Somehow I woke up at 9 a.m. this past Saturday to get Arcade Fire tickets for their upcoming Madison Square Garden show. Their album Funeral has always meant a lot to me as a commentary for growing up and loss of innocence.
Their song "Wake Up" takes a look at the painful process of growing up:
"If the children don't grow up,
Our bodies get bigger but our hearts get torn up."
I think most of us can agree that our negative experiences outweigh our positive experiences in dating. "Connection" is elusive. Each negative experience leaves a scar, making us reluctant to stay in the game. With enough disappointments, our youthful positivity turns into "I can see that it's a lie."
Growing up, all the times I thought love was coming my way, I was somehow let down. At this point, I'm numb to it. There have been enough letdowns that I no longer expect things to work out.
Cheating and abuse are examples of big events that contribute to shying away from dating. Luckily, the traumatic events are uncommon. There are, however, small letdowns that are not only barbs that poke at your emotional well-being, but they are also annoying. And these little events occur more often. After enough of these types of letdowns, you might start to lose your faith in dating:
You Think About Them All The Time, but You Know They Are Barely Thinking About You
There's often a girl I'm thinking about: What it would be like to take her on dates, or even marry her. At the same time, we barely know each other, she has a boyfriend, she's far away, or some other barrier exists. In light of this barrier, I know she's not thinking about me like I'm thinking of her. It makes me feel stupid and insignificant.
It's Day 3, and They Haven't Contacted You
For awhile I actually believed that every woman who gave me her number would call me back. After enough ignored calls, I've lost energy and hope for this process. In the old days, day 1, day 2, day 3 went by (my friends would tell me "start worrying after day 4") and I'd get more and more incredulous: "How can she just ignore my call?" Now I'd be incredulous if she actually called back.
They Are Interested in Your Friend
I set myself up for this because I integrate all my friends: work, college, high school, etc. My guy friends are refined versions of me. They know when to turn off the "crazy switch." My first crush in fourth grade told me she liked my best friend when I finally admitted I "liked" her. She started a long string (at least five times) of crushes who like my closest friends instead of me.
I'm Into It, I'm Out of It
When the object of your desire gives you hope by going through the initial motions of dating before pulling out, it's frustrating. Eventually, it's tough for you to trust because so many people flaked out on past potential relationships with no explanation.
They say negative experiences make you stronger. Maybe. But the little annoying experiences just make you skeptical. When I was younger, I believed most of what people told me. I never read fine print. And I was always burned for it. After you're exposed to the painful little experiences, you experience the "fine print":
Please note the following circumstances may affect this relationship: It may not be what you think it is, your hopes may be built and dashed, you will not be treated the way the other person wants to be treated, they don't mean what they say, etc.
I've had enough annoying experiences to expect nothing out of love. In fact, after years of trying "love," I've never had the feeling of love. But I've had plenty of disappointment and letdown. Experiencing enough "fine print" helped me arrive to "I can see that it's a lie."
It's safer for your mind and heart to be pleasantly surprised instead of having hopes to kill. Maybe it's good that I've gotten to that point of no hope. Anything good that happens will be a pleasant surprise. Maybe part of growing up in dating is losing hope.
What little letdowns in dating make you lose faith? Do you agree the things above happen much more often than having it actually work out? Do you try not to have hope, or are you always hopeful?
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