After the perennial resolution to lose weight and/or get in shape, one of the most frequent resolutions that single people make is to find the love of their life (or at least improve their dating situation) in the new year. It’s also one of the few resolutions that people start in on even before the ball drops—how many of you spent the days leading up to New Year’s Eve wondering who your were going to kiss at midnight?
It makes sense: you’ve just suffered through another Thanksgiving and Christmas alone (wait, how many of your friends are engaged now?), and as though the idea of watching Miley Cyrus gyrate in Times Square with your friends at the bar wasn’t depressing enough, the specter of Valentine’s Day is looming. Never again, you swear—this is the year that you stop dating losers and finally meet your soulmate. This is going to be YOUR YEAR!
Except, you know, it’s not.
First off, anyone who uses the phrase “This is going to be my year” deserves whatever the universe decides to hand them, in my humble opinion—or at least a slap in the face. But in all seriousness, the fundamental issue here is that the next 52 weeks belong to no one, and the same goes for the timetable to your dating life.
Finding your soulmate is not like interviewing applicants for a door greeter job at Wal-Mart (if it were, you probably wouldn’t still be single, or reading this article). Obviously, you can help improve your odds by going on more dates, online dating, and showering more than twice a week, but an actual 365-day countdown is only going to serve to remind you that each passing day is bringing you a little bit closer to another date with Ryan Seacrest and a bottle of wine.
Aside from the obvious fact that you can’t bend kismet to your will, the other big problem here is that most people end up embarking on the latest chapter of their dating saga while still carrying all of the emotional baggage they’ve accumulated from prior relationships. All of those failures end up defining how your dating habits play out in the future (or your habits in general, for that matter—hell, I originally began writing because I needed a distraction from Heartbreak #631). How many of your dating resolutions involve phrases like “I’m going to stop dating musicians” or “I’m only going date people who are gainfully employed” or “I’m going to start showing up to my dates sober”? All of those are good goals, but in order to stick to them, you’re going to be constantly reminding yourself of your failures. Oh, so you’re going to give online dating a try? Congratulations, you can use all of those negative criteria to meet strangers that I’m sure will be super-impressed with how emotionally damaged you are. And once you find a new beau, how many of you compare your new love interests to your old ones? How many of you look at your exes’ Facebook profiles more often than the OkCupid profile of the person you’re going out with, next week? STAHP IT.
Now, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t go on dates—go on as many of them as you want! Join as many online dating sites as you like! Just try to leave the time table and the emotional baggage at home before you do. That way, you won’t have to define the success of your year on an outcome that’s only partially within your control. And who knows? Maybe you’ll meet somebody worthwhile and actually be able to say that 2014 was, in fact, “your year.”
(I’m still going to want to slap you if you do, though.)