What Dating Has Taught Me About Commitment. Or rather, “What Online Dating has Taught me About LACK of Commitment.”
It’s no secret that I’m single ; I’ve written frequently about it on this blog. I haven’t always been single, but for the majority of my life I have been. To me, being single is comfortable.
That doesn’t mean I don’t desire a relationship, though. No, I have a DEEP desire to find the one I want to spend my life with. Marriage is one of my biggest dreams, and I truly do hope it is in my future. But the journey to whoever my knight and shining armor may be, has been quite the bumpy road , but I’ve learned a great deal (spoiler: he might not be a knight in shining armor).
In my past, I have been cheated on, lied to, fooled and, maybe worst of all, been deceived regarding a person’s marital status (he was married the whole time and I had no clue). With that as the foundation before I even dove into the world of internet dating, I already had quite the lack of hope in true commitment. This is hard, because once I commit to something, I’m in. I’m 110 percent fighting for the relationship to be the best it can be, but because of my lack of foundation it takes me awhile to get there. Online dating has not helped to rejuvenate my hope for males and commitment. Please read through to the end though, as my hope has been renewed multiple times.
I have tried a total of three online dating sites. Match, Christian Mingle, and eHarmony. Each of them has their pros and cons. And all three of them are very different depending on your location. In Western Michigan, my results and matches were very different than they have been in Chicago. My first date from online dating came from Christian Mingle. He was a great guy and he was more than ready to commit, but our ideas of living were very different. He was ready to live the rest of his life in a town with a population of 300. I was struggling to not suffocate in a city of 250,000. So needless to say, that didn’t last.
The next couple of guys came from Match.com. They were great at texting me when they were lonely, but they would fall through on plans and never once actually picked up the phone to call me. And some even asked flat out if I would be interested in just being a “friends with benefits.”
The ones from Match that I did go on dates with, well one of them un-friended me on Facebook after meeting me and didn’t have the balls to tell me he wasn’t interested (no worries I wasn’t interested either pal!). Another I was really interested in, but he never would ask me to hang out and never actually stated he was interested so after three months of a pretty much purely texting relationship, I ended it. He was then very verbal about how interested he was.
Since then, I have spoken with a variety of guys and gone on a few dates. Some however, I never let get past the first texts or phone calls because they were already talking about marriage and babies WITH me when I didn’t even know what their favorite color was, let alone if I wanted to marry them and carry their child. They want marriage and babies, but aren’t willing to commit to the getting to know part.
I could go on and on for hours about my experiences with online dating, but I won’t. And out of respect for these guys, I won’t share the details beyond the surface.
Here is my observation. Guys from these dating sites have either had no idea how to pursue and commit OR they have been way too overzealous on their pursuing and readiness to commit without the desire to get to know me for who I am beyond my dating profile. Maybe I’m too picky? But I think the real thing is that our society has made us want things instantly when we’re ready and not have to do the work, but also afraid to commit until we are absolute certain it is going to be easy and/or self gratifying.
But this is the truth. Relationships are hard. Dating can be really rough. Risking opening up to someone is terrifying. Dating sites have not renewed my hope for that man who will be my life partner. I’ll tell you what has renewed my hope though…
My patients and their significant others.
From day one of my nursing career I have watched as patients’ significant others sit by their dying loved ones bedside. I have watched a spouse hug his wife of 50 years dead body while sobbing uncontrollably. I have seen a husband travel all over the country to help his young wife find the best place to fight her cancer so that she can have as many days as possible with him and their children. I have watched a wife diligently suction and clean her dying husbands mouth in his final hours and minutes. And in those amazing moments, I have been able to dance in joy with that husband and wife as we celebrate over the fact that the scans are yes, still clear. Remission is truly here.
This has given me hope. This has shown me that true love still exists. I will take to heart the words of advice from my sweet patient as she told me “I had to wait a long time for him, but he was worth it, so worth it.” So here is my challenge to each of you who are single. I’m not saying dating sites are bad, what I am saying is our approach is off. Take away the instant gratification. Take away the image in your head. Accept that you are going to be hurt and that there are going to be bad dates. Dating and relationships take time, and sometimes a lot more time than we would like.
And when that person enters your life that you truly could see walking through fire with, fight, commit, and be all in. Let’s stop the focus on instant gratification and learn what it means to invest and be in something for the long haul again.