Thursday, March 24, 2011

Sorry Friends

I owe most of my friends an apology.

Lately- while traipsing through some relationship troubles- I've been an awfully high maintenance friend. You know, the kind of pal who answers the standard "Hey, how's it going?" with a 10 minute monologue ending in some panicked version of "...and I just don't know what to do."

Yeah, it's not pretty.

At the end of an especially confused rant over the phone last week, a friend who's known me more than half my life casually replied: Is it possible you just stirred up some drama because things were quiet?

I paused. Sucked some tears back in and thought about it.


Later, I shared this thought with my new roommate.

Maybe, she agreed. We decided to explore the theory.

She asked me if I've ever really dated. I quickly nodded yes. Of course I've dated. I'm 25.

She wasn't convinced. I offered a quick synopsis of my past.

I moved to New York newly single after a 4-year relationship. I dated the very first guy in the city who asked me out for a couple months, another for a few more, then jumped into a 5th year with the ex. After it ended again a couple of 3-6 month "relationships" followed- some more serious than others but all exclusive.

That's dating right?

Wrong. Apparently, that limbo NY girls know well- where you hang out with someone constantly, don't see other people but don't use a title-doesn't count as dating.

As a result, my roommate assured me: Vanessa, you have never really dated.

Really dating, I learned, should be casual. It should be with multiple men at the same time. You don't invest emotionally. And, most notably, it offers a healthy does of entertaining drama- aka: a horrendous first date, a really good first kiss, wondering if he'll call etc. It's fleeting, unpredictable, commitment-free fun.

Under that definition, I suppose I haven't really dated. Most of the dating I've known has always been just a quick segway into a serious (or pseudo-serious) relationship.

What's so wrong with that? I instinctively defended my serial commitment.

Potentially a lot is wrong with it, my friends advised. Dating- under the definition above- teaches you a lot about what you want and what's good for you. Every interaction offers it's own lesson, for better or for worse. Most importantly, it can help you develop a sense of independence that's difficult (but not impossible) to foster when your committed/leaning on a boyfriend. You must learn to make yourself happy. It's nobody else's job.

And, of course, there's that dose of drama that most of us crave- the dating push and pull that eventually gets old but, at the right moment, can be absolutely exhilarating.

I guess I haven't dated much. But, is it possible (returning to my friend's theory) that I just pushed away a perfectly perfect mate because I haven't met my quota of dating drama?

I'm still at a firm maybe (and a hopeful no).

Whatever the answer is and regardless of what happens, I'm grateful for friends who put up with me- single, dating or otherwise.

In advance, I'm sorry friends.


  1. This whole time I thought I dated too! I've been on a bunch of first dates, but usually if I am going back for seconds, they end up "in serious (or pseudo-serious) relationship." I still think I've learned ALOT about what I like and don't like and learned to remain independent, etc. I actually think I learned the most about myself in a 4 year relationship. Thinking I found "the one" but learning it wasn't what I really wanted, needed or deserved. I don't think there is a right or wrong, and everyone is different, but I def learn more about myself when it starts getting serious than I do with guys I only go on one date with. But then again, I don't think I've ever "Dated" according to your rules.

  2. Hola preciosa: como de costumbre me gusta leer tu página y encontrarme con sorpresas tales como ésta sobre las relaciones sentimentales y las citas. Cómo me gustaría charlar o chatear sobre el tema contigo. Sabes que siempre digo que crecí con mis hijos y luego con mis nietos acomodándome a las nuevas circunstancias que la sociedad va marcando. Escribes tan lindo mi querida periodista freelance. Besos, te quiero y extraño. Quieres unos masajitos relajantes y unos oídos que te escuchen como tantas otras veces?