Release Into The Wild

My first release into the wilds of dating. On the prowl. A little nervous. A little excited.

It all started with a chat after dinner at my friend Bee’s house, with another friend, Cassandra Chick-Lit, in attendance. Bee has been in a committed relationship for about 10 years; Cassandra and I are both currently single. As women so often do, the three of us began to analyze our relationship histories—the Good, the Bad & the Ugly. And while the three of us have plenty in common, it’s the Ugly I’ve mostly considered on a very personal level for the last year and a half (more on that later).

Cassandra and I began to talk about the Bad—in other words, where we have been unsuccessful in our relationships. All three of us are in our 30s, which seems to be a place where people become more in tune with who they are and can have more honest conversations about it. Cassandra confessed that she is a commitment-phobe. By contrast, I consider myself a non-commitment-phobe. This has been a very Ugly problem for me for many years past. I’ve had so many bad long-term relationships that I am starting to lose count. It started with a relationship with my High School Sweetheart, which lasted for nearly eight years and ended in the Bitter Big D. (Which divorce is not bitter??)

Anyway, for most of my adult life, I have impulsively committed to and been stuck with several of the wrong people. One, three, SEVEN years in: “Gee, all this wasted time has been a blast but I really have to leave now.” I could write a book about it (and in fact have a half-written manuscript on this topic in my desk right now.) Hence, the Anti-Commitment Problem, or ACP. That sounds like a medical diagnosis. Yes I like that—ACP—that sounds better than just saying I have a yucky personal issue.

This problem is still lurking around somewhere in my past and while I was talking to Bee and Cassandra, I realized that I have no idea how to date; here I am at this ripe age and I still don’t even have the skills that even a semi-popular teenager might. To my credit, in this past year of FINALLY self-inflicted singlehood, I have at least figured out a bit about why I have ACP (which I will discuss later). I have gone through quite a process this year, achieving not only monk-like celibacy, but a cynically self-protective edge over romantic impulsiveness.

But after talking it out with Bee and Cassandra, I suddenly realized that perhaps now there is a component missing in my life. Living by myself is not exactly lonely but potentially boring and I hate being bored. Plus, I may not want to be the old lady in the nursing home someday who passed up all the opportunities to have a relationship for 50 years because she made poor choices during the 15 years prior. Plus, it seems that dating would be a skill that many people in our society would/should have, and I do enjoy having skills. (I find it helps with résumés if nothing else.) Plus, I really can’t spend the entire rest of my life watching Star Trek on Netflix, as appealing as it may sound.

The project with which I am starting my new life will include going on a date with one new person every week OR  attending at least one dating-oriented event each week for a year.

Thus, with all these factors considered, I, Scarlett O’Casual, am ready for my Official Release into the Wild.