I feel like a bit of a dick. Recently, I met this beautiful girl at a tech conference. She seemed smart, interesting and also happened to be a writer, which is definitely a sign of potential.
However, I found that I had a problem. Even though she was most likely an awesome girl, there was a truth I had to accept: I don't want to date right now.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not about the single life (at least not the way it seems to be lived by most individuals). I don't need to sleep around. Why? Because if you do it for long enough, it loses its appeal. I do like the idea of having someone to share my life with, but in all honesty, the timing just isn't right at the moment.
It's not that I'm not ready to date; I just don't want to date. I don't want to go through the process of meeting someone new, getting to know them and figuring out how much of them I should let in. I'd be playing that whole game in the hopes that one day I fall for her. I just don't want that right now.
This might come across as odd considering that I write about love and dating for a living. But it's not odd. After closer examination, the way I'm feeling is completely acceptable. More than that, it shows wisdom and understanding to know when you shouldn't be in a relationship (Yes, I just called myself wise).
I also think people need to stop pretending they're so humble. I'm smart. I know that. I'm not going to shy away from the fact or pretend otherwise to make everyone else feel better about themselves. But back to the point.
You shouldn't always be in a relationship. What I mean is not every time of life is a good time to share your life with someone. This isn't to say you should break things off if the time isn't right — sometimes it's wiser to figure out a way to keep the relationship alive, even when you don't believe you can make it work. You'd be surprised what you can make work if you decided you would.
It's more about understanding when it's time to take a step back, stop chasing a particular dream and focus in on other areas of your life. There are some things you just can't force, and love is one of those things.
Here's some more truth: I'm not yet the person I'm meant to be. I'm closer than I've ever been, but I have a lot more growing to do. And the growing I need to do, at the moment, is best done solo.
You shouldn't pass up on love if it knocks on your door. Please don't do that. You will regret it. At the same time, if you need to work on you, then work on you. There will be time to date. There will be time to fall in love, start a family and spend your lives together.
But for now, figure out how to do you the best way you possibly can. Here's a few questions you need to ask yourself before agreeing to a relationship:
1. Are you happy?
If you're thinking you need to be in a relationship in order to be happy, then you're doomed. Completely fucking doomed. Yes, meeting someone you can love will make you ecstatic. But if you're not already capable of being happy running solo, you'll inevitably fall back into misery, loneliness and just pure unhappiness.
You'll then begin to question the relationship and your love for your partner — a partner you have every reason in the world to love. The problem is with time, that happiness your partner makes you feel fades. It's not because whatever you two share fades (and it took me a long time to figure this out), but rather because the novelty of the relationship has faded, and you fall back into your resting state.
And if that resting state makes you unhappy, no love or relationship in the world will make you happy for long enough. You should only get into a relationship if you've figured out the secret to being happy when you're alone.
2. Do you have the time and space to be in a relationship?
For some people, life is has room for endless individuals. In my experience, this is mainly because those people are bored most of the time. For those of us who have found a purpose in life, our schedules tend to fill up. But it's not just about the time. We can usually squeeze in an hour or two of whatever, if we wish to. It's really about having the mental capacity and will to give this person sufficient thought and attention.
Why be in a relationship if you can't make it work? Why waste your time pretending you can give him or her what he or she needs, when you know you can't? I get you want to be in love. I do, too. But I'm not going to half-ass it. She deserves better (whomever she is), and she deserves my fullest attention. But if I can't love her the way she needs to be loved, then why put the two of us through all of that?
Be honest with yourself. If you know you have other things that need to take priority, don't tell yourself — or your lover — otherwise.
3. If you were to meet the one, could you marry him or her, right here, right now?
This isn't to say that you have to marry them, or that you have to believe in marriage altogether. But would you be fully willing, and more than that, excited to devote your life to the two of you? It's OK if you can't. It's better that you accept the fact than keep lying to yourself. If you aren't ready for that level of dedication, then don't get into a relationship.
Sure, relationships come in different shapes and sizes, but in the end it all comes down to the same thing: You're either ready to make it work, or you're not. And you know whether or not you are, but whether or not you're willing to admit it to yourself is a different question.
What's the point of dating someone if you're not going into it thinking and hoping this will be the last person you'll ever date? Why would you bother if you already feel it in your bones that you will not make it work?
It takes time to get to know someone enough to understand whether or not they're the one. However, if you're already going into it thinking (consciously or subconsciously), that the relationship will likely be tentative, you're just wasting your time. Not to mention, all the damage you're likely to cause each other trying to hide onto something that was never going to work.
Stop lying to yourself. If you're not in it to win it, then don't be in it. Save the two of you the heartache. Life throws enough our way. Don't cause more trouble for yourself.