A 20-Something’s Introspection On Dating

Dating is exciting. The intricate dance of showcasing our flirt skills with just the right blend of emoji. Somewhere between that martini and the flamenco dancer emoji, because damn it, we’re attractive and witty. And our texts should showcase that.

While we like to pretend otherwise, when we date, it’s never really about the other person. At least not in the beginning. The allure of having someone interested in you, in wanting to “date” you, is really about being smitten with the power of it all.

Dating is taking all those things that we like about OURSELVES and hearing it come from someone else. It’s the ultimate form of validation. Is it shallow? Yes. But we have undeniably all been there.

A casual sport. At least we have a moment of complete captivation with someone who is presenting an unfiltered part of themselves. A spark. That spark happens in-person, during actual conversation. The type of conversation that you enjoy so much, you forget to check twitter every three seconds.

We hear it all the time: we are the generation of connected disconnect. This is the millennial way. We are a bunch of 20 something’s who are all over the place. We cling to our college selves for as long as possible. We cling to the idea of the right to be selfish. We feel like we owe it to ourselves. The idea that we should be free to explore all of our options is want becomes a common 20 something life mantra. For this is time to be putting ourselves out there, right? Immersing ourselves in this dating sport. Racking up life experiences before it’s too late.

Though there are a few amongst us, who crave some deep level of connection with someone. Something that goes a bit deeper than “just dating”. Some of us are actively seeking the spark. The type of connection that lends to a partnership. To be someone’s other half. The yearning sits as we sift through in-boxes of generic “wyd??’ texts.

Most of us though, are secretly afraid of the spark. Why? Because that type of connection requires a level of vulnerability. We are trained to think that a connection leads to commitment and commitment is a shackle, at least until we’re closer to 30.

Vulnerability. Is. Terrifying.

We spend so much time layering ourselves with who we think we should be. Having to undo that cocoon of illusion sounds….ugh. It sounds like Tinder might just be the move. That “wyd??” guy might not be so bad. (He is though, actually.)

Here’s the thing though, the spark is a part of life. That need for connection is a part of life. It will happen and when it does, it will be unmistakable. That person, whose physical presence equates a greater draw than spending hours swiping to the left, will be someone you connect with. Someone you allow yourself to fall in love with.

When you find yourself in love, you will watch this person’s forehead furrow with thought at some random question you’ve asked, and you will think to yourself “forehead wrinkles are fucking beautiful”. And you will be unembarrassed by the thought. Unembarrassed by the butterflies.

If dating is fun, than falling in love feels like opening a window to an eternal breeze of springtime. Everything will feel like a picture. You will walk around instagraming the sky with captions like “just because :-)” much to the silent chagrin of your friends, but you won’t even care. And it will be glorious. Your heart will be open to everything. Your senses will be overwhelmed.

There are risks with feeling the spark. There are risks with falling in love.

You see, that person who you become captivated with, will be the keeper of the rawest form of you. All those things you are embarrassed by. That’s a hard thing to relinquish and you won’t without a little fight. But you will give it. You will allow yourself to be vulnerable because this is the person that you order the guacamole for at Chipotle even when you didn’t splurge on it for yourself. This person with the cute forehead wrinkles will be your instructor on how to put yourself secondary sometimes. How to be un-cocooned.

Even scarier still: This person could potentially break your heart. They could fracture you until a bunch of little pieces. And you will have to learn to mend yourself. To sweep up that broken glass and build again.

Even if you find yourself on the mend of heartbreak, it will all be worth it at the end, because through it, you became a little more human. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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