Dating in Your Thirties is a Bitch But You're Brave Enough to Handle It
After The Coitus Chronicles came out, I wanted to stop writing about my love life. I was tired of failed relationships and “getting back in the saddle.” I was tired of shitty dates and “I Love You’s” that turned into goodbyes. My loneliness became a living ache inside of me and even though I had a good life, even though I had wonderful friends and hosted stellar theme parties, I couldn’t quite shake the feeling that my best moments would be better if there was someone to share them with. So, yea, I wanted to fall in love, be happy, and write a fiction novel about someone else’s life. Unfortunately, God has other plans for me.
If you couldn’t tell from me waxing poetically in that first paragraph:
I’m single. Again.
At this point in the game, I’ve been dating for nearly two decades. It’s been a cycle of hope and disappointment, more times than I can count. I’ve downloaded and deleted and re-downloaded every dating app under the sun. I’ve been set up. I’ve met people at parties. I’ve kissed people in grimy alleys and on beautiful boats at sunrise and sunset, at the beach, on the trail, at the bar, over coffee, tea, whiskey, you name it. When it didn’t work out, I’ve been embarrassed, I’ve been indifferent, I’ve been sobbing on my floor. I’ve had years of watching other people fall in love and feeling genuinely happy for them, and also going to bed and whispering, “Where are you?”
Honestly, It’s easy to lose hope. It’s easy to say “You know what, I’m done. I can’t do this shit anymore,” and get two cats, build walls and enter every new relationship with so much guardedness that suddenly you’re the emotionally unavailable one.
I’m writing this for myself but also any other single person out there who is fucking tired of doing this. Because dating in your 30's is a bitch and goddamnit, it’s hard to keep putting yourself out there! It’s hard to allow your heart to keep hoping even though you know where that hope has led you before.
But I keep doing it, mostly because I believe that love is everything everyone says it is.
I’ve been a hopeless romantic my whole life. One of my best friends, Kymian, got married recently and we used to fight about this.
“Love isn’t a Disney Movie, it’s hard work,” she told me once.
We had this fight for years. She told me I was unrealistic. That I was looking for something that didn’t exist.
Then she met Marc.
And I just knew it was different. The way he smiled at her, the way they spent their weekends talking for hours, the way they touched each other at dinner just to check-in.
I had the honor of officiating their wedding last month and I asked Marc if he was nervous.
“No, I’m so excited for Kymian to be my wife,” he said.
Classic Marc. He’s a romantic though, like me. Kymian, she’s a harder cookie to crack. She’s practical. A realist.
So imagine my surprise and joy when at the wedding Kymian gave a speech, turned to me and said “Thank you for your unfailing belief in love. You were right. Love is easy.”
Watching Kymian and Marc find each other gave me hope. And you need hope when you’re dating in your 30’s. In fact, I keep a running list of happy, healthy couples in my brain and when I feel sad I run through my list. I think about how Hallie thought she’d blown her chance at love when Marty walked into her life out of nowhere. I think about how Alex learned how to roller skate so he could do a routine with Leah at their wedding. I think about how Will looks at Kristen. How Jon once told me that “ Katie made every room she walked in better.” I run through my list and remind myself to be patient. I remind myself to trust the timing of things. I pray. I cry. I make myself very busy doing other things.
And I keep putting myself out there. I keep committing to being open to possibilities. To being vulnerable when I want to shut down. To trying when I want to quit. To allowing myself to get excited when I meet someone, to plan cute dates and stay up too late with them even when well-intentioned friends have told me to “protect my heart” and not to “jump in the deep end.”
What’s the fun in that though? If you can’t be dopey and grinning and staying up too late in the beginning of a relationship, when can you? I’ve spent so much of my romantic life sitting on the edge of the pool because I was afraid of getting hurt. At least if I jump in, I’ll know that I tried.
If you’re reading this and it’s too relatable, I just want to remind you how brave it is to keep putting yourself out there. I want to remind you that it’s not foolish or silly to want romance for yourself. That every bad date is leading to someone great. That every POS who kicks you out or breaks your heart is getting you one step closer. And if you're as single as you can be, then remember to trust. Have Faith. Don't let the bitterness and loneliness steal the knowing in your soul that says “they’re coming.”
And if you've recently met someone new, remember that it’s okay to get excited, to gush about them to your friends, even though you’ve done this so many times before. Even though you’re tired of doing this, even though you’re scared it’s all gonna end again, that you gotta give this person a full chance with your full heart.
And, of course, jump in the motherfucking pool.
After all, dating in your thirties is a bitch, but you're brave enough to handle it.