h2>Dating : Thank U, Next? : On The Silver Lining of Dating
Dating can be, to say the least, a daunting and exhausting process. It helps you, however, to know yourself and what you wish for in a partner.
In late 2018, pop singer Ariana Grande surprised the world when she released her single “Thank U, Next” only a few months after she had released her best-seller album Sweetener. She had recently broken up with her fiance, comedian Pete Davidson, and mourned the death of her ex-boyfriend, rapper Mac Miller, so a new single release seemed out of the question in those trying times. However, writing music and sharing it can be quite therapeutic — the message of Thank U, Next, indeed, dealt with some of her feelings surrounding love and relationships. Notably, she thanks her exes for providing her with valuable learning experiences and confesses that even though things have not been easy, she will persist dating and looking for a partner. The song’s huge success indicates that young people understood Grande’s feelings too well: dating can be daunting, awkward, exhausting…and yet, even when it ends in failure, surprisingly rewarding. Getting to know a romantic partner is a formative experience, since it involves finding out traits about ourselves that we would not notice otherwise. Although jadedness might be unavoidable, perhaps the process is worth it at the end, when one either finds an ideal partner or becomes confident in what he wants out of life.
Things one learns while dating range from small, almost meaningless details to needs and wants we had not noticed before. Some people have preferences towards certain physical or personality traits, like searching for a tall person, a guy who can cook or a girl who likes the outdoors. Some of these traits are predetermined, but others are discovered as you date. Finding someone who doesn’t enjoy or appreciate the same hobbies and passions as you, for instance, might be a deal breaker. Furthermore, dating allows oneself to notice what kind of relationship dynamics one desires. Some people wish to see and spend time with their partner as often as possible, others need more me-time and others might even prefer other forms of interaction. Some people wish to eventually settle down, move to a house and even have children. Others prefer just moving in, or even living apart from each other indefinitely. Other elements like monogamy vs. non-monogamy and getting to know each other’s family and friends are also important. Open relationships and polyamory work for many people and not for others. Likewise, sometimes friends and family can become an obstacle to mutual understanding.
Dating implies adjusting and negotiating all these needs to find a space of compatibility. It implies frequently asking oneself what is essential and what isn’t for happiness. Even when things don’t work and become messy and even painful, we can at least acknowledge that we have learned more about ourselves, about our souls and bodies. Partner A might have been very compatible with me sexually, but emotions were missing. Partner B was a little aloof, but I appreciated his goofiness and warmth. And so I’m off to discover someone else, completely different, from whom I will learn a lot about who I am and what I want from life.