Guest columnists and contributors are generously sharing their talents and insights while I’m taking some time to care for my new baby. Today’s letter is answered by prolific DW commenter and social media consultant, Sarah Huffman.
So, how do I get started dating? I’m lonely sometimes and feel like the only thing missing from my life is a man to eventually start a family with. — Looking for the Missing Piece
There are many reasons why someone may chose to wait until marriage to have sex. Yours is, how do I put this, complete crap. Fear should never determine what you do for a relationship! Should you avoid going to the doctor because you’re afraid of it? Of course not! Not only does the fear grow worse and worse, but that way of thinking can breed illness. For you, it has bred loneliness. Its an interesting phrase, to “clam up” when you meet potential dates. What does it mean to clam up? Do clams close their shell because they’re just uncomfortable and they don’t know how to act around other sea creatures, or do they clam up because some Red Lobster SOB is trying to steal their tasty tasty meat and they’ve got to SHUT THIS SH*T DOWN? Your fear has got you so hooked that it keeps you from even entertaining the thought of finding a date, let alone showing them your tasty meat.
So bad news, your reason for waiting until marriage for sex has no merit. Good news, you answered your own letter! Because the phrase, “I just don’t want to get hurt and I’m definitely not ready yet” is exactly why you are afraid of getting in a relationship in the first place! Look at you! You don’t even need me (PLEASE NEED ME). You aren’t afraid of sex, you’re afraid of intimacy. You’re afraid of finding the person you feel safe to share your soul with and finding out they were just using your soul as the ass pad in their bicycle shorts (look how I listen to what you like). You have shown that you have a lot of control over how and why you succeed at things. But you can’t control a relationship that way. Relationships are a swirling mass of chaos and “Why didn’t you text me?”s. But the more you date, the more you can control yourself and the setting of that chaos, even if you can’t control the outcome.
So, treat dating like you would a triathlon. From now on, I want you to set goals out for yourself every day to face your fear. Start small. Say one day, I’m not leaving this bookstore until I talk to one person I’m interested in. Join a running group and promise yourself to ask at least one person to coffee afterwards. Like running, once you reach one goal, make the next one and the next one more challenging. Just the fact that you will be putting yourself out there will ease the fear and will announce to people through your demeanor that you’re ready to date. You have to open yourself up to people to figure out what you want. Sometimes, you’re gonna get turned down. But that’s OK. Because there’s something about staring at the ocean from the beach afraid to drown and wading in the water knowing there’s a chance you can drown anyway. Its a risk, but once you’re in, you know its worth it.
* Sarah Huffman is a social media consultant who is freelancing art and photography along the way. She lives in Hollywood with her boyfriend, David, and their two cats, Mia and Daphne. She likes spending her free time spying on the neighbors through her window and ruining her boyfriend’s Netflix recommendations by watching bad reality wedding shows and movies starring Sarah Jessica Parker.