Dear Dating Coach,
I am an older single that really tries to put myself out there. I go to singles events, community events, and parties created for singles to meet. So, it was with determination that I attended a local Purim singles event. But for the second year in a row, I was vastly disappointed. Instead of coming together to try to meet people for ‘marriage’, it looked like a club with people just drinking and mingling in a way that made me feel completely out of my element. Am I naïve to think that we are going to these events to find a future mate? Is everyone else just out for a good time and a free drink?
Oh, amusement parks – how I love them and loathe them. We’ve all had that moment, when you are happily wandering the park with friends or family and you find yourself on line for one of those huge mamba roller coasters. You know which one I mean. They are about nine million stories high (that is an exact measurement) and have lots of loops that don’t make sense according to gravity. You find yourself pulled along as some sort of inner flight instinct warns you to run. But, before you know it, you are desperately trying to tighten the harness that is definitely, absolutely, without a doubt too loose-and the ride begins. This is when your inner dialogue starts to bubble over with incoherent cries for help as you realize your mistake. The ride of course, refuses to stop and only continues to ascend slowly (so that you can fully process your lack of mental acuity) until you are positive that this has been the greatest mistake of your life. You calculate the distance to the asphalt below and determine accurately that your chances of survival are now slim. It’s at that very moment that the ride begins – fasters and faster, loop through loop, upside down and right side up, until breathless you find yourself right back where you started. This is when you face your defining moment – will you race back to the line for round two or will you vomit and promise, “never again.”
I commend you for always trying to ‘put yourself out there.’ For attending events that are billed for singles that you rightly assume are meant for serious daters looking to meet their bashert. I’m sure that a lot of those events have those looking for something serious as well as those simply looking to not spend another night at home alone. Sometimes however, the lines get blurred between tired daters, and the mission gets lost as the struggle to keep going brings you down. It’s hard to go to singles events. It’s hard to smile, and nod, to introduce yourself, to offer your most charming one liner – and then turn and do it all over again. So, it’s understandable that sometimes these events can become a way to just let loose, especially when your ticket includes an open bar.
This however, is not an excuse. While, I sympathize with a full heart at how exhausting dating and being single can be, your goal is always “marriage.” Always. Especially, as you get older, you must become even more laser focused on meeting someone right for you, not just someone who will help you get through the next hour. This means that if the party atmosphere is too “party” for you, then force yourself to take a moment. Look past the music, the loud laughter, and the drinking, for someone else there with the same purpose as you. Perhaps there is someone else, watching from the side, hoping to meet someone serious tonight – someone like you. If the party still truly seems like you don’t belong, then call it a night and go to another community event instead.
If the ride doesn’t feel right, it is time to get off. In the amusement park of dating there are a lot of options. Never compromise on a gut feeling, on your morals, and principles. If a situation feels wrong, then it is wrong. Give yourself the gift of giving every event you can go to a solid chance, a full heart, and an open mind. Sometimes, an event that you were sure would be a waste of time, can be the one with the most potential, and sometimes the event you were waiting for, holds nothing for you. Singles events are important and they work. Don’t give up on them because one event failed – because the park is full of rides, you just need to find the right one for you.