Have you ever pitied someone you were dating? Have you ever felt not just empathy, but sympathy for someone you went on a date with? Did that sympathy lead to another date, when you clearly had no interest in pursuing them any further?Does this sound all too familiar, not because you do this, but you know someone who might do this sort of thing? I know far too many people who view dating as an opportunity to give alms, instead of finding someone, and it needs to stop. Your love life is not a charity.
Let’s say you meet someone, you go on a first date, and while they seem like a nice person, they just aren’t a good fit for you. Nevertheless, something about them, whether it’s their personality, their life story, or whatever else it might be, inspires pity. You think to yourself that you’re definitely not attracted to this person, but don’t want to make them feel bad so you’ll go out with them if they ask again, but you’re not really that interested anyway, but they’re so nice that you just don’t want to hurt them. So you go on another date, and you know it wont work, but you do it anyway to be nice. Please stop doing this. Immediately. What we do, when we think we’re being nice, operating under the idea that by not hurting purposely hurting someone makes us good, is not only harming the people we date, but ourselves.
If you’re reading this and you’re a single woman who is currently on the dating market, would it be safe to say that you are sometimes disproportionately disrespectfully by men? Or that the effort with which you are pursued is often misdirected, or down right rude? How often is the advice you’ve been given, whether on other dating blogs, or even from friends and family, advice that implies that you should sacrifice your own needs for others? Maybe you should lower your standards if you aren’t meeting anyone good? Or maybe you should learn to accept that sometimes men need to be coddled if you want to find a good one? Maybe you just need to create an environment where a man can come into your life, grow, and be a good fit for you? What that advice is saying is this: Make your love life a charity. Sacrifice yourself, your happiness, your passion, your love life in service to others. Do for others first, while compromising your core values in order to be more charitable. Be the woman who cooks for her family and eats last, in the kitchen alone. Give those you date the metaphorical shirt off of your back, whether it’s by dating people who you don’t meet your standards, or by humoring the “nice guy” when his “niceness” becomes just as cloying and obnoxious as the behaviors he disparages the “bad boy” strawman for having. Where I stand on this is simple:
Your love life is not a charity. The only way to truly be good to the people you date are to be honest, and sometimes honesty hurts.
I’m not going to tell you that by changing yourself and becoming the Stepford version of whatever you are, that suddenly you’ll find someone amazing because dating doesn’t work that way. I wont tell you to wait 3 months to have sex with a man because that will suddenly change his binary categorization of you from “Cardi B” to “Ayesha Curry” because that’s not how dating works (and just to be clear, there is nothing wrong with being either of these women, or any other type of women). If you want to sacrifice something in the name of dating, do so because you want to, not because you feel a charitable obligation to do so. That “nice guy” you’re dealing with keeps getting too pushy, but you don’t want to hurt his feelings by rejecting him, again, for the 20th time? Fuck that! Why are you sacrificing for him? You aren’t doing him a service, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Treat people with kindness, but don’t make your kindness a burden to yourself.
This doesn’t just go for straight women, this goes for everyone. Stop being charitable with your dating life because trust me, there aren’t any tax breaks to be found in emotional charity. Stop humoring people you have no romantic interest in because they’re good people. Stop sacrificing your time, money, and emotional energy in the service of people who you only feel sympathy for. If you want to actually engage in charity, by all means go for it, but you shouldn’t treat your love life like a charity to sate your charitable drives. You can’t feed someone off of your plate if you’ve got no food on it.
I’m not saying that you should be unkind, just that you shouldn’t confuse kindness with being charitable. If you don’t like someone and don’t want to date them, the kind thing would be to tell them that, not go on pity dates with them to make your inevitable rejection feel better. If you want to break up with someone, instead of sacrificing your happiness (and theirs eventually) by acting so poorly that it makes them want to break up with you, just break up with them. Avoid maliciously harming people, be kind, and stop treating your love life like a charity.
Good Luck Out There.