Dating is exhausting. Finding the right person is exhausting. Maintaining a healthy, happy, stable relationship is exhausting.
It’s always going to be exhausting. It’s always going to be hard work.
That doesn’t mean you have to suck all of the fun out of it. Or that you have to maintain some kind of perfect facade until you’re definitely, absolutely sure that this is the real thing.
Some people date just for fun. Some people date to find the person they’re going to marry. Some people date not necessarily with marriage in mind, but with some kind of end goal in which they can form a deep, committed connection with someone else.
Whatever the case, the point of dating is to open yourself up to another person. To look around and meet different kinds of people and figure out what it is that you want and need in a partner.
And when you think you’ve found the right person, at least for the time being, you’ll of course be initially overwhelmed in the falling stage. The stage where you shave every day and take a shower before you meet up with them. Where you choose your outfit carefully and you hold in your farts and you save your more embarrassing stories for another time.
But that stage is always going to end. Either the excitement is going to fizzle out completely and the relationship will die, or it will evolve into something deeper, and more comfortable, and more emotionally intimate.
And if you’re lucky enough to get to this intimate stage, you should make sure it’s with someone you can be weird around. Someone who will not ask you to explain why you’re having a random fit of laughter or why you just made that bizarre noise for no reason or why your greatest fear is having your teeth fall out.
They won’t ask you to explain yourself, because they’re too busy laughing along with you, too busy appreciating all the unique (but bizarre) quirks about you, too busy thinking of their own weird noise to make so that you don’t feel silly or stupid.
This is not to say that you need to find someone who thinks the sun shines out of your ass. But you do need to be with someone who makes you feel accepted, loved, and supported for who you actually are, which is: sometimes weird, sometimes cranky, sometimes gross, sometimes lazy, sometimes emotional, sometimes hyper, sometimes OCD, sometimes erratic, sometimes a million other things that can be slightly inconvenient but are part of what makes you mortal.
You’re a human being. You’re real, you’re natural, you’re imperfect, you’re normal. The real you is not the same as the person who goes on first and second dates, the person in your Tinder profile, the person who thinks critically about a text before they send it. Those are shades of you.
Those versions of you are still truthful in their own way. But they’re still guarded, crafted, edited, filtered. You’re trying to find a mate. You’re trying to make people find you attractive and appealing so you have some options in the dating world. It’s not a bad thing. It doesn’t make you shallow. But it’s also not sustainable.
The person you can be weird with is the person who will love you for being the most naked version of yourself. No gimmicks, no edits, no carefully crafted explanations of who you are. Just you – the good and the bad.
That’s what makes a relationship solid, and happy, honest and open. That’s what makes a relationship last. It’s important to be in love, but that insane, overwhelming, all-consuming passion that you feel in the beginning is not the fuel of your relationship. That always goes away.
What keeps a relationship going is the trust you have in one another, the belief that you will love one another despite the imperfect, and unique, and weird things about yourselves. Weird can mean whatever you want it to mean – odd, strange, funky, shy, passionate about things that are “against the norm,” goofy, unique in your style or tastes, whatever. Weird means something different to everyone.
What it should mean to you is that you can be yourself, you can be naked and open and genuine – with nothing but trust that your partner will love you not just in spite of your quirks, but because of them.