Baseball has been analogous to love and sex for a long time. We’ve all heard the expressions:
“It fit like a glove!”
“I bat for the other team..”
“I made it to 2nd base!”
When I was a kid, my parents bought me and my brothers this CD Rom game called Backyard Baseball.
All three of us quickly became addicted to it and spent many afternoons glued to the computer playing baseball with the racially diverse and unique “neighborhood gang” in the game. There was this really catchy theme song and you got to pick your team based on a list of stats, the way they looked, and bio about their personality. As a kid I never would have thought that that game would resemble so well the virtual realm of online dating. The biggest difference between backyard baseball and online dating that I found, was that I actually enjoyed playing backyard baseball.
As a 25 year old single woman, I have done my fair share of dating.
Annnnd I hate it.
It is a total pain in the ass to go on a date with someone at some bar or cafe or restaurant and sit there answering questions about myself while I sip on a beer. I mean, come on. We just read each other’s profiles on the dating site and skimmed through their facebook profile pictures- do we need to recap the same manicured biography again?
Unfortunately, this ego-stroking-while-consuming-alcohol tends to be what is expected of us millennials.
I have many a time put on make up and nice clothes, painted over the chipping nail polish on my toes, flossed my teeth, and taken deep breaths to manage my nerves as I drive to meet a guy for the first time. As I am walking up to the socially appropriate venue to share small talk with a stranger, I ask myself, “why am I going through with this?”
Then fast forward to date 3 because you actually liked him okay and you feel this awkward obligation to kiss even though you are still kind of unsure about the guy, or maybe you actually do like the guy and think he is cute and so you kiss and it’s great but then after that date, you are like- wait, what is happening? We hardly know each other but we are smooshing our lips together?
And when you see him again for date #4 which is now at your apartment, you are still kind of unsure about your status because you’ve only spent a total of 9 hours together in your lives but you feel obligated to be kissing and maybe even sharing your bed with him even though you aren’t sure if his last name is Orstrowski or Orvinski.
And maybe like me, you are covering all the bases at all the right times, but in the back of your mind you are thinking, I don’t even like baseball (only backyard baseball because it was boss). And you are thinking that if you don’t get physical then maybe he wont want to hang out with you again.( And you are kind of lonely and he will do to fill the void… At least for tonight.)
If you can relate at all to what I’ve just said, then I propose a new way to look at dating.
Ask yourself this: am I dating to take or to give? Because it is one way or another.
Let’s go over what the two types of dating might look like.
Dating to Take
Sometimes we start dating people who give us all their attention, shower us with affection and complements and presents and make us feel like the center of their world. But for what purpose? Our partner could be catering to our every need in a manipulative fashion in order to receive love back for themselves. We allow our date to treat us like a god/goddess because it feels nice to receive all the attention. But in order to continue a self serving relationship, both partners have to play the game. It is disguised in self serving but it actually has a selfish intent.
When we don’t feel like playing the game because it eventually becomes unsatisfying, or we are bored, or just tired, our partner gets a little grumpy. We aren’t giving back that attention to our partner that he or she is looking for by being so “giving” in the first place.
What is the intention of your dating/relationship? Is it only to make yourself feel good and to receive love, presents, and attention? If so, then your relationship is probably self serving and you will eventually strike out.
Dating to Give
In selfless dating, your end goal is to give love and to grow in love. You might go on a first date and not be attracted to the guy but if you are dating in order to give love in general, then you can just enjoy the company of a fellow human being without feeling totally bummed out. You don’t have to see him again, but you might as well try and send some good vibes his way while you are there.
A person who is practicing (or trying to practice as we all are pretty hilariously bad at it, ) a life of selflessness doesn’t NEED to be showered with complements, praise and gifts, (though it is appreciated on occasion) because this person is content with her or himself.
Dating between two selfless people would look like two people who are focused on serving others including their new date, not for the satisfaction of receiving love back, but because they are fulfilled by giving (and know that to receive real love, they have to give it).
Selfless people value the one they are dating for their good qualities and characteristics; their care for the other would not be wrapped up in what they can take emotionally from their date/partner.
Everyone strikes out sometimes
Every relationship has times when the partners are more or less selfish and more or less selfless. People’s needs change daily and people grow and digress as naturally as the moon waxes and wanes. We are always changing and so dating and relationships will change over time as you continue to learn how to love in a giving way.
People who date as self servers are not bad people. They want love and don’t know how to get it in a healthy way.
They want a relationship because they have been taught by society that a partner can fill the void in their hearts. Having a partner has the potential to be sacred and filled with love, but a healthy relationship takes each partner dedicating themselves to growing and working towards a spirit of selflessness and self acceptance.
It’s a learning process that takes trial and error. Practice makes perfect!
Side Note: Dating to selflessly means giving to your partner, but it also means giving to yourself and respecting yourself. If you aren’t happy in a relationship, then you probably aren’t giving love to yourself. If you feel like you are giving all your energy to your partner but giving none to yourself then you are still wound up in a selfish relationship because you are giving in order to receive love back.
Remember, to be selfless does not mean to forget to shower your inner self with love, acceptance, and compassion.
Time to Try Something New
Backyard Baseball was a great game and I’m really happy that I can look back on the fun I had playing it. But if I spent large amounts of my time playing that game now that I’m an adult, I probably wouldn’t be growing into a whole healthy human. It’s a kids game and I eventually outgrew it.
That’s how I’m feeling about dating lately. I want to get out of the box of societal expectations for what dating is about and even what relationships are about. I’m starting to outgrow the notions of dating and relationships that have the goal of serving the self.
I have decided to change my way of looking at dating. If I go on a date, I don’t want it to be about me and the guy, I want it to be about something bigger.
Some ideas I have for going on wholesome dates include:
Playing music for homeless people.
Going to church.
Going to a poetry reading or open mike night together.
Going to Swing Dancing Classes
There is a time and place for one on one time but there is no better way to get to know a person than to observe him or her in an authentic real life situation. Asking him or her to take part in activities that are meaningful to you will show you if he or she really cares about who you are.
I know! It’s exciting!
Thanks for reading and best of luck out there to you! Remember, if you want to hit a home run, you have to show up at practice. 😉
♒ A Hard Hitter ♒