November 18, 2008 at 8:10 am (BlogSecret)

So here it is, Nilsa’s BlogSecret project, in which I guest host someone else’s secret. In case that wasn’t clear and you haven’t been paying attention and you don’t know who Nilsa is (shame on you!) and you’ve never heard of BlogSecret, I’m saying that the text below was not written by me.

You can see all of the blogs participating here.

I’m a fairly open person so it took me awhile to find a worthy secret. Unfortunately this secret is also somewhat painful for me to share…the ‘secret’ itself is common (I think) but the reasons behind it aren’t (hopefully).

I’m afraid of dating.

I’m in my twenties and I never have. A big part has to do with when I was very young and impressionable I was used as a stepping stone to get to my friends. Not because one was hotter than the other but simply because they seemed much easier than me (get your mind out of the gutter! We were 8-10, not easy in that way!). I don’t think I have ever recovered from that.

Now, over 15 years later, I still think that when people approach me whether I’m with a group or not it’s just to use me as a bridge and so I stay closed up. Others have told me I just need to settle for someone that I don’t really find all that attractive but who adores me for the boost, apparently that’s all I need…then I’ll be ready to smooze and get with someone who deserves me and I deserve in return. But I don’t think I’m capable of that. I’m not good at pretending and if my body doesn’t feel anything I don’t see the point in trying. I don’t want to spend my dating life (if I ever get one) searching for the next best thing and always feeling like I have to settle for someone just below me. I want to be with people because it’s what I think works for me at that point in my life.

But it’s much easier in thought, in practice it hurts a bit. I enjoy listening to my friends relationship stories, watching them flirt, date, get in relationships, break-up, repeat and am rarely jealous. But when it’s something really great, to the point where I can basically see the sparks flying, hear the infatuation in their voices, and feel the vibes rolling off of them I do get jealous. And then I start to wonder if maybe I should go out and hook up for the experience, maybe I should talk myself into doing the unthinkable and actually dating as a sport…

…Then I think back to those times (yep, more than once, had to make sure my faith was good and broken) and know that there is no way I could do that to someone. I can’t and won’t allow someone to believe that there is something more than what there is just to advance myself in one way or another. It’s a horrible feeling.

On the bright side I don’t know what all of that feels like so I’m not lonely, not in the least bit. I still root for couples, and happiness, and sparks, I just don’t search for it or see it happening for myself.

Love may be a spectator sport though, my friends consistently ask me for relationship advice and, believe it or not, the things I tell them actually work out well for both parties! I’m at a 90% success rate.

If I tried to do the same for myself do you think it would work? Or would past issues keep getting in the way?



  1. Katie said,

    Dating is scary as hell, no wonder why you’re scared. Even just casual dating required you to let your guard down. I’m thinking its mostly because you’ve seen the happiness love and dating can send but also the hurt. I’m sure you’ve seen your friends go through some “He was the one, now he’s gone! My life is over” phases.

    I’m the same way in that I can lead my friends to good decisions, but when it comes to me…not so much. It’s because logic goes out the window when you’re in a situation, you react mostly off of emotions. But when you’re on the outside, you think objectively.

    Remain hopeful. If you want love and are open to it, it’ll come. Honestly though, you’re pretty much happy on your own to a degree. Maybe friend companionship is all you need.

    The supreme happiness is NOT marriage and a child and a fence with a pool. It’s whatever you want. If you want to be single and independent, and that makes you happy, then you’re already there.

    If you DO want to be with someone, just be open to it. When you meet someone, consider it a friendship at first. It’s less stressful. Then, be honest with him/her (whichever!) – tell them dating isnt a realm you frequent so you’re a little weary going in….


  2. Michelle said,

    A lot of what I was going to say is what the above commenter already did – remain hopeful, keep your options open, don’t be tied down with what you think ‘should’ make you happy and do whatever does actually happy. Good luck!

  3. distractedspunk said,

    I love your line, “love is a spectator sport.” Sometimes, it seems far easier to remain on the outskirts than getting involved. But I can say this – love may end, but it’s amazing when you have it. And it really can change you. That’s really all I can say.

  4. Christina said,

    Dating sucks, it truly does.

    But sometimes you have to take the risks to find the reward. Try approaching a guy that you find attractive and you want to know. Tell yourself that it is just a conversation and see where it goes.

    Good luck

  5. Liam said,

    I’ve always been of the theory that you can’t find love… Love finds you. Doesn’t really help any but… just my 2cents.

  6. laurwilk said,

    I agree with Liam.

    But sometimes, it’s also important to take some crazy leap of faith.

    The worst that can happen is a great blog post to share with everyone! And the best…well, the best is pretty dang good.

  7. Belle Ecrivaine said,

    I am in the same boat with you, which some people find strange because I was in a +5-year relationship. But the relationship started with a friend, and in high school, and before that I had never really dated. Now I’m single, even after a small rebound fling, and I have no idea what to do. I am terrified of putting myself out there in case I don’t find anyone, or the ones that find me I don’t want to be with. Dating is hard. It’s alright, though, at the moment because I like being single and I am not dying to be with someone else, but I hope that I do find the courage to go ahead into the dating world and not flounder.

