Ladies (Ahem and Gentlemen), we are not alone in our search for love. Everyone craves at some point or another that attraction, comfort, and joy a partner brings. Let us set aside those who were lucky enough to say ‘I Do’ to their other half. And not focus on the ‘forever singlesphenomenon who truly don’t want to settle down.

Instead, I want to examine the concept of dating today and love as a dying art.

Not all of us want to stay single forever! Some of us are wondering,

“How am I not married with kiddos by now?”

We even get told by family and friends, “I just don’t get how you are single? You are beautiful, funny, loving….” Ya, blah-blah I don’t get it either! But frankly, I am done trying to get it, because I really think there is nothing to get! Or maybe that is what I tell myself to have peace with it all.

“Nothing to get?” you ask or frown thinking, “Screw it then I forfeit my search- It’s exhausting anyway.” Well, I am not sharing this for everyone to give up on love.

On the contrary, I want us to believe in love again. Feel that spark. Relish in the warmth of being in alignment with another person.

My goal is for us to tap into what love is for each of us and embrace it without fear. Even if you just love sex- embrace that! Love can be interpreted so differently by each person. But at least feel something.

An apathetic or indifferent culture will be our demise. Where hipsters made not trying or caring cool. I mean just look at Kristen Stewart, she’s jokingly the queen of it.

What if we could resurrect love in its many forms and make dating enjoyable again?

Some of you are like, “Huh, dating is fun.” Well, we know dating can be amusing with the 2,000 calories and cocktails we indulge in. And the chatting about ourselves for hours until we get dropped off or have one dirty martini too many and end up making midnight mistakes.

By enjoyable, I mean finishing an evening with an optimistic thought that you actually want to give love a shot, even if its not with that date. Straightforwardly… a polite, classy, and direct approach to dating with a lesson or a kiss at the end of it.

But dating today is honestly painful. Some married peeps just don’t get it because they got locked down before technology took over. You would think more apps the better, right? An array of avenues to meet someone whom you may never encounter otherwise.

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But it’s seriously a chore now to date. You think it’s easy, because it’s at our fingertips. In a click of a button or better yet a swipe left or right you can continuously date …the options never end! Well, unless you are in Aspen and the options literally run out and you have to expand your search an extra fifty miles. But if you are in a big metropolitan city the options are vast and the attention span scarce.

It’s a lot of work to match, engage, and then follow through with meeting. Most just use these sites as a pen-pal outlet or form of entertainment or even a self esteem boost- ‘Yay, New Match!’

But what really is happening in the minds of those who actually meet?

Usually it starts with, “Do they look like their photos?” No catfish please- we don’t need you saying you are 35 and you show up with a walker! Or getting lost in his eyes and captivated by his conversation only to realize when he stands, he’s no taller than your 7 year old niece. Sigh…If I can’t wear heels it can’t be love, right? Can I get an Amen sisters?

What if you start chatting and realize you actually like this person? You are excited! WRONG!

You are usually flooded with obsessive, premature thoughts about what wedding gown you will choose and if his mom will like you. Somehow you end up stalking every social media outlet until you discover who his ex-girlfriend is and conduct a verified background check… All the while your date only took a bathroom break. He has been in there awhile, maybe he’s swiping with one hand?!

Anyway, it’s unfortunately not the good old days when a nice date meant a second date and subsequently meant you were going steady, monogamous and on the white picket fence path together.

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Instead a wonderful date means nothing now! Expectations have to be safely lowered, because you have no clue what a “good” date is anymore! I mean you’re just grateful he’s not a murderer and hopefully you got dinner and not just drinks out of it ladies.

But now you have to wonder, does the other person feel the same? How many people are they dating right now? Are they gonna go home and continue to swipe and I’ll just become a distant memory? Or worst, feeling the attraction and boom- GHOSTED! Ouch…Yes, painful!

The story in your head gets so loud that you talk yourself out of the relationship you are not even in!

What if we simply practiced Intentional Dating …dating with intention.

What if we actually had to be honest with the other person and more importantly, honest with ourselves? (GASP!) Whether it’s wanting 3 children and a house in the suburbs or you want to sleep with 80% of Manhattan.

