For a very long time I was fully honest and confident that the answer to this question was yes. When I was twenty-one and finally had coverage for the braces I was supposed to get when I was 14, I got them because “then no one will want to kiss me, so I definitely won’t fall in love with anyone, and a year from now I will be free to move overseas with nothing holding me back.” It technically worked, but I feel like I’ve been self-sabotaging a LOT longer. I always, always, ALWAYS went to formal events with my girl friends in high school and self professed that I would never want to go with any of the guys (bi me just coming out to play, or me just trying to avoid the disappointment of no one asking?). Even when I did date in university, I always keep people at an arms length because I was convinced I wasn’t in the right place to have that committed kind of relationship. I was open and honest about the temporary nature of the relationship right from the get-go… not usually how people start relationships, right?
It’s sort of like when you refuse to study for an exam, or work on a paper ahead of time, just so that when you get the mark back you can say, ah well that’s pretty good considering I didn’t try at all! You’re saving yourself the disappointment of having tried at failed, or at least not getting the results you want. If you pretend like you’re not looking for a relationship, then it’s less disappointing when it doesn’t come. For a long time I genuinely was not looking for a relationship, because I wanted to move and shake and discover the world on my own. But the expiration date for my self-sabotage was always supposed to be once I moved, you know, so I could shake. (ha).
Well, I moved five months ago, and I still regularly make “ha ha I’m so alone” jokes. Have I gone on any dates? I went on one Tinder date and I hated how platonic the experience was. I go on friend-dates, where you go for coffee, or go shopping with gal pals, and going on a Tinder date felt eerily close to that. I also have been doing tons of stuff on my own, and I keep saying “how many concerts do I have to go to, looking cute as hell, before someone finally falls in love with me?” “how many parks do I have to sit alone in looking cute as hell, before someone comes and sits next to me?”
Tinder and online dating is a common topic between me and my penpal/cousin Claudia. Both of us are pretty old school, both of us hate the online dating game, both of us now want the romance but also love our independence. I was writing to her yesterday and my most recent incarnation of the ‘cute as hell’ trope was (of course related to Hozier) “When is my meet-cute with Hozier going to happen? Clearly I need to spend more time hiking in Ireland. A run-in on a hike seems like the ideal meet cute.” And then I realised I have had that meet cute. I got the number. I never texted.
Why did I never text?! Yes, I was in another country. Yes, I was leaving in a few days, but still! That’s it, self-admittedly the most ideal meet-cute and I made a conscious effort to avoid it. I remember thinking, well if I need to I will, searching for some god-given signal that maybe I should text this number, even though the signal I originally was asking for was the number itself! Even when clearing out my phone messages every time my phone has said ‘not enough storage’ since October, I’ve never deleted the message with the number.
Am I self-sabotaging romance? I think the answer at this point is an easy yes. Is it because I’ve spent a lifetime doing this to myself, or because I’m still not sure what’s coming next? Maybe. Is it because I had that one relationship that left me emotionally damaged? Probably not, I feel like everyone has one of those. Is it because I have a faint and distance crush on someone I was friends with months ago, who definitely has their own independent life going on and holds no interest in mine at all? Probably not, but I wanted to bring this up because WHY is this something so many women do? Part of self-sabotaging maybe. Maybe we just continue to think about that person so we don’t have to consider looking around us.
Something I have learned is that your twenties absolutely ARE spent thinking about the things that Carrie Bradshaw wrote about. Consider ArcticSabrina a new adaptation of the Sex and the City column, except mine is more the ‘I cannot believe I am honestly having the over-the-top millenialesque thoughts about life and my place in it’. By all means, if you have advice on how to ‘put myself out there’ that don’t include me having to go on Tinder dates, and DO include hiking dates with guys who kind of give off a feminine vibe, leave them in the comments below.
How are we all feeling about our relationship with relationships? Good? Bad? Painfully average? Tell me everything!