Navigating the turbulent waves just to see what ‘the other fish in the sea’ have to offer (aka, dating) turned me into an outwardly cynical but secretly hopeless romantic person, into a cynic through and through. It’s not that I have difficulty finding people (kind of hard when there are 103.3 million people in the Philippines alone, as of 2016)….I just have difficulty finding people to connect with. People with no ulterior motives. People who will not pretend to be interested in you, then when they sense you are under their spell, string you along and leave you hanging, wondering what the fuck is happening, sending your already overworked mind into overdrive. People who, after a few exchanges, think you owe them your body and soul.
Online dating further complicates things, because, while it broadens your options and you’d meet people you won’t otherwise meet, being situated in two different parts of the world (this is how I met one of my dearest friends!), the number of people who might unashamedly take advantage of you also increases. Especially since it’s easier to be a horrible person online than in the real world, due to lesser repercussions and the beauty of anonymity and the block button.
Due to lack of time in the real world and my own preferences, I begrudgingly continue to find myself treading this toxic environment, to fulfill my psychosocial need for intimacy, as recommended by Erik Erikson. Just kidding. I’m a human being, and while I enjoy my time alone more than most people, I, too, crave intimacy like any other person. I wish I didn’t, because I honestly find it so exhausting. It also makes me feel more isolated, given the impersonal modes of communication utilized. I’m also conflicted between giving up on this entirely, accepting my fate of being the kooky single polyglot aunt who travels the world, and not giving up on my search, knowing that THE ONE is there somewhere, although Lord knows why we haven’t crossed paths yet (I think).
There is also the fact that when I do find a connection, everybody else just seems like background noise, fuzzy colorful blobs wherein the only one clear is the person I like. In this day and age, ESPECIALLY in this day and age, this is a terrible approach to dating, unless of course, you’re lucky enough to find someone who also sees fuzzy blobs instead of walking bobs and vagene. My mind hasn’t caught on to this yet, in spite of major heartache caused by this approach. I will probably make a terrible investor, given my already terrible history of investing all my ‘currency’ on the one person (I say investor because it seems more refined than gambling). Wise investment dictates that you should not put all your money into something volatile and uncertain, even though you feel strongly about it. Surefire way of making sure your heart won’t be left wounded and bleeding when it does not work out.
However, no matter how much I try taking this approach to dating, I. JUST. CAN’T. DO. IT. Mainly because I don’t see people as stocks. Also because due to the rarity of finding whom I perceive to be my person, my neurons go on a frenzy, thinking “OH, YES, WOMAN, THIS IS THE ONE.” Loyalty is a good trait, but it honestly depends on where your loyalties lie, because it can have negative effects. For example, it’s good to be loyal to your significant other when you are exclusive; it is incredibly stupid to put yourself off the market (so to speak) once you feel that connection.
When it all boils down to it, to quote the blog post I made elsewhere in 2014, the biggest mistake one could make, besides putting all of your eggs in one basket in this day and age of hook-ups, Tinder, ghosting, bread crumbing, benching, and whatever millenial dating term there is, is making that person a huge part of your life so much so that you lose your sense of self, no matter how great that person is. One, it can get suffocating for the other person, for you to depend on him/her for your personal happiness. Imagine the pressure, having a whole other adult human’s happiness and validation lie on your shoulders? Not only is it draining, it is unattractive. I base this on personal experience, being on the receiving end of it. (Imagine having someone repeatedly tell you they’re not feeling well because you haven’t texted them when they wanted you to. Even if it were my partner, it would turn my attraction down a notch, all empathy and unconditional positive regard aside).
Second, there is only one person who can make you happy, and it is YOURSELF. At the end of the day, people come and go, until, worst case scenario, the only person left in your corner is you. This is extremely difficult to apply in daily life, and it is something I struggle with, though that hasn’t really deterred me from trying. And this is probably one of the few situations when my pessimism leads to optimistic results (i.e. Love yourself, because every person you love will leave sooner or later, or something to that effect).
Huh, it seems like the kooky single aunt option sounds more appealing by the minute. I’m only human, though, and by God if giving love doesn’t feel good (and if it is being reciprocated, even better!).