I don’t date.
(no, really…I’ve even deleted Tinder and everything)
At the risk of permanently scarring both my parents, I much prefer casual dalliances over commitment and romance and love.
There are less risks involved with the no-commitment route. I’ve been there, done that, *spoiler alert* commitment ended horrifically with me vowing to never again fall in love. I’m quite certain I’ve said those exact words way too many times.
I, Maysen Forbes, will never again allow myself to fall in love with a man.
And seeing as I’m not attracted to women in the slightest, I’ve really set myself up for a lifetime of loneliness and cats.
Don’t get me wrong – it’s not that I don’t secretly want it. There are days I watch Once Upon A Time and cry actual tears of sheer jealousy over Emma Swan and Captain Hook’s (completely fictional) relationship. Ask my roommates, it’s mildly horrifying to watch. There’s occasionally chocolate and copious amounts of alcohol involved. At heart, I am a lover of Jane Austen and fairy-tale romances. In my dreams I imagine myself being swept off my feet by a dashing young ginger Irish lad (oddly specific, but hey, it’s my fantasy) who own’s a pub and a bit of land on the coast. In reality, I stick to the good ol’ one night stand and can often be found sneaking out of strangers houses before the break of dawn (rule #1 – never stay the full night).
So I do truly want romance. It’s just that, I’m not sure I have it in me to go through the dating process again. And the thing is, it’s truly a process with me. I come with (just a wee little bit of) baggage. And while most of us these days do, mine is somewhat heavier. While my mental health does not actively affect my day-to-day life, the combination of anxiety, depression and trauma from a sexual assault is essentially lethal to new romantic connections. Men (for the most part) don’t have the patience required to break down my walls. The unhappy ending of my last relationship left me unwilling to trust a romantic partner. The last one put on a good show of accepting all that came with my anxiety and depression, then proceeded to throw it all right back in my face.
I don’t know if my oh-so-fragile heart could handle that kind of beating again.
And you see, I’m very self-aware. I know exactly how weird I am and how off-putting some of my anxious quirks can be. I have a hard enough time making platonic friends, I can’t imagine actively attempting to pursue a romantic connection. I’m too socially awkward to ever meet someones parents and not go full “Meet the Fockers” on them.
Maybe I just don’t have a soulmate, maybe I’m meant to be alone. Maybe I’m destined for greatness, but that greatness requires me to be a crazy cat lady?
Whatever the reason, the universe has deemed me undate-able, so I like to imagine it’s for a greater good. Why else would the universe see fit to give me depression, anxiety AND an assault that leaves me wary of sober intimate encounters with men?!
(it’s like the universe was setting me up for romantic failure from the get-go)
The thing with mental illness is, unless you’ve experienced it, you’ll never truly understand it. I don’t mean to sound condescending, I’m merely stating a fact. If you’ve never felt it, you can never possibly understand what it feels like to wake up in the morning and just know that you won’t be getting out of bed that day. Not for any rational reason, just because you simply can’t. At times the mere thought of interacting with the human race is so distressing, I have no choice but to shut myself in my room. Why? I’ve not a clue. Physical touch is the surest way to fight off an anxiety attack, yet it can also be my biggest trigger. While depression and anxiety don’t haunt me daily, in some ways that makes it worst – I never know when and where they’re going to pop up.
I myself have only recently come to terms with the fact that all of the above is just something I need to learn to live with. If you ask me, I do so quite brilliantly. I desperately want to believe that someone could look past all these flaws and quirks, but experience has taught me otherwise. Even in my wildest fantasies I can’t imagine anyone wanting to pursue me romantically. And while my friends may roll their eyes and try to convince me otherwise, I’m not willing to let them attempt to prove me otherwise…it’s too risky and I’m proving to be a massive wimp when it comes to matters of the heart.
So I don’t date.
I’d rather save my hope for other areas of my life.
Maybe I’m simply destined to fall in platonic love with all of my brilliant friends and adopt 10 cats and maybe a child (to fulfill my Jewish mothers dream of grandchildren) somewhere down the line?
And just to set the record straight – I am (for the most part) completely happy on my own. Occasionally it gets lonely. Engagement season particularly has me debating the pro’s and cons of hiring a professional cuddler. I am also starting to run out of fake names and backstories to give my (occasional, I swear!) one night stands. (Rule #2: never give them your real 1st name).
But I’ll take the awkward morning after talk as I fail at subtly sneaking out over soul-crushing heartbreak and betrayal any day.
(Rule #3: leave before they wake up. Unless you need cab fare home.)