twenty something – dating.

“Dating in your twenties – it’s about the journey not the destination”

He loves me…He loves me not…He loves me…He loves me not..He loves me…He loves me not……

My first crush was when I was 5 years old – Travis Kisgen. He was short, but I was short. He has dirty blonde hair and was a child actor. I found out many years later that Travis liked me too back when we were 5, although I would have never known this because all he did was tease me! Evidently that is the way boys show their affection, regardless of whether they are 5 or 25!

Fellow Toastmasters and Guests…..Dating in your twenties, it’s about the journey not the destination.

Now 20 years later and there have been various boys since Travis Kisgen. Some I have liked, that haven’t liked me.  Some that have liked me, but I haven’t liked them. And then there are those rare instances where you both like each other and it just works out – even for only a brief moment in time. I have a distribution of twenty something year old friends in various stages of relationships.  3 married, 2 divorced, 2 with children. 10 single and loving it, 10 single and desperate.  5 about to be engaged.  3 recently brokenhearted boys, 3 newly independent women.

As I stand here, 25 years old, the conclusion that I have come to based on my experiences and the stories from those around me is that there are 4 variables that come into play while dating in your twenties.

X=Chemistry, Y=day to day operation, Z=fundamental core compatibility.

These three dimensions are what determine whether or not a person will be a good fit for you and arguable whether or not it will “work out”.  But…unfortunately, we do not live in a 3Dimensional world.  There is a 4th variable – and that is t=time. I have learned that especially in your twenties…timing is everything.

First, X, chemistry.  We have all felt it, that moment where you meet someone you just connect with, that you are attracted to.  Sometimes you can’t even explain why you are drawn to that person – but you are.  It is that physical, sexual chemistry that is vital to any romantic partnership.  A popular way in which many are dating today is though online dating.  I have found that chemistry can be one of the pitfalls of online dating.  Who wouldn’t try online dating – its fantastic!  Its like going through a catalog! I would like 5-10″, green eyes, dark hair, can even choose what income level!  Unfortunately often after sieving through the candidates you find yourself sitting across the table from your “future husband” only to find out that there is ZERO spark.  Sure, you can keep trying and hope that the fire will ignite…but likely it never will. Chemistry is essential.

Y, day to day operation.  What does this mean, day to day operation? Well, this is how you conduct your life on a day to day basis – what you do on the weekends.  Are you active? Do you play sports? Do you like watching TV? Do you eat fast food?  Do you like to go out to eat? Do you like to stay home and cook?  Are you a work-a-holic? Do you spend money causally or are you frugal? On a Saturday night do you want to be hammered at a night club or watching a movie or hanging out with friends?  All those things that make up your routine that typically don’t matter with your friends because usually you have different friends for your different interests. But when it comes to a partner – you need to want to do the same things, or at least be on the same page.

Z, fundamental core compatibility.  By the time we reach our mid twenties, typically you have begun to cement on who you are and what is most important to you.  This is the fundamental fiber of who you are as a person.  This is developed based upon your parents, your political beliefs, your placement in your family (only child, youngest, oldest, middle child), religious beliefs, socioeconomic situation growing up, where you went to school, your ethnicity, do you want children, when do you want to end up living.  These are the values that when all the dust settles and you are alone in the world – what defines you as a person.

Now naturally, you do not open with a list of your core values on the first date – but after the relationship gets going and you start to peel back the layers – you start to learn what is that core of the other person and quickly you are faced with the decision that while you might like this person…is the friction that will come with your long term partnership worth it?

And then…even if you get all three of these variables, and they perfectly line up within your 3D space…we must face the cold hard truth of life. There is the 4th dimension…time.

Society gives us the obnoxious opportunity in our twenties to be as selfish as we want.  Its about my education, my job, my car, my mortgage, my city, my path.  Along the road you have to decide whether you are going to derail your plans for another person. It is tricky to know exactly what to do and what the best decision is.

So after many highs and lows, conversations with friends, and with mom.  Feelings of butterflies and tears filled with sadness and rejection, I have concluded that dating in your twenties isn’t just about finding “that person” – it’s about accepting all the variables and living in 4D. Because life is about people and relationships. Its about accepting the rocky road because it is the rocks not the smooth path that challenge us, and teach us.

Dating in your twenties, it’s about the journey, not the destination.

-PB Toastmasters, August 6th 2013

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