Contemplating Romantic Freedom

“What is your dream date?”

I always love those questions on surveys and “about me” sections in spring magazines. Yes, spring is here and love is in the air. Couples sashay across campus, holding hands and looking adorable, at least to the eyes of singles. It is those singles who read said magazines and laugh at the ridiculous questionnaires and advice columns on every other page. Because *dramatic eye roll* obviously it’s so revealing how I want to spend my time getting to know someone. Oh No! Spoilers!

Right.

When I was little, I thought dream dates were silly, because in my head I considered myself lucky to be going on a date at all. I was so concerned with the idea of being liked and sought after that I never grasped the point of dating – getting to know someone as a potential partner.

Like, Ew, right? Who needs boys? I sure don’t. I don’t need someone else. I can make it on my own. I’m a strong and independent young woman! That was what I told myself ages 12 through 20. This is quite possibly why I wound up breaking up with all my exes. Why I still break up with them.

Yes, I am that girl. The girl who gets into relationships, falls into them really, and has no reason to. The girl who always winds up breaking it off because falling means getting back up again with someone else, and I, supposedly, do not need someone else in my life. I can make it on my own.

And yet, I wonder. I wonder as I see schoolmates from home getting engaged. Or married. Or having kids. I wonder as I see my best friends falling in love and being so scared of putting their heart on the line, but knowing that in the end, it’s worth it. I wonder as I remember falling once, but in the end I got up on my own. My heart wasn’t worth it.

There’s a saying that once you stop looking for someone, they find you. I’ve never really been looking, but someone has always found me. Someone decides that I’m their someone. I’m their something to fix. I’m this thing that they have a right to inspect, to poke and prod and ask why without really listening to my answer.

So if I’ve been through all this before, if I know the routine, why do I let it happen? It’s kinda funny, see, after every break up, I say, “No more men. That’s it. I need a 6 month break. At least.” I’m not the only one, because, trust me, I’ve heard this from many other women on campus – there’s a constant push to find “The One” but retain the independence other women have struggled to gain for the next generation. And yet, despite all this, maybe a month after a breakup, there’s someone new. Someone to flirt with, someone to talk to, someone to look forward to seeing in the hallway. I don’t ask for attention. I don’t ask to be “courted.” It just kinda…happens.

The point of this is not to brag. This is just a thing that has been bugging me lately. It’s a thing that, frankly, I’m tired of and should stop letting myself get into. Maybe if I stop being so passive about how I feel, or don’t feel, I won’t find myself chasing after a wispy hope of redemption in the eyes of another. Maybe if I didn’t rely on this wispy hope of romanticized guessing games resulting in “perfect date” potential, I could actually be happy with my unromantic life choices.

Side Note: And in case you’re curious, that perfect date would involve a combination of museum, book store, food, and cuddling while enjoying a movie/TV show.