As another Valentine’s Day came and went, I was reflecting on how my romantic life is (or is not) in balance with the rest of my world. Now, I will tell you upfront, my dating problems are backwards from most women. I have spent many years trying to convince myself, without much success until recently, that dating and men were not sent to knock me off my path to achieving my goals. I had a very strong gag reflex to anything mushy, lovey, cheesy, corney, romanticy. Since I graduated and started grad school, my views have changed and I’ve come to a better place of balance in this area. But sometimes I still wonder how well we are all doing with balance and the dating game?
While discussing this topic with my supervisor at work, she mentioned something really wise. A part of being balanced is not dating for the wrong reasons and also not not dating for the wrong reasons. I think many of us women fall somewhere on this spectrum. Way too often women get so wrapped up in men that other areas of their lives begin to fall to the side. Talking on the phone for another hour instead of studying for that big midterm. Maybe hanging out tonight and skipping just one more homework assignment. You get my drift. At this point, as a women’s studies major and a historian who researches women’s history I could rant endlessly about the problems of society and how they socialize women to think that their identity and value lies in men. But I’ll keep it brief. We are all taught that we are special and important and loved when men think we are valuable. We are taught that we are beautiful only if men think so, and outer beauty is the only kind that counts. These ideas are then sucked into our dating relationships and our lives get out of whack. So, on this end of the spectrum remember that you are important and valuable outside of any man. Don’t date because you want to feel better about yourself and you want to feel special … it throws off your balance.
On the other end is me. Eek. I have now realized that men and relationships can be wonderful if in the right balance in your life. Dating does not mean death to my GPA. Building emotional attachment in a committed relationship does not mean I will somehow automatically stifle my ambition and my career goals. The Dating Game, just like all other aspects of life have to be balanced. Being too far on any end of the spectrum makes life less pleasant. We, as women, have to remember that dating and life in general are compatible, and also that who we are is not dependant on our relationship status. Playing the dating game isn’t easy but it goes a little more smoothly when in correct alignment.