodontist, 10 years earlier?
She and Ross have passion but have never had long-term stability, and the fireworks she experiences with him but not with Barry might actually turn out to be a liability, given how many times their relationship has already gone up in flames.
So if you rarely see your husband—but he’s a decent guy who takes out the trash and sets up the baby gear, and he provides a second income that allows you to spend time with your child instead of working 60 hours a week to support a family on your own—how much does it matter whether the guy you marry is The One?
It’s not that I’ve become jaded to the point that I don’t believe in, or even crave, romantic connection. In my formative years, romance was John Cusack and Ione Skye in Say Anything.
About six months after my son was born, he and I were sitting on a blanket at the park with a close friend and her daughter.
It was a sunny summer weekend, and other parents and their kids picnicked nearby—mothers munching berries and lounging on the grass, fathers tossing balls with their giddy toddlers.
In fact, take a good look in the mirror and try to convince yourself that you’re not worried, because you’ll see how silly your face looks when you’re being disingenuous. Don’t nix a guy based on his annoying habit of yelling “Bravo! Overlook his halitosis or abysmal sense of aesthetics.
Whether you acknowledge it or not, there’s good reason to worry. The birthday girl smiles a bit too widely as she delivers these lines, and everyone laughs a little too hard for a little too long, not because we find these sentiments funny, but because we’re awkwardly acknowledging how unfunny they are. Because if you want to have the infrastructure in place to have a family, settling is the way to go.
But either way, in episode after episode, as both women continue to be unlucky in love, settling starts to look pretty darn appealing.