Ahhhh the dating post. I’ve put this off.
We all want to talk about dating, apparently! And that’s normal. In our twenties we are pretty hardwired to be searching for a partner. Have you heard of Erikson’s Psychosocial Development Theory? We are smack dab in the middle of the intimacy vs. isolation period where we are looking for romance and asking, “Will I be loved?” And if that search isn’t going well it can be really, really frustrating.
A change from previous generations, only about half of my friends are married right now. There are still plenty of people single or dating as we approach 30. It’s a weird age where half the people have kids and half are still getting drunk at bars all the time. Baby announcements are now as common as engagements!
So even though I definitely am excited to finally find the right person and settle down, I know it’s not totally abnormal that I haven’t yet. I’ve also had a pretty wild decade – living in 5 different cities and making a big career change means I haven’t been in one place for too long. That makes finding something stable a little harder.
I’ve tried though! And with some success. I’ve had some great relationships, and ones I was really hopeful about. I used to share more about my dating life on the blog, so many of you original readers remember some of my ex-boyfriends. They all didn’t work out for different reasons, some of which hurt more than others. But looking back now I can totally see that it was for the best.
I have done some really necessary growing up in the past few years, and I definitely haven’t always made the best choices about my relationships. One of my therapists liked to call that “partner choice” – her polite way of saying, “Stop dating terrible people!” Of course it’s not that the people were terrible, they just weren’t right for me.
I wasn’t always good about making sure I was getting what I really wanted. I thought I was keeping the peace and being understanding, but really I was totally neglecting my own needs. I dated people that didn’t treat me well, negated my feelings, had different values, etc. At the time I truly thought I was happy. I didn’t want to complain or be needy. Hindsight is 20/20, right? I’m a people pleaser by nature, but over the past few years I’ve found that you have to say no and have some boundaries in order to get what is best for you. And that is okay.
So let’s chat about the dating itself!
I’m in a weird position because I’m in medical school where I am older than 99% of my classmates. They range from 23-26 on average, though there are a few closer to my age. I adore them and they are some of my best friends, but it means lots are at a slightly different place in life. Sure, some are married or in long term relationships, but there are lots that have no interest in settling down yet (cough, the guys.) So there hasn’t been much luck dating within medical school. And dating residents or doctors from the hospital just sounds weird to me – they are my superiors and sometimes evaluating me!
(Oh and the whole dating as a medical student period is a whole other post. The Match complicates everything. I struggle with that.)
We have done a pretty decent job at keeping a social life, so I’m out with friends fairly often. I also have my high school friends here and my older brother, so you’d think I would meet people all the time! And yet it seems like there is no one out there. I’m sure you guys feel me on that one. WHERE ARE ALL THE MEN?
Enter dating apps. I resisted for so long. I didn’t need those! How weird! (says the girl that shares her deepest secrets on the internet.) But finally after seeing so many success stories in friends and family I gave in and let my roommates make a Bumble account for me last fall. That was a hilarious start because they aren’t from St. Louis and starting swiping on people I KNEW! I grabbed that phone back real fast. Last fall I went on a few dates but nothing worked out and I ended up deleting the app for about 6 months. I was studying for boards anyway and didn’t have a whole lot of time.
Just recently I re-downloaded the app so that I could deactivate it (which I didn’t realize you had to actually do instead of just deleting it from your phone) and of course starting looking through again. The thing is a little addicting. And it makes me feel weird. I don’t dig the concept of judging someone based on how they look and maybe a few sentences, but it’s the way of the world these days.
Anyway long story short, I started using Bumble again. So dating is happening, and I’m really happy right now! I’m being pickier about the things that are important to me and am pretty hopeful. Who knows if or when I’ll actually find the person that could be my husband, but I’m trying not to push pressure on it. I’ve got a lot going on career wise right now, and it’ll happen when it’s supposed to. Marriage is a big deal and a lifetime commitment to me, so I don’t want to rush into something just for the sake of being with someone. Sure I get nervous about my age and joke about freezing my eggs, but truly I know how lucky I am to be where I am in life right now.
So talk to me about dating! Tell me how it’s going for you, what frustrates you, how you’re going about it. I’m sure we all have a lot to say 😉