  8. Mandy Lou said,

    Putting yourself out there can be so scary, from dating to job interviews – but if you don’t do it you may not get to the next great thing. I really do believe that love finds each of us in it’s own way, but you’ve got to make sure you’re out there and ready for it. Good luck!

  9. BS said,

    #1) Yes, absolutely. Not only is dating scary, it’s effing exhausting! You’re basically trying to pretend you’re perfect (Oh no, my legs are always shaved! No of course I never go to the bathroom! My room is always this clean!) until you just can’t take it and start being yourself.

    #2) I, like you, always assume someone is interested in my friend, not me. I’m pretty shy until you get to know me and I’m unlikely to strike up a conversation or even (according to some) smile at guys I think are cute. Quite the opposite, actually. BUT, I’ve learned that the difference between those who are successful at getting attention from suitors DON’T CARE whether the person walking up is coming to hit on their friend. The successful ones go after what they want. And that doesn’t mean they go stealing other people’s men (or women), it just means that they pay attention to and make eye contact with the person they want. It means they don’t automatically assume a level of disinterest (in my case, I even assume a level of disgust that should probably put me in therapy).

    Try reversing it. If you walked up to some guy because you thought his friend was cute, but in the course of the conversation realized, Wow, he loves Wallace Stegner, the Red Sox, and O.A.R., but his friend is into Dan Brown, the Yankees, and Britney Spears… (my examples, obviously), wouldn’t you forget about the friend and find that you’re interested in the one you approached? I would. I guess I’m saying you just never know, but that they’ll only be interested if you stop assuming they aren’t.

  10. Sra said,

    If I were you, I’d concentrate on making good friendships with people of the sex you are interested in. Try to really get to know other people. Once that intimacy blockade is broken down, it will be easier to see yourself connecting with someone not only emotionally but physically as well. Don’t give up on yourself! You are young, and it’s not unnatural to be where you are.

  11. Nilsa said,

    I say live life without regrets. So, in 20 years, will you look back at this time in your life and regret not having tried? If not and you are a truly happy person alone, good for you. I think we could all learn a little from you. And if your answer is yes, you’d regret it … well then, I think you have your answer. Good luck!

  12. Essentially Me said,

    So I feel like this is my secret, only I didn’t participate. Dating scares the hell out of me … but more than that, it just exhausts me. I hate the interview feeling it has. I hate that I need to kind of put my best foot forward. I’m more of a friends first, benefits later. I’m sure that you will meet a fabulous guy who is into you and not wanting to date your friend.

  13. Christine said,

    Amen. You secret totally rings true with me. And never, ever settle for less. You may be waiting a bit longer than others, but that wait will pay off. (:

  14. ~The Dream Catcher~ said,

    I believe that love, sparks, happiness and all that do happen, but just not to me. I dont see it happening to me too. But by that theory, I have to say this to you : It will happen to you too. Someday, when you dont expect it. Dont see it happening, it will just happen.. 🙂

  15. Anonymous said,

    I just wanted to say that my boyfriend had not really dated anyone at age 25 when we met. We’ve now been together for 2 years. A lot of people tried to convince him to “settle” just to get the ball rolling. I am glad he waited for the right match. 🙂

  16. Anonymous said,

    Holy shit, I feel like I could have written this myself.

  17. Princess Pointful said,

    Never settle… but don’t be too scared to take an exciting leap, either. People like you are often the ones who seem to find love without needing to search as much, honestly.

  18. Stacy said,

    I have to agree with Liam here. I truly believe that love finds YOU. Not that there’s not ANY effort on our part. You have to be willing to accept it. Letting go of fear is not an easy thing to do, but I have found that it’s just that first step…that first time that’s the hardest. You just have to plug your nose, close your eyes and jump into that cold water…it gets easier.
    Believe in it. Just believe in it.

  19. Megan said,

    I have to admit that your post made me a little sad…I am totally a wear your heart on your sleeve kinda girl…even though I am so familiar with the heartbreak you talked about. Being the chubby girl does not = dates and happiness as a kid. Anyway I say you should be equally as scared of all that you are missing out on…sure you might not be lonely…but think of all the good experiences you might be missing. Anyway I say you should give it a try…even for sport. Do something silly like speed dating…or let someone fix you up.

    I would be scared that I would wake up one day and regret that I never put myself out there.

    And for some reason your post reminded me of a quote from the Wonder Years: “All our young lives we search for someone to love. Someone who makes us complete. We choose partners and change partners. We dance to a song of heartbreak and hope. All the while wondering if somewhere, somehow, there’s someone perfect, who might be searching for us.”

  20. Paula said,

    I’m terrified of dating. I hate it, which is probably why pretty much every boyfriend I have had has been a work colleague!

  21. Kate said,

    I just started dating. And here’s the thing. You don’t STAY with the people you don’t like. You don’t have to. If you feel nothing, you move on. If you feel something, you hover for awhile and see what happens. That’s NOT bad.

    And don’t worry about your age. I’m 35 and I finally understand this.

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