Maybe if we all matched on intention, rather than looks and tag lines we could obtain substance and release ourselves from the superficial chains of dating apps.

Relationships could be given an honest chance and promiscuous folk could unite in their sexual urges and steer clear of the serious ones. In the long run that saves a person’s heart who hoped for more than just a hookup! No mixed intentions warranted here.

Make your intentions known and avoid the awkward lies or trashy Irish Exit.

Too many people try to paint a perfect picture or say they want something they don’t just to impress the other person or keep attention amongst the rat race. But it’s all exposed eventually.

Let’s slow down, pause, center ourselves (ommm) and really tune into what’s happening in this serial dating world we live in.

Can we be honest with ourselves? Does this generation (or any) know how? Millennials are obsessed with Snapchat and Instagram- Don’t get me wrong, I love FaceTune and filters! BUT it’s not real! Neither are our profiles, our conversations, or our lips. Okay, some women still have their real lips- that just pertained to LA!

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We photoshop until we become our “ideal self,” yet unrecognizable. We hide behind our Chanel sunglasses, lavish trips, and job titles…So many “Entrepreneurs” online! Which I am starting to think is code for unemployed or in between projects.

But can we just get real?

Can we say in our profile,

“Hi, I am Rae. I am curvier in person, because I pose and crop my photos strategically. I’m from the South but don’t have an accent anymore- So don’t beg me or feed me another whiskey in hopes to hear y’all or get me in reverse cowgirl. I am over casual dating…I want to get married and have kids and oh- not work while preggo. Will you put a ring on it already and sweep (not swipe) me off my feet…hopefully swollen pregnant feet soon.”

Ummm… No you probably can’t admit that on your profile, because you may never get a match again unless its from the 14 year old who hijacked someones phone at a bus stop or a crazy person laughing in a white jacket on a swiping rampage.

But maybe someone is refreshed by your honesty and replies

“Hi, I am Dylan. I am a redneck who chews tobacco, has a membership at a rub and tug massage parlor but can’t get hard more than once a week. I have a major fear of commitment resulting in shutting down when times get hard. Nice to meet you…Let’s blind ourselves from the truth and dive into this rollercoaster called LOVE.”

But maybe you never get as far as your lies or your truthful intent. Possibly, you don’t even get a fair shot at love. Perhaps you are broken up with at the six month mark every time or never get asked out on a second date.

What if that soulmate doesn’t exist for you? Are you the exception to the fairytale and meant to be a lone wolf on this journey? What if he does show up, melts your heart and sparks your spirit… but then his light dims. Or even worst, he ghosts! For all one knows, you even date for many years and then one day the feeling is just gone.

We date in a society with too many options, obsessed with quantity and the next best thing.

Where did our grandparents values go where they literally survived wars together and remained a strong partnership? Now we are not motivated to work through the tiniest problems- we just give up at the drop of a hat.

Relationships today can’t even survive a gluten intolerance debate!

But maybe we all have it wrong? What if our grandparents love was all a facade too? Could it be they just stayed together because divorce was rare and frowned upon? Stuck in a loveless marriage…longing for more? Sounds about right.

Can we just accept dating for what it is and love in its many beautiful and dysfunctional forms? Pardon that boyfriend’s honesty who didn’t love us; forgive that partner who left after ten years; Appreciate that individual for the lessons they bestowed or simply for that memorable one night stand? Should we merely take it for what it is, learn to love just that and let the rest go? Is that real love?

What if we just admired what they brought to the table or how they reminded us of who we are and what we need in order to feel loved. Cherish each person we meet and let go of the judgements and comparisons that we need to be somewhere we are not. Barefoot and pregnant in the deep south doesn’t sound like what I really want anyway.

Nothing changes the incomparable feeling of love, not even heartbreak. We feel because we choose to or sometimes because we have no choice. We recycle love from one experience and person to the next…hoping one day that special one will stick.

But if it never does, we can lucidly fall in love with accepting that not everyone has ONE true love. Indulge in the many expressions of intimacy along the way or surrender to loving oneself beyond any of these traditional, coveted relationships.

“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”

– Buddha

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