Dating doesn’t have to be complicated.
Yet, the world of dating seems to be more problematical than ever. Staying together appears to be even tougher. Marriage rates are at an all-time low, and divorce rates are at an all-time high.
As of the 2010 USA census, there were roughly 107.3 million unmarried people 18 years or older in America. Of this number, roughly 59% have never been married, another 27% were divorced or separated, and 13% are widowed. All of these people could be dating regularly, but according to a survey by It’s Just Lunch, half of all singles haven’t had a date in over two years!
There are an additional 61.9 million U.S.A. married couples that could be dating each regularly. Of these 123.8 million people, most of them aren’t.
This means 231.1 million people in America could, and I believe should be dating much more than they are. The population of the United States represents barely 5% of the global population. This means there are billions of people who should be enjoying dating on a regular basis, but probably aren’t.
All of us go out.
Best friends book a date to run in the park after work; a father takes his daughter out for sushi; two pals hit a sports bar to watch Monday Night Football; widows take in a movie on a Sunday afternoon after church; newlyweds go on a five-day honeymoon; a nervous teenage boy takes a shy girl to prom. Each occasion is a date, at least according to one definition in Merriam-Webster. Ironically, the ancient Greek origin of the word “date” is “didonal” which means, “to give.” Technically, you are giving someone a date, not taking him or her on one.
When you go out with your friend, it’s easy. It’s comfortable. Both of you decided on what you want to do. You don’t carry any particular expectations, other than the hope that you’ll have a nice time. You both connect in conversation to learn and grow. As a rule, you have a nice time and express appreciation, ending the date by saying “Thanks.”
Turn the same activity into a potentially romantic encounter, and all bets are off! A guy asks a girl out, and she accepts, usually not knowing what the proposed activity may be. Both have a myriad of expectations or anxieties. Conversations may be guarded, looking for hidden meanings. This doesn’t have to be.
Dating is a matter of perspective.
Although every individual has his or her own personality, degree of shyness, experience in communicating and inter-personal relationships, dating is truly a matter of perspective. It’s been said that the best way to give a speech in front of many people is to pick out one person in the crowd and pretend that you’re only speaking to that individual. To the same extend, when you are on a blind date, pretend that it’s nothing more than a business lunch with a colleague. You may be surprised what a nice time you will have.
Chief Dan George played the character Old Lodge Skins in a 1970 movie entitled “Little Big Man” starring Dustin Hoffman. Old Lodge Skins offers his spirit to the Great Spirit, and lies down to wait for death. Instead, it begins to rain. Old Lodge Skins sighs and says, “Sometimes the magic works, and sometimes it doesn’t.” Much is true of dating and romance. Sometimes the magic happens, but you can’t make it happen, so why worry? Just go out and enjoy yourself. Either way, then, you’ll have a fun date!
Craig Wilson is a contributing blogger for JenningsWire, a blogging community created by Annie Jennings.