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Your Dating Questions Answered
This month I'm weighing in on some dating doubts and droughts
This month a couple of readers of my Tribeza column sent in their dating/relationship questions. A welcomed departure from my own dating life, I took time to examine the two different perspectives of these women; one in relationship, contending with ‘is this one?’ the other close to 50 wondering what advice I could give her as she sets out to date after 5 years of no sex and zero experience on dating apps.
This is the unedited version.
"Why do ppl have relational ambivalence & does that mean their partner isn't the one? "
I have great news for you. Relational ambivalence is built into the human brain. We are designed to look for shiny objects and question everything…. especially the longer we are with someone and the chemical highs become normalized. So human, so real.
A few years ago I was watching Friday Night Lights. The scene was a high school classroom having a class discussion about human beings being like most animals; we are not made to mate with one person for life. Monogamy is not natural. One student interrupts another, and I’m not quoting her, but explains that though monogamy is a man made construct, what separates humans is opposable thumbs and our critical thinking brain.
The human brain continues to evolve itself when pushed beyond its nature and it’s limitations of ‘self’.
Which is precisely what monogamy does; it pushes you beyond your nature, and your instincts. It changes you.
I can’t speak to romantic commitments and the growth that happens beyond the repair or years of staying and actively working on them because I walked out.
However, I can speak and attest to the character evolution I experienced as an individual who committed to actively parenting and showing up for two people day after day, when I didn’t think I had it in me. (and the many days where I didn’t want to) There was never an option to leave in my mind and so despite the absolute frustration, running on empty and yes, very real disappointments when they lied or betrayed my trust, I learned to let go, not hold it against them and truly forgive. For that I’m a better person. They broke me, so to speak, and I am a very different person than I was 20 years ago when we first met.
I think in today's fast moving dating culture of limitless options, a very changed narrative about marriage and partnership roles plus the shift in women having more rights than ever, people are struggling to find the compelling reason why to stay. Shiny objects are in abundance and shinier then ever ready to distract you.
What we don’t take into consideration or realize, perhaps because it is not woven into the narrative around commitments, is that you have sovereignty and autonomy.
You get to decide. You always have choice.
Which, in my opinion, is what makes our commitments that much more meaningful; we wakeup and choose them daily because we want to, not have to.
Looking back now, I know I could have stayed and overcome the ‘challenges’ I thought I was up against in my relationships. I also have no regrets in my choice not to.
"If you haven't had sex in over 5 yrs, and are approaching 50, what dating advice or apps?”
Dear Nearly 50 and Ready to Date,
I wish I could tell you that there is one specific app that you need to get on, that will make you feel confident and great; that the person or people you are looking to date are there, waiting to receive you and all your amazingness; that you will have guaranteed results if you download THIS one now.
Unfortunately, said dating apps, even with their success rates of people finding love and partnership also offer a lot of options that, at the end of the day, are not options you’d consider. (but is this any different than when we go out to a bar or other place to meet people?)
But therein lies the beauty of dating apps; you have an opportunity to connect with people you would not otherwise meet. To practice having conversations and ultimately, start discovering for yourself what feels good and what doesn’t. The process alone will assist and empower you to use your voice while accelerating your understanding of what you want vs what you don’t want.
I think of dating apps as a fun way to meet new people, train your brain to keep things light, engage in conversations and every so often, connect on a deeper level.
Much like in real life, finding the person who stimulates you on a deeper level, one where the chemistry is just right and alignment for more than just dating, is rare. Which is why, when it happens, we are flooded with an excitement for life as if we are experiencing a rebirth.
Beyond that, and without me knowing for sure, I want to encourage you to get sexually connected with yourself and body before anyone else does. Sex without a partner doesn’t mean we aren’t having sex or should wait. Solo sex is a practice we want to prioritize the same way we do working out or eating right. So that when we find ourselves being intimate with someone we aren’t freaking about not having done this or that in 5 years or associating the other person involved responsible for pleasurable sensations.
Professionally, I’ve been listening to other women talk about their early sexual experiences for nearly 20 years and the most common theme that is revealed time and time again, is that a woman learns her body by the way of someone else’s hands, wants and desires.
Women are not raised to receive, but instead give. She rarely spends time touching herself and finding out what pleases her; developing a language to describe and communicate to her partner(s); pleasing herself when not in partnership.
Aside from overcoming the social conditioning around female sexuality, the mental and physical health benefits are endless on an individual level.
Not to mention, the energy of a woman who has a pleasure practice brings a different voice and energy to the conversation.
A self satisfied woman vibrates differently not only on dating apps, but life in general.
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