Dating for the fickle
March 20, 2012 10:18 PM Subscribe
Is it a good idea to try dating when you don't have your life figured out?
posted by costanza to human relations (25 answers total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
I'm a 23 year old female, who just finished school before Christmas. I'm living at home while I try to sort out my career path.
I'd like some advice about open-ended dating.
I've never really known what I wanted out of dating. My dad died when I was a kid, and my mom has never since dated at all. So I haven't had a role model for marriage/dating, and never on my own felt the need to be in a couple, like most people around me seem to. I've never really been able to identify with the whole urge towards dating. You know how some people know that they want to get married and live in this house with this person? I've never known if I want that or not, so I have never really tried to look for it.
For most of my life I had wanted to have kids, but the past few years I've become really discouraged with myself ( hard time at school, friendships falling apart, etc), and it's come to the point where I seriously question whether I will be able to provide the deep love that children need in order to be truly happy. I'm old enough now (almost 24) that many of my illusions about the world have been shattered. It seems like it would be immoral of me to bring a little baby into the world if she/he is going to encounter nothing but misery, although on some level it makes me very sad to think that I would never be able to give my mother a grandchild. I think my bleak outlook comes from dealing with tragedy before I was prepared, and also reading novels by Camus. Believe me, my younger self would be horrified at how morose I have turned out. But I digress..
I've only had one real relationship, and it was the type that kind of falls into place effortlessly (and then crashes and burns 5months later). So I've never gone through the process of dating for the sake of dating. After my first love, which was about 4 years ago, the only encounters I've had have been embarrassing drunken escapades (read: one-night stands) which were more emotionally scarring, than wild crazy fun.
My problem seems to be that I don't know what I want, so I kind of let whatever happens, happen. Is it possible that I don't want anything at all? From the outside, the whole racket about dating has always looked like something people do because everyone else does it, rather than something with internal motivation. But I think I find it hard to understand others' motivations because I've never had these motivations myself. Dating has always seemed like something optional but not necessary. Which makes me pretty weird, I know.
All this being said (unnecessarily so?), I think I would like to try some online dating, if for no other reason than that I've never had good sex. But I am not comfortable with any more casual hookups or one-night stands because I feel like these have been somewhat traumatic for me in the past.
Browsing through the dating sites, it seems like everyone knows what they want and what they are looking for in a partner. They also all seem to want someone who is driven, goal -oriented and knows what their purpose in life is. And I know that these are characteristics that I should be striving for.
I guess what I'd like advice about is whether it's irresponsible of me to try dating when I don't know what I want in the future. It pains me to say this, but at this point in my life I'm not really sure of my long-term goals, and am kind of floating along from day to day. Should I stay by myself for this reason? This will sound very pessimistic, but I don't think I am going to up and find my life's purpose any time soon. Is it ok to date just for the sake of having that someone, or for getting experience? Ie: dating just for the pleasure of it (whether sexual or merely the fun of it) rather than with grand goals on the horizon?
Thank you in advance. I apologize if this post makes me seem like a low life.