Over coffee in a popular part of town in downtown Arcadia, Madison told me a story that touched on an aspect of dating which those of us who have been around the dating game for a bit could probably relate to. This story revolved around another friend of hers named Abby, who we viewed as a successful person (or at least as successful as you can be for someone who just graduated college). She, like so many of us, was looking for the love of her life. At some point, she was going out with someone by the name of Jonathon. From the looks of everything, it seemed as if they got along great; their personalities seemed to match, and they enjoyed being around one another. In terms of the relationship itself, or at least how they talked to and behaved around one another, it seemed like they didn’t have any problems.
In terms of problems, the only one they had was that everyone around them thought that Jonathon was not in Abby’s league. He wasn’t particularly handsome, or motivated, or blessed with a natural talent that could have made up for everything that was average. In short, he was average in every sense of the word. Abby’s friends didn’t know why she was dating him, and apart from the fact that she liked Jonathon, it seemed as if Abby had no idea why she was dating him either. But because she tends to listen to her friends’ input and opinions on who she dates, and also because she felt as if what they were saying had logical reasons, she decided to break up with Jonathon. It wasn’t a nasty breakup, but Jonathon still had his heart broken.
A few months later, Abby heard that Jonathon had moved on and was dating another girl named Shavan. Shavan was a popular girl who was even more successful, better looking, and seemingly had a wealthier background than Abby. Abby couldn’t comprehend what had happened. The main reason why Abby broke up with Jonathon in the first place was because she felt as if she needed to “be better” so to speak, and in the most ironic twist, Abby was left alone while Jonathon was the one who traded up. To her, the whole situation was confusing.
This story was particularly interesting to me because when I was still desperate to date someone, I would always fall into this cycle. I was never truly satisfied with the person I was with, and therefore I always kept an eye on a possible person who was “better” than the person who I was currently dating. Here’s what I learned from my past in this regard: that’s the worst possible way to go about dating people. It’s not fair for either party. It’s exceptionally superficial, and doesn’t get to the heart of what dating should be about, which is being with someone who you truly care about. You can either love someone or not. If too much value is put in superficial things, thinking that there is only a group of very specific people you can date or can have a possibility of falling in love with, it seems to limiting and unnecessary. From my experience, it seems that falling in love with someone (or “liking” them) is more often than not a tricky thing. It’s often better to accept these feelings as a gift rather than look for problems in the other person.