When I was 26 and on eHarmony, I put my geographical distance for matches at a solid 60 miles from my location. You start to re-think those decisions as you get older. I changed my eHarmony match parameters today – I am matching with anyone located in the 48 contiguous states (plus Hawaii and Alaska), who has also requested those parameters.
As I get older, I find that finding that important person has become, important. I’ve never told myself I wouldn’t relocate for love, but I haven’t been open to it. The thing is – taking a look at why we might not be open to relocating is important to figuring out where to go from there.
Deep, deep, deep (you have to dig really really deeply) down, I love Los Angeles. There is a busyness and hectic feeling to the city I don’t know if I could keep up with as I get older, and certainly money and the want for a house will become problems at some point, but my unwillingness to relocate does beg the question: do I truly believe I’m ready to meet my mate? If I knew 100% that I would meet the person I will eventually marry in a particular city in the next year, would I move? I *think* so.
I don’t see myself living in LA for the rest of my life. I can work in any city. I would prefer to live in a moderate climate, but I think I could acclimate to one not-so-moderate. So, why stay? Particularly when it feels like time is running out? Is a fairweather lover – in the form of a metropolis – a good enough reason to stay put during years that could become do-or-die?
On the one hand, wherever you go, there you are. Would Portland – a friendly utopia even for conservatives (I think?) – offer a better singles’ scene? Austin? Is it me I need to be working on? Isn’t the happiest version of me going to effortlessly fall into a relationship and maybe I just haven’t finished sculpting myself in that direction yet?
I don’t think we need to know the answers, and I think the answers change for us. A lot. Changing my parameters on eHarmony demonstrated a shift. It means I’m in a new spot, and I have new internal ground to excavate surrounding my perceptions and stigmas around relationships. I’m not the same dater I was at 26. Just looking at areas of improvement allows them to take hold in our minds; we can act/not act in accordance with them when we have further information that will allow us to move in the best direction for each of us.
Maybe, darnit, I’m really not ready.
I remember the first time I came across Penelope Trunk’s blog about making marriage a priority. It scared the bejesus out of me. I was (and am) 31. I had never really considered that I was a ticking time bomb. I started dating 5 years ago. I learned how to hold down a job two years ago. In fact, I haven’t known enough about relationships and how they could feel until recently, and I still don’t know if that information is accurate. Each time I run into another article about choosing career over kids it kind of feels like society has pulled a gun on me but hasn’t given me the tools or enough warning to prepare accordingly.
The problem – as I see it – is that there are no answers. There is the typical advice: troll Ok Cupid, lose weight, work with a therapist, freeze your eggs. Be the person you want to meet! All good things, but not necessarily things that calm you down when you’re sitting at your desk blogging, when you should be working, and thinking about your barren life and the sad moments you will spend sitting on park benches in the future watching as children who look like their parents giggle and run by.
I’ve dated a lot of people. I’ve put in some work.
But what can we do that makes us feel like we’re making a difference in our search for a mate, without efforting?
Here’s my list.