In the past I found myself becoming irate with those overly optimistic people who scatter conversations with cheesy gems such as ‘we don’t meet people by accident – they were meant to cross our paths for a reason!’. Really? Tell me, do you really need to cross paths with a wife beater to know you don’t enjoy being slapped about? And do you need to waste your precious child-bearing years with a broke-ass loser to realise there is nothing wrong with wanting to a date an old-fashioned guy who just wants to look after you and is willing to hold down a job to do that? Honestly, there are some people whose existence in our lives is purely regrettable and no matter how important the lesson, we really could have found an alternative way to learn it without encountering half the fools that serve such purposes.
However, in my old age, I’m also learning to be a little bit more realistic about these things too. That famous relationship guru, Carrie Bradshaw once said that ‘Some love stories aren’t epic novels. Some are just short stories. But that doesn’t make them any less filled with love’. Hmm… I’m not sure about the last part (partly because I don’t like throwing the L-word around in reference to fleeting encounters) but she does have a point. Of course, there are those epic half-decade long romances – the sort of thing that could form the basis of a Hollywood movie, but as much as like minimise every single one of my +/- 50 Tinder guys, not all those short-term things need to be regarded as totally insignificant.
Obviously, there are people who completely turn your world upside down and make you relocate to the other side of the world. In such monumental cases, there is no denying that person’s impact/significance in your life regardless of whether things worked out happily ever after or not. Then there are stranger cases which require a bit more perspective. It could be the hottie that for reasons you can’t put your finger on gives you a sense of déjà vu and despite being totally wrong for you on SO many levels does serve to make you realise that the ‘one that got away’ really wasn’t an anomaly and your crazy friend was right you really aren’t as much of a troll as you once thought. Score! Or your Valentine’s date of 2006 who suddenly makes a guest appearance in Season 5 of your sad little ‘love’ life. Sure, you may have written him off back then for being somewhat unhinged and of course, by now you know he isn’t your Prince Charming but perhaps he resurfaced simply to snap you out of some silly fantasy you’re stuck in and throw a few strategic tests your way.
So, what am I getting at here? No. I’m not saying you should reassess your each waster you’ve encountered in order to find value in their existence. As I said before most of the dates I’ve been on are simply forgettable, if not regrettable. Just don’t beat yourself up about things that failed. We all (eventually) discover our 20/20 hindsight. For something to have failed you had to have given it a shot as opposed to being a scardy cat/sad spinster. And sure, most of the people we date simply won’t be our Prince/ss Charming, but there are a still few of these randoms that will still play an important role in your story (even if it is simply to save you from digging yourself into an even deeper hole of despair and misery). So keep going, forget the forgettable ones, try not to overanalyse the mistakes and be thankful for those strange surprises who play an odd little supporting role in the story.
Rinsers. Do you believe that everyone you date has a lesson to teach you? Or is that practically impossible in the Tinder age where dating is nothing but a numbers game? Are there some encounters that are truly regretable? And finally even when you miss out on ‘happily ever after’ is it better to have some sort of experience than being the type of sad spinster that hibernates indoors with nothing but her dogs and a jar of peanut butter for company? Comment below!