Dating: False Advertising

July 3, 2008

Published in the March 1, 2008 edition of QSaltLake.

I believe that every human being is in some way broken. And when I think of broken things I picture sharp, jagged edges. If you’ve ever had experience with such sharp objects then you know they can harm you. This same principle applies to human beings. Our broken parts make it highly likely that we will hurt other people, usually those we care about.

If a person is not ready for something they are seeking, then I believe they will unwittingly drive that very thing away. So it is that our jagged edges often keep what we desire from coming within our reach. The challenge is recognizing what parts of ourselves need some smoothing.

Now, our jagged edges are not always a negative or unnatural thing. After a break-up, no matter whether it was “clean” or “messy,” a person has any number of jagged edges that make him or her unsuitable for any kind of serious dating relationship. A responsible, self-aware adult will make every conscious effort to smooth out these hurt parts before they let another person get close.

A very common form of false advertising in the dating world is to present yourself as available when you’re not. Recently, I’ve been struggling with this challenge. I plan on relocating after graduation, and I’ve come to realize that this has rendered me undateable. Right now it doesn’t matter who I meet or how spectacular they are: I am just not in a place where I’m going to allow an intimate relationship to happen. I need to graduate and live as an adult with a real adult job before I’m going to be open to any kind of serious dating. That’s my truth right now.

I say this like I really believe it, but if I’m being honest with you, which I am, then I have to admit there’s a part of me that doesn’t believe what I’m saying. I’m a hopeless romantic and my heart wants to believe that if the right person came along tomorrow, I’d be open to that possibility. But in my head I recognize that this isn’t true. And while my heart often chooses the direction, my head picks the course.

While I’m unavailable due to my outwardly changing life situation, I have a good friend who is unavailable because of an inwardly changing life situation. While the outward appearance of my friend’s life is very organized and stable, he recognizes that he needs to be at peace with a lot of internal issues before he can find the relationship he seeks.

I have another friend who has found himself on the other end of this situation twice, in just the last six months. He keeps meeting men who present themselves as available, they’re really not. These men are in transition themselves and have refused to recognize, or have not yet recognized or accepted, that they are not in a place where they should be seeking a serious relationship. My friend has picked up on this fact in a much clearer and more straightforward way than these men have. I think my friend’s ability to notice this has to do with the fact that his life is conducive to that which he seeks.

If you imagine the state of being capable and ready for a relationship as a beautiful and unique landscape, then you can imagine why those who are not ready for it would be incapable of accurately describing it. And how this in turn would be the bullshit detector those who have seen this landscape could use to determine whether another truly has seen it.

No matter what a person appears to be, she or he radiates their truth. And while you may not be able to put your finger on what about them puts you off, your core will often sense what they don’t want you to know. Often, this is something they themselves don’t even realize.

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