On Dating and The List

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I’ve been trying to formulate my thoughts on dating for a while now. How to not offend those who I’ve dated. How to not offend those who I haven’t dated. How to not appear needy, or insane, or like “that” girl. It was on my list of things to do next year: Date quality.

I refer to myself as the “two-a-year girl” now. I go on multiple dates a week, but realistically speaking, I find two men each year that I could see myself dating long term. I am disheartened by it and feel the future is sort of…bleak. Of these two, I’m batting 0/0 in terms of who wants to be with me for longer than 6 months.

I was on Match.com, eHarmony and Tinder at one point. I was determined to throw myself out there. I’ve texted, instant messaged and Facebooked people I thought I’d be interested in going on dates with. I’ve been set up on blind dates and by word of mouth.

I’ve tried.

But lately I’ve come up against a series of men who have driven me away for one reason or another…. and I’ve been told I’m being too picky. But aren’t I the judge of what quality means to me? Just to give you an idea of what I’m turning down:

  • Just today, a man asked, “What do you like to do outdoors? And what do you want to learn?” I mentioned I was more of a beach person, but did enjoy hiking, skiing, etc. I made it clear I didn’t want it to consume my every free moment, but that it was a pleasure to do/participate in. I wanted to learn more about camping in particular. “Why the @#$(@*#$ do you live in Wyoming then?” he texted. Because obviously all people in Wyoming live for the outdoors. He told me that I was concentrating on the wrong things. Asking stupid questions. That I needed to pay attention to profiles. I apologized and said I wasn’t what he was looking for. And I got text messages back that went further. He proceeded to tell me I was a waste of his time. I apologized and wished him a good week. He texted back again, saying I was a waste of effort. A waste for everyone. I blocked him.
  • I’ve had someone text me. And when I didn’t respond right away, he’d text again. Inquire where I was. What I was doing. Why I wasn’t responding. If he did something wrong. What was up. And then accusing me of paying attention to other men. I was at work. It was the middle of the day. I blocked him.
  • I’ve had someone get so drunk on a first date, I had to drive him home. In his car. And then drive myself home. In his car.
  • I’ve had someone touch me inappropriately on a date. And get drunk. Take advantage of me not drinking. And again, make me drive us home. (Got the idea this is a pet peeve yet? Just because I don’t drink, doesn’t mean you need to take advantage)
  • I’ve had people talk to me and say, “I don’t see this going anywhere. I don’t want to marry you. But how about we just @#$k?”
  • I’ve had someone send me inappropriate photos, then report me to a dating site after I said, “I’m sorry. You’re not what I’m looking for. I don’t do these kind of photos and I’ve asked you to stop sending them; good luck in your dating life!” My account was suspended for inappropriate behavior after, without warning, and without the ability to speak for myself. They took his word.

I could go on.

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When did it be ok to treat women this way? When did it be ok to assume all women are open to a purely sexual relationship? When did it become ok to stop thinking about the other person and become selfish?

I’ve been broken up with because I’m a mix of democratic and republican. Because I’m not religious enough. Because I don’t ski. Or like Mexican food. Because I have curly hair. Because I won’t work out every.single.day. Because I’m not academic enough. Because I don’t drink beer or microbrews. Because I get airsick. Because I’m too fat. Because I’m too health conscious. Because I don’t like children. Because I want someone with specific personality traits. Because I’m not his ex girlfriend.

I’m worth more. At least, that’s what I keep telling myself. Instead of other people seeing it, though, I feel like I’m explaining it. Or fighting for it.

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So am I wasting my time? Should I give up? Should I make “the list” of what I’m looking for shorter? I’ve been told what I’m looking for is too picky for my age. And that, when it comes down to it, my top three should be what I find.

I’m not ready to give up hope. So I’m writing down “the list” for you here…. and if I find it changes in the next year, I’ll update. In a particular order, what I’m looking for:

  1. An awareness and respect of how to treat women and others.
    This includes opening doors for others, helping friends in a time of need, but knowing what small things to do for me to show appreciation and support. Making me a priority and making sure I know I’m cared for.
  2. A strong connection with his family and friends. 
    Regular phone calls with family; visits at holidays and special events; as well as his own life outside of a relationship with a solid set of friends. Every good couple needs alone time.
  3. An instant physical and mental attraction.
    It’s important to me that the physical attraction is there. A man who knows how to be healthy, is fit and active, and takes care of his personal appearance–from haircut and clothing, to smile and fingernails. Also, in the same vein, he should be able to carry an intelligent conversation and have topics he cares about. I’d be nice if his information came from better sites than The Onion and RepulicansUniteTheWorld.com.
  4. An education.
    Higher education such as a Master’s is preferred, but a degree nonetheless. I gathered some unique experiences from college, as well as the ability to distinguish reputable information from crap. The interaction with other academics and being enveloped in the environment is something that needs to be experienced first hand.
  5. An active lifestyle.
    No. I don’t go to the gym every day. And obviously I’m not hiking 14ers and holding up cardboard signs with my achievements. But I have lost a ton of weight. I do work for Weight Watchers. And I eat healthy. I go to the gym. I keep myself in shape. And it’s important the other person do the same….I’m less picky about how they choose to achieve this.
  6. No children.
    I want a family some day. But where I am in life right now, for me only, means I am less open to someone having their own children. I’ve seen some wonderful dads out there—and I may be open to changing my mind about this one if the person is caring. But I’ve dated far too many people who put their children first in life….and I solidly believe the best thing you can ever give your child is a strong relationship with your mate. Period. And this is a huge red fag to most fathers, unfortunately.
  7. A strong financial future.
    I don’t need a fully fleshed out 401k. But I do need someone who has a stable job. Knows how much income is coming in each month. Isn’t worrying about how to pay bills or where to live. And would be able to support me, and a family, if shit hit the fan. (In turn, I would fully expect to do the same; this isn’t one-sided).
  8. Is willing to care and trust unconditionally.
    One of my previous boyfriends taught me something invaluable: trust someone until they give you a reason to not trust them. It blew me away. Doesn’t it make sense? Forget past relationships. Forget previous fuck-ups. If enough criteria fit to even go on a date, then jump in two feet first and don’t hold back. Give the person an honest-to-goodness shot as well as your full effort. If it doesn’t work out in the long run, then at least you know you tried.
  9. Must love animals (dogs AND cats included).
    I have a dog. He’s not like other dogs—Jasper is special. I also have two cats, and that does not deem me the “crazy cat lady.” I want someone to see the compassion in adopting and saving an animal. And understand the effort and dedication it takes to do it alone, with limited resources. I don’t need them to take care of my brood for me, but to respect the fact that I choose them in my life.
  10. To know there’s more to life than beer and the outdoors.
    I’m not a big drinker. And I’m not much for being in the outdoors 24/7. I’m happy to tour breweries. To go hiking or skiing. But I don’t want to be guilted into not getting drunk and consuming empty calories. Or for not being an expert in every.single.outdoor.sport. Doesn’t it matter that I have my own likes/dislikes and hobbies? Maybe compromise could happen.

I feel like everyone should find a partner that makes them feel valued, beautiful and respected. Maybe no one person encompasses the above, but at least they can encompass the first three. It’ll happen.

Chin up, Reese.

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On Dating and The List