Last month I began to share my story of meeting men in my 30s and 40s on my journey towards finding love. At the time I thought it would be fun to share more of my dating stories—the good, the bad, and the outrageous—with you. And while I still plan to do that from time to time, I was incredibly surprised that my story also resonated with our male readers, or that our Sex, Love and Being Latina blog even had male readers!
And the only reason I even realized this is because one particular reader reached out to me to share a teeny tiny bit of his own dating journey after reading my original blog post on meeting men in my 30s and 40s. If he is reading this follow-up blog post, thank you! Our short exchange set the wheels of my brain in motion to think of my own personal dating stories from a different perspective.
We didn’t go deep into the conversation, mostly because I didn’t want to come off as a snobby pretend-to-know-it-all dating expert, nor did I want to be too preachy, so I kept the message exchange brief. But I wish I had picked his brain a bit more to see just how similar or how different our dating experiences were. Because all the times I had come home from a date thinking, “why is it so difficult for a woman to find a good man in this city (Chicago)?”, my date could have just as easily been thinking the exact same thing on his way home, “why is it so difficult for a man to find a good woman in this city?”!
Now don’t get me wrong, I realize that trying to date in a social media, dating app heavy society is not easy for everyone. Maybe it goes beyond the “it’s easier for men to date” or the “it’s easier for women to date.” But until that short exchange, I had not really thought about whether or not it goes beyond gender, or it goes beyond our dependence on the digital world and whether our actual physical setting, Chicago (or insert the city where you live), plays a factor in dating troubles. And I only say Chicago because this is where I have now lived for nearly 19 years.
Is the urban metropolis setting, with all its lights, restaurants, bars, lively neighborhoods, and its many other things to do and see what could be distracting from what dating is really supposed to be? Could it be that while meeting men in my 30s and 40s on my journey to finding love I was too distracted by the amount of choices around me? Did I think, surely in a city like Chicago I can find someone better than the person I am seeing now? Did I project those same thoughts onto my dating app strategy? If I swipe a few more times, will I come across a better profile? Did the illusion of choice prevent me from getting to truly know someone and investing time in them? And did all that play a factor in the amount of time it took me to meet the love of my life? Probably, not entirely, but very likely it played a part.
I am sure that there is much, much more to my blog reader’s dating journey story, just as there are many more stories I can share about my journey that I’ll share over time. But in retrospect, it is worth some self-reflecting on my part to think about the times I may have written off someone I was dating because I was too distracted by the “what (or who) comes next.” And sometimes things are not meant to work out and that is okay, but what about all those other times that it could have but I was too distracted. Fortunately for me, all those choices led me right to the place I needed to be in this exact moment in time, with the person I am with now, the love of my life.
But for me, there is still a lesson to be learned in all this: slow down a bit, ignore the noise around me, give others a chance to get to know me and I them. Who knows, I may make a new friend, or a new acquaintance, or simply have a great conversation with another human being that will brighten my day.