I have dated a lot. Not commercial pilot a lot, but for me, it feels like a lot. I started dating when I was 19 years old, probably a bit later than most, when I fell head over heels in love with someone who was totally wrong for me. This happens to everyone, I’m sure, and just like everyone, I got my heart broken and thought it was the end of the world (spoiler alert: it wasn’t!). What happened immediately afterwards though set the tone for a lot of the relationships that followed. I began a quest to ease that terrible heart break by looking for someone new to fill the void. Of course, as we all know, this strategy doesn’t work and I soon realised that you just have to get over heartbreak in your own time.
Since then I have had on average 1.5 relationships a year, and I am now 26. I am on good terms with (almost) all of them. We speak. We keep in touch. Some were more serious than others. Some were good, some were shitty. I was in desperately in love with some, I was momentarily in love with others. But one thing is true for almost all of them. It was me who broke up with them.
If I had to describe my romantic inclinations, I would generally site William Thacker of Notting Hill and say “I’m a fairly level headed bloke, not often in and out of love…”, but the evidence says otherwise. Please note here that I am a fairly well-adjusted person, and I am pursued by very few ‘relationship issues’ demons. How did it come to be, that level headed, unromantic me, has so many ex-girlfriends? I am not a “playa”, and I am often single for long stretches of time, I don’t rush into relationships, I don’t (often) accidently keep one night stands (I never said I was a saint), and yet I have this huge suitcase of exes.
I thought this whole time that I was looking for someone to settle down with, to share my life with, and to raise a family with. I thought I was testing people to see if they were a good fit, to see if they could share my joys and my struggles, to be a friend and a partner. When I realised that the person I was dating was unlikely to be a good match, I ended it. But looking back at just how many ends there have been, I don’t think that’s really what I’ve been doing at all.
A friend of mine once said that when I find someone to settle down with, I am going to regret my promiscuous ways because ‘it’ will no longer be special. The ‘it’ she was referring to at the time I understood to be sex. I, of course, thought this was both ridiculous and hilarious. Firstly, I don’t believe sex is particularly special. It’s great, it’s fun, and it’s important, but I think there is a danger in placing too much emphasis on sex as a central aspect of your relationship. It is one important thing that people in relationships do among many.
Secondly, I remember thinking, why on earth would I hold myself back from experiencing the wonder that is all different types of women! Here, I would usually go into a laundry-list-type tirade about all the different types of women there are to appreciate in the world, but if I begin I fear we will be here a long time. I don’t have to explain, you know who they are…
The thing is, I don’t think I have ever quite dropped that attitude. There is still this ever present curiosity that drives me to experience all types of women, all types of relationships, and different types of love.
I have been on a dating safari all this time and I just realised it right now.
All of the above is rather self-indulgent, but there is an important point that I want to broach in my next segment: How do I break the habit, and get the hell off the dating Safari?