I’m going to say this up front: I have very little experience dating. When I was younger, I was too stuck in my own head, livin’ it up in fantasy land, to have concrete dating experience in reality. Everything was prettier and more fun in my imagination. When I grew older, I became disinterested, my focus shifting heavily to what I want to do in life. Career and my purpose in life became much more important. Not to mention, I got more cynical and knew I needed to practice self-love before letting others into my life. I am not the type who believes in two halves making a whole, as that suggests both people in a relationship are incomplete–I never want to be incomplete, nor do I want to be with someone who is incomplete.
This has definitely left me with a unique and interesting experience since I’m nearing thirty. I can observe relationships around me, watch how people change, and give objective advice. I have also received pieces of dating advice, whether I asked for them or not, and one of them has stuck with me as it’s been repeated to me over and over by older, more experienced women, either directly or through a channel. And I like this one, because it’s a general message to everybody. They don’t know me or my love life; it’s just a piece of universal wisdom to share: date as many people as you can when you’re young.
Well, I’m a bit late on doing this, but I guess it’s never too late to actually start.
I have heard this from a friend who heard it from her much older sister. I have heard this from my own older sister who have heard it from others. Today, I heard it from an older banker lady I’m chummy with from work, who advised me to date as many men as I could before settling down. She told me, “Don’t just date one person for so long.” This struck me as something I hear a lot, which is what inspired me to write this post. Why do all older women suggest this? You would think long-term relationships rather than many flings would be the proposed recommendation, but this is unexpectedly not the case.
I believe they give this tip quite unanimously because they know that nothing beats experience. You have to experience the greatest range of different people to truly know what you want, what works with you, whom you connect with, whom you could see a future with, and more. Everyone has ideas in their heads of what they would like. However, reality is different from what is pictured in the clueless mind.
I think another reason is that they don’t want you to get stuck in a relationship, which is easy for people to do. People naturally like to stay with what they are used to, what they have invested time in–even though the relationship might be rocky and there are signs that things aren’t working out. All of these omens are ignored from pure stubbornness to stay with what’s known. The unknown, the unfamiliar–all of it is scary. People don’t want to start all over with someone new. People have insecurities, so they worry about what would happen if they went back to being single. They’re scared to approach a bunch of different love interests because that means that many more chances of being rejected.
This is admittedly good dating advice.
I think one of my problems is I take love too seriously–which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, since a lot of people seem to not take it so seriously these days. People fall in and out of love for the pure fun of it or the need to be wanted, apparently, but this also means I have no experience connecting with people and finding out what I need in a relationship. What kind of man works well with me? I’m also scared that my illusions of the kind of relationship I want would crack at true experience–because another one of my problems is that I’m an idealist.
I can’t imagine myself dating a bunch of men. It just doesn’t seem to match my personality type. But I can see the wisdom behind this dating advice. I’ve learned as I grew into adulthood, that adults really do know what they are talking about. Of course not all the time, but as I deal with more children, I want to say to them what I’ve been told when I was their age, despite knowing the futility. This is the cycle of life. Human beings repeat the mistakes at youth, and deplore the mistakes when older. It’s what’s sort of fun about reading books in which mortals and immortals coexist; they realize the difference between the fleeting human life as compared to those who live forever. We seem quite silly to those who don’t die, since we keep repeating the same mistakes. But each of us sometimes have to experience them firsthand; that’s how the lessons stick.
However, I’m not sure if I should wait around and repeat the mistakes of other women before me, so I could tell with regret to the next generation, “You should date as many men as you can.” I might have to listen to this dating advice… but I’m still quite reluctant. I do think it can work out where you date one person you think is the love of your life and not have regrets, but there has to be a reason so many people believe it’s a mistake, right?
Things I would recommend is reading the To All the Boys I Loved Before trilogy, as this is touched upon subtly there, as well as watching How to Be Single. The female lead (Dakota Johnson) wants to see more of what’s out there life- and romance-wise, so she leaves her boyfriend with the promise of coming back to him. Instead, she figures out the rocky roller coasters that are relationships and the power of living the single life. Another problem people seem to have is not being able to stay single–which I believe is as important as putting yourself out there in love.
What is the best relationship advice you got? What other dating advice would you like to share? Do you agree with this one? Let me know in the comments below! I’d love to know your thoughts!