by Sarah Williams
Eating too much makes us fat and sleeping too much makes us lazy. Drinking too much gives us bad hangovers and smoking too much causes lung cancer. Most good things must be done in moderation or else we pay the consequence.
But, what about dating? Is it possible to date too much? And how do we know when we are?
There’s no scale to tell us we’ve been out with too many Joe Shmoes in the past couple months, no Breathalyzer test, and we’re certainly not going to roll over on a Saturday morning, moaning, “I dated way too much last year!”
The signs of dating fatigue are much more subtle but they do exist.
1. Nothing surprises you anymore. When you date around, you start to see a pattern. After all, there are only so many ways a man can spoil you. Kind gestures lose their power and there’s not a single sext-message you haven’t already received. You’ll find yourself complaining to friends about this: “Gaaawd, isn’t anyone original anymore?!” You no longer appreciate the little things. In fact, they might even annoy you. But, you can’t blame a guy for trying. If he could be the next William Shakespeare, he would. But he isn’t and that’s not his fault. And it’s certainly not his fault that you’ve already dated five guys just like him.
2. You do not use calendars; you track time through exes. The most reliable timeline you have of your life is measured by the person you were seeing on any given month. For example, January was for Johnny, February for Frank, March was Mark, April-Alan, and so on. A man for every month is not normal.
3. You find yourself sitting alone at family parties. Relatives no longer nag you – privacy at last- but you can’t help but feel offended. Meanwhile your cousin’s children are running circles around you, reminding you that you’re the only one who hasn’t settled down yet. You’re desperate for their company. You beg them to stop squirming, to talk to you for one second. You bribe them with an extra piece of chocolate cake, anything to help you look less like a loner, but it’s useless. Even the little rug rats can smell your long dating record wafting off of you. So you turn to your last surviving grandmother. You sit down next to her. “Hi abuela,” you say, to which she replies, “What honey? Speak louder.” You move on.
To an old uncle, perhaps.
But he doesn’t know what to say either. You’re not in college anymore and you have the same job you’ve had since high school. He would ask if you’ve met anyone but he already knows the answer. You have met someone; in fact you’ve probably met a handful of someones since the last time he saw you.
And he just can’t relate to that. No one here can.
4. New rules are made just for you. For example, your parents won’t allow you to bring home your latest boyfriend, or girlfriend, until you’ve been together for at least three months. Because of this, you haven’t brought anyone home in years. Even your roommate advised a similar rule. “No boys allowed back to the apartment until the third date is over. If you have to tell him you’re homeless on dates 1 and 2, then so be it.”
5. You have self-diagnosed yourself as bipolar. You have self-diagnosed yourself as bipolar, to avoid the reality that dating is one great big rollercoaster and you are its test dummy. Nothing excites you more than getting ready for a first date. You blast music, drink a little wine; give yourself a buzz while you get ready.
“I can be anyone I want to be tonight,” you say to your reflection. “And he could be anyone too.”
You have fun chatting over dinner. There are so many things to talk about! He seems perfect. You are perfect. Everything’s just perfect. Maybe you’re in love! But probably not. If you’re dating too much, the spark will fizzle by day four. And you’re back wallowing in your own self-pity, waiting for the next first date.
6. You think everyone is attractive upon first meeting them. And I mean everyone. Your standards are lower than ever.
7. He never called and you didn’t even notice. The only thing worse than a girl that cries over a guy is a girl that can’t muster up a tear even if she tried. So maybe he wasn’t the right one and you know it. But how many wrong ones will you have to go through?
There’s something detrimental that can happen when you date too much. You lose touch of what you really want. You lose touch of your emotions and you start to feel numb. And that numbness might feel good at first. You might feel powerful, untouchable, unbreakable even. But what if it never goes away? What if you lose the ability to love when you want to?
Maybe a dating diet is what you need. Concentrate on yourself for a little while. See what it feels like to be alone for once, and then when the time comes and your man arrives, dig in. Dessert will never taste so good.