“Are you seeing anyone?” I groaned internally as one friend popped the inevitable question. It was a warm summer night and my friends and I sat around a table with a bottle of wine. The conversation had naturally progressed from swapping stories about our various brushes with death to the closely related subject of dating.
My reply must have been accompanied with a betraying sigh, as it prompted my friend to offer a word of encouragement. I quickly reassured him that I was in no hurry to meet someone, “In fact,” I shrugged, “I would much prefer to remain single my entire life than potentially enter into a bad relationship.” My friend looked me in the eyes and asked, “You know it does not have to be one or the other, right?”
My only intention was to relieve any concern that I was foolishly waiting around for my knight in shining armor, but his response left me wondering: Am I feeling jaded?
I have never been a serial dater, but I think I am not alone in sometimes feeling just a little bit, well, weary of it all. It can be hard not to feel run down at times, whether from personal experience with hurtful relationships, seeing your friends suffer, or even just overhearing guys at a bar plotting to “score” for the night.
Despairing of all men or even healthy romantic relationships is a tactic that I can subconsciously default to in an effort to defend myself from hurt or disappointment. This mindset, however, is unfair to the hard to spot, but not extinct, good men in the world.
The truth is, it’s hardly fair to judge all men on the population of one bar, or even two whole bars for that matter. When I’m in my most unforgiving mood, I find it helpful to remind myself of the kind of man that I am attracted to and ask myself, “would he enjoy himself here?”
It’s easy to get sucked into believing that your chance of meeting Mr. Right is greater at a place where the quantity of people I have not yet met is high. But perhaps I should instead be more optimistic about meeting men in places where we have more in common, like through mutual friends, family, church, volunteering, or sports teams?
It’s okay to go ahead and take those weary sighs, but then also be sure to take a fresh breath and look around. I know fairy tales don’t exist, but I don’t have to look far to see that good men do.
Originally published in Verily Magazine.